Week of April 8, 2019

This week was Atlassian's annual Summit conference in Las Vegas (do I need to say Nevada?). I just wrapped up a long week of work meetings, and filming customers, partners, and colleagues, around the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

It wasn't all work, but I definitely met my stand goal every day -- and then some.

Arriving in Las Vegas for Summit 2019

Arriving in Vegas with a dozen colleagues meant several awkward (but still interesting) conversations. "Who are you?" "What do you do?" and "how long have you been at Atlassian?" were common conversational themes.

To answer those questions: I'm Nick. I talk to our internal sales people and external partners about how to talk about our products (it's meta, don't worry). And I've been here for 3.5 years.

Coincidentally, my niece was playing volleyball in the same hotel the prior weekend, so she was there with my sister. They were leaving as I arrived, but we got to cross paths enough to hang out for an hour or so :)

Go sports ball 🏐

Motion all day in between Partner Day sessions.

Summit began on Wednesday, but Tuesday was a full day of Atlassian channel partner-related activities, appropriately called "Partner Day."

I gave part of a presentation with one colleague named Paul, but otherwise roamed the halls with another team mate (also named Paul). I work with a lot of Pauls.

Paul (the second one) and I spent most our time interviewing other presenters and expo hall visitors from around the world. Attendees were eager to talk about Atlassian and how they can expand value for our customers.

I can't post any of that content, but the videos were really fun to make. Paul is a standup kind of guy, and I'm an improv guy. That mostly translates to him remembering his lines, and me blanking most of the time. He's also the straight man, and I'm the silly one.

It was a fun dynamic 🙌

Taking a quick break from the mayhem to enjoy a nice dinner with friends.

Two days in, and I was ready to leave the hotel. I literally hadn't left a controlled climate from the moment I landed Monday afternoon to Wednesday evening. It was slightly depressing, and it felt great to step outside -- even if it was to get into a cab to head to another casino for dinner.

We dined at Picasso. The place wasn't exactly what I would have chosen. However, I couldn't help but be impressed by the many Picasso works that surrounded our table. And dinner was with some of my favorite people in the company. Plus the food and wine were fairly good.

Giant inflated balls loomed over the beach party Bash Summit afterparty.

After 4 days indoors, we were released to the Mandalay Bay's sandy outdoor beach for Summit Bash. The traditional conference party was held the final night of the entire event (Dev Day, Training Day, Partner Day, and 2 days of Summit, all crammed into the 4 days).

Whew. That was a long week.

I overextended my 48 hour rule for Vegas by 2x, and I was ready to go home.

Taking off, but not quite leaving Las Vegas.

The ride home was mostly uneventful. I was finally able to visit American Express' Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas' airport. And I can report that it's just as crowded as every other Centurion Lounge I've been to.

I realize they've limited access recently, but they really need to work on finding more space in these airports. They're a nice benefit, though it's difficult to enjoy when you can't find a seat or a power outlet. First world problems are tough 😔

Arriving in Los Angeles for a 30th birthday weekend celebration.

Less than 24 hours after landing, we were on our way to Los Angles for a friend's 30th birthday weekend. It wasn't a crazy weekend 😅. Just friends and their significant enjoying beer, wine, food, and conversations that meandered.

Our friend found an awesome winery located near Chinatown to host the occasion.

I was slightly skeptical at first, but Angelino Winery was impressive. Not only produces their wine in , but they source their grapes from Los Angeles County! And they really lean into Los Angeles' history as a wine producing city, dating back to the mid 1800's. In fact, Los Angeles Historic Park -- located right across the street from their facility -- was one of the first places to grow grapes for wine production in California. There's even a whole book about it 🍇 🍷 🥳

He looks great as a muppet.

A little over 24 hours after arriving in Los Angeles, we were on the road, making our way home. We flew in, and drove back. It's not my favorite drive, but it reminded me of the trips I used to take to LA to visit friends, right after I'd moved to San Francisco.

See you next week!


