Season 3 Episode 10 "Beyond the Bootcamp" is now available. Listen now.
March 30, 2023

Designing adventures and recreating awe for clarity and creativity with Kim Slade

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#033 - When was the last time you felt a sense of awe? Research shows that experiencing can make you happier, healthier and more humble. So often we tend to lose our awe we had as kids as we turn into adults and life becomes a busy routine. Kim Slade is trying to change that. He is the founder of Unlost Co, where he designs immersive adventures to help people recreate that childhood awe. In this episode, Kim shares his method for designing these immersive experiences that engages the 5 senses through every touchpoint. He also talks about his 4 step story framework to create moments of adventure, mindfulness and reflection in our busy lives.

In this episode

  • How to design experiences - place, time, senses, story
  • Using adventure and nature to find clarity and  creativity
  • How to know where to work for different types of work
  • and much more


Kim Slade

Happy Startup School Summercamp

Bill Gates’ think week

Storytelling frameworks

Show credits

Illustrations by Isa Vicente

Music by Brad Porter

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[00:00:00] Nirish Shakya: I have a question for you. What gave you a sense of awe and wonder as a child? It's probably the same thing that you need right now, and so often we tend to lose it as we turn into adults and life just becomes a busy. Kim Slade is trying to change that. He's the founder of Unlost Co, where he designs immersive adventures to help people recreate their childhood awe.

[00:00:32] In this episode, Kim shares his method for designing these immersive experiences that engages the five senses through every touch. And he also talks about his four step story framework to create moments of adventure, mindfulness, and reflection in our busy lives. And those of our.

[00:00:52] Shivaun: This is the Design Feeling Podcast with your host Nirish Shakya. 

[00:01:01] Nirish Shakya: Hello. My name is Nirish Shakya and I'm a human-centered designer, educator and coach. And this is a podcast for well, human-centered designers and innovators and problem solvers who tend to forget the human within the. The conversations you'll hear will help you increase your self-awareness and creative confidence so that you can make the impact that gives you the joy and meaning that you seek.

[00:01:34] Let's get started. 

[00:01:37] kim Slate. Welcome to Design Feeling is so great to have you on the show after we've been playing this for such a long time now.

[00:01:45] Kim Slade: It's good to be here, mate. It's good to be here. As I said, it's like last time I saw you, we were hugging in the woods. Very emotional. So it's nice

[00:01:52] to, 

[00:01:53] Nirish Shakya: know

[00:01:53] Kim Slade: it's nice to, it's nice to catch up and see how you.

[00:01:57] Nirish Shakya: Yes. And I have to say, you were the first person ever that has made me cry in a business event, and I also both love you and hate you for it. Cause in the moment, like I know, I just felt so embarrassed that I was just like shedding tears in front of all these people around me, giving me hugs in the middle of the forest.

[00:02:21] But at the same time, I love you because it was such a great release for me. I've got questions around that that we're gonna get to in a bit. but I wanted to kind of just, I guess bring us back to our, the main con the focus of our conversation for today, which is around adventures. And you run your company called UN Lost.

[00:02:40] And what you do is you design immersive experiences for people and your adventures are inspired by childhood dreams, that in the grayness of adulthood have been lost. And speaking of, childhood dreams, you also mentioned that, you wanted to be an archeologist.

[00:02:59] and so did I. and I think we've, we've both, both of us have been inspired by, Indiana Jones and, and those movies and, and how archeology kind of happens in those movies. tell me, tell me more about your childhood dream.

[00:03:11] Kim Slade: Well, it was either an archeologist or a Goonie. And, I found out that the goo being a Goonie didn't particularly have a career path. and I also, to be honest, I only ever wanted to be an archeologist because I thought that archeologists were basically Indiana Jones. Like I

[00:03:28] Nirish Shakya: Going on adventures, you 

[00:03:29] Kim Slade: yeah, yeah.

[00:03:30] In reality, I actually went to the, national History Museum the other day and it's interesting. But yeah, more, more into swinging on vines and, and, and going on proper adventures to crazy places. yeah, so I, I mean, as a kid, I, I was the youngest of four boys and,we kind of lived in the middle of town and we, luckily it was kind of you.

[00:03:53] back in the day when you could just kind of go out and leave, the kids would just be running around town and we used to have all sorts of adventures just over the back wall and, down hopping through other people's gardens and finding derelict houses and all this stuff. And, my mom's super adventurous.

[00:04:07] She's got a, like, she's almost like, a real life Forest Gump, she's had so many claims to fame and so many, like, she's got so many different stories that are just like, no way mom. Like, but yeah, some amazing, true story. She traveled a lot when she was younger, back in like sixties when it was a big thing to travel as a, as a lady, American lady on her own.

[00:04:25] and so she's got, very adventurous and, I just grew up with, with four old brothers and watching films that were probably too old for my age group. And, and just being fully immersed in their, the adventures that they were enjoying, like the fictional, adventures. And so, yeah, I found myself as an adult just. Being attracted to and, and trying to recreate childhood joy. Like that feeling of, being a kid, the, the genuine awe and wonder when you see something that you're just, that just amazes you, there's something about that that is really formative and really, when you're in awe, it really just, it just inspires massive growth.

[00:05:05] And that's obviously natural when you're little, but when you get to an adult, that awe and that wonder kind of gets further and further apart. As we get used to the world, we get jaded by the world. and we just get used to seeing, we don't see as much new stuff. So for me, when I've, when I've done these adventures, whenever I've intertwined something that helped like bring out that childhood joy again, it really made a big difference in the adventure.

[00:05:33] So over time I was like, hang on. When I was looking at what really made people. Bring, bring people alive and made a massive difference on these experiences is when they feel like a child again, when they feel like that awe, and that wonder. So I've tried to interweave some of that stuff into every adventure.

[00:05:50] Whether it's just something really simple on a walk, if we, even if we're just walking out on the downs or,just going for doing a simple thing, trying to inject one little thing that would like, have a bit of nostalgia or a bit of reminder that actually we can be a child again. A bit of playfulness, Cause one of the other things I found with, when I started an adventure company, I thought, this is what I wanna do on adventures. And I started looking at what's out there in the landscape of other adventure companies. there was, most of the people who were founders are like X S A S, survivalists.

[00:06:21] Like, there's a quite a highly experienced mountaineers and there's quite a mold, and I'm totally not that, I'm, I'm just like, wanna do silly stuff. I wanna ride a unicorn down a down a, a piece of snow. I wanna go on the world's longest sledge run. I don't, it's not necessarily about doing stuff that is, elite level fitness. It's more doing stuff that just feels, that feels like a real genuine adventure. And that has taken you through journey I some into elevates.

[00:07:02] Nirish Shakya: and I can certainly relate to that cuz that walk you took us on the little hike in the morning, during the Happy Startup school summer camp last year. I thought it was just gonna be like a, just a standard, walk through the forest and I remember like we, we for like, I think it was like half an hour, an hour, 40 minutes.

[00:07:22] Kim Slade: I've got killer photo. You we, I've got killer Indiana Jones. Photo of you with the fire torch as

[00:07:27] Nirish Shakya: That's it. That's it. I've still got a photo on my LinkedIn actually. and I remember we got to that lake. And I was like, all right, I thought you, you're gonna just say, all right, we're here, let's go, let's head back. But then you had this really lovely ritual, by the lake where you basically, started, boiling some coffee and you asked her to just, go for a little stroll, around the forest and just picking up things,random things like leaves and twigs and just, smell them and feel them and just look at them.

[00:08:00] And that really kind of brought us to the present moment in terms of just being more observational about what's around us. And then we Exactly. It was very immersive. And then we came back to you and the coffee was ready, and, and I thought, again, we're just gonna drink some coffee and we we're gonna head back.

[00:08:19] But then you were like, you passed the coffee around and you said something like, before you drink it, just smell the coffee and think of the journey that those coffee beans have gone through to get to that cup that you're holding. And that made me realize, you know what, this coffee, these beans have come a long way.

[00:08:39] from, lands far away from us. And, and it's taken a lot of work from so many different people around the world for you to be able to sip that coffee.

