Ok, so spending too much time online maybe a ‘first world’ problem. There are bigger battles to fight, right? Terrorism, climate change, poverty, clean water access, malaria, education…. but here is where a subtle shift has happened for me.

For the last 10 years I’ve been exploring and ‘on a mission’ to find ways to how we might live and work more co-operatively together across cultures and solve some of the too-big-to-tackle issues from the grassroots. ThroughTribewanted we’ve looked through the lens of community led tourism experiences with authentic cultural experiences and we’ve learned many lessons, including:

1. You can’t sell the idea of ‘living more sustainably’ to a large audience — at least not on environment motivations alone.

2. Cultural behaviour drives almost everything.

3. Its the individual journeys’ and stories that drive long-term behavioural change. Not the science. Not the news.

4. Word of mouth is the best tool we all have — ‘going viral’ just means ideas told in the right way can catch global fire.

With these insights in mind, I’ve been thinking more in the last year about how we might work more with people’s stories at the forefront of everything we try and do to solve the problems we’re motivated to tackle.

Living back in the UK I’ve noticed that both our relationship with our tech devices and our 9-to-5s have become bigger conversations. Working withEscape the City on helping frustrated corporates discover fulfilling careers feels like the tip of the iceberg. So I made a decision to add to what we’re already doing at Tribewanted by curating experiences that will bring these internal conversations to life. We’ve already piloted this with an ‘Escape to Umbria’ retreat and are about to launch the ‘Escape to the Woods’ microfestival for inspiring career change. With others we’re building a treehouse community as a gateway drug to get people back into nature. We’re planning a ‘roost in the city’ pop-up for next summer.

In terms of my own tech diet, I teamed up with social entrepreneur Daniela Papi to start focusing on weekly digital detoxes — we called this ‘hibernating’. Others have joined us. Next, we wanted to spend time exploring this in more depth so we invited a bunch of thinkers in the space of mindfulness and storytelling to a weekend hibernate.

I was delighted when so many of the leaders in this space decided to join us, including Rohan Gunatillake creator of mindfulness app Buddhify, Frances Booth author of The Distraction Trap, Beth Nichols founder of Do What You Love, adventurer Dave Cornthwaite, Ocean Advocate Emily Penn, & solo-nature experiences leader Andres Roberts.

What did we learn from our weekend Hibernate?

  1. That being offline doesn’t mean you miss out.

2. That purposeful work and living is becoming more important.

3. That the best ways to create impact and change are through connecting people with what matters to them, not the agenda of Government, media or anyone else.

4. That we need to collaborate on everything.

So maybe next time you’re trying to figure out that next tech startup that will change the world the first thing you should do is unplug.