Week of December 10, 2018

Still at home

Highlights of the week: I enjoyed another week at home, sleeping in my own bed, and enjoying what finally feels like fall in San Francisco.

Monday

Hygge night. On Instagram

Getting back into habits means the return of one of my favorite rituals at home -- lighting a candle for dinner. It's really simple, but it's been a hygge-inspired part of our home for the past several years. The small action helps create a sense of coziness :)

Tuesday

Another day, another great sunset. So happy to have windows at work :) On Instagram

Still enjoying the views, but this time, with a new toy -- my new Moment wide angle lens (using the iPhone XS attachment case). Got a bit more crammed into this photo, and it looked really sharp.

Also, I love this view. Have I mentioned that?

Wednesday

Another photo captured with Moment Lens with long exposure effect on iPhone XS. From Wednesday On Instagram

We have a new colleague on the team, so this week took a group of us out to some bars and restaurants. I grabbed a drink with the team at Jones -- one of my favorite bars in the city (mainly because of the enormous outdoor space). As we were perched on a spot overlooking Geary St, I snapped another Moment Lens shot.

I'm looking forward to seeing what this thing can do when I don't have my SonyAlpha mirrorless camera around.

Thursday

Nothing says “welcome to the team” like a trip to a great Belgian beer bar. Fortunately we have one conveniently located in San Francisco. Welcome to Atlassian! On Instagram

Wednesday was a great dinner with our new hire. I got to try out The House, which served a wide selection of pan Asian dishes. Sometimes "pan Asian" can get confusing, but they kept their menu simple. It worked, especially while sharing several bottles of wine 🍷

Afterwards, we grabbed drinks at Tony Nik's.

This unique bar bills itself as a sophisticated casual spot, serving up classic cocktails. In reality, it's a hodgepodge of designs, that feels divey at times, and is well maintained, clean, and friendly. I've only been a few times, but it feels like a great neighborhood bar, removed from the tourists that tend to frequent North Beach.

Friday

Playing with my new toy — the DJI Osmo Pocket. On Instagram

Another new toy arrived this week...an Osmo Pocket, which I intend to use constantly when traveling. The video above was shot from the Atlassian office, using a feature called Motion Lapse -- a combination of time-lapse and panning.

The pocket-sized camera is compact enough to not draw a lot of attention to the fact that I'm recording or taking a photo, so I'm looking forward to capturing a lot of footage when we go to India next week! Lots of future content to build from this little device 🎬

Saturday

Holiday party with views On Instagram

This was our last week in town before heading off to India for Christmas and New Years, so errands kept us busy. As did a Golden Girls Christmas drag show.

That evening, we headed to a friend's place for a holiday gathering, featuring delicious Cambodia/Laos-inspired Northeastern Thai food from Esan Classic -- one of the best (and spiciest) Thai restaurants in San Francisco.

Sunday

The best sushi bar in San Francisco is just two blocks from home. Kuma Sushi also gave me free ice cream. On Instagram

The eventful week left me happy for some alone time on Sunday. The day was lazy and uneventful. I treated myself to my favorite sushi bar in San Francisco, Kuma Sushi + Sake. After a fairly filling meal and a few pours of sesame shochu, they gave me a bowl of ice cream.

I couldn't say no to the gift. And I didn't.

My last full week of 2018 in San Francisco was eventful and balanced. And it made me grateful for the community of friends and colleagues, and the great neighborhood I get to enjoy.

To more shushi, shochu, and ice cream in 2019 🥳


Week of December 3, 2018

Back in the bay

This week was my first full work week in our new Atlassian San Francisco office, and the first time I’d seen the office without the thick haze of smoke.

Monday

Found the rooftop today. On Instagram

At 14 floors up, and on the edge of San Francisco’s financial district, the views are nothing short of spectacular. They also vary with sunsets and weather changes.

