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Why am I leaving Bali, for now?

Living in Bali.July 3, 2018
By Steve Munroe
As a Cofounder & CEO of Hubud, Steve is its prime schemer and evangelist for new ways of working, learning and living.

So, a lot of big things have happened for us this year. Hubud turned 5 (yay!) and we welcomed our 8,000th member. We organized Asia’s biggest coworking (un)conference for the 4th time and fell even more deeply in love with our industry. We dove meaningfully into the future of work by co-organizing the Running Remote conference this past weekend. Our digital-only membership, called Hubud Global, soft-launched last month and already has paying customers. And after 2+ years of letting it simmer, we are unleashing our biggest program ever – Launch30 – this September + November.

Through all of this, we were honored to win Asia’s Best Coworking Space at the ASEAN Rice Bowl Awards and, equally meaningful to me, just today a new member came up to me and told me how Hubud inspired her to leave her ‘safe job’ and start a business she really believes in. So yeah, it has truly been a tremendous year so far… and it’s only beginning of July!

That’s why the Hubud team was a bit shocked when I told them I was leaving Bali.

As in: 10,000-miles-away-leaving.

The Martyna-Munroes have decided to take a break from Bali. We are relocating to London; geographically and experientially, on the other side of the world. We each have our reasons for being excited about it. Renee has some great professional opportunities; our kids are excited about the independence that city-life will bring, and I recently acknowledged how much energy and inspiration I get from cities and the wider world. Even more importantly, Renee and I are feeling the pinch of time. Our kids are 12 and 14, and somehow, they still like spending time with us. We want to squeeze in another family ‘worldschooling’ adventure before they disown us in a fit of teenage angst. (Winter is coming!)

Invariably, the next question people ask me is “But, what are you going to do about Hubud?”

Here’s the “correct” answer, which, as it turns out, is 100% true. Hubud has an amazing, passionate and experienced team. They will do a great job of running Hubud day to day while I am away. We communicate on Slack and Asana anyway, have a weekly leadership meeting and have developed strong processes for most things along the way. I feel very confident that the team will step into a bigger role once I get out of the way and let them because I trust them. I am grateful to have their unwavering support for this next phase of growth.


Here’s the more truthful answer though: I am leaving *FOR* Hubud.

For some time now, I’ve felt stuck. From that place. I realized that there was something I just wasn’t seeing. Decisions were harder than what they used to be. I wasn’t bringing the same energy or clarity of purpose that defined so much of my time at Hubud. I had lost perspective.

I am not sure if this is what a burnout looks like. What I am certain about is that I am suffering from professional myopia: my focus has been locked on what’s right in front of me and has been struggling to re-calibrate so I can see the wider view.

They say you can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame. So I decided I need to take myself out of the frame entirely.

To kick off our time in London, I am committed to distracting myself from Hubud to avoid the urge to do the same thing just from a different place. I have agreed to a consultancy with a London-based company, exploring how people can ‘expand their box’ in the workplace, and may also hop into a teaching/facilitation role. I will still be directly involved in Hubud’s leadership team, overseeing key projects and major events, but just with a wider scope. I am aiming to occupy myself with a singular question:

what does the next 5 years look like for Hubud?

My hunch is that the first step on that journey will be to determine who we will call on to help us answer that question. We have an awesome community who have regularly offered to get involved in Hubud’s growth. Over the next several months I will be working on how best to open the door to people who want to co-create the future, together.

If I am honest, I was terrified to get on the plane, but I have slept like a baby since arriving in London, so it seems I made the right decision. Stay tuned.


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