If I could go back in time and tell my corporate self that future me would buy a one-way ticket to Croatia and spend 4 months traveling with people I didn’t know, I’m not sure I would’ve believed it. But in less than two weeks, instead of working in a living room, spare bedroom or coffee shop, I’ll be chilling in a co-working space that’s walking distance from the Adriatic Sea. I’m pretty pumped, to say the least.
Let me give you some background. Who am I traveling with, why did I decide to do this and how can I travel for 4-months without quitting my job?
I’m traveling with Remote Year, a group that organizes work/travel itineraries for people like me (and you!) to see the world without quitting their jobs. My job’s already remote (more on that below), but you can sign up with any kind of job that can be done with a strong wifi connection. What I know about my group so far is that there are 24 of us, plus 1 program leader, ages 24-58, 4 nationalities, 44% full-time employees, 39% freelancers, and 20% entrepreneurs.
When you decide to do this crazy thing and sign up to travel with Remote Year, you’re likely on a video call with a program consultant, and they ask you why. Why did you say yes to traveling the world with a bunch of strangers? This decision was an easy yes for me (which if you know me and my indecisiveness, that in itself is impressive). I jumped on the video call in Herb’s Coffee House in Dallas and after hearing more about the travel itineraries and what Remote Year’s all about, I think I said something like, “Sweet, let’s do this thing!” Following my very public happy dance, Jordan asked me, “Why?”, and that answer came to me just as easily.
“Why not? I want to meet more people. I want to expand my world. I want to see more. I’m craving meeting people that get me, or do similar things.”
But let me back up.
Two months before this call, I was faced with a different kind of decision. Do I stay or do I go? I lived in Denton, Texas, with my sister and her family. When my marriage ended at the end of 2017, I was invited to live with these three beautiful humans. I healed in the presence of love and support, and their family unit grew by an Aunt Meg and a reliable dishwasher. We had family-style meals, watched season after season of Survivor together, and I had two adult perspectives (plus the incoherent ramblings of a one-and-a-half-year-old) to help me unpack dating as a 30-something divorcee.
During my year in Denton, I also traveled. I did some adventuring on Kaua’i where I met in person some of my teammates I’d been working with virtually for months. I experienced many lakes of Minnesota and an epic food tour of Montreal with family. I even spent 10 days exploring Iceland in a van with someone I met on a dating app. (Whaaa?! Ha, it’s really not as sketchy as it sounds. It was insanely beautiful, one of those holy-hell-this-planet-is-amazing places. Check out my Iceland blog post here!) But something changed in me as I bounced around to these new corners of the world. I got the travel bug. I got it bad.
When our lease ended at the end of 2018, I felt an intense pull towards something new. At the time, I had no idea what that “something new” was. But I knew there were adventures waiting for me if I had the patience to sit with the uncertainty long enough, and the courage to say yes once the right opportunity came along.
I posted this on Instagram shortly after I moved from Denton:
A couple weeks ago I finished storing my things in a 5×10 storage unit. I packed the rest of what I own in my car (and my mom’s car), and drove away from a place that’s been home for the last 10 years.
That trip was more than just making the 5 hour drive to the hill country I’ve made hundreds of times in the past. It was letting go. Letting go of a lot.
I almost stayed. I was minutes from signing a 13-month lease in Denton when I got a call from my brother. He reminded me how excited I’ve been about the possibilities of traveling and exploring during this time. He was right, the road’s been calling to me like crazy over the last year. So I decided to pass on the cute little downtown apartment, and live a nomadic life for now. See where life takes me.
I’ve slowly built a career that allows me to work wherever I have an internet connection and I feel so so grateful for all of the people, books, podcasts, jobs, and moments of clarity and inspiration that have gotten me to this point.
All the letting go I’ve done lately (including boxes upon boxes of “stuff” I’ve accumulated over the years) has been tough at times, but man is it freeing. I feel free, and creative, and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me.
So with a few of my belongings, my dog, Barkley, and I moved in with my mom (who’s amazing and I’ve had a blast with, but that’s a whole other post) for a temporary pause until I could figure out what was next. Shortly after, she found Remote Year on Instagram and suggested I check it out. A few weeks later, I signed up.
Early last year, I shifted from full-time photography to be a part of the Rock Solid Virtual Assistants team. Tracy, Rock Solid’s owner, matched me with the most lovely, talented clients and not only was this job a great fit for me personally, but I gained friends and teammates in the process. I talk more about becoming a virtual assistant, what this job entails, and how it’s been a game-changer for me on the Stand to Serve podcast with Emily Costopoulos, one of the creative humans I work with on a daily basis. I’m sharing more about working remotely soon, but until then listen in on my chat with Emily!
I leave for Croatia at the end of April, and can’t wait to share what kind of adventures I get into! I’m sending weekly (ish – let’s be real, I may not send every week but it’s a start) letters where I’m sharing all the goods! Photos from my travels (LOTS of them I’m sure, #sorrynotsorry), the tools I’m using to do my job abroad, and tips I’m learning along the way. Get these letters sent to your inbox; sign up here! Interested in learning more about Remote Year? Check it out!
I’m glad you’re here! Leave a comment below with what corner of the world you’re reading this from!❤️