January 21, 2010

My Friend The Foodie

- Part 1 -

I met Daniel Roy in the most boring of circumstances. I’d been moved from the videogame division of my former company to its software security counterpart, and can’t say I was too excited about that. That division already had a marketing director, so I had no idea what they wanted me there for. But I’d preferred the move over getting an appointment at the unemployment office, if you catch my drift.

I’d talked to him maybe 3 times before we became coworkers. He came across as a quiet, intellectual dude who pretty much kept to himself and would very likely hate my ass for being the noisy, hyperactive little annoyment machine that I am.

The first boring weeks turned into first boring months, but then something that happened way too often in my career came up and out of the blue and galvanized our relationship. Company cutbacks. Big time. A wait-for-your-phone-to-ring-type massive butchery of a Monday morning layoff. With crying VPs and the whole nine yards. We ended up being the only two marketing orphans left in the division. To take care of everything.

While unmotivatedly (I know, it’s not a word, but it says exactly what I mean. And buzz off, you’re messing with the flow of the story) browsing the division’s files and projects for loose ends to pick up, Dan and I realized that the former director had registered for CeBIT, a major electronics and software tradeshow in Germany. We managed to convince what was left of the management that it would be cheaper to send us both there and pick up a couple leads than cancelling the whole thing and get a bad name with the Canadian Commercial Delegation.

We ended up having to figure out how to spend a week in Germany at a major business venue on a shoestring. Business Backpacking was born. And a friendship that would last a lifetime.

From the earliest moments of my first trip with Dan, I discovered that we shared many passions. We are both avid adventurers, geeks at heart and seasoned epicureans. And we share the same distaste for order, authority and routine. I had found a business-partner-in-crime :)

We hadn’t been 2 days in Germany that already, adventure plans were brewing. We’d been talking our jaws off about travel destinations, Europe, history, science, philosophy. We had already established that we were not going to merely attend a business tradeshow like little corporate sheep and not enjoy our time. And the weekend was dangerously approaching...

As soon as Friday hit, we finished early, ditched the business suits, crammed our equipment in a train station locker in Hannover and hopped on a train to Berlin. One of the best five hours of my life. Drinking fine beer, enjoying scenic views of the German countryside and talking, like two excited five-year-olds on a field day (well, save the beer part).

I think we both rapidly discovered how similar we are, and how enjoyable each other’s company is. Nothing is ever complicated with Dan. You share parts of a trip, or split apart and meet later for amazing food and drinks, chance encounters, random wonders or a mix of all of that. You speak your mind, share your thoughts, reflect on anything without the slightest risk of hurting feelings, starting arguments or being judged.

We went to Berlin as two amused, rebellious coworkers. We came back as friends.

- To be continued -

Follow my friend Daniel Roy as he wanders the world in search of discovery, amazement and human contact : www.backpackfoodie.com


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