What’s it like to work in a corporate environment? What kind of work do you do?
Being an IT professional, work is about delivering / supporting new capabilities and innovation to digitize the company’s processes. Right now, I am the “Digital Manufacturing Release and Deployment Lead” in charge of ensuring successful software change implementations to our manufacturing systems all around the globe. Working purely with a global team, a regular day at work involves being in front of the computer basically the whole day (or night!) – emails, online meetings, etc. It may not look like much, but it is more than what it seems! Leading a global team requires a significant amount of discipline, extra effort, and a slightly different leadership style. It’s a test of influence – uniting people from diverse backgrounds and with different working styles towards a single goal. Tough, but highly rewarding.
Life in the “corporate world” doesn’t always give a positive vibe these days but I believe that with right opportunities and the right mindset, it is a great place to learn and experience growth.
How often do you get to travel for work? For leisure?
I travel for work around 3-4 times a year. Mostly for business meetings, but I also make it a point to invest time during those travels to simply get to know my colleagues on a more personal level—something that is always best done face to face.
My work travels are usually jampacked, so I reward myself by planning a day or two of personal time before heading home. I’d say I’ve gotten quite good with the art of layover travel. Why stick with waiting in an airport when you can extend and make it a day out in that city? With proper research, even just a few hours in a city can be a very fulfilling experience!
I also try do personal travel with friends and family at least twice a year, which is my time to recharge and draw new inspiration outside the daily grind.
What drives you to travel to so many places?
In my room, I have one of those world scratch maps that I use to document the places I have traveled to. Even though I feel like I’ve been to a good number of places, seeing it there on a map always makes me realize how I’ve only seen such a tiny part of the world so far. There is just so much to see – each place is unique and special in its own way.
For you, what’s the best thing about being able to travel?
Most of my travels are solo and I can truly say that solo travel has done wonders for me. Traveling does change perspectives and teaches things that cannot be learned from a book. During my solo escapades, there’s always a lot of moments of self-reflection. From that, I’ve grown to know myself more deeply and I’ve learned to trust myself more. I always feel like I return home a better person than when I left – and for me that’s the best thing.
What is your favorite travel destination?
New York. It’s probably not the cleanest, safest, nor friendliest place you’ll get to see but you certainly can’t deny its charm. I believe it is a place that has it all – great views, architecture, museums, culture, parks, food, you name it! I love how there’s so many different ‘vibes’ to experience within this city – like how the craziness of Times Square is only a few blocks walk away from the serenity of Central Park. No wonder so many songs are written about NYC! *cue Empire State of Mind*
What are your favorite things about traveling?
Of course there are the things we all love – seeing new places, immersing in new cultures, all the food, etc. Another thing that I love about travel is experiencing the kindness of strangers. I’ve had a fair share of unexpected situations during my travels, and every single time there were always helping hands. Makes you believe that no matter many negative things we hear in the news these days, goodness still abounds!
But as cheesy as it might sound, my favorite thing about travel is the memory you get to keep after. These memories stick with you, and reminiscing travel moments in my mind is always enough to make me smile. Traveling made me realize that experiences are worth more than things.
What’s your dream destination?
Tough question because there’s A LOT! I’d say Finland, staying in a glass igloo while admiring the beauty of the Aurora!
What does traveling mean for you?
Traveling has been one of my best teachers.
Any future plans?
This January 2018, I will be starting my first international assignment in the United States. It’s not easy leaving family and friends behind, but this is new life chapter that I am looking forward to. I’m excited to see and live through the different seasons – wish me luck with the harsh winters!
Karina lives in seasons of discovery, but she also keeps track of the memories so that she may continue building upon the things that she knows, the feelings she’s already explored. Whatever new experience she chances upon only lets her refocus on the good things that this world has to offer. It’s an amazing take on the act of living, to make sure she gets the most out of it as she moves forward.
And if asked? She would probably do everything all over again—only better, in a manner infinitely more rich, refined, and rewarding.
Follow her travels:
- Instagram: @karinavelasco