At the heart of Unsettled lie bold, inspiring, provocative, human-centric stories. At the end of each retreat, sometimes we say goodbye to our participants, and continue to build those bonds, friendships and connections outside of the Unsettled experience. But sometimes, we have alumni like Leah Lenihan who we never have to say goodbye to. This week, Leah is celebrating 100 days of living Unsettled with us.
A native of Ireland, Leah started her journey in April when she boarded a plane to Barcelona for her first Unsettled experience. With 30 days of this epic living not being enough, Leah chose to do Unsettled Porto in May and is now spending a month with a new family in Peru.
This is her story...
Unsettled! I left my last job in March and have been on the road since, but I will be moving to London in August.
Lived Unsettled In?
Barcelona, then Porto, and now Peru
What do you do to earn a living?
I work in Marketing with a background in hotels and malls in Europe and the Middle East. My super powers lie in troubleshooting, puzzles and planning. My passion lies in people, storytelling and visuals. I have been lucky enough to be able to earn a living doing a combination of everything. I'm going back to work in August, and looking forward to joining this particular company, because I truly believe in what they stand for, and can’t wait to tell their story.
What makes you feel most alive?
Great conversation on the dinner table. I love those moments when everyone is laughing, sharing their triumphs of the day, interrupting each other with enthusiasm and enjoying the food. I think food tastes even better if we cooked it together, or for one another, and I love hearing people's stories; and laughing so hard I forget to breath. Even better if there are post dinner games.
We're celebrating your 100 days of living Unsettled across three of our destinations, what has been your most defining moment in the last 100 days?
Each destination has had its own. However, I think it was when I realized that thoughts, ideas and experiences that make us feel awkward and uncomfortable, are often packaged that way to make sure we notice them. Those are the moments we have the most to learn. Those are the moments to lean in.
As a (semi-reformed) over thinker/over planner, I like to know exactly what is going to happen next. Relinquishing the control to Unsettled and fellow participants, was definitely unsettling - in the best way possible. Since that particular moment I have consciously ‘leaned in’ and had incredible experiences, challenged my own perception of ‘should’ and given myself permission to just be. And that has made all the difference.
What in your life has changed or have you committed to changing since choosing the Unsettled lifestyle?
Each week of Unsettled I have written down a thought, theme or an epic quote/observation shared by another participant. These are the things I have been working on changing - which I hope make me a better, happier human.
I used to stress about small things; and come up with backup plans for my backup plans. But being Unsettled has taught me that life is a work in progress, that things don’t have to be perfect to be masterpieces.
Backstories matter. Taking the time to learn someone’s is one of the most rewarding parts of the experience, and it’s something I intend to take forward in life. Everyone has one and their backstory is what makes them uniquely them. People are amazing.
Community matters, the more you contribute the more you get back. The more of myself that I share, the more meaningful my interactions are with people (even writing that is quite hard for me as vulnerability is something I have struggled with).
Lean in, but to quote a very wise Experience Leader: You do You. Don’t shrink back into what’s comfortable or fast forward into something you’re not ready for.
This is real life. Every single day is real life. Live it on purpose. Trust the timing.
Oh and definitely to hug more (another very wise Experience Leader taught me that).
Why did you join Unsettled in Barcelona?
When I booked I had just left my job, shipped all my things to my parents, and was trying to decide what comes next. I was in that awkward stage of job hunting that I'm sure many can relate to - knowing you need to find a job, but lacking clarity on what and and where. I was also feeling the pressure that comes with making sure I make the right decision.
With too much time on my hands, I somehow landed on Michael's Ted Residency talk about True North and something just clicked. The following day, I applied for Unsettled Barcelona (because art, architecture and food) but ultimately I believe that we find our way to where we need to be, and Barcelona was that for me - the right place, at the right time with amazing people who honored me with their time, their thoughts and their trust. The most valuable things that anyone can give you.
If you had to define your Unsettled experiences in Barcelona, Porto and Peru in one word, what would those be?