Escape to Umbria – review

In May, ten courageous and curious escapees joined me and the tribe in Umbria for a weekend of escapology. Below is some of what happened. PS. We’ll be doing it all again in October 2014. Join us?


(Some) of the things we got up to…

  • Sketched out what our friends, family, colleagues & we think ‘we do’
  • Shared in-depth stories of each other 3 hours after meeting for the first time
  • Reframed & broke-down our fears, barriers and blockers
  • Asked big hairy questions…’well if I really could do anything, I’d probably…’
  • Played the Queen Bee
  • Hacked v1.0 of our Escape Plans, first horizons
  • Committed to peer-to-peer skypes

and away from the post-its and ruffled brows we…

  • Ate like Kings & Queens (Grazie Costa)
  • Embraced the Umbrian ‘spring-time’ climate
  • Crunched our abs during morning Pilates
  • Conquered Jerry’s ‘Cantina’ & Flavio’s Flirtations
  • Got lost in Gubbio
  • Planted bamboo. Fed the pigs.
  • Danced with Pablo the baby goat + beat the bongos.
  • Made pasta not war!


Escapee #1

It normally takes me a few days to unwind into a break, as I work at such a ferocious pace in a very high pressure job it’s difficult to switch it off. But within a couple of hours in Umbria my shoulders had dropped from their usual stressed-out hunch and I was happily swapping stories with my fellow escapees. I was almost skipping down the country lanes and I realised it was the release of being away from London and sharing my potential escape ideas with others.

The food and hospitality throughout the entire trip was amazing. Mumblings from around the dinner table included: “this is the best pasta I’ve ever eaten in my life!”, and: “do you think the chef would marry me if I asked nicely?”. Don’t even get me started on the wine. I came away from the trip mentally a few pounds lighter and physically a few pounds heavier.

Over a few days we went on a journey towards making our escape plans. I ended up drawing mine out as a picture – it’s cryptic enough to have on the inside door of my locker at work and I check in with it every few days.

I’ve already met up with some of my fellow escapees following the trip. We plan to support each other as we put our plans into action and help ourselves maintain some of the focus we found in Umbria.


Escapee #2

The weekend for me was really a catalyst to realising that I can leave this chunk of my life behind, that is making me unhappy. Funnily as a result, I’m not now sure that fitness is what is going to work for me, I hope it will in some way but being given the time to proactively think about my career rather than just day dream, has opened my mind up to the freedom of clearly thinking through my options. I found the exercise of flipping the negative aspects of what is holding me back, really liberating. The challenge will be to hold on to those alternative views as bills roll in!

Monestevole is simply perfect. Even amidst the wind and rain, it was the most wonderful setting for our weekend. Again, it opened my eyes to possibility of throwing conventionality out the window and heading off to enjoy life. It made me question why we trudge on being unhappy stuck in the trappings of the life we’ve created.  I don’t think that I will be making immediate changes to my life but I know that if I hadn’t come on this superb weekend, I wouldn’t have had the guts to actually break free.

On a final note, I think one of the biggest bonuses of the weekend was the incredibly lovely people to share it with. We were all quite different in our own ways, but everyone I look forward to seeing again. There is an open offer to hold any reunion (or new escape meeting) at my house should the need arise!


Escapee #3

The escape weekend was overwhelmingly positive from my point of view. In fact, it was possibly too successful because I’ve found it incredibly difficult to settle back into work since!

Aside from being a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Umbrian countryside with a group of fantastic people and lots of amazing food, it has fundamentally shifted my point of view on how I view my future. Prior to the escape weekend, I couldn’t stop thinking ‘I hate my job: how do I escape?’ whereas now my focus is ‘I love my idea: how do I make it happen?’ It’s been a subtle but powerful shift from feeling trapped to wanting to achieve something that I feel passionately about.

The entire experience of Tribewanted was brilliant – the location and accommodation are fantastic and the people couldn’t be more welcoming. Being able to take part in the things that were happening such as the bamboo planting and pig feeding contributes to making it feel like a community that you are a part of rather than a place you are temporarily staying in. I have already recommended it to several other people and would have no hesitation about going back.


About Tribewanted

At Tribewanted we’re building a collection of the very best off-grid community holiday experiences. Join us on location in Africa or Italy and become a tribe member and earn a 20% discount on your trips + between 1 and 5 free night stay a year.

When is the next Escape to Umbria? 17-20 October 2014




What is Escape the City all about then?

> We decided to build a community around the idea that life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to you.

> Our Mission: Help people reject unfulfilling work – make career changes, build businesses, go on big adventures. 

The Escape School is Escape the City’s education arm – “the life, career and startup education you never got at school”.

> Subscribe to fresh Escape the City blog posts here – stories and lessons learned from 5 years helping people escape.

> We are hard at work on the main site matching people to exciting jobs that matter to them – grab your Escape Profile.

> Want to chat? Best place to reach us is @escthecity on Twitter and

> Want to learn more? Check out The Escape Manifesto (poster) and consider reading our eponymous book.

> Why? Because smart, ambitious people should be doing work that matters – to them and to the world. – “Do Something Different!”