New Streets & Different Skies
While sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis on a cold snowy day seven months ago, I found myself yearning for two things - new streets and different skies. I’d been living in Indianapolis for six years, and decided I was ready for a change.
Now, I’m gearing up for the biggest adventure of my life so far. Only July 30, I will board a plane to Lisbon, Portugal with only a suitcase and backpack to begin a year of traveling and working remotely with Remote Year Ikigai*.
Each time I tell someone about my plans for the next year, I get lots of questions. Here are the details, Q&A-style:
What the heck is “Remote Year?”
Remote Year is an organization that brings together a community of 75 professionals to spend a year working, traveling and exploring in different countries. The program travels to 12 cities in 12 months, and in these places we live, work, play and connect with each other and the local communities.
Will you be working?
Yes, and full-time at that. While participating in Remote Year I will remain in my current role with the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA). Instead of working in the office every day, I’ll simply be doing my work remotely from where ever I may be.
How did you get buy-in from your company?
Luckily for me, NRHA is an extremely supportive company and they were on board almost immediately after I presented them with this idea. When I realized that Remote Year could actually be a possibility for me, I created a plan addressing how I could continue to be a valuable and productive employee while working away from the office, and created a plan for how to address potential challenges. NRHA is a small company of about 30 people, and the enthusiasm and encouragement I’ve received from management and my co-workers has been remarkable.
How did you find out about Remote Year?
Very rarely do I click online advertisements, but Remote Year sucked me in. I clicked on a sponsored Instagram post from the company and was immediately intrigued by the idea of traveling around the world while continuing to advance my career and develop professionally. I submitted my resume, and several weeks later I was sent information on filling out an open-ended questionnaire. After that phase, several more weeks passed. I was then contacted by a Remote Year staff member for a Skype interview. Soon after, I was offered a spot on the August 2017, “Ikigai” trip, and by mid-April I’d officially committed!
Do you have to pay for this?
Yes. I paid a fee to secure my spot, and will make a set payment each month. This will cover my transportation to and from each country, any group activities and housing and work space in each country. These things are all coordinated by Remote Year, which allows me to really focus on work and make the most of my time in each country.
What will your living accommodations be like?
For the first four months I’ll be living in an apartment at each stop. These haven’t been assigned yet, but I’ve been notified by Remote Year that size will range from studio to four bedrooms. And I'll always have my own bedroom. As the year goes on, Remote Year will continue to give the group information about living accommodations and other details on upcoming stops.
What’s your itinerary?
Remote Year also chooses the itinerary for each group. As part of the Ikigai clan, I’ll be heading to:
· Lisbon, Portugal, in August
· Rabat, Morocco, in September
· Sofia, Bulgaria, in October
· Split, Croatia, in November
· Prague, Czech Republic, in December
· Valencia, Spain, in January
· Mexico City, Mexico, in February
· Bogotá, Colombia, in March
· Medellín, Colombia, in April
· Lima, Peru, in May
· Córdoba, Argentina, in June
· Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July
Are you allowed travel around, come home and/or have visitors?
Yes, yes and yes! The beauty of Remote Year is that although the company organizes travel and lodging details, I am still living my life independently and can come and go as I please over the 12 months. Right now I plan to come back to the states over Christmas and New Years and around the first week of May for Morgan (McFarland) and John’s (Sizemore) wedding. I also plan on taking lots of side trips along the way. I have a total of zero planned so far, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way! Also, if you’re interested in visiting any of the places I’ll be living, come on over!
How can I get in touch with you while you’re gone?
Working full-time means I’ll have access to internet nearly every day. We can iMessage, text, Skype, Facebook and use WhatsApp (a messaging and calling app). I’ll be using this blog to share stories and updates along the way, and will be blogging for work here.
This post only scrapes the surface of the details involved with Remote Year. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, get in touch with me through the “Contact” tab, or hit me up directly.
*Ikigai is the name of the specific Remote Year group I’m part of. There have been several groups before me, and I’m sure there will be plenty more after.