[00:08:50] Kim Slade: Yeah. And that

[00:08:52] Nirish Shakya: and I thought that

[00:08:53] Kim Slade: been on an adventure, right? The coffee's been

[00:08:55] on an adventure. 

[00:08:58] Nirish Shakya: A lot of times we don't think about these things. We just take things for granted. It just then in front of us,

[00:09:04] Kim Slade: But kids do. Kids do, right? So, my son, he's four and he's at the age now where he is like, why is this, where is this, what is this? How has it been? Like, what is the, youthis is just new thing in, in, in the universe that's just appeared. The curiosity. And, and I enjoy to, saying these stories that like, he's, youmight be like, we've got a, we've got a, a plant over there, big plant, it's cheese plant, it's called Cheesy. And he's asking like, where has cheesy come from? And like, what, how does he grow? and all these things. And so it then it made me sort of think about, well, where is he come from? Where, how do we've got this, I can't remember what it's called in Latin Mons Montra artist or something like that.

[00:09:46] one of these cheese plants. And. And I said to him, wait, it probably originated in a, originally in a country far away and it might have had a trimming made from it, and then it might have gone into some sort of greenhouse. Cause we didn't, probably didn't get it. We probably got it from a garden saying, right.

[00:10:03] No. And then just, and he's, he's absolutely hung on this story of how this plant came to our house, right? And so it's that wonder of like, curiosity. And there's so much, we can never know everything as adults, but we kind of feel like we know everything or we just presume stuff. But when you start to think of those deeper levels, when you start to think about journeys and think about the adventures, then as you, as you experience it can, it can make you really appreciate something more.

[00:10:29] For one, it can make you more mindful and more immersed of into like the action that you're taking. And so, this word immersive and a mind mindfulness is kind of quite close. when you're really present in the moment. When you do a good job at immersing people into an experience, they're really present in that moment.

[00:10:50] Nirish Shakya: hmm.

[00:10:51] Kim Slade: even beyond Instagram photos of like, oh, I gotta capture this. It's moments

[00:10:57] Nirish Shakya: absolutely. And just imagining the journey of that cup of coffee really gave me that sense of awe. And it didn't have to be anything like grand, just thinking about coffee. I, I never thought thinking about coffee would give me that sense of awe . And that was really powerful actually. And what that did was, I think it primed me for the next thing you got us to do, which was just find a spot by the lake or anywhere in the forest and just look at nature around you.

[00:11:38] And I remember, I find found this really beautiful spot by the lake and I'm just like sitting there and this coffee thing was still going on my mind. And it kind of made me, think of my own origin story in terms of the journey that I've been through. From my childhood, and it made me remember, like, all my childhood moments with my parents and teachers in school.

[00:12:03] And then for some reason I was like looking at, all the trees and the water and the, and the plants around me. And it made me think of, like what I had gone through, through my, throughout my child in terms of, for example, the, the, the pressure of growing up, the pressure I was always having to, be, a good student and get, good marks and get, be, be like top of the class.

[00:12:24] And, and, and the shame of, of, of failure of not being able to do that, sometimes, and. How I actually took that into my adulthood and, and work and how even at work, even as a designer and even as a, as a, as a professional, has so much pressure that, given myself to always succeed and never fail.

[00:12:46] and how that caused a lot of anxiety. And I was like looking at these, trees and things around me that was just like so still and peaceful. And I was like, does a tree ever feel shame? Do they ever have the pressure of having to succeed? Right. They don't. They just, they just are, they just exist.

[00:13:06] And why do I feel so much pressure?

[00:13:09] Kim Slade: They don't have the stories.

[00:13:11] Nirish Shakya: Exactly. the, the made up stories

[00:13:13] Kim Slade: Exactly. Yeah. And

[00:13:15] Nirish Shakya: and that's when I,

[00:13:16] Kim Slade: bad, right?

[00:13:17] Nirish Shakya: yeah, absolutely. And that's when I kind of, I came back, we did a little debrief and I just, Ended up in tears thinking about that. And I remember like, you and everyone like, gave me this massive hug and it just felt like such a release.

[00:13:33] Just to be aware of those stories that I've had created for myself and just let them go.

[00:13:39] Kim Slade: That's amazing man. And it's beautiful. Yeah. Thanks for like, talking me through that. Cause obviously, on the day there was like, I know 35 people and everyone's got their own, everyone's having their own experience, their own story, led by these little activities. and so it's lovely to hear like actually what was going on for you in that moment.

[00:13:56] Cause I could tell it was a powerful moment for you. And, this is, this is the thing with adventures and experiences. It's like, We could have just gone on a walk, we could have just gone, ah, we're gonna see the lake and have some coffee and have a little chat amongst ourselves. Maybe sit for a few minutes and quiet just to sort of reflect.

[00:14:17] But when you, when you design an experience intentionally, that doesn't necessarily feel overly enforced. So I don't know. I was trying in those experiences, I don't try to, this is what we're doing. This is a schedule. It's like one of the pillars actually of like, adventure is a mystery. Like there's gotta be some sort of mystery and you dunno what's happening.

[00:14:37] You dunno where you're going. it's almost essential for, for, for a real adventure, you have to have that sense of mystery. and so when you designed the experience so that you are what I was actually doing there without, I was being, youBeing a good, good host or being manipulative , depends on which way you view it. I was trying to get that level of reflection for people because when you go into nature, when you immerse yourself fully, which I was doing with the Five Senses, so you know, I asked you to go find something, touch something, and really concentrate on the, the levels of what you could feel, the weight, the texture, the cracks, the everything you know, and then smell something.

[00:15:21] And then and then listen and like just closing your eyes and listening, really actively listening to where you are and basically building up the senses so all of your senses are fully tuned on to exactly that moment. And when you are connected to something bigger than yourself, like we all feel it.

[00:15:38] We see a big we go feels something, something. Nature's the ultimate thing bigger than ourselves, right? It's everything. So when we fully connect to that, it because you are look connecting to something that's way bigger than yourself, it's way easier to zoom out from your little situation in life or your stories, right?

[00:16:00] And so that because you are zooming out, it allows you to reflect much easier on the beautiful oil painting that is your life because you're not in the painting, you're standing back and looking at the painting. So you're able to reflect upon it and and and, and enable growth from there.

[00:16:20] Cause you're able to fully reflect and take time to stop. So when you are really connected to something bigger than yourself, it's just a recipe for, for clarity on, on your life really. And so that's what I was doing in that moment is to try to get everybody to just totally connect, And yeah. Have a, have a moment of, of clarity for themselves in, in whatever way that might be.

[00:16:43] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. And, and sometimes, or many times we, we forget that we are, we're not, we're not outside of nature. We are nature, we're part of it. Right. And it's like, if you're a fish, you probably don't realize that you're swimming in water because you're just always around you so close to it that it just, it just blends into the background.

[00:17:04] But it's only when you take the fish outta the water that realize how important water it is for its survival. and like you said, when you kind of take a step back and actually observe nature, that's when you realize, you know what you, you are, you are part of that. And it's, it's a very crucial part of you.

[00:17:22] Kim Slade: And I think that's like, when you see the landscape of your life, like when you see the. When you see the bigger picture, it's easier to make decisions of where to go from the next point, right? And all of my, all of the decisions I've made in life, all of the moments of like clarity or the things where I felt, okay, this is the right direction, where it's been, a joint decision between my constant, the constant heart and head battle where it's like, no, this is right, this way forward is right.

[00:17:52] That's always been during an adventure or, and normally that's somewhere in nature. It doesn't have to be sometimes plenty of adventures to cities and stuff. But, in those moments, the biggest moments of pivotal moments in my life have been on adventures and, and during travels or moments of awe.

[00:18:10] And so when, I realized this when I was, I was wild camping in the mountains, and I had like, didn't know what I was doing with my life type thing. And. very cliche, had the moment of clarity on top of a mountain. It was like, hang on, like this really makes sense actually. This is like, I wanna help other people do the same thing.

[00:18:29] And and that's when we, we start, started, when first come up the idea of starting this adventure company. And even then it was an adventure, but it was kind of like combined with a treasure hunt or some sort of, in this beautiful empty landscape of the southerns cross border of Italy. And it's like no one around, no ski ski resorts, just some ruined buildings and some wartime pillbox and stuff like that.