I was definitely ready to move from our old offices — they were in a seedy part of town, which doubled as a food desert, in an area marketed as an "up-and-coming area" of Soma. I lived in that neighborhood five years ago, and it hadn’t changed much. So, the new office with abundance of natural light and beautiful views, was a huge change. A month in, I finally got to enjoy it :)

Tuesday

So many great angles at the Apple Store. On Instagram

Walking home from work, I dropped by the Apple Store. It’s a new convenience that was an out-of-the-way task prior to our office move. It might seem silly, but it's very nice having shops, bars and eateries, conveniently downstairs all day.

This office move has been like relocating to a whole new city.

Wednesday - Friday

It’s wet out there, so I’ll stay inside up here. On Instagram
San Francisco sunset = all of the light. On Instagram
Got some elevation to capture this San Francisco sunset yesterday afternoon.
(Shot with my DJI Mavic Air. On Instagram

More shots from the office. In rain, at dusk, and at sunset.

Saturday

Saturday night lights. On Instagram

A movie and dinner

https://gph.is/2yBWjbS

On Saturday, we made it out to a movie — Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite. It was the story of Queen Anne, but with updated fashion, quirky humor, and modern dancing.

Afterwords, we checked out a new pinseria place in North Beach (Barbara Pinseria). It was good, but Montesacro Pinseria Romana in Soma is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Our pizza-like flatbread meal hit the spot, and capped off simple, but great, weekend evening back in San Francisco.

https://youtu.be/SYb-wkehT1g
Trailer for The Favourite.

Sports ball

The weekend ended with a trip to Santa Clara for a football game, with the local 49ers playing my Denver Broncos. I haven’t followed American football or the NFL much in recent years, but games are usually a lot of fun. Plus, going to see any sport live generally has a lot of great energy between the fans, the cheers, and some beers.

It was my second game at Levi’s Stadium — I previously saw a FC Barcelona vs Manchester United match there. We were given tickets to a club suite, which was well-stocked. My precious experience (also in a club suite) had hot dogs and Budweiser; this suite had a charcuterie spread, roasted chicken, and craft beer).

The charcuterie plate was mostly picked over when we arrived, but it was tasty :)

The posh seats were fun, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of advertising that covered every visible surface of the stadium. From the benches outside (brought to you by Intel), to an actual Levi’s clothing store (in case you spill mustard on your jeans?) to the escalator that doubled as a Pepsi cup to each section of suites having a major corporate sponsorship; there’s no way to avoid an advertisement during the game. Seriously, every section of the stadium is sponsored.

At some point, I was too distracted trying to figure out what each ad placement was for, that I lost track of the game, the instant replays, and announcements. All I remember is that I need to drink Pepsi and Budweiser at the casino when I visit Yosemite National Park. Also, fly United.

The game hit a lull, so we went for a walk… with more marketing to sponsor the occasion.

A quick comment here:

I’ve been to American football games in Tampa and Kansas City, and to soccer, baseball, hockey, and basketball games around the world. Some feel more energetic than others, but it usually depends on whether the home team is winning or losing.

And there are ads at most stadiums -- soccer games are usually a full quilt of ads and LED signs all around the field. But usually the game was the center of attention.

Maybe it was just apparent because I don't care for the 49ers, and I haven't been that into the NFL in recent years. But usually I've been able to ignore the plethoras of ads at any sport. Or maybe they're usually more subtle.

At the end of the day, the 49ers haven't had a winning season since leaving San Francisco for the new stadium in Santa Clara, so it's apparent that the marketing value of the stadium is greater than the substance of the team itself.

The real action-packed game.

Critiques about the distracting stadium aside, it was definitely an entertaining experience. But the most exciting part of the game was the halftime show, when a bunch of college mascots played a mock game of football -- the Sourdough Bowl! They looked ridiculous running around, especially the inflated dinosaur bouncing across the field with short arms. It was perfect.

Overall, I had a great time once we got down to Santa Clara. But I wouldn't go out of my way to trek down and look at a million advertisers while trying to spot the football game.

