This is what happens when you put together a very different group of Selina employees and send them on a road trip.

It’s night one. We’re sitting around the dinner table, a group of strangers. Someone comments, “In 12 days, we’re going to be best friends. Everyone laughs. Who would believe that?! It takes longer than 12 days to become that close.

We’re a group of young travelers from different countries: Greece, Nicaragua, Israel, and Brazil, – just to name a few. We have very diverse backgrounds, with maybe only one thing in common: we all work for the same company.

We’ve only ever met each other virtually on Google Hangouts and in a big WhatsApp group chat. We don’t really know each other. To be honest, the first night together we couldn’t even pronounce everyone’s names correctly!

To go from total strangers with nothing in common to living together for a week and a half seemed like a lot. We didn’t really know what was in store for us. Literally: we had no idea what adventures Selina had in store for us. We had a PDF with the schedule saved on our phones, but we couldn’t really picture what “Visit Cotopaxi” meant or how a “check-in” worked.

This is Selina Road Trip: Ecuador. We’re heading out on a grand adventure with other Selina team members to see where the road takes us. The goal? To visit new places, meet new people, and bond while learning more about the Selina lifestyle.

I can’t share with you the whole schedule of each of our days, but here are some basics to paint a picture of what went on as we hit the road. We started each day with breakfast, as normal people do; we rode on buses from one place to another, just like a tour group usually does; we visited really amazing, astonishing, incredible destinations, much like any traveler would; and we tried delicious-exotic food, including some moving-salted bugs toasted in a bonfire.

While we accumulated new experiences, we got to know more about the people we traveled with. While having dinner, someone would mention something new about their country. While walking to the hot springs, someone would make a joke out loud, causing never-ending laughs. Later, back at Selina, we exchanged impressions about the food we’d tried, and always asked for more delicious banana bread for dessert.

Conversations came and went, each time faster, easier and even more profoundly than the time before. Everyone talked to each other, sometimes one by one, maybe in small groups; sometimes in slow motion, other times excitedly. As the days went by, the conversations got deeper:

“So, you had a turning point in your relationship recently and want to share that with us?”

“So, you don’t really feel comfortable sharing your personal stuff with other people?”

“So, you’re about to tell us about the most difficult moment in your life?”

Do you know what turned to be the best part of having of unexpected, awkward or uncomfortable moments? That we lived through them together.

The first night, we were complete strangers, but after three or four days, we were already pals, partners in crime, associates, and allies. We were connected to each other, like when you feel you’ve known this person for years.

Traveling together is a way to build meaningful connections. If you’re open-minded and, mainly, open-hearted, these connections can happen in the blink of an eye. Coworkers around you can also turn out to be your confidants. It doesn’t matter where they come from or what they do for a living.

Selina Road Trip taught me that travel can also help you discover something important about yourself. There will be moments in any travel experience when you uncover something important about yourself. Maybe it’s when you meet new people that you realize you miss your home like you never thought you would. Maybe it’s discovering new places that makes you realize you’re becoming a whole new person.

At the end of the day, Selina Road Trip helped me meet new colleagues, and, more importantly, make new friends while having fun. It taught me just how meaningful an experience traveling can be.

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