[00:18:51] How cool would it be to come on this adventure but to stumble across like a witch in one of these, in one of these ruins, like stirring up a cauldron and you have this amazing interaction with this person, and we're just having fun with that riffing on that idea. And I think the original idea was like ultimate treasure hunt or something like that, where, it's like a scavenger hunt, but it takes place over three days. a massive landscape in the mountains, like, and we're just having fun with those ideas. But really it was that, it was that realization that we just get so much more clarity when we're, when we're in nature.

[00:19:25] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. I'd love to, learn more about what is the thought process that you go through when you are designing these immersive experiences?

[00:19:33] Kim Slade: so there's a couple of like layers to it. One is, what I would like, we touched on before the, the childhood thing. If I can find out from people, something from their childhood. I can see in people that it kind of illuminates them a little bit, right? Like, oh, I remember this. And like, they bring a little smile to their face.

[00:19:53] It starts with a bit of inspiration from that. So the idea is we take a bit of inspiration from some childhood joy, and that can be the basis for, a, a mission, a some sort of achievement, some sort of like, destination or, or, or, or end goal. And that's what we frame the adventure around. But it, as the cliche goes, it's not actually about the destination, it's about the journey that gets there.

[00:20:14] But the journey can then be made more, have more touchpoints. Cause you've got this hook on. So, for example, a friend said,you always dreamed of that moment in the Goonies when they go down the natural, water slide, in the caves, and they finally pop out the end and, and reach the, and reach the, the pirate ship.

[00:20:31] And if you haven't seen the Goonies, then get on board, you gotta watch the Goonies.

[00:20:35] Nirish Shakya: I haven't, actually, I

[00:20:36] Kim Slade: Oh no. Okay. Right. You are one takeaway from this watch The Goonies absolute must.

[00:20:43] Nirish Shakya: first on my to-do list. Watch Goonies.

[00:20:45] Kim Slade: it's, so there's a moment where all the group of friends, it's like almost a finale. They go down this, it's a water shoot, but it's like in the caves.

[00:20:54] And it was one of the moments as a kid that everyone goes, oh, I'd love to do that. it's like watching the Fun house on, on TV as a kid. It's like, I wanna go in the fun house. so anyway, he, he, so we found that was the moment of inspiration. And he also wanted to do a trip with, some of his family members and old friends in a while.

[00:21:09] So we designed this, three day adventure, and we found the best natural water slides in the pur in, in all of Europe. And they're in the ese. And there's one in particular, it's very much like the moment in the Goonies where they go down the slide and then they'd pop out and fall in the water. So that was like, That was the moment that we wanted to get to.

[00:21:27] But the adventure, had lots of touchpoints. Like they got a little rusty, tobacco tin in the post where they opened it up and it had a handwritten sort of poem with clues where they were gonna go. And it was all, it was all very like the kind of movie type thing. and so, that was an incredible adventure and everybody said, having that, it made 'em just feel like a child again.

[00:21:46] And it just reignited relationships between the people who are in the group. And, it got some people feeling like, I don't, I don't know, I, I've never have done that if it wasn't for having someone shown the way or I never thought I could do something like that. So not only does it reignite that, level of awe, but it, it helps people to feel a sense of growth and feel like they're capable now.

[00:22:11] They're capable of more than what they thought they were capable of before the adventure. So, So that's the, that's the sort of method, the thought process on the child, on the sort of childlike joy. But actually the methodology for designing the trip is to, is to take into account all of the different variables that you have control of.

[00:22:33] So although we don't have control of like, The day and the sun moving through the sky, we can have a 11 of control about where we are during sunrise and sunset. So if you optimize the timing of the day to be in the perfect position for the most beautiful sunset for everybody on the trip, they kind of think, oh, we, man, how lucky we managed to catch this perfect sunset when actually you've thought about that before.

[00:22:56] And you've got to a position of like, this is gonna be the perfect moment for sunset. We're gonna have a drink on ice, we're gonna have all the, the, the, the certain music's gonna be playing all these elements. Again, the five senses. If you try to think about covering off the five senses of like, what can people be smelling, taste in, touching, hearing, and and seeing then that's, you are creating an immers. Into that moment and into that adventure. No, no Instagram, no this to do, no that to do. Just totally immersed in that moment. And all of those little parts have been thought about to add, to add something to immerse you into that, into that moment. So it's about, we think about the timing of day and where people are in that, in that moment.

[00:23:39] we think about those five senses of like, what can we tick off the list of the fives,

[00:23:46] Nirish Shakya: I love that. I love that. And the reason I love that is because, as, as experienced designers, we, we, we tend to also design a lot of these experiences, but a lot of them are very much limited to, digital experiences where you're much, pretty much just designing, a bunch of screens for people to kind of tap on or click on.

[00:24:03] and a lot of times we're not thinking about how do we make these experiences immersive, using what you said, for example, engaging all those different senses. A lot of times we're just only engaging the fingers, tapping on screen or the, the, the, the, the thoughts going on in the user's head and then getting them through that mostly transactional journeys and experiences.

[00:24:25] And now I'm kind of thinking, okay, how can we maybe, incorporate more of those senses into those experiences?

[00:24:32] Kim Slade: I've got, so one of the things I've did, one of the immersive experiences I've been a big part of is, is I think called we are red stars and. It's a very difficult thing to explain in a quick nutshell. And the elevator pitch is, stuck in an elevator pitch rather than going up two floors.

[00:24:50] Right. so essentially it was a huge creative project involved involving lots of different creatives and it based on a fictional story, not too far in the future, but very lots of parallels with what's happening today with technology and corporation and all that kinda stuff. And the way that this story manifested itself was in activations at, at music festivals, so Glass BoomTown, lots of different music festivals where we'd go to the music festivals in character, we'd create an immersive experience at the festival and then, throw an absolutely epic party afterwards where people from the experience kind of.

[00:25:27] Won their way into this secret party that we'd, we'd, play in in, in hidden venues at festivals. Really cool. Really fun. thing, it was all around immersion anyway, and there was a digital experience we needed to create for that as well. So, it was, we didn't want people to just go, like, go onto the festival website and be like, oh yeah, I'll sign up for this list.

[00:25:47] Looks cool. just another section cause that's just signing up for some sort of theatrical thing.

[00:25:52] Nirish Shakya: Just another transac.

[00:25:54] Kim Slade: Every touchpoint from the moment you heard about it to the moment you leave to be part of the experience. And so that bring in the digital world before when people are sort of signing up for their festival experience.

[00:26:07] did you know, as you do once you get a festival ticket, you look at what's on et cetera. And so instead of, just making it, we put a, we instead of just making it apart on the, an Eventbrite or something like that, we put separate link, which took us, which took people, you clicked on it and it took people to a blank website that was a blank screen. And now, people who are keen, immersive of experiences, oners, who followed people like,secret cinema and things like that, they'll, they'll see the, the, the inspiration we took from something I saw of the Star Wars Secret Cinema. We did it a little bit differently so people would arrived on the blank screen and it almost, and it was like just flicker in and ha ha and hacked almost like a hacked, interrupted screen.

[00:26:48] And then it was like, the old text, the code text green on black little, little sound effects of Yeah. Matrix style. Matrix as well. That was, yeah. Matrix and the thing, and it's like totally matrix, totally Star Wars secret cinema, asking them questions of like, are you alone? is anybody, can anybody else hear this, see this, da da da da.

[00:27:06] And it was like, it really felt like you were talking to a person, but it was just, it's just a chat bot type thing. And then once they, we established it, it was alone. I've created this video content, which basically felt like, like one of the characters from the story was kind of coming through the screen black screen.

[00:27:20] It was like this laser interference, which was actually made by like a, from my mobile phone footage and a, and a two pound laser from, from eBay, which is really, really satisfying and great fun. But essentially someone then came out the screen and gave you the message and then you had to take that message and you had to, and it was all just, it was just thinking from a point of like, anytime anyone interacts with anything we do, how can that be a part of the story?

