My official start date as a Happiness Engineer with Automattic was August 25th. So, I’m just over a month into this new adventure. Like everything else in my life, I’m running a bit behind. So, as the saying goes, better late than never…

Week 1: I dabbled at my ‘job’ while working on exciting things like researching an office setup and ordering a new MacBook. I then decided to wait a few more weeks in hopes that Apple will announce their new MacBook. Ordering my new computer is still atop my to do list… There were a bunch of grown up things that needed my attention. Fun stuff like strategizing my retirement savings and insurance benefits. Towards the end of the week I received a lovely welcome package full of swag!

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Week 2: This week was spent at Disney World. Technically we did 8 days at Disney and this bled into my third official week. Disney never disappoints and we had a magical time. An added bonus to the trip was that I didn’t have to worry about work or my vacation time. Automattic, as a company, encourages employees to take the time they need, and there is not a formal vacation policy. Go ahead, read it again. There is not a formal vacation policy.

Week 3: Time for the Grand Meetup in Whistler, Canada. I arrived home from Disney World at 10pm and my flight for Whistler left at 6am. This left me about 6 hours to unpack, repack, and catch a few hours of sleep. As in 3 hours.

I was desperate for a cup of coffee by the time I arrived.

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This annual tradition is a week long and company-wide event, where we have the opportunities to be in person with each other. We were brought together from 52 different countries this year.

It was an amazing week that I am still digesting. I’ve never been shy about meeting or talking with folks, but even for me, it was insane and lovely all at once. Every single person that I work with is amazing and inspirational .Together, we are working to democratize the web and to make it a better place.

Whistler Village  was picturesque in every direction. The mountains, their valleys, and the glacier fed Fitzsimmons Creek were easily accessible from Whistler Village. I should have taken more pictures!

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During my stay I was able to take the chair lift to the summit of Whistler Mountain. There we found snow and just couldn’t resist leaving our mark…

We took the glass bottom car of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. This is the largest gondola in North America and connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. 1000+ feet below the gondola you can see Fitzsimmons Creek rushing through the valley. We even saw a black bear on our way back across to Whistler.

My favorite outdoor experience was the zip lining tour. The Eagle ZipTrek Tour consisted of 5 zip lines that crossed back and forth over Fitzsimmons Creek and the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb. We flew through the pines of the ancient forest and endured the freezing rain for 3 hours. Getting soaked was well worth the adventure and views.

An afternoon in the freezing rain was enough for my southern self, and I happily spent the next afternoon indoors painting. We recreated The real Wedgemount Lake at Garibaldi Provincial Park in Whistler.

 

I said it once, my coworkers are amazing, and they also throw a killer party including a custom drink menu and our very own house band!

And just as I arrived, I headed home running on empty with zero sleep. Whistler is 2 hours north of Vancouver, and my bus left at 01:30 for the airport. My only delay was the thirty minute wait from 03:30 – 04:00 in the Vancouver airport waiting for security and customs to open. After 16 anxious hours I made it home safely to my three little bears.

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