Recapping the Tortuga Company Retreat in Lisbon

Fred Perrotta
After arriving in Porto, I spent each morning people watching outside of the São Bento metro while enjoying an espresso and a pastel de nata. Europe is always relaxing, but I need time to adjust to the pace.

My first few days in Portugal were spent exploring Porto with Patrick. We admired the city’s rebrand and shared wine (at lunch, no less) with a Portuguese musician.

I adjusted to Portugal so well that I missed my train to Lisbon. After changing my ticket, I was on my way to Tortuga’s third company retreat.

We chose a more foreign destination after keeping our team, which is mostly based in North America, on the continent for our last retreat in Montreal.

For this retreat, we chose Lisbon for its accessibility, food, and relatively inexpensive prices. Our Airbnb, in Bairro Alto, was perfectly located. Across the street was a gorgeous view of the city. Below us was a cafe with 0.60€ espressos.

Why Have Company Retreats?

Each retreat has two days of work sessions where we share what we’re working on, learn new skills, and brainstorm for the future.

The work sessions are beneficial but aren’t the real reason that we have retreats. We have retreats to unite the team.

Retreats are more about spending time together than about working together. As corny as it sounds, retreats are for bonding. Reconnecting as people, not just coworkers, is important. We love Slack, but spending time in person is what really makes Tortuga a team.

On retreats, dinners are just as important as brainstorming sessions.

On Tortuga retreats, we schedule as many team meals and activities as work sessions. The Friday before the “working weekend” of the retreat, we shared lunch, went head to head at an escape room, and visited the Oceanário de Lisbon. Later in the week, we organized an impromptu dinner to listen to traditional Portuguese fado music.

When done right, these activities have incredibly high ROI for our team.

Meeting so close to the V3 launch, was an extra motivator for the team. Even as the co-founder of Tortuga, I feel reinvigorated by retreats and ready to conquer the world. Being together is also a reminder of how talented everyone is on the team. We’re always reminded to be on our A-game to keep up with everyone else.

What This Means For You

The product-related work from this retreat won’t be public until we release our next collection in 2017.

To see the results of our last year of work, check out the just-released Outbreaker Travel Backpack.

And if you’re interested in visiting Lisbon, bookmark our list of restaurants.