If you are already a reader of my blog, you can probably tell by now that I’m a big fan of The Nomad Escape! I’ve just found it to be a great network full of very fulfilling events, business education and a brilliantly fun and supportive community. After attending their business retreat in Madeira, I decided that I didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to attend their coliving week (what they “Build Week”) that was happening right after. I thought it would be a great opportunity to continue networking with some of the great people I’d met at the retreat, as well as keep building relationships within that community. Plus, I knew we’d probably get new people joining the Build Week who hadn’t been to the retreat.

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Can you believe this view from our apartment?! Photo Credit: Toks Coyle

What happened at Build Week

This Build Week was held in the stunning resort of Village Cabo Girao. It’s on some hills and we had the most beautiful views of the location, ocean, and sky – not bad to wake up to, eh? There are a lot of stairs though to get from our apartments to the reception and common areas, so watch out for that!

The first day of the Build Week was of course slightly different, in that it started part way through the day. We all arrived at the resort and checked in – my husband was with me on this trip and shared my room with me. Like with every Escape I’ve attended, we got a branded goody bag and the necessary notebook. We shared our 2-bedroom apartment with this lovely couple from Romania, Razvan and Cristina, whom I’d first met at the business retreat the week before. The other Build Week participants were in two other adjoining apartments, so we were all very close and could easily reach each other and hang out when needed. The apartments were wonderful, with their own living rooms, kitchens and balconies!

After check-in, we had our first meeting together in the lounge, where we all introduced ourselves to each other. Half the group from the previous week’s retreat decided to come to the Build Week, including a few who booked it last minute. I can see why, since it was promoted as a good opportunity to build on what we’ve learned at the retreat. And then we had a couple of newcomers arrive who hadn’t been at the retreat – Joe from the USA and Ricardo from mainland Portugal. In total, there were ten of us, plus the two The Nomad Escape hosts, Michelle and Desphina.

At one of the morning workouts. Photo Credit: The Nomad Escape

The Nomad Escape founder Michelle Maree then guided us through a Vivid Vision exercise, where we envisioned what our businesses would look like at a certain point in the future, and then wrote down these visions and our goals of how to get there. Then that evening, we had a special dinner together that was included in the cost of the programme (most meals weren’t except for breakfast).

Having previously attended The Nomad Escape Build Week in Bali earlier that year, I had a good idea of what the format of this programme in Madeira would be like. It’s different from the retreats, in that the programme isn’t so jam-packed. The Build Week schedule is much more flexible, but would every day start with a group exercise workout by Desphina and then breakfast. The first breakfast was in the resort’s kitchen, which was a great and yummy buffet. However, we soon found that the timing of this meal wasn’t suitable for everyone’s schedule, so Michelle quickly decided to buy some food for us to make breakfast in our apartment kitchens when we wanted – we really appreciated their flexibility in providing this! After breakfast, the whole group would get together in the resort lounge for a morning standup meeting. Here, Michelle would guide us through some exercises to think about what our specific goals are for the day.

One of our group meetings throughout the week. Photo Credit: The Nomad Escape

After the morning, there was a block of hours between 10am and 5pm when we’d get our heads down and work on our own thing, whether it was business development, client work, or both. Personally, as well as doing some work for my VA clients, I was working on building some semi-passive income streams into my business, which Michelle and other members of the group provided me with great resources for. We would each choose a suitable spot from within the resort, whether it was in a common area or our apartments, and work on our laptops. Some of us had 1-1 meetings as well to assist each other with complementary skills.

At the end of the focused work session each day, the whole group would meet up again in the lounge to reflect on our daily goals together and we talked about what we had managed to achieve. I highly appreciated the aspect of these twice daily meetings, as they really helped us to keep some accountability on what we were doing and also have the camaraderie of the other Build Week participants.

The evenings were mostly just free time. The theme of this Build Week was AI (all the rage now!), so on a couple of evenings, we had a one-hour masterclass on how we could use AI effectively in our businesses. By this point, I’d already been using AI regularly and had a good idea of it. However, I still came away learning some more useful tips and where I could apply them, especially with AI advancing all the time.

One of our excursions out of the resort. Photo Credit: The Nomad Escape

As for free time – we were free to spend the evenings as we wanted and decided between ourselves what activities we did. Since most dinners were not included in the price of this programme, we would often go out for meals together, taking taxis to travel to other areas of Madeira such as Funchal. The small downside of this location is that public transport isn’t as plentiful or frequent as it is in other places. However, if you can manage to find a few people to share a cab with or get the hotel’s shuttle bus if the times suit you, then it’s all good for a short time. Some excursions we ended up going on included some walks around the island, drinking some poncha (a traditional alcoholic drink from Madeira) and nights out at chilled bars. It was great to let our hair down and socialise while exploring Madeira, after being hard at work every day.

On the last night of Build Week, we got together in one of the apartments to have a nice Indian takeaway dinner and a cosy night in, playing a few indoor party games and having fun together. Then on checkout day, we had our final group meeting to recap and reflect on the whole week and all the things we’d achieved, before saying our goodbyes and departing to different parts of the world. We also set a date a month later to catch up on Zoom and see how we all did with our goals.

Some meditation during one of our sessions: Photo credit: The Nomad Escape

Would I recommend The Nomad Escape Build Week?

All in all, I enjoyed attending this Build Week coliving experience by The Nomad Escape, which is the second of their Build Weeks I’ve been to. It’s a great option if you don’t have the budget or need to attend their more intense Level Up Club Business Retreat, since the Build Week has a much less structured and more flexible programme. Bearing in mind that Build Week is not the cheapest coliving experience on the market, since we do get put up in luxury accommodation and get the daily accountability sessions and trainings as added bonuses. Not only that, but the networking is always excellent, as you meet plenty of brilliant people from around the globe who become your friends and/or business associates. So, all in all, I would totally recommend it, and you’ll probably see me at a future one!

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