We’re back with more unbelievable travel stories from Team HomeAway! Diana Nogueira, Social Media Advertising Specialist, is based in our Downtown Austin office, but last year it seems like she spent more time abroad than in the Lone Star State.
Not only did she take full advantage of her four weeks of paid time off, she was able to schedule her travels so that she could actually work in several of the HomeAway offices around the world. She’s sharing her favorite travel moments from 2017 with us.
Q&A with Diana
Highlights from my 2017 travels
Q: How many countries did you visit in 2017?
DN: I visited 14 countries. Although I did visit Spain twice; Barcelona in May, and Madrid in August.
Q: That’s more than one country a month! Which HomeAway offices were you able to check out?
DN: I visited our Singapore, Madrid, and Sydney offices.
Q: So out of all the offices you’ve been to, which one is your favorite?
DN: My favorite office is our Downtown Austin location where I work. My favorite international office is in Madrid. Full disclosure, the proximity to tasty food (Whole Foods in Austin and El Corte Ingles in Madrid) may have influenced my decision.
Q: It’s definitely understandable how food could be a factor. Do you have a favorite dish?
DN: I love eating healthy and finding local food markets wherever I am.
Q: What’s the culture like in the other offices?
DN: I’m Brazilian and everyone in Brazil is very open and inviting and I saw a lot of that in the Madrid office. When HomeAway people found out I was visiting, they stopped by my desk to greet me and invite me out for drinks. They were genuinely interested in getting to know me.
Q: Have you met any Team HomeAway friends during your travels?
DN: Yes! I have met with colleagues in our Singapore, Madrid, Sydney and Auckland offices. I was on vacation by the time I made it to Auckland, so I didn’t work in the office, but I still made time to grab coffee with my Kiwi counterpart. I spent the most time in the Madrid office. In five days I got to meet different teams, hang out with them for lunch, happy hour, dinner and also go sightseeing with them. Everyone there was so friendly and I can’t wait to go back!
Q: HomeAway is truly a global team! When you’re traveling solo where do you usually stay?
DN: I typically stay in hostels when I’m traveling alone because it’s super affordable and reserve a HomeAway when I’m traveling with a group. I’ve booked two HomeAways in the past, one in Playa del Carmen and another in South Padre Island when I planned a vacation with my friends.
Q: Is there one trip in 2017 that really stood out to you?
DN: It is hard to pick just one, but I must go with Chiang Mai, Thailand. I got to spend a full day at the Elephant Nature Park, a nature and rehabilitation center located in the center of Northern Thailand. These majestic creatures have suffered a great deal and hold visible marks of torture. We had four elephants in our group and we were in charge of feeding, bathing and playing in the mud with them for the day. The oldest elephant in our group was 80 years old while the youngest, little Nina, was just five. This was truly a remarkable experience that I will never forget. I definitely plan on going back and spending more time volunteering at the Park.
Q: Wow, that’s truly an unforgettable experience. What kind of traveler would you say you are? Adventurous, touristy, or all about relaxation?
DN: I would say a little bit of all of those. I grew up in a beach town, so relaxing on the beach ranks high on my list. I also love learning the history of a city, meeting locals and immersing myself in the culture of the country. I became a big fan of “free walking tours” after attending my very first one in Paris in 2012. My guide and I hit it off and I ended up hanging out with him for two days as opposed to just one. It certainly did not hurt that he looked like Keanu Reeves! I also use the “Hop On Hop Off” buses quite a bit on my trips as they provide a convenient way to hit all the top attractions within the city.
Q: Final question, if you could stay in any vacation rental on the HomeAway website, which home would it be?
DN: I would love to stay at this awesome 727 airplane overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.
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