Never did I ever think I would be the tagalong to a ‘Boy’s Trip’. Going to a ‘Boy’s Night’ that lasts a few hours is already intense enough, and it’s very, very rare I dabble in one. But four days and three nights with The Boys? Save me. I’m already envisioning the booze, banter and badness. Sadly, there was no getting out of this one… I was going on my first ever Boy’s Trip, which was also (dun, dun dun) my first ever work trip!
We met at the office, piled into a black SUV and jetted off. Despite getting the dud seat in the back, amongst all our signs and suitcases, I managed to find a comfy spot between a box and a chair leg. I slept throughout the three-hour journey, sporadically waking up with the road bumps and realising that I was tragically missing out on enthralling #middleagedman conversations about golf, fishing, buying cars and whisky: four of my life’s greatest passions.
The boys and I were on our way to an industry trade fair, held in a major tourist hub of New Zealand. When a salty, sulphuric odour began filling the space around me, I knew that we had arrived at our destination: Rotorua (also affectionately known as Rotovegas). After our colleague and not-so-cautious driver gleefully announced, “We’re here!”, and the SUV essentially bush-bashed down a barely-there driveway, it dawned on me that was I going to be spending the next few days of my life with two company directors, one general manager, and one accomplished, long-serving employee. I was a graduate, one month into the job, and knew nothing about the industry I was now in.
In those four days, I was launched head-first into my new industry: sussing out competition and allies, meeting key players, and hearing John Key speak amongst other influencers. It was awesome. But what I found most interesting, was learning what a work trip involved outside of work.
It’s common knowledge that food brings people together. This is just what I needed to bridge the many distances between The Boys and I: 16 years to my nearest colleague, life stages such as marriage and kids, owning houses and businesses, OEs, army life, just to name a few. Asking to help with dinner always broke the ice, and making up a kick-ass salad got me some brownie points. Food feeds conversation, and as we dined family style, we chewed over not only our dinner, but the day, and not only work, but play. While a significant amount of exchanged dialogue was similar to what was overheard on the car ride (topics broadening to include boats, diving expeditions and buying property), childhood memories, favourite colours, pet peeves and horror stories were also revealed.
I learned that my recent time as a student did not prepare me for 3 day business benders, or give me the ability to comfortably mix alcohols throughout a night and survive it. I watched my colleagues in awe as they concluded work with beer, accompanied dinner with wine, and went well into the night with whisky. The next morning, they all appeared suited up at 7.25am, ready to start the new day (safe to say on our last morning, the boys were happy it was only a 4-hour day ending at lunch).
We were lucky enough to stay lakeside of Tarawera, in a beautifully renovated, rustic bach built in the 40s. Evenings that weren’t spent schmoozing were spent on walks around the wharf and neighbourhood, allowing sunset sighting, property spying and storytelling.
With wifi but no working TV, one evening we dabbled in a game of Monopoly (the circumstances meant no one could refuse, I tried). After the game surpassed 4 hours, 2 bankruptcies, 2 comebacks and no winner, we gave up and retired to bed. This whole lakeside-lodge-in-nature experience planted aspirational thoughts of “I could be less of a city girl and more of a lifestyle one” in my head, but having just revisited this thought, typing from my inner-city apartment, #citygirl now and forever! Wouldn’t mind weekend getaways though!
So turns out the Boy’s Trip wasn’t so bad. I expected it to be intimidating, overwhelming and awkward, but on the contrary, it was enlightening, welcoming and comfortable. I learned more about my new industry, my colleagues, my company and the culture. I also ate a lot of New Zealand seafood (yay catered events!), spent mornings eating breakfast watching a lakeside sunrise, and evenings with expensive wine and cheese next to a fire (I’m looking forward to pro life once I grow out of yo-pro). I stayed awake on the drive home and my boss narrated the journey, the whole ride feeling like a private travel tour as we cruised along in the Range Rover. Don’t tell the boys, but it was a bit of a holiday (outside the 9 hours of working hard of course!).
What have your work trip experiences been like? Have you ever had to travel with your big boss? Or, have you been along on a real ‘Boy’s Trip’ before?