Urban Planner and Designer, Graffito SP
Why did you decide to go on Remote Year?
I couldn’t imagine not! As soon as I started the application process, I knew it was something I had to do. After my first solo trip abroad I was completely itching to keep moving, and then my boyfriend introduced me to Remote Year and the timing was perfect. Kismet!
How did you find yourself a remote role?
I created it! Urban planning isn’t really a typical remote job, since what we do at my company is so context-driven and specific to each neighborhood we work in. I spend a lot of time in my job researching best practices, a lot of which happen to be around the world, and I figured it’d be way more useful to actually experience a lot of those places rather than just digging through photos online. I developed a case and presented it to my boss and explained why Remote Year is an incredible opportunity for me and for the company, and he was on board!
Describe your Remote Year experience in 3 words.
Des pa cito
What are you working on for the year?
On a personal level, I am trying to be a little less anxious and saying yes to things like jumping in a river during a thunderstorm (crossed that one off). I am also finally nailing the Queen Pen verse of No Diggity. It’s been a long time coming.
On a professional level, I’m in the process of building a new practice within our company, blending two of my most favorite things (urban design + health and wellbeing.) I don’t think I would have developed the concept, inspiration or the guts to do so without having done Remote Year.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of Remote Year?
An arsenal of knowledge about how to best make a city for people instead of for cars, a couple of ideas of where to move if the US implodes (currently at the top of that list is Rotterdam, I’ll send you a postcard), confidence, and a major superiority complex about tacos and ramen.
Where does your passion for travel come from?
My grandparents! My lovely late grandparents took me on my first international trip when I was nine to Peru and Costa Rica. Not bad, amiright? They were such smart people who deeply believed that the best way to actually learn about the world is to see it. So they took my family on a number of trips to do just that, and I’ll always be so grateful for that.
What is the most challenging part of being the remote lifestyle?
Finding the thing that grounds me every month. I love being active and it’s a way for me to relieve stress and feel normal, which is really important in a year where not everything feels super normal. I love spin classes, but those aren’t really a thing in like...a lot of the world, to be honest. But I also love all kinds of other forms of fitness, so it’s been interesting for me to figure out how I’ll breathe, stretch, shake, and let it go each month.
What has been your favorite Remote Year city?
Mexico City! The pollution wasn’t great, but literally everything else was. I specifically remember saying “If Mexico City was my last stop, I’d be screwed because I’d never be able to leave.” Good luck Balboa, Kaizen, Veritas, Earhart, Yugen, Sonder, Mangata, and Laika.
What is the best part about being a remote worker?
Everyone sharing the stuff they are SO INTO. One Remote, Tim Nixon just did a live Facebook video in Prague where people could identify moths he had found. Remote, Lily Cooper made me look at my surroundings differently and forced me to sketch (it wasn’t terrible!). Lise Culbert tastes, enjoys, and discusses wine like no one I’ve ever seen. Another Remote, Jamie Roach is an absolutely beautiful violinist. I happen to teach cardio kickboxing classes called Kick It by Eliza (if you’re in Boston or New York, GO!) and make it hard for people to walk or wash their hair for a couple days. It’s the best.
What book should everyone read?
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3 things you can't live without on the road?
Peanut butter, a spoon, and an apple. Also, for real, packing cubes. I could not fit my life into a 65L backpack without them.
What advice would you give to others considering Remote Year.
If you’re going to do Remote Year, do it for the whole experience and have the most open mind possible. Don’t worry and fuss over accommodations and whether they’ll always be luxurious (they won’t). Don’t worry and fuss over whether or not you’ll be able to find something to eat in each country as a vegan or vegetarian (you will). You will be fine. Everything will be fine. Just book your flight (while incognito, on skyscanner or momondo, preferably).