Imagine retreating into a remote mountainous part of Australia, where phone signals lose their way amongst the trees and email isn’t a thing yet, because snail mail can’t even make it this far. Imagine a place wedged between trout streams and hills full of wild horses, where giant tipis rise for the occasion, and 120 smart folk converge for four days.
Imagine sitting under the stars, having dinner with a woman about to depart for an Everest summit attempt, or a man who overcame all odds to recover from alcoholism, quite literally digging himself out of a sewer to become published by Penguin and gain his PHD. Or perhaps over quail you’ll sit next to a millionaire, a humanitarian or a woman dedicated to teaching kids how to code.
Welcome to the DO Lectures, where the the phrase ‘so, what do you do?’ will almost certainly take you on conversational voyage without a map, amongst the magic of Payne’s Hut.
“The idea is a simple one. That people who Do things, can inspire the rest of us to go and Do things too. So each year, we invite a set of people to come and tell us what they Do.”
DO Australia 2015 has just come to an end, after another glorious long weekend of people, place and presence. Originating from Wales, the DO Lectures now spans the US, Australia, and perhaps the world’s greenest country is up next: Costa Rica is quietly preparing.
Once again, the lovely Happy Glamper’s were there, pitching a campground of luxury tents, with shiny Airstream Dreams in tow. Jenni at Market Lane brewed fresh coffee all day from beans she hand selected in Rwanda. Tremendous food appears around the clock from a complete commercial popup kitchen – the hum of constant conversation is interrupted only by the ding of a bell announcing the next talk or activity, native birds or the crackling of campfires.
The DO Lectures are as much about change and ideas, as they are about environment and experiential detail. The gates into Payne’s Hut are hand cut, strapped together with enormous counter sunk bolts. The garden feels like the Basque country in spring, with fresh vegetables and fruit quite literally falling off of vines. Smoke billows out of wood heaters welded from steel drums, and evenings arrive with alpenglow and finish with a star-filled chill in the air.
It’s as if the Australian co-founders Mel Jacobsen and Sam Bell have somehow managed to put a high country cattle station, red gum railway sleepers, wisdom, and woodsmoke into a blender, to create an experience with the precision of a German steam engine and the magic of a children’s book.
At its core, the DO Lectures focuses around 20 specially curated speakers who are given only one piece of direction: Give the talk of your life. It’s simple. But a little bit complex. And it works. Opening ceremonies, workshops, surprises and heart starters. Walks, art, tea, kangaroos and sourdough. Bells, tears, wind and laughter.
Be sure to keep an eye out for this years talks which are released freely (all DO talks are located on Vimeo) online in the coming weeks. But most importantly, start preparing your application for 2016!