Where did I go for my Media Profile Work Away? The better question would be where didn’t I go.
With $3,000 worth of MP money and six-weeks of time in my pocket (two weeks of vacation + four weeks working), admittedly, I went a little overboard. But that’s what your first Work Away is for, right?
Here’s how my trip went down and what I learned along the way.
Seven Countries in Six Weeks
When planning my trip, I knew I wanted a few things: hiking, beaches and nightlife. When it came to execution, I got just that and more.
Munich, London and Barcelona certainly served up the nightlife. Innsbruck, Grindelwald and Interlaken gave a healthy dose of hiking. As for Hvar, Cefalù and Sitges, they boasted beautiful beaches.
Now, before you think I’m completely insane for taking on so much in one trip, I must inform you that not all of these destinations were on my initial itinerary.
Magic in Unsuspecting Places
Due to a very delayed flight, I wasn’t able to make the final ferry to Hvar and therefore had to book a last minute stay in Split. At first, I was pretty bummed because Hvar was one of the places I was looking forward to most. However, after about 10-minutes of wandering the streets of Split, I realized the change in plans was a blessing in disguise. The city is truly magical—constantly humming with laughter, music and dancing in the streets.
Like Split, London was also not on my original itinerary; however, after my university roommate offered to host me, it was a no brainer. This bustling city ended up being one of my favourite destinations of the trip, which I wasn’t expecting. The food reminded me of my Scottish roots—shoutout to the Sunday Roast tradition—and I loved the liveliness of the city, and the people within it. Ever been to a footie match? I highly recommend it for the antics of the crowd and cheers alone.
Finally, Spain. While Palermo had an authentic gritty charm that’s hard to describe and a wonderful beach reachable by bus, I quickly realized it was not the place I’d want to spend three weeks working alone. Knowing I had a friend landing in Barcelona for vacation, I opted to re-route and joined him for a weekend of fun followed by some sun in Sitges.
Work is Where Your Laptop is
I’m no stranger to travelling while working remotely. In fact, I’m a huge advocate. MP’s office culture is next to none and I love that we get to enjoy each other’s company whenever we want, while also having the freedom to work from anywhere.
The Work Away portion of my trip took place after 2.5 weeks of vacation, so when it came time to get down to business, I was already used to the time change, refreshed and ready to go.
Despite travelling for six weeks with just a carry-on backpack and a “personal item” backpack, I was able to squeeze in my keyboard and mouse to make comfortable workstations in the UK, Italy and Spain.
Tips from my Travels
As you’ve learned, my trip didn’t exactly go as planned, but I learned a lot along the way. I’ve always been one to try to turn a negative into a positive, and after this Work Away, I’ve certainly armed myself with learnings for future adventures.
Less is more when it comes to packing. Budget airlines like Ryanair are huge sticklers when it comes to the dimensions of your carry-on bag and personal item. Luckily for me, my friend who joined me on the first leg of the trip agreed to swap backpacks with me before she headed home because 1) my bag would not have gotten past Ryanair security in terms of size and 2) my back felt like it was breaking after two weeks of hauling the weight around.
Duct tape your phone to your body. Kidding…sort of. I had my phone stolen on day ONE of my trip. As you can imagine, this was a huge curveball. I highly recommend wearing a fanny pack over a purse at all times, in addition to storing your passwords somewhere other than your phone, because if you lose it, you’re screwed.
Orange Holiday Zen 15GB is a great EU phone plan. Getting around without data (or a phone in my case for a few days) is very tricky. For $20EU, you can text, call and use data throughout Europe. Combined with my new iPhone, thanks to a pitstop at the Zurich Apple store, I was ready to go.
Flying is cheaper than the train in some cases. I’d always heard people talk about hopping on and off trains to get around Europe so I figured that was the way to go. I quickly realized trains in Europe are actually quite expensive and flights are weirdly very cheap. Do your research before making transportation decisions.
Start your Work Away with vacation and end with work. I really liked feeling recharged to start work after my vacation. It was also nice that I had already adjusted to the time change in Europe. And when it came time to come home, I wasn’t dreading hundreds of emails in my inbox because I’d been working up until my departure.
Where to Next?
With all this in mind, I’ve already started brainstorming new remote work destinations. A few that have caught my eye so far: South America, Iceland, Ireland/Scotland, Norway/Sweden/Finland, among others….
While I may not know where I’m going yet, the excitement of planning is enough to get me through the cold Canadian winter that looms ahead.
Curious to learn more about MP’s adventures abroad? Stay tuned for future Our Take #PassportToMP blog posts where employees will share their work away experiences.