Below is fictional conversation that is mostly accurate in depicting how many of the conversations I’ve had with people while explaining Remote Year. I hope that it helps answer questions you might have about what Remote Year is and how it all works from the perspective of someone who’s wrapping up month 1.
For funsies, the conversation will be held prior to taking off for RY and will be between myself and someone completely random, say…Jonathan Lipnicki.
Me: Yo, JLips, this is going to be the last time we’re going to be able to go to Barbarella together. I’m leaving Austin next Saturday to head out for Remote Year.
JLips: Dude, that makes me so sad. You’re the best non-animated mouse friend I’ve ever had.
Me: I know, man. I think you’re great too. It’s just something I’ve got to do.
JLips: By the way, what the heck is Remote Year?
Me: Remote Year is a program that enables people with remote jobs or people who can do their jobs remotely (me) to travel around the world for an entire year all while keeping your current job.
JLips: Are you leaving your job to work for Remote Year?
Me: Nope. While Remote Year has employees, it’s not a job provider per se. In order to do the program, you’ve got to have your own gig. If you’re an employee, you’ve got to get your employer’s approval. I am extremely fortunate that my company is allowing me to do this program while doing what I normally do in the office.
JLips: Are you traveling with anyone while you do this?
Me: I’ll be traveling with the same group of 50 people throughout the entire year! The group, which is called “Kaizen”, varies in nationalities (8), occupations (employees, freelancers, entrepreneurs), and ages (22–43). I don’t know anyone going into this besides my email pen pal, Milena, and a fellow Austinite, Shelbi. Other than that, I don’t know a soul.
JLips: Dude, you’re like, so brave.
Me: Dude, I know.
JLips: Where are you going? Do you get to pick the cities?
Me: Nope, and honestly, I prefer it that way. RY has itineraries starting most months and each one has its own path. Some go to Europe, Asia, and Latin America while some just go to Europe and Latin America. You get to choose what works best for your work situation.
I’m super stoked to be spending four months in each. Starting in April 2017 my itinerary will be…
- April | Split, Croatia
- May | Prague, Czech Republic
- June | Lisbon, Portugal
- July | Sofia, Bulgaria
- August | Hanoi, Vietnam
- September | Chiang Mai, Thailand
- October | Kyoto, Japan
- November | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- December | Lima, Peru
- January | Bogota, Colombia
- February | Medellin, Colombia
- March | Mexico City, Mexico
JLips: Japan!? No way. You’re so lucky.
Me: Dude, JLips, I know this.
JLips: Bulgaria, huh? That’s…interesting.
Me: I’m actually really excited about Sofia. I’ve heard a lot of great things.
JLips: So how does this work? Do you have to pay for it?
Me: Of course, Jonathan Lipnicki. After you’re accepted and your employer is on board, you make a downpayment and then you’ll pay Remote Year a monthly fee ($2K) to do the program. Part of that fee goes towards transportation to and from each of the different destinations (besides the arrival flight for month 1 and departure flight for month 12), living accommodations, 24/7 access to a coworking space with strong internet, and various organized social/cultural/networking events throughout each of the months.
JLips: That price sounds kinda reasonable. Couldn’t you do it cheaper by yourself though?
Me: I dunno, man. Everyone says so on their blogs, but I don’t have the time or patience to plan all that. Plus, doing traveling for a year by myself sounds pretty lonely. I’m a novice when it comes to traveling, so I would much rather pay someone to plan all this for me and gain a bunch of new friends along the way.
JLips: What are you doing with all of your stuff and your leases?
Me: Well, JLips, my apartment lease is up the day I leave Austin and I’ll be turning in my leased car early. It was a pain in the butt to deal with, but it feels great to not have car payments anymore. As for my stuff, I’ll be selling most of my bigger furniture on CraigsList and OfferUp and will store the rest in a 5x5 storage unit in Austin #minimalism.
JLips: What are you actually going to be doing throughout each month?
Me: Well, the beauty of it is that it’s really like one big choose your own adventure story. RY has tons of official and unofficial events planned throughout the weeks to help you stay active, experience each city and its culture, meet both your fellow remotes and locals, and provide personal and professional growth opportunities. There’s always something to do and you have the freedom to do all of it or none of it — which jives really well with my personal motto of “you do you.”
JLips: About that time difference — do you have to work late nights to overlap with back home?
Me: I’m going to be overlapping with CST at least four hours a day. In Split, this will mean that my core overlap hours are 3 pm to 7pm local time, which is 8am to 12pm back home. For days when I have later meetings, I’ll choose to work the rest of my daily hours a little bit later. If I don’t have late meetings, I can wake up and get them done in the morning. Obviously this will change with each month since timezones are constantly going to be changing. Also, the answer to this question is going to vary for everyone on the trip though. Essentially you just need to work with your employer to figure out what’s going to work best for your situation.
JLips: Wow, that sounds so awesome! I have so many more questions!
JLips: *whispers “make me Like Mike” under breath*
by Michael Constable