[00:27:46] So the ase essential thing that I didn't mention there, where we were talking about the, how it was the methodology is one of them is storytelling. And so we've got, the first one was, Of like creating some, some sort of childhood joy, some sort of awe, some sort of moment of like really fun mission to achieve or some sort of, point where we're gonna find this.

[00:28:06] Awe. The second one is that emer immersion, like finding the five senses of like, what can we do to occupy everybody's consciousness to make them really mindful and immersed in this moment. And then the third one is the storytelling. How can we write this story so that the person becomes the hero of the story?

[00:28:24] They're the person on the journey. And there's this concept of, light figures where I think the, the classic one is the,the, the, the story of Scrooge Christmas. Carol Scrooge is the hero of the. Is like the main character and the, the ghosts of Christmas past, and they're the, the, the different various ghosts.

[00:28:44] They're the light figures who enable the, the, the hero to help enable them to help them through that journey and almost shape the journey for them. So if, if, as someone who's like a host or someone who's creating an experience, if you can be that light figure and just shape the journey so that the person who's on it can be the hero of their journey, then what you're doing is you're designing a curve to that journey.

[00:29:07] And I have a simple storytelling structure, which is once upon a time, suddenly luckily, happily ever after. And I use this in my video training, I use this in the experience design, and it's a simplified, story archetype

[00:29:21] Nirish Shakya: Could, you can, could you repeat that? So once upon a

[00:29:24] Kim Slade: So once upon a time, it's almost like most stories can fit into these four steps, right?

[00:29:28] There's a, so just a, as a context, if you haven't heard of them, there's things called story archetypes, many different archetypes that. Almost illustrate a curve of a journey of like emotional curve of where people are on that journey to that adventure or that story. And so what I call the fairytale framework is a simplified version of that. Of them sort of amalgamated into something that's quick to remember and quick to use. and that is once upon a time, so this is the introduction where, what's the context, what is the, what is the basis of the story that is the, suddenly, which is some sort of problem, some sort of challenge, some sort of question or some sort of difference that is created and made that then the hero has to figure out how to get through that.

[00:30:12] Then there's the luckily, which is how they actually do overcome the problems or how they find a solution or get outta the situation. And then there's the happily ever after, which is how does that make that person feel? How does it shape their future? What is the vision of the future that comes from that?

[00:30:28] Or can how, how, how does anybody involved with the story? How does it go on, what's the meaning behind it? How does it make them feel? how does that impact the. And you can kind of apply that four step to not only like creating writing stories, but telling stories, creating adventures or, or creating video content.

[00:30:46] like, so classic one for you, you were saying, you, you came on that morning, the context was for that little story was that you were, it was in the, in the dark of night, led by firelight of a sense of mystery as to where we were going. We walked out into the woods, to go watch your sunrise.

[00:31:03] And the suddenly was that instead of just sort of finding a spot and, know, having a chit chat between ourselves is that you were presented with some, small challenges to get yourself, immersed in this, in this thing. And you undertook those challenges. and then the luckily, which, debatable for you, but I think it was luckily overall, was it really stirred up this. This story for you, another story which has got, your, and that story. You're on your own part of this four part journey, and luckily you managed to find a little moment of clarity and actually release some emotion that you might have needed to release. Cause at the end of the day, if, if you didn't need it, you wouldn't have, you wouldn't have released it, right?

[00:31:39] If you didn't need to. So, and then as a happily ever after to that, the vision of the future is that, that change you said is you've never cried in that capacity before. So it allowed you to probably be a little bit more vulnerable. I don't know. You tell me what the happily ever after, happily ever after was from that situation.

[00:31:56] What did you gain? Like, how does it affect your future that.

[00:31:59] Nirish Shakya: I think for me, the happily ever after was just, having a, higher sense of,self confidence, I would say in terms of, I'm not here to,please other people and I'm enough the way I am. and just cause for example, I have not been able to, let's say match certain expectations of myself or, teachers, schools, parents, whatever.

[00:32:23] That does not make me any lesser of a human being. I, I'm already perfect the way I am. I think that's the, the realization that I had. And I think even, even now when I'm going to situations where I feel that sense of pressure of having to meet someone's expectation, I become more aware of it and I'll, youI tend to let it go rather than be,caught up, caught up in it.

[00:32:48] Kim Slade: Man, that makes me so happy to hear that it's had, that APO positive effect on you like that. yeah, it's brilliant. That's why, that's why I love doing these things. Cause there've been many examples of people who have come on an adventure, big or small, some have been massive, like tops of mountains.

[00:33:01] Some have been, massive emotionally, but not physically on a shorter walk, but, It's that journey that, that you went through that journey and you come out the other end with a different sense of yourself or an advanced sense of yourself in some way. and so that's the third part is that storytelling.

[00:33:21] If you can create a story for people. So there has to be like, you have to set up the scene really well with those interactive immersive parts, those touchpoints. That's the once on upon a time. If your once on upon a time is like, sign up for this, that's it, the same as then that's not really creating part of a story.

[00:33:38] It's not getting people hooked into the story. that once upon a time should be, should be a element of a hook. draw people in. What's exciting about this, what's mysterious? what's the, what's the context? And then, then there's always gotta be some sort of challenge in an adventure.

[00:33:51] There's gotta be some sort of physical or emotional or mental challenge that people have to overcome. Cause that's where. I probably don't need to explain to you, you or people who might be listening that challenges is where we grow. And so then when you overcome it and not every do you over, not only do you overcome it, you then get a chance to reflect on it as well in the happily ever after.

[00:34:11] How does it make you feel? Then you go through a complete journey and you have that story. You create a story arc for people. and that can be literally on a, that could be, on a tiny level or a big level. It's a completely scalable model.

[00:34:23] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. And, I think one thing that I've been, finding, in the last few weeks is like every time I speak with people, and, because I've been super busy with my work and I tell them, oh, it's been, crazy few weeks, it's, I've been so manic, juggling all these different, spinning all these different plates and they say, me too.

[00:34:39] I've also been like super busy spitting all this play's just such a, the sense of overwhelm every, since the beginning of the year. and so many people, so many people have come up, come up to me and said that same thing. so h how do you think is bringing in this sense of, adventure, and then nature help people like, like,

[00:35:03] Kim Slade: I think there's, there's two parts to that. one is like, what I see people doing and what I do myself is bouncing between those middle parts of story. Everything you do is, stories are everywhere. Everything you do is a story, right? And when you, one tip for anyone who's pr creating con video content is what people tend to do is go straight for the luckily, like, here's what you need to do.

[00:35:26] Like, here's my tip for. doing this thing right, and then you just go ahead and give some, give some friendly advice. That's great. But if you create a story from that, if you had the context, which includes a hook that is gonna stop people watching, if you get the suddenly, which includes the why is this important?

[00:35:44] What is the problem that you, you are addressing with this tip, this idea that you are about to, what's the problem you're trying to solve here? Then you tell them the luckily of like solving the problem, and then you go to the happily ever after of what, ok, what's the actionable things that you can do now?

[00:35:58] How can this help you in the future? That's a complete piece of content. It's complete story. It's much more helpful. It helps everybody understand. It helps everybody retain the information. It's the same like with these things in life. we're going from problems to solutions, which we get a problem, we're trying to fix it.

[00:36:12] We get a problem, we're trying to fix it. We get, rarely are we stopping to slow down before we get that problem. When we that problem arise, okay, what's the context? Slow down here, take a few minutes to plan this. Get a zoomed out point of view. Don't just fire the problem and go straight to solution. Slow.

[00:36:33] Take some time. What's the, what's the introduction? What's, what's the once upon of this story? Then, okay, we've got a problem. Here's what it's then, okay, you just figure out there's some solutions. If you've slowed down to figure out to, to zoom out, take some more time over looking at that problem in the context, then you're gonna have better solutions.

[00:36:53] and then if you get to the end of this little period of time where you've had to fix a problem or solve something or work for a client or whatever it is, and you reflect on it and you go, ok, what worked? What didn't work? What's my vision of the future? What's my happily ever after? How did this, how did this little period of like busyness go. And you take that time to stop at the end as well, then you almost complete that little story and you can, you can set it aside. But what we tend to do, I know this in my experience and what you are talking about, is we're just bouncing from problem to solution constantly. And there's no time to stop and chill out.

