Why Nicaragua is Your Most Playful Work Environment

By: Naomi Matlow

What if you could take conference calls this February from a private swimming pool, sipping a cold Toña or a local mango drink, after a swim or surf session from the most pristine beach you have ever seen on the Pacific Ocean? 

What about ending the day with a poolside peer-to-peer public speaking workshop by a fellow Unsettler, followed by dancing the night away to the latest Central American beats, shoeless, under the palm trees at the beach bar with 15 new friends? 

This is what it means to balance work and play. And all of this (and more) is at your fingertips on our 3rd annual Unsettled: Nicaragua retreat, February 22nd – March 7th, 2020.

Photo by Unsettled: Nicaragua 2019 alum, Noa Griffel

The Importance of Play 

Why do we feel the need to stop playing for joy’s sake when we grow up? Psychiatrist, author, and founder of the U.S. National Institute for Play, Stuart Brown, writes in his book, Play, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” In our busy lives, play, such as reading a book for pleasure, dancing at a concert, watching a movie, taking an improv class, or having a snowball fight, is often the first thing to go. And often unbeknownst to even ourselves, we suffer for it. We talk about sleep-deprivation, but why not play-deprivation?

What is Play?

For Dr. Brown, play is not a goal-oriented activity. It is a “state of being.” Play is something that is, “purposeless, fun and pleasurable.” Making time to sketch freely under the Nicaraguan sun, listening out for the howler monkeys while the sun rises, or getting lost in a conversation with someone while walking along the beach to Magnific Rock, will not only boost your creativity and happiness levels but also increase your productivity and innovation when you open back up that laptop. Play truly does light up the brain!

We Are Wired to Play

We are biologically designed and evolutionarily built to play for fun’s sake. To laugh for no reason, to jump in the pool with your clothes on, to ride a horse with a real Nicaraguan gaucho along the sandy beach, and to climb a tree because you need to crack open that coconut. We can’t be serious and goal-driven 24/7, nor should we be. Having fun in between your working hours is no joke. Seriously. 

Are you ready to play?

Join us for 2 weeks of deep work & play this February in Playa Santana, Nicaragua!

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