Note: I originally posted this article on 11Sigma blog.
2020 was (and still is, when I'm writing it) a weird year. Most of us spend several months in lockdown isolation. For a team of people who love to travel, it was undoubtedly a new experience.
It was also the first year when we finally got a chance to organize a longer retreat. We had a few short ones in the past but never at this scale with so many awesome events.
For our first retreat, we chose Brodnica Lakeland. The region is called "The Land of a Hundred Lakes", and is one of Poland's hidden gems. In 2020, it remained undiscovered by mass tourism - a perfect place for a team like ours!
Accidentally, after the retreat, we found out that one of the popular polish YouTube channels, Gdzie Bądź, discovered the same region this year and called it their Discovery of The Year.
Who knows, maybe this was the last year before the Lakeland becomes popular 🙂
Italian Vineyards in Northern Poland?
When it comes to organizing our yearly (un)remote retreats, we have only one rule: make them epic!
This year, we considered several places:
Due to the pandemic we've started organizing the retreat very late (early July), and had only about a month to prepare everything. You can imagine that trying to book six bedrooms at the peak of the season is not trivial 😀
Fortunately, we found the most incredible place in the region: Głęboczek Vine Resort. We were lucky because they still had enough independent bedrooms, and a conference room for the entire stay.
Wine, Food & Music - Spanish Welcome Dinner
Good luck didn't leave us!
As soon as we arrived, we found out that the resort prepared a Spanish evening. We got a perfect place with a view on the lake, incredible wines, countless tapas, stews, soups, and steaks!
After months working remotely from different places in the world, we've finally had a chance to get together, chat, and simply enjoy the evening 🙂
We've also found out some of our folks' hidden talents. For example, here is Marcell improvising on the piano in the restaurant.
The Incredible Drwęca River
The section of the Drwęca we chose meanders slowly through tranquil meadows and hills.
Stunning views, nature, lazy river flow, and sun.
A perfect combination to start the first full day of the retreat.
Brodnica Castle's Ruins
After the kayaking, we headed off to the ruins of what was formerly a Teutonic castle.
Surrounded by the remains of the walls and its well-preserved tower, we finished the day with a good old bonfire.
Coding & Ignite Talks
The resort provided us with a very decent spot for work.
We had an entire conference room for ourselves 24h/day.
Monday, was the day of sharing knowledge.
We organized a micro Ignite Talks meetup where each of us presented something that excites or interests them.
The agenda was full of great content:
- functional programming,
- remote work lifestyle,
- transitioning to computer science from biotechnology,
- $ref resolvers,
- designing typescript interfaces,
- and qualities of successful people
We all learned something that day!
For some, it was the first time to speak in front of an audience (well done!).
With some pizza, beer and snacks supplied by the restaurant nothing could go wrong 🙂
Off The Beaten Track
None of us had any experience with off-road before 🙂
Nor did we expect that a car can go almost straight uphill!
It's fair to say that this exceeded everyone's expectations.
Pure, wild fun!
Check out Jakub behind the wheel 🙂
More Bonfires & Hidden Talents!
During the event, we've found out some of us have talents we weren't even aware of!
Marcell beat us all at archery...
Jakub revealed his musician's nature 🙂 - turns out that he travels with his ukulele around the world 😀
And let's not forget about Mike! He is a full-blown pro!
See You Next Time!
I think none of us had the exact idea of how this whole event will turn out.
It was epic, though, and we can't wait for the next one!
Top lesson learned: plan at least three months in advance 🙂
See you again soon!