[00:37:29] And it just so happens that the best place and, and things to do during those those stop and reflection times is happens to, beit often is in nature. Everybody knows if you go for a walk and change your scenery and do these simple things, immerse yourself in nature a little bit, that you're gonna find a better solution.

[00:37:48] You're gonna, you're gonna reflect and then respond to the situation rather than react to the situation. So taking that little bit of time in nature is always worth, always worth it. So I think, just time to stop to complete the little story that you're in. And get some conclusion and solution that feels right.

[00:38:09] So you can draw a line under it and move to the next part, is a good idea. And, and also to do that in nature. And if you really wanna ramp it up, go on an adventure , of proper immers immersive adventure, and then you really get some powerful, reflection time.

[00:38:25] Nirish Shakya: I love that. So, you know how, like, I hear a lot of people,say, ah, I need a holiday, and I, I feel the same at the moment. but then, you go on a holiday, and somewhere beachy cocktails, sunshine, then you come back, then it's back to square one, back to the same old world. nothing's really changed in your life.

[00:38:43] You're back in that kind of, in a busy trap again until you go on your next holiday. it's a lot of time. You just pretty much like living for that holiday. what's happening there? What's, what's the issue in that particular.

[00:38:54] Kim Slade: well there is, there's this, there's, everybody know there's so much pressure on everybody. there's so many things to do, right? It's just so many things to do. I've got four year old and two year old. I'm doing a, doing too much. As we've, we've kind of mentioned, I've got, like, I teach video, I do video training, mobile video training.

[00:39:16] I do, I'm building this network of, of secret dens for people to go and get space in nature for, for founders and creatives. Go get space in nature and it's a little bit closer to home. I'm trying to gear up to doing these big adventures again, cause I haven't done 'em for a while. Covid. family, all that stuff.

[00:39:33] and, and I'm consulting for, for brands and, and agencies about,experience design. It's so many bits, Bob and being a parent, being a husband, so much stuff that it's really easy to just feel like you need to achieve, achieve, achieve. and we've, for whatever reason, we've, we've been shaped into this culture that doesn't view rest as pro, as productive as, as it is.

[00:39:57] And I'm totally guilty of that as well. 

[00:39:58] Um, so I heard this term expert generalist and it kind of released so much weight off my shoulders cuz it'd always been felt like it's a problem that I, I've got ADHD and I always try and think I've got all these different ideas, all these different things I wanna do.

[00:40:12] and actually I feel like I'm good enough at a lot of them to be able to do them. I'm terrible with lots of things like, don't get wrong, but this term expert gen generalist came up and it's like this ability to transfer principles across different disciplines and actually be able to creatively problem.

[00:40:30] In lots of different disciplines and I feel like I'm that type of person. But before hearing this term expert generalist, I just thought I'm just scatterbrained all over the place and I need to choose the one thing. I'm never gonna be successful. And I've tried to lean into the fact that actually I do do lots of stuff, but try to focus on the principles that connect them.

[00:40:48] So even though it's again, or a video or teaching people video or creating a, space in nature or taking people on adventures, actually this is the principle that connects people is what I'm trying to think about more and talk more about. Cause that allows me to do loads of stuff and have an excuse for it.

[00:41:06] So I think a lot of people like the business you were saying, a lot of people are like that. They wanna do all these different things and they feel like, oh, I'm doing too much, but you know, maybe you are capable of doing everything. If you slow down, allow yourself them gaps. and just accept that that's a bit of who you are and that's what makes it you.

[00:41:22] Awesome. And that's why I'm trying to tell myself so I don't get too down about having these multiple of, of projects that you might drop some balls sometimes. Um,

[00:41:31] So I think there's a, there's a lack of value on rest and reflection. It's always comes to the back of the list. We'll put it, we always put it to the back of the list, but if you can view it as one of those four parts of your story, whether it's a small story and like working for this client or this season of pressurized work, or this year or this thing, and you try to create the loop. Where you are actually getting more time to stop and you integrate that into the smaller stories. Cuz we are going, okay, well I'll do this whole year, that's my story, my time in annual and then I'll have my, my holiday or I'll do this quarter and then I have my holiday. the, we, we we're putting our, and although that's really good to think in long-term plans cause it means you can create bigger and better stuff. It doesn't help our wellbeing, it's, it's a, it needs to be, we need to, within our daily stories, we need to find those times to stop and reflect. Whether it's your journaling in the evening, a little walk the dog in the morning, meditate or your yoga or whatever it is you can find. And being a parent, I see all these. see all these sort of gurus and online saying, this is your morning routine. This is your thing, da da da. It's like, yeah, my morning routine is getting woken up, being used as a trampoline for a dolly on my head. And then like, might get a second. I reheat my, mug of coffee five times in the microwave.

[00:42:52] it's some pe it's not realistic. Sometimes there were these different things you do, but if you can just find a little bit of that, I think that this business is, is created by our culture and is created cause we don't value that, that stopping time and we don't value these, these bookends of every interaction of experience to really get context and then really reflect on what we've done.

[00:43:12] Nirish Shakya: Yeah, I love that cuz I can, I can totally relate to that cuz I was just looking at this list, once upon a time, the context, and then suddenly the problem and then luckily in how you overcame the problem and then happily ever after. Like, what's, what's your reflection from that and you and your learning and takeaway?

[00:43:29] and one thing that I've realized is that, most of the time I'm basically just jumping between number two and number three, problem. Solution, problem, solution. Just jumping between problems and solving them and then moving onto the next problem and so on. But never really, like I said, slowing down to understand the context first and also a bit of a reflection on, so you know, what can I take away from this?

[00:43:49] You're just too busy to then go onto the next problem and the next problem.

[00:43:51] Kim Slade: or how can I celebrate it? how can I celebrate what I've just done? We, we achieve, like we, we, we, we do one thing, we achieve something, and I think there's something to do with the minds of an entrepreneur or someone who's creative or there's a certain. Bracket of people that, and I know I'm, I'm guilty.

[00:44:11] I'm building the first un lost den, right? The first, this creative space. It's gonna be on a Hilltop. Beautiful. I've been visualizing it for ages. It's nearly done. But instead of like, instead of like getting excited by the end of that thing and the, the, the, the achievement, I'm already thinking to the next one.

[00:44:30] And I'm already feeling again that they're like, oh, I've got so much to do. Cause I'm already thinking of the next one. Rather than just going, finish this one, have a party, sit in it, have some beers, bring a few mates, record the first podcast episode with like 20 people in the room for a laugh, whatever.

[00:44:44] Celebrate the win, then go to the next one and go, okay, what's the context, And then go into a new story. and we overlap. We have so many stories that overlap. So we find ourselves not necessarily celebrating those wins and. Yeah, I mean, you need to take, I'm, I'm giving, this is a good exercise to give advice.

[00:45:02] I know. I need to hear

[00:45:05] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. And, I guess to help with that, you are, you've been building a, a den recently that you wanna use as a creative studio for people.

[00:45:12] Kim Slade: Yeah. So I had this experience, I had this, idea six or seven years ago trying to think of what business I wanted to create, what I wanted to kind of brand, what kind of thing I wanted to do. I had this idea of creating, these little creative spaces, workspaces, where people can go into nature and create whatever it is that they create, whether that's write a book, make a podcast, design a strategy for their purpose driven business.

[00:45:38] Like just go sit and read and get a break from, get one of these breaks. Go reflect. and 

[00:45:42] Nirish Shakya: you know what, they call it that the Bill Gates week, right? The Bill Gates. 

[00:45:45] Kim Slade: yeah. Think week 

[00:45:46] Nirish Shakya: like a week off and then reads like a book or something in the forest.

[00:45:50] Kim Slade: Yeah, so the idea is to create a cool space. I love building things. I've converted vans. I love designing like small spaces and that kinda thing. And, and so I decided to build this thing and then I didn't get a chance to for like five or six years. It's always been one of those one day things. And then, and then, this big shift to remote working happened and flexible working.

[00:46:11] And in amongst my research with speaking to founders and entrepreneurs about adventures and about what they need, what, what's really gonna make a difference in their lives. one of the things that came out from speaking a lot of, to a lot of founders is space and separation between work life and home.

