Back in December 2006, just after reading Getting Things Done, I started taking myself off on what I called my end of year retreat. I’d set aside a day every December, pick a bus or train route and travel somewhere where my mobile phone didn’t work. I’d spend the day reviewing everything in my life from projects, family, friends, home and everything in-between.
At that point in my life I was obsessed with GTD, Merlin Mann and a lot of productivity hacks, and this review seemed like a good way to do some deeper thinking about the bigger picture, as David Allen would call, the 20,000 feet view. This is the earliest photograph I can find in 2007.
Over the years this idea developed until eventually it became something I offered to clients at my newly formed company People Who Do, in 2010.
By this point I’d (along with some help from my business partner Steve Stark) turned it into an overnighter at a posh hotel in the countryside. The first one involved lots of snow (we almost got snowed in), beautiful hand made letterpress books to guide people through the day, magical walks in the snow and a lot of food and drink. The people that came on these retreats still mention their impact to me 5 years on, which warms my heart and makes me a little bit hungry to do something like this again.
We (PWD) continued to dabble with the retreat/workshop idea. We moved locations to the amazing Hawthbush Farm and hosted all sorts of things there.
The last time I hosted a group retreat was in the 2013. I decided to keep this separate from business affairs and invited a group of old friends to join me at Hawthbush Farm.
We spent the rest of day one reviewing the past 12 months whilst walking around Gun Hill.
And day two looking to the future, with a little bit of help from mark shayler.
By the end of it, I felt totally refreshed and excited about 2014, and boy was that a year full of changes. Here’s a little of what I wrote as I lay in bed early on Saturday morning after the 2 days.
It’s Saturday morning, I’ve woken with the sorest throat, but I feel amazing, happy and alive. I’m at Hawthbush farm, I’ve been here since Thursday morning with Emily and some other good friends. At the end of each year, for the last 6 years, I’ve taken myself away for a day to review what I’ve done, achieved, not done, avoided, been scared of, been excited about and tons of other questions that require answers.
You can read the full blog post here.
So that was 2 years ago, and right now I feel hungry to do something like this again. That hunger has been inspired by a few things including a day Walkshoping with Fraser Hamilton and john v willshire last week. They invited me and 7 others to meet them at a train station in East Sussex, then gently lead us on a walk across the downs, with a couple of food pitstops and plenty of interesting talks.
The other big inspiration is my own personal love of the outdoors. I try to get out most weekends hiking somewhere in the countryside. I also partake in quite a lot of wild camping. I know how powerful being outdoors can be for the mind and the body, and if you can’t take my word for it, here’s some scientific proof.
So, I’m going to set aside a few days a month to do what I love. Hiking, hosting, listening, adventuring, improvising, connecting with my purpose and helping others do that too.
I want to keep everything about the set up of this light, so there is a one pager with a contact form here if you’d like to get involved.