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“You know, it rains ALL the time in Vancouver.”  

“It’s going to be so cloudy and gloomy.” 

“Don’t you want to go somewhere hot?” 

These were just a few of the opinions offered when I finally decided on Vancouver, British Columbia, as my Work Away destination of choice.  

When I initially interviewed with Media Profile, one of the most appealing perks was the “Work Away” benefit, equipping employees with $3000 to travel anywhere in the world to work. Before the offer even landed in my inbox, I was dreaming of the places I could go. My imagination took me to Italy, Costa Rica, Iceland and beyond, but amongst these global destinations, a slightly more local idea crept into my mind.  

Since my elementary school days, I’ve had a peculiar desire to uproot my entire Toronto-adjacent life and move to Vancouver. There’s no rhyme or reason to this particular vision. I’d never been to the west coast and most of what I knew of the city was from books. But I loved the idea of the ocean air and mountain views, old trees and cozy rainy days. So, with a childhood dream in mind, along with a childlike sense of adventure, I booked my ticket to YVR and secured my Yaletown Airbnb.  

Week One 

You know how the saying goes – if you’re afraid of heights, climb a mountain!  

I landed in Vancouver on Saturday, with a suitcase in hand and backpack in tow ready to take on the world. One of my close friends Elisa, who had made the jump from Vaughan to Van a couple years earlier, picked me up at the airport.  

“We have to visit the Sea-to-Sky Gondola,” she said, as we made our way to the Airbnb. “You’re okay with heights, right?”  

Truthfully, I have an intense fear of heights that I only discovered in 2018, atop the Empire State Building. Definitely not the best time to discover acrophobia.  

“I should be okay,” I answered.  

And… I was! The day after I arrived, we made our way to Squamish to hop on the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. I can’t tell you if it was the thrill of going on a new adventure or simply the gorgeous views but riding the gondola, crossing the suspension bridge at the top and hitting up look out points for the views didn’t faze me.  

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(Proof of me overcoming heights)

Week Two 

A couple of friends came to join me during my second week in Vancouver and they were ready for adventure. The day after their arrival, we headed to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a popular tourist destination.  

For some reason, all my friends decided my Work Away was a great time to test my fear of heights. I will say, walking the suspension bridge was not as terrifying as I anticipated. The views made it very worthwhile.  

We chose to use my second vacation day, the following Monday, to go on a road trip. We were on the fence between Seattle and Whistler, but after much deliberation, we decided to drive up to Whistler. To get to Whistler, you need to take the breathtaking Sea to Sky Highway. It was hands down the most picturesque drive of my life.  

Whistler is known worldwide for being a hot (or cold) spot for winter sports. My friends and I, dressed in our jeans and converse, wanted to join in the excitement. So, we decided to go Snow Tubing. Foolish? Maybe. Fun? Extremely! My suggestion here would be to ensure that you have the proper outerwear before heading to the mountains.  

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(Pictured here are Victoria and Natasha, my tubing companions)

During my second week, I also visited the Vancouver Aquarium, did some more bike riding and played a ton of Trivial Pursuit.  

And I had the opportunity to visit a ton of great restaurants. I highly recommend checking out JAM Café, the original Miku for their Aburi Oshi Sushi and Salmon n’ Bannock, Vancouver’s only Indigenous restaurant. 

Reflections from Home 

All in all, and despite the haters, Vancouver was an amazing choice for my first Work Away with Media Profile! Working until 2:00 p.m. PST was the perfect opportunity to get to know the city and beyond, with endless places to explore. Most days were mild, even in mid-March, with temperatures reaching 15 degrees. It only rained twice while I was there, which was a nice surprise in contrast to what I was told before I embarked on the trip.   

I can’t thank Media Profile enough for this amazing opportunity! Now, where to next year? 

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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.

Marissa Tiano

Senior Consultant 

#PassportToMP: An Emirati Escape
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