In 2012, when moving from Denmark to China, I realized that it was much more difficult to stay connected to a community when moving to another country. To still be a part of the danish startup community and to keep investing in my own network, I spontaneously decided to arrange a work trip to Spain, inviting anyone who was willing to join.
The idea was to get 20 people together at an old, restored wine farm where we would install flying internet. An hour after the idea was born a blog post about the concept was live and the post quickly got a life on its own. Within a week 20 people had signed up and paid $900 to join the week.
With no experience in events and no experience in doing events abroad, it was an interesting project to make it all come true in a rural part of Spain, making food for 20 people, having great internet, facilitating sessions and coordinating everything. With the help of a few friends an very little sleep for a week, the idea of creating real, deep and meaningful relations by living and working intensively together for a week, was a reality.
From the very start, the project was based on pure passion and nothing else. The development has always been based on my own dreams and not any norms, trends and sometimes not based on what made the most sense financially. That’s why I decided to do both do a trip to Kilimanjaro and one international work trip in Spain in 2014. Targeting new people and doing new concepts was super fun and has been an element in Refuga since the beginning.
The motivation behind the project has always been the people. Where most traditional companies do Destination Oriented Travel (DOT), we focus more on People Oriented Travel (POT). Where we go and what we do of course matters a lot, but the most important thing is who we do it with. I have found that the concept and brand attracts a lot of different people, from young freelancers to +60 years old with up to 500 employees. What connects these people are their like-minded, positive mindsets, that I am truly inspired and empowered by. Being able to travel with such inspiring people to amazing parts of the world and to work with a small, remote team around the world I couldn’t feel luckier.