Special-edition, Congolese-inspired TOMS Shoes
We're teaming up with Giving Partner Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an advocacy and grant-making organization founded by Ben Affleck, on two Congolese-inspired designs with an additional give. Read More >>
TOMS x charity: water - An Eyewer collaboration
TOMS and charity: water, an organization founded in 2006 (like TOMS!) that’s dedicated to to helping bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, join forces for the first-ever TOMS Eyewear collab! Read More >>
Giving TOMS Shoes in the DRC
Founded by Ben Affleck in 2010, ECI is an advocacy and grant-making organization that works with and for the people of DRC, the third most populous country in Africa, and one that struggled under a cycle of violence for nearly 20 years – particularly in the east. Read More >>
By Daniela, on the TOMS Human Resources team
If I didn’t have the best job ever, traveling around the world would be my full-time job. I work in HR and travel isn’t really part of my job description but it is a main ingredient in my personal life. Lucky for me, in my 2 years at TOMS, I’ve been able to combine my career and my passion for seeing new places. Here’s how:
In 2011, I traveled from Oakland to New Orleans by tour bus with the Railroad Revival Tour, which meant I was going to experience 6 cities in 7 days, with my colleagues and friends. I had never been on a road trip prior to this one, and after agreeing to come along, the next thing I knew, I was following a music tour that traveled by vintage railroad car. For a week, my job would be to set up a “TOMS Experience” booth, share the TOMS story, and encourage people to painton large sheets of blank canvas, which we’d use to create a special edition TOMS shoe. During that week, I was wearing a fanny pack, sleeping on a tour bus, and traveling from one city to the next…and if you’re wondering, I was still on the HR team at the time. Only at TOMS would you be asked to participate in something so outside the realm of expected job role and so far from routine! Did I mention I got to watch Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and Old Crowe Medicine Show perform live at each stop along the way? I did!
Fast forward some months and we’re in 2012, when I received my invitation to participate in my first TOMS Giving trip, an experience as a volunteer for one of our Giving Partners that distribute TOMS Shoes to children in need. This was something I had been looking forward to before I even started working for TOMS. I was heading out of the US to distribute shoes in the field; in this case, in Peru, which had always been on my bucket list. TOMS was helping make it a reality. After 6 days of shoe distribution and immersion into the programming of a Giving Partner, my plan was to extend my trip and travel around for a bit. I don’t mind traveling alone since it allows me to meet new people from all over the world and, to be honest, I never saw myself traveling with 8 of my co-workers, bringing our total to 14 consecutive days together…but it happened. I surprised myself by the want to continue on the journey with them, and I think it caught them by surprise, too.
What’s strange is at the end of it all, it didn’t even seem enough. I could have spent even more time exploring with my co-workers. On our trip, we gathered every night for dinner, had some amazing dance parties, sang some awful karaoke (hey, travel mates: here’s looking at you), and laughed for hours! We soaked up the Peruvian culture together by hanging out in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. The most memorable experience was the night before seeing Machu Picchu. We all stayed together in one dormitory room full of bunk beds. It was like being a kid at overnight camp again, an experience that can never be topped nor forgotten.
The biggest takeaway from my TOMS travel experiences are the friendships I have made. I see my tour bus buddy Rachel and it feels like yesterday we were buying dinner at 7-11 and trying not to roll out of our bunks while on the move. My Peru travel companions and I have had a mini-reunion since our return and have entertained the idea of traveling together again. And in between all of that, I get to see all these people at work 5 days a week.
I feel lucky to work at a place that not only sends us to travel and further its efforts, but values the desire to explore. And so, I set out for my next adventure next week, though not work related, where I will experience and explore Africa. In the words a true HR employee: Thank you TOMS for a great Paid Time-Off policy, too!
Until next time we reminisce,
“Travels on a Shoestring”