By Elsa Welshofer
On my first day in Bend I was having lunch at one of the many local breweries with my mom and the CEO, Rob Dumas, of whurk. Rob said to me, “Everyone in Bend is here because they want to be. People move here, and try to find a way to stay.” This was the best thing I could have heard after driving for six days across the U.S., getting ready start my adventure as an intern for whurk in beautiful Bend.
I was a long way from my two homes: Charlotte, North Carolina, and Princeton University in the Greater NYC area. I originally found whurk in December through Internmatch, powered by Looksharp. I thought the idea of an app that better manages campus ambassadors, while simultaneously giving college students quick and easy jobs for cash was awesome. I applied on a whim, never expecting that I would be moving almost 3,000 miles away from the hustle and bustle of the East Coast.
As I adjusted to the laid-back life style I realized that I have never experienced a town quite like Bend. It is small enough to be homey and people are friendly and take pride in local business. But it is also bursting at the seams, rapidly growing like the companies that were started here, including whurk. And on top of all that, Bend people are adventurous. I have had the ability to go hiking camping, swimming, you name it, it can all be done minutes within Bend.
It takes a certain type of person to move here, they have to be willing take chances. They get to push themselves doing what they love, and they support others who do the same. The people here enjoy the challenge, they like the camaraderie, they want to continue to build, not remain stagnate. All these things make Bend perfect for a lot of people, but especially people like me: someone looking for more than the bland note-taking and menial tasks of a typical internship.
Bend’s unique atmosphere in many ways helped me transition into embracing — and thriving in — a startup environment. The people here wake up and do what they love in a place that they love. It doesn’t feel like work, but rather a constant sense of liveliness and buzzing activity. This atmosphere is conducive to the startup culture, where in order to move forward you have to work together, put in the details and time, and most importantly, buy into an idea you love.
Looking back on the last two months, interning with whurk has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have gained incredible experience in contributing to the development and growth of a startup with an awesome idea. And my time living in Bend that has also helped me realize how to make the most of my ventures here, and how to enjoy life outside of the hustle and bustle I am used to.