[00:46:27] Home life, or separation between their normal day-to-day life and. And space to reflect and think exactly what we've been talking about. But where can they go to do that? They can go on a short walk. Yeah. Or they could go on a, an adventure for three days. But what's in between that and, what's like a a, what's the, the gap between either just going into nature for a short walk or going on an adventure, getting on a plane, going somewhere, going into mountains.

[00:46:54] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. Which both involve like planning and doing. Right. But what, what you're saying here is like the space where you don't have that need for doing.

[00:47:04] Kim Slade: well it is doing, but doing in a different way. It's doing like consciously because that's what you are choosing to do, rather than your reacting to having to do. So it's for working, the, the, the saying goes like, work on the business rather than in the business or, It's, it's about creating that separation we talked about.

[00:47:27] So essentially it's a small cabin with, in, in the countryside, beautiful views, little wood burning stove. You now, when I was talking about small widths, is actually a converted vintage horse box where it's just being converted into this little cabin with, epic views and little wood and comfy chairs, ergonomic workstation, all that

[00:47:45] Nirish Shakya: Yeah, I recently saw your Instagram reel on that little behind the scenes peak

[00:47:50] Kim Slade: Yeah. So it's,

[00:47:51] it's 

[00:47:51] Nirish Shakya: amazing by the.

[00:47:52] Kim Slade: it's gonna be, it's gonna be great. And I, and I really want people to see it as an opportunity to go do something and get something done. So, but do something that they're choosing to do that's considered and it's consciously, gonna co. Rather than just reacting to, right.

[00:48:08] It's not like, okay, go there, do bookkeeping. It's like, oh, go there and do, frame out the course that I've been thinking about doing for, for months, or go there and write a chapter of my book or write all the book, over time. Or go and write a song or go and record my podcast, go and record some video content.

[00:48:24] it's gonna have all that stuff set up there for you. So it's a creative space. And what better place to have a creative space than immersed in nature? So you've got a 60 degree views of nature. Your lunch break, you can take your freshly made coffee and just go straight out the door and walk through the fields and see the hills and through the, through the woods, and loop background and get those creative ideas.

[00:48:45] Cause what a lot of people do is they go, they. walks work, they go to the woods, they get all these creative ideas, da, and then they have to go back into the city. They go back all distractions back to the office and try and remember what it was that they, try and get back into that zone.

[00:48:59] Whereas here, you can go straight in there and you're still in that zone, but you have the amenities of a whiteboard of some post-it notes of a, all of these

[00:49:06] Nirish Shakya: that's where you are going from in, into the, the happily ever after the setting division, kind of reflecting, processing rather than, going back to checking emails and replying to client emails and things like that.

[00:49:17] Kim Slade: Exactly. And there's actually a consideration, and maybe this is one to ask you, maybe there's actually a consideration with the den. So the idea is that this, this is the first den basically. And then eventually there'll be a network, a whole network of dens where you have a membership. And actually today I feel like sitting by a river.

[00:49:33] I can feel that that's the place I need to be to do this type of work, or I need to go into the woods, or I need to go into countryside, whatever that setting may be. And so, you have this access to this secret network of, of dens and, and yeah, and I, and I, I, and again, the, the childhood joy thing there is the den, right?

[00:49:52] When I was a kid, I went out and made a den with friends, and only, only we knew about it. And it was like the secret little place we could go and we could just be like imaginative and creative and do what we want. whether that was like making silly stuff or, plotting our next practical jokes on people, whatever is we did as kids, we had this little space that was ours that no one really knew about.

[00:50:11] It was like an escape. And so that's where the word den came from, and also has the, the relationship to a wild place of a wild animal, sandwich. We are. So, yeah, so that's, that's the real, that's the i, the, the idea of the dens.

[00:50:24] Nirish Shakya: I mean, that sounds super cool. I can't wait to try out one of these dens of yours, and hopefully get more unlost. So the opposite of lost Well, you, you'd lose yourself to find yourself, I guess. so, and I think one of the things that you,talk about is around, different types of work, right?

[00:50:42] sometimes we gotta do deep, thinking work. Other times we might do more creative work. Other times we might do more kinda collaborative work with other people. how do these different kinds of work, affect like where we should be doing them?

[00:50:55] Kim Slade: well, I'm not, I'm, I'm not an expert in this field, although I'm, in the last few months I've been really, really actively seeking these answers and going from my own experiences and going from my. Experiences, just pe speaking to people and drawing everything we've talked about is certain types of work you wanna be in a certain situation.

[00:51:20] And everybody, there's that classic engineer. The conditions for success, there's certain things where if you put in place certain constraints, certain measures, it helps you to focus or be productive or, or helps you to relax and do nothing. There's certain elements of play and so, I've discovered, I think many other people is that there's certain types of work that you just, you need a different situation for.

[00:51:44] So this is why people would go on a walk or go, into a creative space or creative place to do some creative work. they might go sit with a team in a change of scenery. Change of scenery is always a first step, to do a creative work and to start thinking about ideas and that all, Science and, and, and knowledge and, and everything else proves that nature's a great place, space to do that. To go and walk, you're moving and you're getting out there and getting more creative. some people find times of day better to do certain work. Like in the morning you might do certain focus work where it's like, certain stuff that re requires your, your focus for a deep work session.

[00:52:24] Most people find that doing that in the morning is really helpful. But you can have different, different permanent personality types. Some people actually find that in, but I certainly find if I get up and get out house and get moving straight away, I can do a of work, don't first, and then it allows me to be more creative and stuff problem solve in the, in the evenings.

[00:52:44] And that's the more fun stuff for me as well. But in terms of spaces, like I'm, I'm a member of a co-working space. I work a lot from cafes. I have all these different spots and even different cafes. and the process that I've got to is a bit of a luxury, and I know this is a privilege, but I look at what I've gotta do that day and I say, right, like I think to, I try to be honest with myself.

[00:53:07] Where am I gonna be best doing that? Sometimes I wanna go to a cafe and have a nice like breakfast, but I go, no, do you know what, that's not the place to do it. Because with a cafe is, is a good hack to get a time constraint. You buy a coffee and you can't, you can only really sit there so for a certain amount of time.

[00:53:23] So you've got like a natural, you've got

[00:53:24] like a pressurized podo, Yeah, exactly. So it's like, right, I've got this coffee, I can probably make this last an hour. I go back and get a little bit of boiling hot water to top it up. Classic. But, but you know, I can sit here and I can do this work and I know that if I think that this work's, gonna take about an hour, if I really focus, I've gotta get it done before this coffee's gone.

[00:53:42] And then you've got this little creative constraint. You've, you're not getting any distractions from people bothering you. Cause no one, most of the time you dunno the people in the, in the coffee shop, but it's also busy. It's other people have got energy around you and they're, it, there's, there's speed, there's an element of speed, there's an element of like busyness and rushing going on.

[00:53:58] So it's like that kinda task I find better when there's more energy in the room. But actually, I'm. In my, in my little position. And that energy isn't distracting me. It's, it's pushing me on, lifting me up. and other places I might find that actually I need silence. I need my own space, my own room. I need a wall with post-it notes, with a whiteboard.

[00:54:18] I need to scribble, I need to make a mess. I need my own music on. I need to stand up, pace around. And if you don't have your own office, that's hard to achieve. And this is one of the things that, I'm building what I need as well. I need to go to a space where I have, my own wall and my own place, and I can have an inspirational view and I can create a warmth and a comfort where I can just be myself and, and brainstorm and do that kind of creative stuff.

[00:54:42] so that's the kind of space that I feel is, is helps with product of creativity. and so there's a number of different scenarios that I put myself in, depending on the type of. Work that I need to do. And I think that I've found that when speaking to other people, lots of people share those same experiences of, of different, and, but most people are tied to either they've paid their, they've paid their office fee, so they've gotta be in their office, gotta make the money's worth.

[00:55:09] But actually sometimes sitting there on your own can be a lonely place. You need some energy around you, and sometimes getting the distractions of coworking, you need your own office. So the dens is about giving people that opportunity to have their own space if they need, but not have to tie into like renting it all by themselves.

