So I’ve mentioned this thing — that I’ll be traveling for the next year and taking my job with me. Bananas, right? But how is this all happening? Sharing this with friends and family hasn’t come without a number of questions…
First thing’s first, I’m traveling with an organization: Remote Year. Essentially, Remote Year is a company that coordinates travel, workspace and living accommodations for professionals with remote jobs. There are a number of companies like this, many of which have popped up in the last few years. But I’ve decided on Remote Year because of their strong reputation and also because one of my dearest friends used to be a RY trip leader. Her insight and guidance made the research and application process pretty seamless. Thanks Victoria!
Then, I had to apply. It’s my understanding that Remote Year receives over 27,000 applications a year. Trips leave every month, each cohort ranging from 30–40 working professionals. That being said, spots are limited and you have to meet the criteria:
- You have to have a remote job. Now, this could look a few ways. You could have a remote role working for a traditional company, as is my case. I split my weeks between our office in NYC and home. Or, you could be self-employed, a freelancer or entrepreneur. Doesn’t matter. As long as you can do your work from anywhere.
- You have to be able to afford it. The initial deposit (once you’ve been accepted) is $5,000 and then it’s $2,000 a month after that. These numbers vary depending on the duration of your program, but this is the case for the 12-month trips. The way I see it, it’s like paying rent. Not too bad when your travel between cities is accounted for, in addition to 24/7 workspace access and living accommodations in every city.
- You should have a strong desire to travel the world and/or do something outside the box! Now — I don’t know if Remote Year REQUIRES this, per se, but this definitely seemed to be the expectation throughout the application process. Leaving one’s life for an extended period of time with a group of complete strangers to explore the world (and work) is definitely a less conventional idea. I believe that those interested in an experience like this do have and should have the desire to do something different.
As mentioned, multiple Remote Year trips leave a year. So, part of this process was also determining what itinerary was most appealing to me and what length of time works best for me. Remote Year coordinates 4-month, 6-month and 12-month trips, spanning throughout Europe, Africa, East Asia and South America. While many of the cities overlap, each trip is slightly different. For example, I’ll be spending three months in Europe, one month in South Africa, four months in East Asia and four months in South America. Victoria’s trip, in comparison, spent three months in Europe, three months in East Asia and six months in South America. Whatever speaks to you — do that.
I ultimately decided on the Ramses trip. You can see the full 12-month itinerary here. But the hard work wasn’t over, just yet. As I’m not self-employed, a freelancer or entrepreneur, I needed to get approval from my job to do this. While I do work remotely already, asking to do so from a different corner of the globe, for the next year, is a conversation that needed to be had. I plan on doing a separate blog post on that, as there were multiple phases in my proposal process. I also think I can provide valuable insight to employees at other traditional companies looking to do the same.
Their answer? Well, YES! After putting together a proposal that felt more like a research thesis, I was granted the go-ahead! And while I feel like I manifested this whole thing, it still feels surreal to say. It still hasn’t hit me that I’ll be away for a year, continuing the work I love, in twelve international cities (eleven of which I’ve never been to!)
To put it simply — I’m working and traveling abroad because of the infrastructure provided by Remote Year and because my employer sees the value in an experience like this. While this may seem less conventional — in large part because it is! — I strongly believe that remote work is the way of the future, we just may have to shift a few mindsets along the way. If anyone has any questions about Remote Year or any of the logistics I touched upon, feel free to shoot me a note.
I leave September 28th, 2019. Let’s do this.