We haven’t quite locked down our company motto yet but for the time being it amounts to Craftspersonship & Lifestyle. Or maybe it’s Live Well & Do Good Work. I don’t know. But whatever it is, we bring it to life in spades on our annual team trip where we get together and discuss how we can improve our work while we make the most of this adventure called life.
Once a year, we embark upon a company wide migration. We depart from our various winter locales and seek out the soul nourishing warmth of the tropics. And since our entire team is distributed, not just across North America, but also Denmark, Italy, Argentina, and even South Korea, we delight in the opportunity to meet face to face. This affords us an opportunity to gain each other’s trust by sharing stories and making fools out of ourselves. It also gives us the space to step out of our routines and take some time to dream together, of an even better life with an even tighter tribe.
This year we chose to spend a week in the Dominican Republic in a laid back touristy town called Las Terrenas. And it was perfect.
Hotel Albachiara is a modest hotel with island style internet speeds (once you add 22 tech nerds to the guest list!). However, it was perfect for our group size, is located directly across the street from the ocean and offered a convenient location to explore the town.
Las Terrenas itself is a quirky hub for French, Italian, Spanish and U.S. tourism where amidst the flow of mopeds, tourismo busses and scruffy stray dogs you can find gems such as the French Boulangerie or the classic Italian pizza restaurant. It seems that you can conflate any variation of French, Italian, Spanish and English words with the right amount of hand waving and everyone will understand you.
We spent many hours next door at El Lugar reveling in exquisite $8 filet mignon plates and $8 Mojitos. Though it is worth pointing out that when I say we spent many hours, I mean it often took them 2 hours to take our order and then another hour or more to make it and another hour to get us a check… good thing we were in such great company!
We attached ourselves to giant kites!
Somehow, I managed to convince Shane, Reid, David and Jens to join me in taking Kiteboard lessons! For me that’s a really big deal as it’s been a life long dream of mine. It’s also quite a commitment of time and not particularly cheap ($1500 for the 5 of us). But we did it, and it was truly an unforgettable experience.
We went for water hikes.
As a bonus, Kite World, the kite board company let us use their paddle boards for free so we returned from lessons each evening with paddle boards to share with the team. We had some really good times on those boards and even caught some waves (for better or worse).
We rode into the hills.
Daniel corralled some scooters and a motorcycle for a bunch of us and lead the gang into the jungle and to Playa Cosón, one of the D.R.’s most famous beaches. It was exhilarating. And it lent an entirely different perspective to the seemingly chaotic traffic around town. Apparently, once you’re on a bike, it all feels much more coordinated, somewhat akin to playing Mario Cart.
No amount of Presidentes could stop the runners in our crew. There’s really nothing like seeing our smiling project manager Carly run by on the beach with ease followed by a group of sweaty panting developers doing their best to keep up.
Every year we try to have at least one group activity. This year we challenged Shane to not get sea sick as we spent a few hours cruising around on a boat in Los Haitises National Park amidst mangrove forests and limestone caves. While I wouldn’t rate this as highly as our previous white water rafting or Napali Coast catamaran excursions, this was definitely a lovely way to spend a day with the team. Especially when we wrapped it up on a classic tropical island and wiled away an afternoon while sipping piña coladas out of pineapples and lounging on a white sand beach.
Shane always says this is a ‘lifestyle business’. We have built this business to support a life filled with adventure. We have built this business so we can make friends and spend a lot of time with them. And there is no time I feel more fulfilled with what we do, then when we go on this special annual excursion and spend some time together reflecting on where we’ve been and where we have yet to go.