As some of my Youtube audience knows from viewing my chaotic live stream last Wednesday, I was in Nags Head, North Carolina with some of my "brothers" from college (I always shock myself that I was in a fraternity too) making full use of working from home.
For those of you not aware of where North Carolina is - and this is completely understandable as a fellow "my state is the best state and no other state matters" club member - I've attached a helpful map to the left. If you're from California like me, you'll be surprised to note that our country actually has access to two oceans.
For those of you not watching Outer Banks on Netflix - this is also completely understandable given I did not know the show existed until the drive to the beach house last Sunday - I'm also attaching a slightly more helpful map to the right. Essentially, Nags Head (to the best of my knowledge) is a part of a beach town region known as the Outer Banks or OBX for short, which encompasses a very thin strip of land functioning as a peninsula to the right of North Carolina. None of this is very relevant or interesting for the purposes of this blog, but I wanted to stress that this getting here was a journey of its own from the West Coast.
I was accompanied by Andrew (the tall one) and Will (the blonde one that I am marginally taller through tippy toeing for the picture - height is always a conversation topic amongst boys), with the generous host and organizer of this week-long work-cation being Conor (the one with relatively impressive facial hair). The house we stayed at belonged to his family for awhile - one of our week-long neighbors knew Conor's mom longer than Conor's been alive - and if he was our Airbnb guide, I'd give him 6/5 stars.
The area is exactly what you think it would be when you hear southern beach town - lots of large families coming to enjoy time together, college kids enjoying college life away from college and retirees reaping the benefits of their hard-earned work (while hopefully not being bothered by the college kids). Based on pure intuition and no data (my book of choice for this trip was Thinking Fast and Slow, sorry Daniel I'm failing you) my guess is that we were probably in the minority in terms of "demographics" - recent grads of a small liberal arts university who were taking advantage of working from home.
I could use this post to talk about surreal it was to reunite with college friends again, especially in a "vacation vibe" setting during (or post, depending on which newspaper you subscribe to) COVID-19, but aside from the political conversations that we missed dearly apart from each other, the pandemic didn't really creep into our week together. Perhaps we were worn out from the past year and a half's discussions. It could have been the lack of mask wearing that most publics places we went to presented. Regardless, I wanted this to be a COVID-less week, which ironically worked out given that we were taking advantage of a "benefit" that we would've never reaped if it wasn't for the push towards working from home.
There weren't any extravagant activities or cringe-worthy beach raves - we weren't in Miami. Most days were filled with reading at the beach, failed attempts at surfing (which I didn't even partake in after an unfortunate near-drowning experience while kayaking Day 2) and debating what we should make for dinner. Other than reuniting with people I haven't seen in person for over a year and a half, it almost felt like I was back at college with mildly more fun activities given we weren't constrained to our small rural college town of Lexington, Virginia.
I think my biggest two takeaways from the past week are the following:
It's important to "keep-up" with your friends. The harsh reality is, this trip was as fun as it was because we were all doing relatively "well" in our own corners and had points to relate to as "real adults." We all had jobs, all worked for respectful companies and could afford to do something like this. I don't think this is meant to be a pretentious thought, but more of an external motivation for why it's important to do well in life. Sure, internal drive is important, but the past week reminded me that "keeping up with Joneses" doesn't have to have a negative connotation if you apply it to being able to enjoy time with your friends.
I like Work from Home. I think there's intrinsic benefits to going into an office - some of the best ideas come from hallway conversations, people are definitely less productive when there's a bed 3 feet away from them and extroverts like me need people for small talk. But the optionality of tele-working (given that the work gets done) is fantastic. Being able to do what you need to do while being able to surround yourself with wherever and whoever you desire is probably one of the greatest feats of humanity in the past decade. I really hope it doesn't go away.
Starting with the next travel post, I'll seek to focus more on the tangible experience (food, good Instagram spots, etc.) Miss you dudes already, see ya soon.