It’s that time of year again: time for the Automattic Grand Meetup. As a distributed company, with more than 450 employees in 45 countries, we all work from our home offices, coworking spaces, cafes, airports, airplanes, trains, RVs, and family and friends’ homes for 51 weeks of the year. But in this one week in the fall, we all converge in one place to learn and teach together, build new tools, and compress 51 weeks worth of Friday happy hours into 7 days.
This year our GM is in Whistler, British Columbia, and I’m so excited about it, I woke at 3:15, a full hour before my cab was scheduled to pick me up and take me to the airport. My cab driver, after asking where I was headed, said “Oh, Vancouver! I’ve never been there. I hope you’re getting to go for pleasure and you don’t have to go for work.”
I smiled and said, “I’m going for work, but it’s ok because I love my job.”
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about traveling for work, and how it’s exhausting, and at the end of each day they can’t wait to sneak off and get away from their coworkers, and that few people on their business travel like each other or want to hang out together.
That’s definitely not my experience. One of my coworkers describes Automattic business travel as like going to summer camp. That’s the most apt description I’ve heard of what it feels like. My husband and I were talking about taking time off from work to recharge, and he mentioned that I haven’t really taken much — not as much as I could with our open vacation policy, anyway.
“Yeah,” I said, “I haven’t taken a lot of actual vacation, but going on work trips is like vacation for me. They are long days of working and thinking and brainstorming, often from sunup into the deep night, but it feels more like hanging out with friends while also, oh yeah, we’re getting work done.”
One thing I won’t be doing much of on this trip, though, is photography. Despite my post about minimizing, my suitcase was too stuffed with swag for our support team happy hour to be able to fit my camera. I’ll do what I can from my phone, though :-).