Bringing new meaning to remote working with a cross country road trip
- Posted on September 16, 2020
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
2020 has been a year with constant, overwhelming and inescapable hate and loss; somehow every week seems darker than the one before. In June, I went on a journey to find a bit of light – literally. I was looking for inspiration, some decent people, and a reason to want to stay in this country and keep fighting for change. I needed to take a step back so that I could come back at full force. I began meticulously researching, planning and booking what ended up being a 30-day round trip across the U.S. and set out five days later. My partner, brother and I packed our Jetta to the brim and set out west.
Different from our usual vacations, this one was set in nature and revolved around national parks. We left from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, took the Oregon Trail West through the South Dakota Badlands and visited Mount Rushmore, experienced the incredible Yellowstone National Park, headed through Wyoming's Grand Teton mountain range, explored Idaho's river lands and Shoshone Falls and saw the bluest blue waters of northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe. After being cooped up in my one-bedroom condo for months in lockdown and social distancing, sleeping outside and spending our days hiking and fishing was a very welcome change. Eventually we ended up in San Francisco then headed down the winding Californian coast all the way down to San Diego. Out of all our very long stints of driving, the ocean backdrop for this drive was the most beautiful and I will never forget the sunsets we witnessed in the sleepy beach towns along the way. From San Diego we started our very warm journey home through Southwest. We headed to Joshua tree, stayed in rural Arizona and stargazed from New Mexico, then made our way back home. I booked our lodging according to the environment and some of our highlight stays were a KOA campground in the Badlands, a straw bale home in Nevada and a pueblo style adobe home in New Mexico.
By now, I would consider myself a remote working expert, but remote takes on a new meaning when you abandon your home office (and monitors) and commit to logging in from wherever you are. With the support of my team I continued my work wherever and whenever I found a valid signal to connect my hot spot. Lucky for me, my brother, a second-year engineering student, made me a custom 3D printed lap desk, and both travel companions traded in tunes for silence as I conducted what seemed like hundreds of conference calls on the road. I presented on a quarterly business review from the middle of the Nevada dessert and walked a Yellowstone trail searching for signal to submit my time and expense report. It was a grand adventure, and it made me appreciate Avanade even more. Thanks to the ability to truly work remotely, I didn’t have to burn all my PTO or take a leave of absence to truly get away.
I had many preconceived notions about different parts of the U.S. and who and what I might find along the way. I am glad to say that I did find inspiration, there are good people in this country and I did learn a new appreciation for the place we all call home.