Snippets from Our Travels (75 Countries and Counting!)

by Jobbatical March 22, 2016

Ten jobbaticlers on Team Jobbatical dish on their favorite travel memories, and what they love most about traveling.

by Loni Klara

No, this is not a stock photo. It’s us on our tropical jobbatical…

When I first joined Jobbatical back in January, I was struck by the international nature of the team. I discovered that our marketing chief Isabel also didn’t have a hometown and was a third culture kid like me (yay!). It was pretty evident from the start that our CEO Karoli didn’t just come up with an idea out of thin air, that the concept of Jobbatical came out of her own personal experiences traveling and working with different cultures throughout her career.

So it wasn’t surprising that a company that connects people with international career opportunities naturally attracts people who already relished international experiences and values, albeit in vastly different settings. Most team meetings would start out with asking each other where they were in the world because everyone was always moving around. We even attempted to mark our current locations on a map, but then we would have to update them so frequently that the idea was quickly abandoned.

Our team travel map. Yup, we need to go to Africa. And Greenland.

Oftentimes one of the greatest challenges in a team is to get everyone on the same page, but with a highly mobile team an even bigger challenge is to get everyone in the same physical space at the same time. For instance, our photoshoot in Malaysia features only 6 of our 12 team members, and was taken minutes before our CPO Ronald had to leave for the airport to catch a flight to Tallinn!

Altogether, we have lived in 24 countries, and have traveled to 75 countries. And though our working language is English, we speak an additional 5 native languages on the team, as well as 6 secondary ones (or tertiary, quaternary — wow, new word learned! — and so on…) including American Sign Language, bringing the total to 12.

This led me to ask ten of our team members (well nine, plus me talking to myself which was a bit weird) about their most memorable travel experiences and what they love most about seeing the world. Here is the result, and just be warned: there’s a lot of love for food.

Alina in Tanzania & Giulia in Malta — doing cool stuff as you can see!

Do you have a favorite travel memory?

Ronald: Australia. Work and travel for 14 months. It is a one-of-a-kind and beautiful place to live.

Alina: Can I do 3? Picking 1 is almost impossible! Galapagos, Ecuador was INCREDIBLE — so pristine. Chiang Mai, Thailand — volunteering at the elephant nature park with elephants and dogs. I loved it because I learned how awful it is to ride elephants. And the founder of the park, Lek, is an incredible human. But the most MOST favorite was an African safari in Tanzania. There is nothing like watching animals in their natural environment.

Isabel: When I was living in my favorite city in the world, Taipei, I was walking around on a grey drizzly Sunday and it suddenly started pouring. I ran into the nearest shelter, which was a big metal hangar under a highway overpass. As soon as I stepped inside, I was engulfed in a colorful explosion of sights and sounds. I had stumbled upon a flower market! I spent over an hour strolling through the market, in awe of the lush, fragrant world I had discovered. It was amazing.

Giulia: Malta. My first time living by myself abroad. I was working remotely for a digital agency in Italy. It was awesome because every random Tuesday felt like a holiday since everything was so different and new for me.

Maria: Madrid was where I first really realized (at 18) how much there is to discover in the world. I hadn’t travelled very much at that point (although I’d been to Madrid before, at 16), so my mind was quite easily blown. And blown it was, by the flavors of Spain, and the incomparable atmosphere. For me, the tapas bar is a symbol of the ultimate joie de vivre.

Ronald in Australia, Isabel in Taiwan

Karoli: The most impactful overseas experience was my exchange student year in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the US. Being alone for the first time on the other side of the planet, building my life there from scratch was a very powerful experience for a 17-year-old.

Rauno: It was hitchhiking through Europe to Portugal and back. I did nothing, really. That was the beauty of it. Met a lot of cool people, learned that you need very little to travel and have valuable experiences, actually… usually there is no money involved whatsoever in the best experiences.

Laura: In Portugal. I was traveling with my family. Best thing about Portugal was the amazing food especially abundance of seafood, good wine and the sunbathing and dipping into ocean was pretty cool as well.

Loni: Living in Finland as an au pair. Moving from a big city like New York to a small island in the Western coast of a country whose entire population was less than NYC’s was an incredible experience. I learned about nature from a 2-year-old, and met so many amazing people who welcomed me into their circle of close friends and family.

Kwun-Lok: San Francisco. I was meeting clients of the startup I co-founded. Met a lot of smart people there that inspired me a lot.

Loni in Paris, Laura in Lisbon

What’s your favorite thing about travel?

Kwun-Lok: Meeting local people.

Laura: Discovering food culture.

Alina: Love different cultures and FOOOOOOOOD!

Giulia: Trying all different foods.

Maria: Food and pretty buildings.

Ronald: Experiencing unique places.

Karoli and Kwun-Lok in SF

Karoli: Besides discovering the local grocery stores (which I love to do!), the encounter with local people. Just learning how similar we all are with those tiny local quirks that I can learn from and take with me to wherever my next destination could be.

Loni: I like to find out about the everyday lives of people in their respective homes. And to imagine what my life would have been like if I had been born in their circumstances. You learn to understand the world a little better that way.

Isabel: I love wandering around with my phone off, and getting on random busses to see where they take me. Every city has a different kind of magic, and you can’t really describe it; you have to experience it. And once you experience it you don’t forget it.

Rauno: Getting into situations I’d never get in a routine day-to-day life. Discovering totally new mindsets and getting to know reasons behind them. Learning about myself.

Hey, there! You’re more than welcome to join us on our travels, or go off on your own to some other fabulous destination. The choice is yours.

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