Sunday

The train ride home from Santa Clara. On Instagram

Whereas we took a combination of Lyft --> Caltrain --> VTA to Levi's Stadium, the ride back was more scenic (and eventful). That's because we took an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train, across the marshes of San Francisco Bay.

The Amtrak line was more scenic than Caltrain's path, and it was also more relaxing -- until we hit the Oakland Colosseum crowds. The Raiders' game had just let out as we pulled into the transfer station to get on BART, and their fans were definitely more energetic and excited about their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Week of November 26, 2018

Summary, or TL;DR.

TL;DR: Another week, another work trip. Following a successful Thanksgiving weekend, I flew off to São Paulo -- my second trip this year! The timing of this trip is more remarkable, considering I had previously never crossed the equator until the earlier trip in April.

In any event, this marked my final work trip of the year, and it was an unexpected delight.

Skipping town

Sunday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqnkLg3nTDa

Picking up on the last post, I started this week a day early. I had to leave town for work, to make it from San Francisco to São Paulo by Tuesday.

Fortunately, though I was traveling on a busy day, I made it to Brazil without any issues.

Unfortunately, I didn't get an upgrade crossing from SFO to IAD -- or for the more important IAD to GRU overnight flight -- so I was dead tired when I landed in São Paulo. Fortunately, the Renaissance Hotel knew I was arriving early (before noon), and I was able to check in.

Monday

Approaching São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport

Though I'd been to São Paulo just a few months prior, the approach into the city reminded me of San Francisco. The low clouds and foggy haze combined with the hills to remind me a bit of home.

I was smarter this time, and grabbed a taxi that could take the express lanes into the city. I was excited for a nap, and just a few moments away falling into a heavy nap, when a friend pinged me on Facebook Messenger. He was 3 blocks down the street.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqqmGXcH7-Q/

I'd known Luis for many years -- all the way back to high school in Tampa. He eventually moved to DC after I'd moved there for college, and we had some overlapping circles of friends.

He now works for the Organization of American States, which is kind of like the United Nations, but focussed on JUST the Americas. We don't hear much about it in the United States, but the OAS is an important forum for Latin American countries to bring up economic, environmental, and human rights issues.

Luis noticed my check-in or post on Facebook, and pinged me. We didn't have much time, as he was on his way out of the country -- he'd come from Argentina the day before -- and had a day to explore São Paulo for his first time in Brazil.

With just about an hour before he needed to run to the airport, and me being incredibly groggy, we caught up on life over an espresso. Then he was off to Peru for more work, and I was off to crash for about 40 minutes before dinner.

Dinner was a feast. During my previous trip, a group of us spent an evening at D.O.M. -- one of the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" (number 30 this year) -- but right around the corner is a spot called Dalva e Dito, a sister restaurant to the famed D.O.M.

At a mere one Michelin Star, the food wasn't as over-the-top, and the experience wasn't as drawn out, as its famous counterpart. Instead, Dalva e Dito served very traditional Brazilian dishes with high quality ingredients and slightly smaller portions.

The meal was delicious, and I was ready to pass out.

Sleepy in São Paulo

Tuesday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqwtMjLHf6o/

I built in a one day buffer to acclimate and account for any travel delays. Getting to Brazil from San Francisco not long required a layover, and it required traveling on the busiest travel day of the year -- the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday was hardly a leisurely day. For one, the pool at the Renaissance was closed for resealing and remodeling work. So my Havaianas had to stay put :(

But more importantly, I had a chance to meet with our local Solutions Partner, e-Core Solutions, in their brand new, Atlassian-inspired office, near the Moema district.

Between the hour each way in Ubers, the meetings, and the buffet lunch, I saw a lot of the city, but didn't get a chance to explore much.

Drinking a refreshing Aperol Spritz at a cafe

I had one moment of solitude before two days of delivering training. I found a moment to step out of the hotel for a walk, and I found myself at a cafe. My original plan was to work, but I dropped that idea and just relaxed with an Aperol Spritz in hand.

The servers looked at me weird when I asked for an espresso, too, but we got past it.

After the quick reset and a quick sync with work, I was ready for dinner.

