This startup wants you to take a month-long sabbatical - Philly


Jan. 17, 2019 12:58 pm

This startup wants you to take a month-long sabbatical

Amble founder Ilyssa Kyu says her company takes creative professionals on burnout-ridding trips to some of the country's most beautiful places.

The first Amble retreat took a handful of creatives to Yosemite.

(Courtesy photo)

The premise behind Amble, a startup offering planned sabbaticals for creative types, sounds enticing even for the non-outdoors-y among us: Go off the grid for a month, contribute your skills to an impact-focused project and cast burnout away from your life by exploring some of the country’s most beautiful sights.

Launched in 2018 by UX consultant Ilyssa Kyu, Amble led a half dozen creatives last fall to Yosemite National Park for its pilot program. The majority of the four weeks was spent trekking and touring the sites, with about a third of the time spent working on branding and design projects for two nonprofits: the Yosemite Conservancy and the Mariposa Arts Council.

Partnership with local organizations, Kyu said, serves the double purpose of subsidizing part of the program’s cost, and allowing otherwise workaholic professionals a chance to take a break.

“Creative people need an excuse to give themselves that self-care, so it’s an interesting chance to get away and travel, which inherently offers inspiration, while applying your skills and doing meaningful work,” said the founder, a former P’unk Ave staffer.

The program has a next pilot trek scheduled for April. This time, the company will offer a group of professionals a chance to explore the Sierra Foothills in central California. There, interested creative professionals will work on a series of small creative projects for Mariposa, Calif.-based nonprofit Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

The cost of the month-long trip — which includes lodging, tours and programming — ranges between $1,400 and $1,600. Think of it as a subsidized Airbnb at around $50 a day, Kyu said.

(For most people, a month-long break away from work is just not a possibility. Those of you in need of a quick getaway can check out designer Lauren Hallden’s Philly Day Hiker. If you’re starting to feel the toll of burnout or stress, take a look at Generocity’s guide of accessible mental health resources.)

Kyu said the inaugural program left participants “feeling pretty refreshed and inspired” with more confidence in their own work and craft. This time around, the push for the incoming cohort is to leave all client work behind and truly unplug.

“People are not able to fully enjoy their surroundings if they still have to bring their work with them,” Kyu said. “The idea of a sabbatical is to take a creative break.”

Companies: Amble
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