I refrained from visiting this city for years. It was a personal thing. The reason being, I was saving it for a trip with a girlfriend. Well, I've been on the single train for some time now and who knows how long this train ride will be. I've had the opportunities. In fact, I've had multiple opportunities to stop in Paris while traveling through Europe and have been invited by friends to visit on several occasions. And every time, I declined. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, (I blame all of the TBS romcom's I grew up watching as a kid) I wanted to drink wine, eat bread and cheese under the Eiffel Tower, ride bikes along the Canal Saint Martin, and shop at the many boutiques I follow on Instagram all with that one person.
Well, something changed. I went to Paris #butstillsingle
So here's what happened. My colleagues (shoutout to Alli and Saskia!) found roundtrip tickets from San Francisco to Paris for $450USD- so cheap! Given our flexibility to work from any Google office around the world, Alli and Saskia pitched the idea to work remotely to the rest of the group. Word continued to spread and at the end of the day 20 people were interested in, what was eventually tagged as, "Paris Remote Week." 19 people ended up going to Paris. Nineteen. Now keep in mind, this was not a work sponsored trip. We all paid our own way to get there. We paid for our flight, our Airbnb's, etc. The food, of course, was free at Google. But if you take a step back, and think about what really went on here, it's unique. 19 co-workers, who already spend most of their day with each other, were willing to spend their own dime to travel, eat, sleep (or lack thereof), and be with each other for 240 straight hours. That's crazy. But it's not crazy for this group. This group is unique. We truly enjoy being with each other. We started as co-workers and acquaintances but have grown to become really good friends. And in some cases, family. And this trip brought us closer as a group. I always tell people that you learn so much about a person when you travel with them. You get to know how they tick, their routine in the morning and before bed, and their mannerisms in between. Not once, and I kid you not, was anyone upset, frustrated, or angry with anyone (well, maybe once #sandyandkyle). We built a bond in Paris. We really did. And I couldn't have asked for a better first trip to the city of love. From the croissants, the outdoor patio dining, the matching wallets, the late night dinners, and early morning parties. Merci beacoup amis!