I can't recall the number of times Bráz Pizzaria came up in conversations about São Paulo, but it was on my list of places to try during this trip. Luckily for me, I have coworkers who can read my mind.

The food in São Paulo surprised me with its range and richness. Pizza is fairly standard fare in the US, but it's not what one might expect to be a staple in Brazil, where traditional ingredients aren't bread mozzarella cheese, and olives. Maybe it has something to do with Italian immigration to Brazil...

We ordered an "Italian Sausage Bread," two pizzas, and a salad. It was simple and delicious. One item I couldn't find on the menu, but I saw at a table -- Georgian Khachapuri. A flatbread dish with melted cheese cheese and an egg mixed in.

Not pictured above are two enormous side salads that complimented the Brazilian-style cheesy bread goodness.

Time to work

Wednesday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqye9MknAfb/

I wasn't in São Paulo for vacation, and two days of running training brought me right back to reality. The picture above was the only real photo I was able to take all day. It was a nice reminder that it was summer outside, and that I was in the heart of an incredible metropolis in an unfamiliar corner of the world.

The dual simultaneous Portuguese and Spanish translators that helped me during the training were another clear reminder of how far away from home I was.

Our partner meal was at Fogo de Chao, a restaurant I’ve never been to before. It was surprisingly good, and with unlimited grilled meats, salad bar, and drinks, in a semi-private space, it was a perfect fit for our group.

Thursday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqyiQQPHf6M/

I wrapped up training with our Solutions Partners on Thursday afternoon. The week of conversations about ITSM and strategies for talking about Atlassian with customers had come to an end, and I'd be heading home in just a few hours -- my flight time was just before midnight.

My original plan was to join the rest of the team at an Atlassian User Group (AUG), being hosted not far from our hotel. But then it started to storm. I skipped the meet up, and went for a walk instead.

My friend, Luis, had suggested a coffee place he stopped by earlier in the week -- Catarina Coffee & Love. The little shop was nestled inside a boutique clothing shop on the very posh-feeling Rua Oscar Freire.

I spoke with the barista for a bit while sipping on a pour over. He told me about Brazil's coffee industry, and how different coffee producers are trying out different methods with their products, like fermenting their beans. I must have spent 40 minutes at the shop, just chatting about coffee and chocolate.

different coffee producers are trying out different methods with their products, like fermenting their beans.

Yes, chocolate came up. And my new friend had several chocolates to choose from (it was impressive, considering the small amount of space he was operating. He sold me on bringing back some experimental chocolates, made with beans harvested from wild cacao trees found in the Amazon.

He said the chocolate tasted like cheese. How could I resist?

Finally, a moment to rest...

Fortunately, one of the perks that comes from flying so much for work is the idea of upgrade certificates from United. They don't always work, but one came through at the last minute for the long redeye back to DC.

Ready for home

Friday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq5LarXny_X/

The second leg of my trip didn't include lie-flat seating, but I pretty much just passed out after running from one of the (still weird) Dulles Airport "mobile lounges," through Global Entry, grabbed my bag, re-checked it, ran to my gate, and hopped on my flight to San Francisco as boarding started -- all in under an hour.

I took a break from the nearly 20 hours in transit, from my hotel to San Francisco International Airport, by relaxing at United's (relatively) new Polaris Longe. Atlassian even greeted me with an ad for our newly-acquired product, Opsgenie, after I collected my luggage!

Overall, this trip was one of the more exhausting work excursions I had all year. The previous trip to São Paulo had a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, attached to to the end, giving me something to look forward to before switching time zones again. Everything was also new, having never been South America before. But with this trip, I was ready to be home.

Saturday

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq5MJi0nU0j/

Relieved to be home for a few weeks, but also reflective of the travel I'd put in for the year, we caught a movie Saturday night. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq60MVhnSxm/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Back in the bay, we spent Saturday on a nice, long bike ride to Muir Beach. It was the first time in weeks that I was in town and the air quality wasn't poor from the fires near Chico.