[00:55:26] Nirish Shakya: Love that. Love that. and how, how can people, book one of these dens from you?

[00:55:31] Kim Slade: So that is a good question because actually. By now my, my own timescale, my own expectation is I should have had landed page and everything built by now. But the reality is the physical build has taken so much of my energy and time that the customer side, the experience side, hasn't been crafted yet.

[00:55:49] However, I really do wanna start building up, a bunch of people who are interested so that when that experience side comes, when the membership side comes, they can be first to know about it. So if someone does, is interested in hearing about it, they can connect with me on LinkedIn, just Kim Slade, LinkedIn.

[00:56:03] and there's a few Kim Slades on LinkedIn. So maybe you'll put a link somewhere, and just drop me a note

[00:56:07] and say, I love the sound of the den. Put me in the list. or, or the same on Instagram. Unlost Co on Instagram is the, is where I've been sharing the updates of the build. So if anyone wants to see me suffering in a freezing cold barn, get my hands dirty for this dream to live for this dream, then yeah, follow on Instagram and lost Co.

[00:56:26] Nirish Shakya: Yeah, we'll put all those, links in the show notes, Kim. so people can just click on the app. Um, you know, like, um, my favorite placeto do like really deep work, focus work is

[00:56:37] Kim Slade: Mm-hmm.

[00:56:39] Nirish Shakya: on a moving train. That's where I get my best deep focus work done and is like, you know, why? Because, well, first of all, in a lot of trains are very sketchy internet, so I don't have that distraction of things popping up all the time.

[00:56:53] And also it's just that gentle rocking motion and also kind of make means that I don't have to like, make eye contact with people around me. I can just like be on my, on my, laptop. And even like half an hour on the train helps me get like, more work done than, for example, like two hour at, at my, at my work desk.

[00:57:10] So,

[00:57:10] Kim Slade: But also like, imagine you had the same situation, right? But instead of a train you had, instead of stuff moving people there on the journeys and like things got past the window. I don't know. You were sat in like. A booth or something, would it be, would you, for the same energy to, to move, like, to do stuff like, I've heard people like booking it, booking airplane flights, just so they can write the book or whatever.

[00:57:36] and so I, I guess what I'm interested in is like, that's really interesting, but I feel like there could be something in there, like what you said about the internet. One of the considerations for the den, which I haven't actually decided yet, which I'd love to get feedback on, is if I'm actually optimizing this for creativity and focus and productivity and that's mental clarity and space, should I just not have wifi at all?

[00:57:59] Because the plan was get starlink super fast, BroadB, et cetera, et cetera. but actually I've been considering lately, is this space better off with zero internet? 

[00:58:08] So actually the, the work that you do is the stuff that actually requires no distraction and requires just your creative space in your, your clarity and thought.

[00:58:17] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. Or maybe what another the idea could play around with is, turning into like a smart den, which lets you have different modes. So it could have like a, a deep focus mode that means that the internet gets caught, caught off. and then you can automatically play some like nice deep focus music. And then from that, you can change the mode into something else, like relaxation mode or reflection mode or something.

[00:58:36] So maybe like, this, this can probably make your dance a bit more versatile,

[00:58:40] Kim Slade: Yeah, I love that. And I, I, I actually had this idea of, the, the landing page, the first thing you see on the landing page, just being an on off switch. So you can just choose, right? You're straight in. The first thing you see is like, connect connectivity or something like, just rest of the world on or off. And if you switch it off, then it changes. Changes the landing page to this is what you're gonna use the den for. You're gonna go have no distractions, be created, da da or switched on. Because actually, like this, I wanna be able to record podcasts. I'd love to do it in physical, in, in, in person, in the, but as you experience, it's quite, quite tricky to get you the logistics of everyone in one place.

[00:59:21] So, we'll, for some things you might want the internet, right?

[00:59:23] Nirish Shakya: Mm yeah, absolutely. And I think that timeboxing factor seems to help as well. Like when you mentioned like, going to coffee shop for an hour, otherwise you get kicked out or, or even on a train, your turn, your train journeys are pretty much timeboxed as well. Right. And that kind of, that, that usually tends to for like force you to focus for that half an hour before I have to get off the train.

[00:59:43] If the train journey was like for the whole day, I probably wouldn't be able to focus as much

[00:59:47] Kim Slade: sure. It's a create, it's a constraint. And I think that that's, I think that's, it's, it's really interesting that. It's really helpful to use to be, creativity, to inspire nature and creativity. And nature is the ultimate, like, unconstrained thing, although that's debatable our modern nature, but you know what I'm saying, like expansive nature.

[01:00:08] It fuels the creativity. But then we have to also give ourselves some constraint to, to produce something, to create something. And I, and I'm just, I'm such a believer in our creative power as humans. I think that what separates us is the creativity, right? We are able to imagine something that isn't there and then make it come true over time and hard work and luck and whatever else comes into play.

[01:00:35] And I just find that incredible. And my one thing that is where everything I do that drives everything I do is. When I look back at all the things that I've done, the best things have been because I've had some sort of creative vision and then just been bloody relentless to making it come true. Whether that's the moment at sunrise when everyone reaches, when everyone reaches the top of the mountain and everyone's drinking coffee and in high spirits, or whether that's this converted horse box on the top of a hill.

[01:01:05] It's been really hard to get there, but it's this creative idea. So the constraint of the ideal, it, the, the expansion you get from nature is really like, fuels the creativity, but it's also important to create that constraint of, of your focus, of your vision. Whether that's in a time box in a, in a set of values or whatever it is to create a constraint and that's what can like, make you really produce amazing stuff.

[01:01:32] Nirish Shakya: Yeah. And the whole, and, and every creative process goes through that story, right, once upon a time, and then suddenly, and then luckily, and then happily ever after. And then maybe like different parts of that creative process needs different kinds of spaces for you to be able to, do that more intentionally rather than, move on to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing.

[01:01:51] Kim Slade: Of course, and eventually people will use, use the space to, fill, fill up the luckily part of that story and maybe the happily ever after and the context. But then, if they, the idea is that it's the same, really. I love doing adventures. I've got some grand plans for like, the most epic adventures ever, but that requires a group of people who are kind of prime to it and kind of ready for it and wanna take that next step.

[01:02:15] So, for me the dens is part, I made the dens a part of un lost. Cause Un lost is the adventures and the whole experiences thing. and it feels like it's part of one goal. It's just another, it's a thing. Dens is part of the same goal as taking people on adventures, which is to help people. Find more clarity, find more creativity and more belief in themselves through being in nature and.

[01:02:41] Nirish Shakya: mm. Yeah. So, if you're listening to this and you are seeking that sense of adventure and the, the subsequent clarity and self-awareness that comes from it, to get in touch with Kim on LinkedIn and, and Instagram, he'll definitely sort you out there. So Kim, I'm just gonna do a quick recap of all my insights that I got from you in the past hour.

[01:03:02] and I think one thing that I loved how you started off the conversation was around how, you're creating all these adventures which has this sense of mystery. you dunno where you're going. A lot of times life is pretty much that adventure cuz we don't know where we're going. and but you, we just gotta embrace it.

[01:03:14] and also connecting a lot of these, adventures with, what gave you that childhood joy when you were a kid. Cause I think you still, we're still craving that as as adults. And if we can connect that and give us more of that childhood joy. , it gives us this opportunity to have this adventure that then feeds back into your work and your life.

[01:03:32] and again, how do we, create these stories for ourselves? and for, for our customers, and I, and I use this in terms of bringing in these five sensors and helping customers engage with these five sensors at pretty much every touchpoint that you're designing for them. It's not just about transactional.

[01:03:48] Like, here, here you go, sign up for, for this thing. But how do you, bring that context from the beginning, once upon a time, and then suddenly what's the problem? And then luckily, here's the solution, and then happily ever after, what's the future vision or the reflection that you can take away from that and not, skipping these different STA steps because you're just too busy to.

[01:04:07] I loved your notion of separating, having this space that separates, work from home or different types of tasks to, and think about how, what kind of environments you can intentionally design for yourself during a day that allows you to jump between these different kinds of work, whether it's focus work or collaboration work or creative work.

