Three southern journeys – my trip to mark ten years as an employee

“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. 😉

My stops

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.

Photos

The Incan city of Machu Picchu

The Incan city of Machu Picchu

Belen (Peru), “Venice of the poor”

Belen (Peru), “Venice of the poor”

The blue ribbon of the Amazon

The blue ribbon of the Amazon

Playa Roja in Paracas National Park

Playa Roja in Paracas National Park

Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

A tough but spectacular camp trip under the Spitzkoppe (Namibia)

A tough but spectacular camp trip under the Spitzkoppe (Namibia)

We saw elephants in the wild - and zebras, giraffes, hippos, buffalos, wildebeest, impalas, springboks, rhinos, hyenas, flamingos, apes, penguins…

We saw elephants in the wild – and zebras, giraffes, hippos, buffalos, wildebeest, impalas, springboks, rhinos, hyenas, flamingos, apes, penguins…

 

… and lions

… and lions

Sunset at the second largest and oldest canyon in the word (Fishriver Canyon)

Sunset at the second largest and oldest canyon in the word (Fishriver Canyon)

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Further information

Torsten goes NYC – How we celebrate employee anniversaries
Agile organisation at //SEIBERT/MEDIA – from brainstorming to realization
Employer branding: Original activities for an even better working environment