Starting up co-working retreats in the Swiss Alps might seem a natural next step for someone who has run an Impact Hub. Well, it certainly wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something entirely different. I embarked on my very own Grand Tour, a concept I had been fascinated with ever since reading about the journeys of famous architects from Inigo Jones all the way to Le Corbusier. The Grand Tour, the traditional trip across Europe undertaken by “mainly upper-class European young men of means“ (Wikipedia), in the 17th and 18th century – quite an obvious choice for a Generation Y entrepreneurial female.
On this journey of mine I worked from many places and with all kinds of people and communities. I moved around following my intuition, answering to random clues and just accepting every invitation I was offered. There was no way of predicting where I would find what I did not know.
Working from the wild
I ended up working from a cabin overlooking lakes and forests in the North of Sweden with people I had met in Stockholm a day earlier. We hiked through wind and rain for hours. We cooked lavish meals and forgot time talking about life, work, passions, plans and challenges. We sat down and got work done. This week established special bonds. It also happened to be the week in which it became apparent to me, where this road would take me.
Back to the essence
I would work on making the magic of collaboration and entrepreneurial activity more accessible to a 50+ audience. Together with a group of fascinating individuals aged 50 to 75 I co-created a concept, ran meetups, check-ins and a retreat. An alpine co-working retreat. A few months later I made an executive decision (great thing about being CEO and only person in your company). I would focus on co-working retreats. Working and living this way pretty much summarizes the essence of me. In the meantime I have successfully run one more retreat and am about to leave for the mountains to the next one starting in December.
Amazing as this might sound, showing the world my innermost dreams and visions was and is quite daunting. But only through putting myself out there I was found by people sharing my vision that now help me to make this much bigger than I ever thought it would be. As a good friend recently said: The more you practice, the luckier you become.
Join me to work from the most beautiful places in the Alps and…
Move from idea to action from 6-18 December in Lenzerheide, www.alpinecoworking.com/dec-15
Peak perform to get things done from 16 January to 14 February in Ftan, Engadin www.alpinecoworking.com/winter-retreat
I am the founder of Alpine Co-Working. Combining my experience of building up Impact Hub Zürich with an eclectic background as an environmental scientist, designer and yoga studio owner I now take co-working to new altitudes by running co-working retreats with a healthy twist in the Alps.
Isabelle Behrens, Co-working, Yoga, Design