I recently saw my first firefly in a decade. It was one of those pure moments of joy.
We’ve been living in Amsterdam since the beginning of 2013. It was a magnificent experience — to be able to cycle wherever we go; live in a country that’s relatively accessible by bike, tram, metro, & train; living in a city & country infrastructure that’s actively moving away from automobiles; the beauty of the canal houses, boats and…well, canals.
However, as we entered new stages of life, we found it wasn’t the place for us, long term. So: we began to figure out where we’d go to next:
- Somewhere that’s closer to family;
- Somewhere that has job & career opportunities;
- Somewhere that’s filled & surrounded by nature
- Somewhere that’s diverse in people, geography, and climate;
- Somewhere that has an international airport for traveling to family & friends;
- Somewhere that speaks one of our native tongues — English, Spanish, or Catalan.
We’re moving to Raleigh, North Carolina!
The Triangle — a geographic & commercial designation of the region — offers everything we’ve been searching for. Because we like data, here are just *some* of the statistics about Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill areas:
- 7000+ companies across numerous industries — Tech, CleanTech, AgTech, Life Sciences, and Manufacturing
- 600+ startups that are at various stages of growth, with fantastic accelerators & incubators like the American Underground, NC IDEA, Startup Stampede
- Local Co-working spaces abound — The Factory, Raleigh Founded, Industrious, Nest Raleigh, to name a few.
- 2.5-hrs drive east is the Atlantic Ocean; 3-hrs drive west are the Appalachian Mountains — the oldest mountain chain in the world.
- 300+ local parks in the Triangle, 41 State parks, and 10 National parks
- 12 colleges & universities, and 8 community colleges
Fun fact! “The Triangle” gets it’s name from the “triangle” that forms when connecting the locations of the three world-renowned Universities: North Carolina State University in Raleigh, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Duke University in Durham.
We have spent a decade working at Booking.com, rapidly learning & growing as the company itself experienced hypergrowth. When we started working in Amsterdam Headquarters, there were around were 9,500 employees around the world, growing to 21,600 employees in 2019 — pre-2020 Coronavirus Pandemic layoffs. We’ve gone through countless restructures, experiments, and culture shifts as the company grew.
Throughout our time, we held many responsibilities & roles, gaining knowledge, skills, and friendships as we, ourselves, grew at similar rate. It’s a wonder what learning from & working with hundreds of people from 60+ countries, speaking myriads of languages, coming from places & cultures vastly different than our own can do.
Now that we’ve left Booking.com & Amsterdam, we’ve been figuring out how to bring all those knowledge & experiences from our time in a hyper-growth, international travel & tech business.
Ultimately, we want to do our part in helping push the world towards something better, with the skills, knowledge, and experience we’ve gained across numerous industries, roles, responsibilities, throughout our combined 20+ years of professional careers.
We’re starting our own business!
While we’re continuing the long wait for Sandra’s visa to come in, we’ve been iterating and reiterating on our new business venture. Within the next week, we’ll be announcing our business: a web design & leadership coaching practice. It’s aimed at trying to do what we can with what we’ve got, to make the world a better place: diverse, livable, and sustainable.
This seems like a good starting point.
This article was originally posted on June 16, 2022; on LinkedIn.