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What if we could time travel at work?  
Well, we do not have to be part of a sci-fi series to know how it would be. 

At Smartmatic, we already have many colleagues whose jobs require constant travelling across multiple time zones. We secretly call them our time travelers.  

Admired by some (mainly young, single and curious collaborators), and sometimes pitied by others (mostly those who had already walked that path for too many years), our time travellers are one of their kind in the corporate world. Luckily, we had the opportunity to catch up with one of them (between airports!). Here is his take on travelling as a Smartmatic team member.

Rafael Franceschi is a Compliance Lead. His more than ten years in the company have taught him the pleasures and downsides of travelling regularly. “What I like the most about moving with the company is the adrenaline that I feel at the field; working to exhaustion with the team to achieve our objectives. To be in the front row testing equipment, producing machines, solving issues. It is an awkward feeling to explain, but in spite of the tension and the pressure, I still enjoy the rush of working in the field.”

On the other hand, the three main challenges I think we continuously face with this globe-trotting work life are: 1. Leaving our families (including kids) for extended periods, without letting it affect our daily performance; 2. Working in multiple languages, with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, on a myriad of technology solutions (with different requirements, tools, and cultural expectations); and 3. The culinary-challenges: rapidly adapting our palates and bodies to all kinds of cuisines, spices, flavours, cooking habits and dining manners.”

For Rafael, being away from his family weighs heavily on his balance. “The worst part of travelling is having to see them (wife and kids) on Skype, Facebook or any other platform. It makes you feel helpless, particularly when your children are sick, when emergencies arise, or when the contact across different time zones gets confusing.”

“On my last trip, for instance, my wife sent me a photo of a burnt wall with the message "Our kitchen got on fire"… and nothing else. The most eternal and worrying 15 minutes of my life ensued. She wouldn’t answer the phone. I started expecting the worse. Then, she wrote back telling me that everything was fine. It was just a problem with a defective hose. She closed the gas valve, and voila, problem solved. The kitchen was repaired as soon as I got back, and now it is just another anecdote, but you cannot imagine the anguish I felt!”

Despite the challenges, there are always highlights to brighten the traveller’s journey. Rafa for example shares “I do not think I can pick a favourite trip or place I had worked in. But I can certainly tell you about the most surprising one for me: astonishing Pakistan!”

For Rafael, Pakistan was a an opportunity to go full circle and fall in love again with this other side of his Smartmatic experience, travelling. “Islamabad is a very green city, full of lovely and generous people, with loads of shopping malls and western fast-food franchises. And it is also a very serene place despite the amount of military weaponry that you can see around.

In Pakistan I learned to appreciate cricket. I found many similarities with sports that I love, like baseball or softball. On the other hand, even if the food was sort of an agony at the beginning, after two weeks I got quite used to it. I can even tell you that in Islamabad I had the best fried fish that I have ever eaten,” laughs Rafael.

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