Denca software engineer explores North America

At Denca, we recognise the value of a good work/life balance.  We see the benefits this carries forward into our working environment. 

As our technical team grows, we were pleased to enable one of our graduate software engineers, to take a sabbatical. He took a 4-month trip across Canada and the United States. 

We caught up with Lewis to find out what he got up to and how he feels about returning to work after an extended absence.

1. Where have you been, what did you do?  

Our trip was amazing, we travelled right across Canada (from Toronto to Vancouver) and then straight down the West Coast (Seattle to San Diego), finally finishing off our trip in Las Vegas! It took us 4 months in all and we did it with nothing more than a backpack and a new bus ticket, every 3 days. The plan was to stop at the most notable cities/sites along the way. We wanted to experience as much as we could. We were a little limited though as we never hired a car. We had to follow the bus/train routes for our entire trip! 

There are so many memories that I will never forget. Some of the most notable were getting soaked underneath Niagara Falls, spending time in the Canadian Rockies and hiking up to several mountain summits. Visiting Yosemite Valley was incredible. We were so close to coming in contact with a black bear and her cub. We toured around Alcatraz Island at night and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Experiencing Las Vegas for the first time was great, though we lost loads of money in the process!

2. Why did you want to take a break? 

I wanted to take a break for a few reasons, the main reason was that my girlfriend wouldn’t stop nagging me about it!  In all honesty, I’ve been focused on my career my entire life so far. Travelling/backpacking was something that I knew would put me completely out of my comfort zone and that really scared me….which is why I wanted to do it! Obviously, throughout Covid a lot of plans and trips got cancelled for everyone. However, I had just graduated from university and thought that now would be the right time to take a break and commit to the trip! 

3. Do you think you achieved what you set out for? 

Yes, most definitely. We experienced so much and visited so many amazing places! On top of that, I also feel the challenges we faced taught me valuable lessons which I will take forward into later life. 

4. How did you feel about returning to work?  

Contrary to what most people might think, I was actually really looking forward to coming back to work. After the trip, I just wanted to get back to normality and back into a routine. 

5. Have there been any challenges returning to a routine/work? 

Don’t get me wrong, the early mornings hurt at first but besides that, I have relished the feeling of being back in the office and getting stuck into some new and exciting projects. 

6. Is this something you see doing more than once or is it a ‘got it out of my system kind of thing’? Or something else entirely? 

No, I have always thought of the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime type of deal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ruling out any big holidays in future, but I don’t think I would ever embark on a trip quite as extensive as this one again! That also makes the journey feel a lot more special to me as well. 

7. Do you recommend a leave of sabbatical to your peers?  

I would be apprehensive about recommending a trip like this to everyone because it really does consist of many ups and downs! The best times really do feel great however I didn’t quite anticipate how low you can feel when you are completely out of your comfort zone and the realization of how far you are away from home sets in. It really doesn’t feel like one giant holiday, it is more a case of so many different experiences, some that are great and some bad. If you think you could handle situations like that then I think you would love it, but I don’t think it is for everyone!

Additionally, you will also end up skint, like I am now! 

8. Have there been any negative outcomes from taking a leave? 

Other than having no money left and owing a debt to the bank of Mum and Dad, it really was an amazing experience and I’ve created memories that I will never forget! 

Thank you, Lewis, we appreciate you taking the time to tell us about the amazing trip you’ve had. We’re glad you’ve come back refreshed and we look forward to you developing your career with us at Denca.

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