“Please come down for American Thanksgiving,” my loving aunt coaxed me. I hadn’t seen my aunt and uncle from the States in nearly five years because of the pandemic and other factors. I missed them a lot and jumped at the opportunity to see them in their new home in Charlotte, North Carolina. I offered to do them one better than simply coming to visit for Thanksgiving weekend—I suggested using Media Profile’s Work Away Benefit to stay for the entire month of November 2022. My family was overjoyed.
I was excited to have the chance to not only spend time with my aunt, uncle and cousin, but also to explore the state I grew up road-tripping to when I was a child. My cousin Harley and I (who are more like sisters than cousins despite the distance) spent months leading up to my visit planning all the places we wanted to see and activities we wanted to do. We coordinated our work and vacation days, strategically maximizing our time together. Harley works at an urgent care center while waiting to hear back from PA schools, and she’s a big Grey’s Anatomy TikTok Influencer—she knows what it’s like to have a busy career!
On the days that I worked, I was lucky to have a spare bedroom to use as my office, which made it really easy to concentrate. The change in environment alone was refreshing and conducive to a great work experience. When our work days were done, my cousin and I would often hop in her car and go for a drive to do something fun like shopping, going to the movies, grabbing Crumbl Cookies and more.
When we weren’t on the move, you could find Harley coercing me into her TikTok videos. As someone used to working with Influencers from an agency perspective, it was interesting to experience the other side of things. My cousin puts so much heart, time and energy into her side hustle. Our most exciting day in Charlotte was when we secured Taylor Swift concert tickets for her Eras Tour. We fought through the Ticketmaster trenches and scored two floor seats to see one of her LA shows this summer. Securing these tickets aligned perfectly with a Taylor Swift dance party night we attended a few days later, but I’m most grateful that we already have another trip to plan together.
In addition to Charlotte, I had the opportunity to explore several other areas of North Carolina. We spent three days in Asheville—a gorgeous city in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We toured the Vanderbilt mansion while it was fully decorated for Christmas, an experience that included an unforgettable wine tasting and access to the Biltmore grounds. We visited the Folk Art Centre and admired its beautiful southern crafts and artwork. We joined a ghost tour of the town, and our cowboy tour guide told us the fascinating history of Asheville, incorporating ghost tales based on true stories and sightings in the city. Outside of these scheduled activities, we explored the town and all it had to offer, including wonderful food and drinks, culture and shopping.
On our drive back to Charlotte, we stopped at DuPont State Recreational Forest, where we took an unforgettable waterfall hike. It’s always nice to stop and really connect with the world around you.
Our other three-day mini trip included my aunt and uncle when we travelled down to the beach for American Thanksgiving, the initial reason for my visit. We stayed in Carolina Beach, which is a lovely town. The beach is my favourite place to be, and even though it wasn’t that warm, we still enjoyed walking on the sand and dipping our toes in the ocean. We had our Thanksgiving feast at Blockade Runner Beach Resort, where we fully indulged in various delicious foods.
We also kept active with a visit to the North Carolina Aquarium, games at the local arcade and bar hopping on the boardwalk. On our way back to Charlotte, we stopped in Wilmington, a charming port city that’s also a popular filming location (you may recognize it from One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek). We went on a horse-drawn tour of the town, enjoyed some tasty treats and did even more shopping.
When the time finally came to say goodbye, my aunt couldn’t hold back her tears. My family got so used to me living with them and working from their home after a month, they didn’t want me to leave! Though it was hard to say goodbye, I’m forever thankful to Media Profile for providing this generous Work Away Benefit. Nothing beats making memories with the people you love.
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..