While hiking a hill with a windchill of 40 degrees, we’re walking under a three with a rattlesnake, eating termites and play around with a machete. The first day in the jungle, I figured out why I haven’t been to such a place before. But on the same day, laying in a hammock after showering in the wild river, digesting the local grown food I directly felt in love with the very special place in the Panamanian jungle where I would stay for the upcoming days.

I’ve been to a broad range of special places via/for TEDx, varying from Baghdad to the UN HQ and CERN. The location of TEDx: The Jungle, wasn’t just breathtaking. The limitations on the ground and the deeper thought behind the construction and surroundings, made this one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had the last couple of years.

Just like other TED(x) events, the attendees are always adding the most value to the event. Besides a lot of friends from the TEDx / Sandbox Network and Summit Series, an additional extraordinary variety of people, ranging from investors to developers and CEO’s to property developers joined this marvelous gathering.
Sitting around the firepit, talking about personal hurdles, participating in survival and sustainable farming workshops and just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the pure environment.

The village, Kalu Yala, is an initiative of Jimmy Stice, who setup the entire project together with a couple staff members and a bunch of interns, all with local and sustainable building materials. The TEDx just happened before the start of the construction of a huge jungle community, Jimmy is planning to grow up to 10.000 inhabitants. There website is beautifully showcasing the sketches of and thoughts behind the project.

After a couple days in the jungle, we celebrated NYE on the rooftop of Panama’s most famous club. After that, everybody went either home or to one of the tropical islands. I spend a couple days in paradise, called Bocas del Toro, before flying back to The Netherlands. Completely chilled out, ready for all the great challenges in 2014!

More on this summit:

Article on The Next Web

Report on CNN

This movie was made during the adventure and is perfectly showing in 2 minutes, why you should come next year 🙂

Kalu Yala – Exploring Lifestyle Innovation In The Heart of The Panamanian Jungle from Fundación Gunn Hill Panamá on Vimeo.