A few days before I left Oahu, I was worried I wouldn’t have the appropriate layers for the mainland’s brisk forecast. When I moved to Honolulu, Hawai’i, I traded my puffy winter jacket and thermal underwear for board shorts and “slippahs.” But, as I dug through my closet, I found exactly one heavily-used, bright orange coat and a few long sleeve T’s and prayed they would be enough to insulate me from Colorado’s mid-November chill.
Three thousand miles away, a crew of 30 new faces awaited me in the Rocky Mountains; I was en route to Vividly's first company offsite. I was stoked. Not only was it my first mainland trip since moving to the middle of the Pacific, but it was the first time I would get to see my coworkers… in 3D.
In a previous life, I roamed North America as an independent, traveling journalist, writing stories from every corner of the continent. While working for a fully remote company wasn’t entirely new to me, doing so with a high level of collaboration was. Before I accepted the software engineering position with Vividly in late September, I was admittedly a bit concerned about the potential to be disconnected from my colleagues. But despite my newfound Hawaiian time zone offset, I had been working with my new coworkers for the previous six weeks seamlessly, a sentiment that was only amplified at the offsite.
Even though I had never met most of my colleagues outside the context of my 13 inch screen, I was pleasantly surprised at how well we clicked. And while a week of horseback riding, first class food, and skeet shooting sessions certainly contributed to the jovial atmosphere, it was a shared ethos - one of hustle and lofty goals - that brought us together. Many of Vividly's newest members - myself included - didn’t even know what trade promotion was just a few months prior. Yet, there were moments at this offsite when there was a collaborative energy I imagine early employees of Google felt when they realized the potential of their simple search bar. It speaks to the founders’ ability to create an energized team and one where the individual’s work-life balance is just as important as the intent to create a great product.
While some of my colleagues find meaning in the big lights of New York City, others enjoy seeking out an early morning Colorado trail run, or organizing a community garden in central Michigan. I am one to partake in a late afternoon surf session or a jungle forage for some lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit). Whatever the lifestyle, Vividly supports it. Unlike many early career software developers my age, I moved to my new home not for the job, but for the place. I relocated to Honolulu to be part of a community that values the bond between people, land, and ocean - and I’m lucky to have found it. Moreover, I’m blessed to be part of Vividly, a company that supports my adventurous spirit. While our forty-person (and growing) team might not be co-located, we are most certainly aligned in our innovative vision. And it is exactly that unifying force that allows myself and other employees at Vividly to seek out their own personal journeys, no matter their time zone, elevation, or lifestyle.
**Photo from the Offsite after horseback riding. I’m in the orange puffer