FOUNDER AND CEO PRIMAL SHAPE FITNESS / LEGAL OPS CONSULTANT, STATESCAPE
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RECRUITER, AECOM
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN REMOTE YEAR?
Josh: I wanted to get out of the rat race of a 9-5 workday and RY seemed like a great way to not only break out of that, but also explore the world.
Meghan: I used to live abroad and had been back stateside for 6 years. I was starting to feel very stagnant in my DC lifestyle and was ready to go on another little adventure.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?
Josh: I presented a remote option to my employer and we negotiated something that worked for both of us. I am now a consultant for the company, which allows for very flexible hours. Because my hours became flexible, I had an opportunity to dedicate time and effort to taking a stab at being an entrepreneur. So, in addition to my consulting work, I am also running an online health fitness company aimed at helping digital nomads, globetrotters, and constant travelers stay fit and healthy no matter where they are or where they are going.
Meghan: My work is scattered all over the world. For example, while I am in Asia, I am working on programs in Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, and Fiji. It was easy to convince my company that working closer to the timezones in which we operate would be beneficial to productivity and also allow me to take face to face meetings that otherwise would have to be done over skype or phone.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Josh: health & fitness, especially maintaining it while traveling
Meghan: I’m passionate about engaging with and learning from locals in every place I travel.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER COUPLES LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL IN THEIR LIVES?
Josh: If you’re going to do long term travel together, make sure each person has their own independent reasons for wanting to do it. That way you avoid one person doing it just because the other one wanted to - aka, avoid resentment.
Meghan: Do it! But also, I agree with Josh :) Make sure to talk through those reasons too so you’re both on the same page.
WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?
Josh: I’m always looking to grow in general, but I don’t feel the need to change the crux of who I am through this experience.
Meghan: The same old me. I’m a fan.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Josh: Typical? What’s that? … as a new entrepreneur, every day is a new task or challenge. Additionally, in-country activities, meetings with different sub-groups within the RY community, etc can vary a typical day. However, I am an operations person by nature so I try to find structure in each new country by creating an ideal day/week. Getting started at a certain time, working certain blocks of time, and working out are staples to this ideal day/week. This way, when my day gets thrown the inevitable curveball, I know how I can alter my ideal day to fit reality.
Meghan: My day depends on what I have going on at work. On a given day, I can have 2 hours of work to 15 hours of work. On the less busy days I like to go for a run, explore the city in which we’re living, probably grab and afternoon boozy beverage and meet up with other remotes for various shenanigans. On the busy work days, I put on my headphones and talk to no one.
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?
Josh: I didn’t have one until I met Meghan.
Meghan: My parents have a lot of international friends, so growing up, most of our vacations ended up being trips to visit their friends abroad. It was a great introduction to travel because in most of the places we went, we were staying with locals and we never really felt like tourists. We were immersed into my parent’s friends world, most of whom also had kids my age. From those trips, I made friends that I still stay in touch with and I love that. So I guess my passion for travel comes from the experiences my parents gave me and my brother when we were growing up - it’s what started a lifelong itch to explore new places and meet new people.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Josh: Lack of structure.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Meghan: Lack of structure :)
HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELLING HAS AFFECTED YOUR CURRENT RELATIONSHIP?
Josh: We’re both pretty independent people and were very busy/active with different things that didn’t necessarily overlap when we lived in DC. Now that we’re traveling, we’re actually around each other a lot more than we were when we lived in DC. One thing that we’ve been talking about is that even though we’re around each other more, we’re also around a ton of other people all the time too. We’ve had to make it a conscious effort to make sure we take time for just the two of us to catch up and spend time relaxing and recharging.
Meghan: Travel is a great way to learn how you and your partner deal with constant change and the occasional chaos and mishaps that come with travel. I think this experience of long-term travel has made us appreciate each other's strengths and also better understand how each of us respond to the inevitability of things not going as planned.
WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO?
Josh: Traveled only, never lived: England, Scotland, Wales, France, Greece, Belize, Mexico, Bermuda, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, all the RY Magellan locations. (side note, Meghan knows where all these places are on a map. She’s a true talent.)
Meghan: I lived and worked in India for a while out of college. I also lived in Germany during college and have traveled a lot over the years for work and for fun. I think my country count is around 50 or so.
WHAT ARE YOUR SECRET TALENTS?
Josh: To Meghan’s annoyance, I can quote any movie after only watching it once and will be able to quote it just as well 10 years from now.
Meghan: I’m real good at geography - In Josh’s words, “I know where sh*# is”.
WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?
Josh: Fiction: The Knight of Maison-Rouge by Alexandre Dumas / Non-Fiction: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Meghan: East of Eden - John Steinbeck
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?
Josh: Google Fi or T-mobile for phone plans so you don’t have to get a SIM card in each country *Only applies for American’s unfortunately*
Meghan: Travel with collapsible tupperware
3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?
Josh: Google Maps, Headphones, Filtered water bottle
Meghan: Nail polish….yup that’s about it
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?
Josh: Hanoi, Vietnam (recently took the top spot from Grindelwald, Switzerland)
Meghan: It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship, but I’d say India... all of it
DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.
Josh: Community, exhausting (in a good way!), unforgettable
Meghan: Breath (of) fresh air
WHERE ARE IN 30 YEARS?
Josh & Meghan: We want to be rooted into a community somewhere, but still traveling 2-4 months out of the year. Also, we’ll be super rich and retired.
LIVING/TRAVELING TOGETHER 24/7 CAN BRING STRESSFUL MOMENTS. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THESE SITUATIONS?
Josh & Meghan: Yes, it’s a lot of together time! The way we cope with disagreements or misunderstandings (while traveling and in life in general) is to step away from the situation and gather our own thoughts before talking it through. We both are pretty good about not being reactive to things.
WHICH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT YOU ARE GLAD YOU EXPERIENCED TOGETHER?
Josh & Meghan: So many good ones! One moment that sticks with both of us though is actually the moment that we decided to do Remote Year. We were standing in Whole Foods in Alexandria, VA drinking wine (they have a great thing called Wine Down Wednesday). We had already been accepted into the program and Meghan had decided weeks earlier that she was onboard and ready to do Remote Year. Josh however, being the cautious, data driven individual that he is, needed more time to process the experience, run the financial numbers, and determine if RY was something he and Meghan practically could do - both professionally and personally.
For weeks, we didn’t talk about Remote Year because Meghan knew that Josh needed time to think it through and come to his own conclusion.
So, as we were sipping on our wine in the peanut butter aisle of Whole Foods, with a big smile on his face, Josh brought up Remote Year. Said he was ready to “pull the trigger” if Meghan was still interested. Obviously she said yes. Now almost 9 months since that day, BEST DECISION EVER.
ARE THERE ANY PERSONALITY CHANGES YOU HAVE OBSERVED IN YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER SINCE YOU HIT THE ROAD?
Meghan: While he still loves structure and planning, Josh is way more relaxed and go with the flow than he used to be.
Josh: Meghan is less bogged down by her job. In DC it consumed her in an unhealthy way sometimes. Getting out of an office setting has been good for her soul.
YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?
Josh: “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” - Dwight Eisenhower
Meghan: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria” - Benjamin Franklin