[01:04:25] being able to, for example, go into a coffee shop to timebox itself or maybe jump on a train for, for half an 

[01:04:29] hour, 

[01:04:30] Kim Slade: it's the same, it's the same experience. It's the same design principle, right? You're still, you are designing your own space. You're des, you're engineering the conditions for success. I love that. It's a bit of a chunky, but it kind of works, right? It works for me if I'm a certain mode, certain type of music.

[01:04:47] certain type of thing, whether it's water or coffee or sweets or something that accompanies it, the space you're in, it, it's this, all the senses immersed into that moment's gonna help you do the right type of work for that. For what? For that space and that moment. And it's just, it again, it's, it's my, it's, it's the close link between mindfulness and, and immersion.

[01:05:06] Immerse yourself to be totally mindful in that present, in that moment and whatever comes outta it, as long as you've created that space, is gonna be the right thing. Cause you've given yourself the best chance.

[01:05:18] Nirish Shakya: Love it. So speaking of spaces, imagine that you were stranded in a remote, island somewhere.

[01:05:25] Kim Slade: That's actually one of the adventure plans, by the way. So I can imagine that pretty easily. Yeah, this is, that's one of the, that's the one of the big ones that I'll do one day.

[01:05:33] Nirish Shakya: Cool. So imagine you're the only person stranded there. and imagine all your essential needs are met, like food, water, shelter. What's the one thing that you would bring to that island with you?

[01:05:51] Kim Slade: Is it allowed to be my kids, my family? Is that, Is that,

[01:05:55] allowed? 

[01:05:56] Nirish Shakya: they, if they're gonna help you out. Yeah.

[01:05:58] Kim Slade: yeah. I mean, 

[01:05:58] Nirish Shakya: You can bring anything?

[01:06:00] Kim Slade: well, I'll give you two answers. One, if, if, if it's just like for a short period of time, what if it's forever, then it's my family and we'll just live like Roberts, Robertson, cruso. Youthat, that's, that's, that's another one of the dreams anyway. Yeah. Just build a big treehouse and live on Desert Island.

[01:06:14] but if it was, for, rather than give an easy answer if it was just me for a amount of time, so everything's met, all the need, main needs are met. It's just

[01:06:22] Nirish Shakya: All essential needs are met.

[01:06:23] Kim Slade: okay. Oh, I think it would have to. I think it would have to be a pen. Pen and a notebook.

[01:06:37] Nirish Shakya: Those are two things.

[01:06:38] Kim Slade: Ah, damn.

[01:06:40] Nirish Shakya: we'll, we'll give it to you. We'll 

[01:06:40] Kim Slade: Alright. Guitar. A guitar. I'd bring my guitar, I'd bring my guitar. Oh, it looks like sort of your guitar starts where my guitar ends

[01:06:50] Nirish Shakya: I know some kinda like time warp happening there.

[01:06:53] Kim Slade: Yeah. So I think bringing my guitar, and I've actually been stranded on a desert island before. I've actually been stranded on quite a few desert islands before. Intentionally. It's one of the, adventures that I like to do. And it's, I thought this might be a nice little story just because you, one of the questions you asked me was like, what was one resource that you thinks really helpful?

[01:07:14] I dunno if you're intending to still ask that or not, but,

[01:07:16] Nirish Shakya: Let's do it. So what's that one resource that's been the most helpful for you?

[01:07:20] Kim Slade: well, I think maps, I love map. And that can be, Google Maps spend a lot of time there. os maps, maps that, so different information, like I was saying, when you're timing a plan of plan, when you are, when you are planning, like timing of any sort of adventure or being in nature or timing or situation, you wanna know, even if you haven't been there, you wanna know what's around you.

[01:07:42] What are the features? Which direction is the view? Where's the sun gonna set? Is the sun gonna set in the middle of the valley? you like when I'm designing, like, ok, where we gonna watch Sunset or Sunrise? It takes in account all of the features on the map, where it is the distance from where we're gonna be camped, the angle of the sun, all of that stuff to know that you are creating this, the best space for this experience, but as a resource for like, for fueling like inspiration and ad and adventure and dreams.

[01:08:08] And I, I just love maps and actually one of the most, probably the best adventure I've ever been on was I was sat at my. Desk in an agency. I was working as a social media consultant, big agency, global brands and all this stuff. And actually what I was doing was spending a lot of time looking at Google Maps, trying to escape this situation. And I found a, an island that was in between, like off the coast of the Philippines cross between Philippines and China, south China Sea. And there's a little group of islands. And the reason why I was drawn to it is because Google Maps didn't, hadn't, didn't have a name for it all it was was that, and it wasn't, the, it was such a low quality image.

[01:08:47] It was like blurry, blurry green, little white, blurry and then sea. And there's a few of these islands just in this patch, where Google Avenue bother to zoom in. There's just nothing there. It's not even got a name. So I'm like, right, put an X on that. That is where we're going. And we.

[01:09:04] We quit our jobs, me and my wife, we sold everything we had. and this was the second time we did this, by the way, Um, we sold everything we had and we made it our mission to get to that X on the map. And my wife's like, what's there? What is it? Dunno dunno, that's the point. we're just gonna go and find this mysterious island.

[01:09:21] And it took us weeks to get there and we had the most wonderful adventure getting there. Met the most amazing people, had the most amazing experience, totally off the, off the tourist trail. And it was just to find this ex on this map we had one day we had to wait for like three days on a beach for some boat to be fixed.

[01:09:36] It was like crazy. we finally got to this island and it was literally the most beautiful desert island you can imagine. Like pristine, almost pink, soft sand, like, mantel rays and the most beautiful untouched corals off the, off the coast. It's just incredible. but yeah, maps is like, use that map a little.

[01:09:51] A great tool for anyone who's like, okay, how can I do a little adventure? This all sounds great, Kim, but I'm not gonna quit my job. How can I do a little adventure? Is get yourself an os map of your local area of an audience survey map. and just, just, or you can even go online and look at it and look for a feature.

[01:10:07] Look for something that you've never seen before. Some sort of ruin, some sort of thing, some sort of like, viewpoint, whatever that you've never been before. And put your ex on the map like a treasure hunt and just go there and just, follow the map. Don't necessarily,I wouldn't advise using Google Maps on the way.

[01:10:22] So you just all like that on your phone. Get a paper map, real map. It's much more fun. and go just on a little adventure there. And not only do that, but think about your 5 cents. Bring a cup of coffee, bring a snack. think about. I actually have like a little mini wood burning stove, like a tiny one so I can make my coffee.

[01:10:38] So I get the smell of the wood and the smoke and it's just, it heightens the whole experience. And do it at a time of day when there's gonna be a nice light or nice ambiance in the air. take these, take these steps to turn a tiny little walk. It's a beautiful experience and use, use a map as a starting point.

[01:10:56] Nirish Shakya: I absolutely love that. I absolutely love that. Kim, thank you so much for summarizing that for us. And, yep. You know what, I'm gonna be doing next weekend. I've got my plan sorted now. 

[01:11:06] Kim Slade: Awesome mate. Thanks for having me. Been brilliant to catch up and it's great to talk about these things and, and thanks for sharing your side of the story of, of, of the small adventure that, you know, big but small adventure that you took with me. And hopefully we'll be able to do a man. I've never been to Nepal.

[01:11:23] Nirish Shakya: You haven't? Well, if you love adventures, that's the place to be.

[01:11:26] Kim Slade: exactly. So we've gotta hook.

[01:11:29] Nirish Shakya: Well, maybe you can plan a, an un lost adventure there sometime. I can definitely kind show you around, especially places where, you know, one of some of my favorite places where I actually, propose to my wife on top of a for mountain near the Apin Arranges.

[01:11:43] like 10 year, not more than 10 years ago now. Um, yeah, happy to show you round. if we managed to plan an adventure there.

[01:11:49] Kim Slade: I'd love to, mate.

[01:11:50] Thank you so much for listening in. If you have any suggestions or topics or people that you'd like to have on the show, please email me at I respond to every email. And see if you can share this podcast with one friend who wants to increase their self-awareness, creative confidence and meaning. See you next time.