“Because I’ve been employed here for ten years I got an extra four weeks’ holiday and 200,000 miles of air travel.”
When I tell people that this is how I got my three months off, I tend to get disbelieving stares - often followed by the question: “Do you guys have a job for me?”
From any other employer I would never have expected more than some flowers and a sweaty handshake from my boss - if anything at all. And even here, two or three years ago, that’s probably how it would have gone.
But then a group of colleagues from our AgileOrg team put their heads together to figure out a good way to reward long-standing employees. They came up with something astonishing: 20 additional vacation days so that the employee can plan a longer trip, together with a huge number of air-travel miles collected through our credit card transactions using a Miles&More account. Combining what I’d already saved up for a holiday and the overtime I’d amassed, I was able to go on holiday for a quarter of a year!
Now, I can say from experience that the joy that you get out of this kind of long-service recognition is far more lasting than money or “stuff”. My backpacker heart leaps with joy when I think back on the months I spent in South America and southern Africa - and the experiences I’ve had will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I wish I could tell you everything about the countless adventures from my travels, like:
- When we took a daring trip to Isla del Sol after an unexpected change in time zone made us miss our ship
- When we hiked for five days in Machu Picchu with amazing people from all around the world
- When we celebrated our guide’s birthday in a quirky, local Amazonian pub in the middle of nowhere
- When we showered in the misty spray of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
- When we spent the night at the Namibian granite peaks, enjoying a view of the Spitzkoppe in the moonlight
- When we were told stories by an African bonfire
- When we braved the blustery midday heat in the surreal fields of Deadvlei
- When we saw elephants, hippos, giraffes, crocodiles and many other animals roaming about in the wild
- And all the other unforgettable experiences and encounters we had…
I could stay busy all day long just writing blog posts! Instead, my travel route and a few pictures should do. Everyone knows that a good picture says much more than a wall of text. 😉
South America (Peru, Bolivia, Columbia)
Arequipa – Copacabana – Cuzco – Salkantay – Machu Picchu – Valle Sagrado – Cusco – Lima – Ica – Islas Ballestas & Paracas Reserve – Lima – Iquitos – Leticia – Bogota
Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa)
Victoria Falls – Chobe National Park – Okavango Delta – Kalahari – Windhoek – Etosha National Park – Damaraland – Spitzkoppe – Swakopmund – the Namibian Desert – Fish River Canyon – Cederberg – Cape Town
And just because my homeland Germany is so gorgeous, I spent some more time travelling to see my family in Upper Swabia, - the third 'south' of my trip.
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