Mountain View, California: Where Fun Weekends Can Be a Taste of the Unusual

One challenge for global mobility specialists is to keep their assignees always interested and active in their new homes. It can be easy in the beginning, because there are always new places to see and destinations to explore. Afterwards, the novelty can wear off, especially for the more well-traveled assignees who have surfed on the waves of  Thailand or touched the halls of the Taj Majal. The search for the unusual is non-stop. It is not just to satiate their curiosity, but discovering the unexpected in one’s hometown can actually elevate the assignee’s sense of wonder. Mix that with the motivation that he brings to the workplace each day, and he will be raring to go every morning to do his best in a place that offers a lot.

Mountain View in Northern California is one such assignee’s dream. Located mid-point between San Jose and San Francisco, it is known as the cradle of tech giants that changed the world. Google and LinkedIn are just a few of the more famous names that established their roots here before taking the world by storm. That buzz of excitement, of the unlocking the next new wonder that can impact millions of people, is part of the culture of Mountain View. Maybe that’s why some of the adventures they offer assignees and other travellers are off the beaten track.

Locating a planet with intelligent life that can actually connect with us humans in Planet Earth is the goal of The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Organization, aka SETI. To the scientists who spend the nights listening to signals or mapping the stars, the quest is not a fantasy, but the 21st-century equivalent of those old European ships setting sail for the new world. Visit the campus’ research labs and listen to one of these visionaries’ talks, and you might look at the skies in a different way.

The Computer History Museum shows how far humanity’s technological knowhow has evolved from the very first ancient calculator. Its exhibits and interactive demos reveal the staggering amount of knowledge and man hours it took for each era’s inventors to make accessibility to information convenient — and entertaining — for us. After strolling down a corridor filled with bulky mainframes in the 1960s, personal desktops of the ‘80s, and today’s smartphones, the assignee’s imagination would probably be challenged to imagine what the IoT-driven world of tomorrow will look like.

Getting inside the Google campus is literally just a dream, as any tour is restricted to employees and their guests. But the closest thing the assignee can experience is standing beside Android statues and sculptures on the extended Google lawn. Standing beside these icons and taking a selfie with them is still a landmark moment in any traveler’s book.

Now if it still holds true and you crane your neck outside, you may see a hundred goats, eating Google’s grass and fertilizing at the same time. That may seem unusual, but it does make sense. For them, it was to help them clear weed and reduce brush which can prevent fires, if you think about it.

Finally, assignees who may want to feel their own strength in manipulating an ageless but still exciting tool can fly the kites at the Shoreline Kite Flying Park. Seeing the high winds lift that kite over the expanse of the majestic bay will end the afternoon on a high.

If the assignee still has enough adrenaline to continue the thrill at his home, it won’t be long for modern housing accommodations like California Corporate Housing to have VR headsets where he can have a pick of his next unusual adventure.