By the late afternoon, the sky had a few scattered clouds. They were perfect for capturing the fleeting moments before sunset.

Travel Summary:

A hop, a skip and a jump.
From To Mileage
SFO IAD 2,419 mi
IAD GRU 4,737 mi
GRU IAD 4,737 mi
IAD SFO 2,419 mi
Total 14,311 mi

Week of November 19, 2018

I finally spent some time in the office, but most of my week was spent traveling or in Southern California for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The smoke won't go away. But the sunsets are quite nice. Instagram

I started the week off in our new office at 350 Bush Street, sitting 13 floor, with great, smokey views of the city.

This was my first full day in the new Atlassian San Francisco office, and I was happy to find central, filtered air, even if the views were a bit obstructed.

Smoke is starting to head out, and the skies are starting to clear. Just in time for rain. Instagram

I stepped out of the office to find some reasonably clear air. I could still smell the burning wood in the air, and I knew the particle count was still high; but I could begin to see more clearly — even in the night sky.

I probably should have waited for the air to clear up a bit more, but I managed to fit in a run after leaving the office.

By Wednesday, the air was clearing up, and the rain began to wash away fires and the remaining smoke. So naturally, it was time to head out of town. We headed down to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Lots to be thankful for this holiday season. Walking around Simi Valley in the Woolsey Fire aftermath. Instagram

There were no fires in Southern California — or California, for that matter — when we visited at the end of October for a friend’s wedding. In between that time, an enormous fire erupted in the northern section of the state, in Paradise, and a second one hit near my boyfriend’s family, in Simi Valley.

Simi was left relatively unscathed, but the fires got a little too close for comfort. I went for another run — twice in a week might be a new personal record — and I paused to snap a photo of the brilliance in color seen in the fall trees up against the scorched earth within sight, just feet away.

Unfortunately the massive fire destroyed many other communities south of Simi. But the impact could be felt across the region.

Went for a post Turkey Day hike, one valley over. In Lost Angeles. Instagram

I decided to avoid a million photos of Thanksgiving turkey and the fixins. (I was also helping to make the meal).

This year’s Turkey Day feast featured 2 fried turkeys. Most years we fry one and bake a second, but the fried one is always better (duh).

The good news is that we didn’t launch a single turkey into outer space. 🥳

The bad news is that one turkey was just slightly too big for the fryer.

Upon its splash into its 400 degree oil bath, it ran aground, and we had to toss it. 🙈🦃❌

Fortunately a few stores were open, and after grabbing a fully thawed turkey, we were back in business!

I write this story, only to say that I ate too much food, regardless of the missing turkey. And the next day we all needed to walk it off.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqjCGA3neGi/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
Some shots from the the hike.

After quick some researching, we found a park in Chatsworth that looked completely untouched by the fires.

We spent about 2 hours going up the Old Stagecoach Road trail and back. Fun fact: horse-drawn stagecoaches used to actually go up these boulders. Insane to think about today.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqlsAkYHfKG/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

With family and friend time waning, we spent Saturday in Malibu, sitting on the beach at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. The drive went through the worst parts of the Woolsey Fire, and we passed several houses and businesses that were reduced to piles of stone and ash.

The beach was beautiful. And the light rain on Wednesday cleared the air.

A slight delay due to some low clouds, but I'm on my way back to São Paulo for my final work trip of 2018 (and traveling with United, naturally). BRB, San Francisco. Instagram

No, this isn’t a snap from my flight from LA or back into San Francisco.

Off I go again, en route to São Paulo, Brazil, for another week of training.

The busy travel day + mid west snow + the local fog, caused a minor delay. But I was on my way to South America, to wrap up work travel for 2018.

Next Stop: Brazil.


Week of October 29, 2018

The end of October, a wedding, and the start of an insane month of travel. Here's how I wrapped up October and welcomed November.

