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December 20, 2011

What does it take to be amazing?

Jocelyn Lieppman is a senior at the University of Oregon. Originally from Seattle, she grew up in Houston, Texas. She currently works as a Microsoft Windows UCrew Student Representative at U of O. Adventure is in her heart, and as such it is no surprise that she is an international business major who loves to travel and share her experiences with others.


When was the last time you did something amazing? Hike through a 3,000 year old forest or scuba dive in a gorgeous coral reef and watch as a world-famous conservationist uses a spear to help reduce an invasive species? Meet people who have dodged bullets, risked their lives to save an endangered animal, and travelled to a third world country to give a tribal community their very first computer? Have you met a girl who edits feature films, has worked with movie stars yet can still sit and talk to a college student about the highs and lows of a relationship? What about a guy who figured out how to make a living just by sharing the daily joys, pains, and comedy of being a dad?

Last weekend, I got a chance to do something amazing – I travelled all by myself to the Virgin Islands to rendezvous with some of the country’s top journalists, bloggers, and a TV star/adventurer to attend a press trip with the Windows team. With this all-star crew, I got to hike, snorkel, scuba dive, and explore the gorgeous island of St. John, with my Windows Phone and Samsung Series 9 laptop PC in tow.

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A Leap of Faith

My only companions—my little blue notebook and my Microsoft technology—I ventured to the Virgin Islands, not knowing a soul. Maybe I was lucky that I didn’t know who I was about to meet when I got to the Caribbean. If I did, I might have been too star struck and nervous to maintain a conversation. But luckily for me, I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into.

I arrived to meet a woman with a broad smile, already decked out in her tropical attire. Having just left 30 degree weather in Portland, I was still wearing my winter boots, jeans, and a ski jacket. It was a shock to be warm in December.

Tools of the Trade

What tools does an adventurist need along his journey? That was the question Microsoft wanted to answer when they planned this Caribbean adventure. I learned how the tools and technology an adventurist uses are as important in one’s own journey as the journey itself.

This trip was about experiencing the interaction between the environment and the technology that Microsoft and Windows has made possible — how the two can seamlessly work together to make the ultimate vacation experience.

Adventure Begins

I had no clue what I was in for, but man it was an adventure. Day one began with a hike through the famous Reef Bay Trail followed by an afternoon snorkeling around the bay. Loaded with our Platypus backpacks, GPS devices, and laptops, seventeen people set out to prove that you could live the wildest lifestyle, and still stay connected to the world at home.

We must have been quite the spectacle to see from a bystander. As we stopped briefly to listen to our guide tell us about the history of the forest and the old rum factory, half the group wandered the area with their cameras, video cams, and phones raised in fascination and anticipation. We were all in search of the perfect footage. One of the journalists bravely picked up a centipede that was scurrying up a wall and five of us were on it waving our technology to get the picture.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound like the technology was an interference with our environment. The technology we used really gave us the chance to interact with our environment and share it with those who could not have the privilege of being there. Our eyes and ears can only remember so much. Now I can share these adventures with my loved ones and remember this trip forever.