Last week I went to a comms/wellness retreat for work. I didn’t know what to expect except I knew I was camping.

It was different from any other event I’ve been to. We were a sponsor the year before and we sponsored again this year. It was my first time attending and we also offered a sustainability comms workshop where we shared our story and resources and knowledge we’ve learned along our own sustainability journey, so I suppose it was work related but it felt like I was connecting with old friends I just hadn’t seen in a while.

You have to attend Comms Unplugged to really understand the whole experience. Because it is an experience. The energy was incredibly positive and I am so glad I was able to join in.

Here’s what I loved:

1️⃣ No WiFi. I had to unplug. No internet, no work, no distractions, no Instagram or Twitter or TikTok (if I actually did TikTok but I don’t, Rosie does that all for us because she is a legend) connecting with anything remotely social media. I was allowed to do these things, but one bar on my phone meant I could call my family and check on them and that was about it. I found turning airplane mode on quite liberating.

2️⃣ Natural beauty. Damn Dorset is gorgeous! I swore I’d never camp again after a storm knocked out tent down and rained my kids, dog and hubs out in Salcombe last year. But I went for it and I am so glad I did. We had gorgeous weather with clear skies and I welcomed an early sleep. It was a relief to go to bed at 9pm the first night. The second night I chatted with so many lovely people and sang songs with the brilliant crew and drank some ace gin cocktail that was so strong I didn’t do the park run the next morning. A perfect Friday night!

3️⃣I was pushed out of my comfort zone. This was a wellness-comms retreat that focussed on unplugging and connecting with the people around you and yourself. Instead of doing a yoga session, I did a fabulous dance session (totally out of my comfort zone). I painted and did a mindfulness walk (Fresh Air Friday should be every day if you ask me) although I got sap all over my bum and stepped in fox poop, I was 100% in the moment and was a mindful listener for my walking partner and really got to know the amazing comms professional I was talking to. I met so many great people. And I ran my fastest 5 miles with Dave, by friend and business partner, who pushed me to do my best and coached me when I struggled at the five mile mark (he runs a 7 min mile and I run a 10 and he slowed down — only slightly!!! — for me). I participated in a self-awareness coaching session, met inspiring people along the way, and learned how to be happy at work in a fun and engaging session. It was fab.

4️⃣Community. I connected with absolutely brilliant humans. One of the speakers was a inspiring entrepreneur/scientist/inventor who was on her own personal journey of becoming a coach and and founder of her own company. We have become friends have talked every day since the event. I’ve told her all about my networks and am offering to connect her and help her in her entrepreneurial path too.

5️⃣I didn’t constantly “work”. I read my book by Lamorna Ash in my free time that I picked up in Cornwall. (It is very good.) I focussed on being in the moment. And that is an accomplishment for me.

It was a great few days in the field. I am glad to be back home with my family but it was a wonderful few days connecting with ace humans and with myself.

I didn’t expect this to be transformative but it was. Thank you to all of the attendees and to Sally, Georgia and Darren — and to their amazing support team (Helen, you legend) for this brilliant event. CU next year.