The Internet, but also printed papers and television news, are full of stories of people quitting top-tier jobs and fancy apartments to go and explore the world while working on something they’re really passionate about.

It’s very understandable, but it’s not until it happens to you that it becomes truly relatable.

When the infamous “burn out” hit Claudia Fratangeli (who now works with Vicky Hunter on LittleRed Retreats), she decided to cure it nomad style, catching up on the travels she had been postponing for a while and finding a project that would ignite her passion.

Claudia tells her story to us here… in her own words.

First came the inspiration…

Inspiration came that very summer when I visited my friend Andrea’s estate in Tuscany. He had just started managing it and wanted to attract a younger clientele and I automatically replied that all of my London friends would love the space, especially the ones struggling with an excessive amount of stress.

That’s when it hit me. I could bring burned out Londoners to that enchanted valley to find that feeling of stepping down, breathing and learning how to balance their online and offline lives that I was living in that moment.

As any good mentor will advise you, I validated the idea with a representative of the target I had in mind. I ran my thoughts past my friend Vicky, events and community manager extraordinaire and fellow London life victim.

She loved it so much that decided to jump on board to make it happen.

… then, what?

Now, we had a team and a vision. But how to make it happen?

After almost 3 years spent helping others to start their businesses, funnily enough, when it came to my turn I was stuck. We had a team and a beautiful image in mind, but the team was scattered all over the places and the image wasn’t in high definition.

In the digital nomad narrative, quite often, working remotely is passed off as a painless and smooth process. Turns out, especially for beginners, it really is a high barrier to success.

We were all coming from different places, both physically and mentally, and we had very different visions of how to develop the idea, so before starting off we needed to get everyone on the same page. After some initial, and very confused, Skype calls, we came to the conclusion that some face to face time was absolutely necessary to get the ball rolling.

And boy, we were right!

Getting to know each other IRL

We spent an intense weekend in the magical place that is Podere San Giorgio, tucked away in the Tuscan hillside. 48 hours of working, eating, taking pictures and basking in the late autumn sun helped us to get aligned and shape up what came to be Mi Podere. Sharing expectations and comparing thoughts made us envision the journey, establish the path to get there and assign responsibilities.

We created our own north star to guide our individual efforts while working from all corners of the Earth. All of our following communication was way easier and more effective. The confused Skype calls and never-ending email threads finally made sense.

Make your team become family

Remote working gives a chance to take a lot of ownership of individual tasks and the flexibility to live your life as you prefer it, but getting to know your colleagues in person, chatting with them or sharing a meal and a glass of wine, really steps up everyone’s game and the overall team performance.

My advice to everyone starting a remote team is always trying to organise a gathering, whether it’s a weekend away in the mountains or exploring a new city or doing water sports in some tropical island, where your team has to interact, get to know and trust each other. In case you were wondering, yes we can organise company retreats and help your team become family.

Over the following six months we learned a lot about each other’s working methods, our strengths and weaknesses, and how to come to each other’s rescue when needed. When we met again just before the retreat started, we could feel the difference from the first “exploratory” weekend.

The learning curve has been incredibly steep but very rewarding; when we put down the broom and threw the last garbage bag at the end of our first retreat, we knew it was worth it. And it was super fun, you can check here for photographic proof.  

Learn more about retreats from Claudia

From accelerators to coworking spaces to retreats, Claudia is on a mission to help people and businesses thrive through relationship building, knowledge sharing and amazing experiences.

You can catch her ventures on LinkedIn or her (mis)adventures on Instagram or Twitter. Her next retreat is Lady Days, a one week, women-only experience that aims to empower women through creativity & self-reflection.