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Alptitude — where mountains got moved

mountain retreat - alptitude

25 entrepreneurs · 7 days · 1 life affirming experience

So what was it?

Alptitude was a summit of ideas — a mountainside retreat in Dream Valley where 25 entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers gathered to embrace wellbeing, adventure, innovation and a lot of fun. Some brought partners, others (like me) brought their kids too.

There was:

    • Yoga
    • Mindfulness
    • Kindness in abundance
    • Wild swimming
    • Forest runs
    • A ropes course
    • A kung fu masterclass
    • Via ferrata
    • Rock climbing
    • Communal dinners
    • Workshops on everything from leadership to LEGO
    • Talks covering topics such as ‘Things we can learn from Neil Young’ and ‘How to avoid a PR disaster’
    • Memorable conversations with one or two others whether in a hot tub, on a raft or on the mountain top
    • And so much more

This was an experiment. A glimpse into the future of work, life & play.

And what a future it is.
We came away with way more than we could have envisaged — new lifelong friendships, our minds full of ideas, inspiration and new skills. But foremost a feeling that anything is now possible if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.  As one of our attendees put it:

“I feel like I have a whole crowd of hearts behind me”

Alptitude mountain retreat

My 5 favourite moments

1. ‘I’m hiding under my bed’

Charles Davies’ conundrum posted at our Lean Coffee session. We’re still none the wiser…

2. Full-day hike into the mountains

An unforgettable day walking and talking with the group in the stunning snow covered mountains. We talked about life, business, family and everything in between.

3. Forest Fondue night

A memorable night in a yurt with the group. There were songs, great conversation and a lot of cheese and wine. And fire.

4. Cool Ideas Society

A session run by Wiro Kuipers (who also ran a great LEGO workshop) where participants get to ask a question to others and get quick feedback and help in exchange for helping their peers tackle a similar challenge.

5. Kumaran Mani’s talk

Having taken part in our Home School program earlier this year, Kumaran decided to apply to Alptitude. We were so inspired by him that we had to say yes to him and his wife Latha to join us for this unforgettable experience. It was the best decision we could have made. He told us how he’s turned his life around and had people in tears. An incredible story.

group shot - alptitude mountain retreat

5 key learnings

1. When you’re in your natural state, wealth flows

Kumaran’s talk highlighted that in Wealth Dynamics money flows to those that radiate passion and positivity.

2. I’m a creator

But without a balanced team supporting me I won’t have anywhere near the same impact

3. It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at

We had people from Brazil, India, USA, Israel and all over Europe. But borders don’t matter when you believe in the same things.

4. Nature has all the answers you need

Getting outdoors for long periods with likeminded people, or on your own, will lead you to the answers you’re looking for, whatever the challenge. It’s inside you, you just need to create space to find it.

5. People are more than happy to help, they just need you to ask

There was so much openness and kindness on show. But equally sometimes it helps to be direct about the help you need. That way the offers come flooding in rather than a trickle.

6. Trampoline meetings are fucking awesome That is all.

Ok there were 6

trampoline meetings

5 actions I’ll take

1. Start planning international collaborations with Alptituders from Israel, India, Ireland, the US & Norway (I’ve probably forgetten some too) — watch this space

2. Launch Happy Startup Walkshops where we take 10–20 founders on a remote walk to share and discuss what’s on our mind

3. Create an Alptitude yearbook pulling together the best photos, stories & moments from the week to preserve forever

4. Arrange a meeting with Jack & others to discuss a Happy Startup accelerator

5. Take the first steps towards crowdfunding The Happy Startup School so we can fully unleash the vision to the world and creating something epic. There’s something truly magical about our community that is hard to put into words. We want to bottle this and spread it wide and far, but we can’t do it alone.

mountains and stars retreat alptitude

Actions already taken!

  • Written this blog post
  • Invited Kumaran Mani & Richard Alderson to speak at Summercamp 2015 in September
  • Planning a Cool Ideas Society, lean coffee, karaoke sauna and happy cheques (thanks Gar!) at Summercamp
  • Challenged other attendees to share their story on Medium
  • Set up an Alptitude Medium publication to bring together everyone’s version of the week into one place Made a list as long as my arm of things to follow up on

chilling out in badney

Special thanks

Alptitude wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible Jack & Linda Hubbard — a force of nature who had the vision for Dream Valley and made it happen. We’re honoured to have shared this experience with them and be part of this beautiful journey where innovation meets utopia. This is just the beginning.

Also special thanks my friend since school and co-founder at The Happy Startup School Carlos (for putting up with my crazy ideas), fellow Happy Startup crew Fiona, Neil & Oli for their epicness, to the Chalet owners at Badney & Esprit, plus our caterers, chalet helpers and everyone else involved in making this a success.

But most of all to those that came, embraced everything that came their way, shared their talents and gave their full selves to the experience. You guys rock.

I’ll be writing another post soon about the nuts and bolts of organising an event such as this. If you’d like to read that follow The Happy Startup School publication on Medium.  Want to attend Alptitude next year? Sign up to be notified here.

Thanks also to Haje Jan Kamps, Neil Shaw & others for the awesome photos, to MOO & ICON for your epic printing and super fast turnaround, and French startup My Little Day for more happy decorations than we knew what to do with.

You’re all awesome.

startup camp retreat

What’s next for us?

Our Happy Startup Summercamp is calling and September will see 100 likeminded souls gather together in the countryside to discuss happiness, startups and life hacks. It’s one of the most rewarding, life and business affirming weekend retreats we’ve ever been a part of and we’d love to welcome you. Visit happystartupsummer.camp for details.


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