By Jonathan Kalan & Michael Youngblood, Co-Founders, Unsettled
Dear friends, family, and fellow Unsettled souls,
If there’s one thing we learn at the closing of each year, it’s how remarkably quickly time flies by.
Several years ago, while sitting on the deck of a sailboat sharing a bottle of rum with 30 friends under crystal clear Caribbean night sky, a quote from the late Carl Sagan passed through our mind.
“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first start by inventing the universe”
The universe around us holds within it an infinite realm of possibilities. Everything that exists today, from the air we breathe to the landscapes that inspire us, to our ability to communicate with the ones we love across the world, is all rooted in a long history of experimentation. It is the result of a constant process of trial and error, of discovery and learning, of serendipity and circumstance.
Everything is built upon what came before it. And whether we take the time to recognize it or not, where we are today in our lives, our work, our relationships, and our personal journeys is also the result of an infinite number of possibilities, and the choices we make along the way that have brought us to the present.
That evening in the Caribbean, as we unknowingly planted the seeds of what would soon become Unsettled, it would have been impossible to predict where we are today.
2017 has been our first full year of Unsettled. And it has been a journey of radical growth, learning, and self-discovery, both individually and collectively. With every decision, big or small, we’ve worked to solidify our values, reinforce what’s important to us, and define what it means to live Unsettled, to live life as an experiment, and to embrace the unknown one day at a time.
In the past 12 months, we’ve run 18 Unsettled experiences in 7 locations around the world. We’ve surfed on the shores of remote islands of Indonesia, shared histories over dinners in South African townships, trekked through coffee farms of Colombia, discovered Argentina’s best weekend getaways, slept in castles in Spain, explored the hidden charms of Portugal, and set sail with 40 Unsettled friends and family across the stunning national parks of Croatia.
In the coming months, we’re even adding 3 new locations to the mix - Peru, Nicaragua, and Morocco, expanding our global footprint to 10 countries across four continents.
In the process, we’ve grown our family and added some incredible people to the Unsettled team. In January, we were a full-time team of three. Today, we’re working alongside eighteen of the most passionate, hardworking, and inspiring people we’ve ever met, usually plugging in from four or five continents (and even more time zones) at any given time. You can meet many of them here.
Our alumni family has grown even faster. We’ve received over 8,000 applications, interviewed over 1,600 people, and hosted more than 500 soulful and incredible humans on our experiences from over 50 countries. Since we’re playing the numbers game, that’s over 75 family-style dinners together, hundreds of peer-led workshops - from basic game theory to improv games, cryptocurrency 101 to business model canvassing, public speaking to poetry lessons, and much more - and thousands of new connections made. You can find some of their personal stories throughout our blog.
This is where our story begins and ends. With a group of people who believe in living differently. Intentionally. In trying new things. Who recognize that everything that lies before us, is built upon what precedes us.
As Sagan reminds us, if you plan to build something new, be it an apple pie or new career or lifestyle, you have to reflect on the long history that got you to today. With that, we hope you’ll take 15 minutes to reflect on where the universe may take you in 2018, if you let go and give yourself permission.
Here's to an exceptional 2018!
Michael, Jonathan, Lala, Liza, Alex, Shitika, Jade, Christy, Patrick, Bonnie, Scully, Mel, Liliana, Allie, Norah, Kelly, Yuri, Gizella, and the rest of the Unsettled family.