I kicked the week off with a delicious dinner at Pho 2000. It was Pho-nominal (as advertised).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpmb5YNAwwp

The Atlassian office on Harrison closed (for good) on Tuesday, for our big move to 465 Pine St. With no office, I worked from home for most of the week. And my mobility dropped to walking within about 4 blocks of home.

Still, even with the sharp drop in daily steps, I managed to snap a photo of this random jet making its way around San Francisco's blue skies.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpmcom0AzPF/

The end of October brought Halloween night. But a Wednesday night.

Still, San Francisco's inner geek decided to show off, with LED lights atop Salesforce Tower taking the form of the Eye of Sauron.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpoLQvtnmmj/

Next stop: Los Angeles.

Thursday night was the first of 5 flights over the following week.

SFO --> BUR for a wedding.

LAX --> ZRH --> AMS for work

AMS --> IAH --> SFO home.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BprtdzVnXFG

On Friday, we woke up in Los Angeles, ready for a weekend of wedding festivities. I took in the view over eggs and coffee, before we headed off to Ojai.

We had clear skies, some well-placed fog, and some plane spotting in the distance. Happy fall.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BptCJfynEVy

Ojai was gorgeous. And the evening's sunset painted a beautiful backdrop for everyone's photos (including mine :)).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpw2qIKHt-c/

With the wedding weekend wrapped up, I was off to the airport.

I boarded the last Star Alliance flight out of LAX, headed to Amsterdam for a week of training our Atlassian Solution Partners for work (via Zurich). A last minute upgrade from Swiss Airlines made for an unexpected surprise.

I don't know how I lucked out, but thanks, Swiss!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp_TqmTHZtv/
LAX to ZRH to AMS

2018 Week 1

I've quickly realized that I won't have enough time to write a post summarizing my Instagram shot each day. In fact, I should have realized sooner that the Instagram post should summarize itself. So below are my snaps from the first week of January, excluding those from my post January 1, 2018.


Wrapping up Warsaw

Temperatures fluctuated drastically each day, and as the air interacted with the Vistula River, the skies would go from clear to foggy to cloudy, with drastic changes in the scenery from one day to the next.

Our final day in Warsaw was a cloudy one, adding some drama and texture to some of the sites we'd already seen for several days.

 

Last day in Warsaw #waw #fog

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 3, 2018 at 6:15am PST

 

And that was it. We said goodbye to Warsaw and the outer reaches of the Carpathians. We'd spent two trips in 2017 pushing further east into Europe, with a trip to St Petersburg, Russia, and Finland, before exploring Poland and Ukraine.

I'd underestimated Poland and Ukraine, and was pleasantly surprised by their beauty and hospitality.

 

Next stop, San Francisco. First long haul of the year :) #muc to #sfo

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 3, 2018 at 7:05am PST


Back to the grind

With New Years behind, reality was ahead. And returning to San Francisco meant going back to work while providing time to reconnect with friends.

 

Greetings from Republica de San Francisco #sfo #ca

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 5, 2018 at 9:44pm PST

 

As I was walking around, I noticed that trees in the city were just starting to get ready for fall season, though we were already well into winter by January 1st. The colorful leaves were more visible as rains forced them off their branches, blanketing sidewalks and cars.

 

Fall has arrived #sfo #ca

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 5, 2018 at 9:46pm PST

 

Stepping into Whole Foods felt like a foreign experience after a month away from home. But I chose to ignore the prices and customers complaining about tables still wet from the over night rain or lack of cabbage as employees hurriedly restocked shelves.

I was on a mission -- to get food for a Greek-themed brunch with friends in East Bay. Oh look, cheese!

 

@wholefoods is trying to tell me something about cheese 🧀

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 7, 2018 at 8:38am PST

 

Following the successful brunch, and subsequent 10 hour nap, we spent the first lazy Sunday of the new year doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Nothing to the point where we thought we should do something.

So we met up with friends and saw a show at Punchline Comedy Club.

 

Still feeling festive in #sfo #ca

A post shared by Nick Thulin (@nickthulin) on Jan 8, 2018 at 2:22pm PST