Kelly Lanter

Kelly Lanter

Technical Account Manager, TeamSnap

UNITED STATES 

 

Why did you decide to go on Remote Year?

Spending a year abroad was always a fun discussion to have around the table at happy hour with friends.  What if I could travel the world for a year?  Where would I go? Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could get paid to travel?  

I could (and did) spend hours talking about this goal to experience the world and then the reality would hit me. Someone needs to pay the bills and unless I strike it rich, I couldn’t swing a year without a job.

I remember day-dreaming one afternoon aka procrastinating and I stumbled upon a Facebook ad for Remote Year.  Naturally I thought this is too good to be true - must be a scam.  I took a peek at the website and before you knew it, I was down a rabbit hole of remote year blogs, reviews, testimonials and I was hooked.   

I had to make this my reality…


How did you find yourself a remote role?  

I was incredibly lucky as I was already working for a company called TeamSnap where each employee is encouraged to be remote.  Although I had built-in flexibility, I am in sales which means I need to be on the phone with customers day in and day out - all within east coast hours.

The decision to fully commit to Remote Year was not something I took lightly. I love my job and had many conversations with my manager, teammates and other colleagues before signing away my US lifestyle.  It was very important to me that I had the full support of my team from day one.  I am on day 200+ of Remote Year and my TeamSnap family is still encouraging and supporting me on the days where working at midnight is not appealing.

What advice would you give to others considering Remote Year?

The best advice I can give is to wait until you are 100% ready for a year abroad - don’t rush into it.  It’s important to think about the big picture including where you want to be financially at the end of the year:

  • Do you have a job/career that you love?  Working on the road is challenging and not glamorous.

  • Do you make enough money to support the lifestyle?  You’ll want to visit other countries along the way and do awesome side trips.

  • Are you saving for when you are done with Remote Year? Last thing you want is to blow your life savings on a trip around the world and then can’t afford to pay rent when you return.

  • Are you mentally tough?  Living abroad and moving monthly challenges your concept of routine and adds stress.  You will have great days and you have really bad days and it’s all about how you manage the highs and lows.  

Be financially smart and wait until you have the means to be successful on Remote Year.  Traveling the world for a year isn’t worth living paycheck to paycheck for years after it ends.

If it makes sense financially to go, by all means pack your bags and hit the road!  The time is now :)

 

What are you working on for the year?

One of the biggest personal goals of mine this year is to ‘go with the flow’ and let go of control.  I am quick to think I know the best path forward and expect others to fall into line. Traveling with 70+ equally as assertive individuals has shown me that at times it is best to let someone else go first.  

There are also so many variables surrounding traveling for a year and you’d go crazy worrying about them all.  Material items are no longer a concern of mine - who cares if an airline employee stole three items out of your bag on a trip to Patagonia.  Is it worth the energy to be upset?  The elevator is broken on move-in day and you live on the 5th floor.  You can either be frustrated or pick-up your 50lb suitcase with two backpacks strapped to your back and start hiking.  

 

What does your typical work day look like?

My typical work day is pretty similar to when I lived in Colorado.  As many will speak to in the Meraki tribe, I take work very seriously (probably too seriously at times).   It’s a rare occasion to find me out at the bar - almost never on a work night.  

My current day (keep in mind I am in Europe - working US hours):

10am: Wake-up and snag some cereal (preferably something with chocolate)

11am: Hit the road for a run - exploring the city at the same time.  This is a great way to see the sites for free while getting some exercise in.  Win/win!

12pm: Pack a lunch/dinner (saves loads of $$$) and prepare myself for the day

1pm: Squeeze in a quick nap as it is usually a long night of work ahead

2pm - 11pm/12am: Heads down on the computer executing new customer onboarding sessions via screen share, calling existing accounts and bugging my TeamSnap family via Slack.

The constant change of country, currency, language, culture, roommates, etc is exciting and exhausting at the same time.  I find having a routine is the only way I keep sane and focused on my career.
 

Where does your passion for travel come from?

My passion for travel comes from my upbringing as my family was always on the go.  Whether that is moving homes in Fort Collins, CO or road trips each summer, we always had some place new to explore.  I have never been one to “settle down” - I get the itch for change almost every 2 years.  This has led to living in 4 different states the past 9 years while finding time to travel abroad over holidays.  

I love to challenge myself and no better way than to immerse yourself in another culture.  The world is a beautiful place and I need to experience every bit of it!
 

How has working remotely affected your current work?

My productivity has actually increased since going on Remote Year.   There are so many distractions that can pull you away from work but I set very clearly expectations for myself.  It’s easy to put things off for a later time but there will never be more time later.  

Although the timezones are killer on my schedule, I know it is a necessary evil.  Working evenings and eventually nights in Asia allows me the freedom to travel for the year which is 100% worth it.

 

Do you plan to sustain this remote lifestyle after Remote Year?


I will definitely continue working remote in my post Remote Year life but it’s hard to define how remote I’ll go.  There are many other Remote Year destinations that aren’t on my current itinerary that I’d love to jump into as part of the citizen program but I am also looking forward to being closer to home.   I have kicked around the idea of traveling the US for a bit as well or just bumming a room off my little brother for a few months.

I still have 5+ months before I have to make a decision and who knows what will change in that time frame!  All I know is I want to see family/friends and I wouldn’t be caught dead going back into an office from 9am - 5pm each day.
 

What is the most challenging part of being a remote worker?

The most challenging part for me is finding a good, healthy balance while on the road.  As soon as you think you nailed the routine with the perfect crossfit box and food plan, you are packing up your bags and dropping into a new city/country.  I typically spend the first Sunday in the new location scoping out the workspace, finding a gym and buying groceries.  It is impossible to feel good eating out every meal or skipping workouts and feeling good is critical to having a successful week at work.  

 

What is the best part about being a remote worker?

Freedom! Freedom from office politics, freedom from dress codes, freedom from being tied to a desk for 8+ hours a day.  It is my choice on when I want to work, where or how I spend my time working.  TeamSnap sets clear targets/goals and it is up to me on how I choose to execute.  There is no shame in throwing in the towel for 2 hours in the middle of the workday if you feel like exploring a local park and eating gelato.  It makes you all the more productive when you get back to your tasks.  

 

Your favorite remote working hack?

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  They have saved me more times than I can count!  Always have a sandwich in your bag just in case you take a wrong turn hiking or if walking tour runs longer than expected.  I always pack 1-2 sandwiches on transition day that way I can eat while in a long immigration line or while we drive to our new apartments.  Nothing is worse than melting down due to lack of food!
 

3 things you can't live without on the road?

  • Collapsible tupperware (packing a lunch is key to staying healthy and saving money!)
  • Running shoes
  • Sunscreen (ginger problems)

 

What has been your favorite Remote Year city? Why?

I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite city as each location is so different and there are so many things I love about them all.  Below are a few of the highlights:

  • Lima, Peru:  Surfing before work, ceviche and seeing the most beautiful sunsets
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina: Empanadas, empanadas and more empanadas
  • Prague, Czech Republic: Running the city streets and exploring local parks


Describe your Remote Year experience in 3 words.
 

Exciting, Challenging, Rewarding

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect days the past 6 months have revolved around three things - running, fabulous friends and McDonalds.  As much as I preach healthy living, there will always be a soft spot for Macca’s.  

I have been part of the Meraki running crew since the very start of Remote Year and been talked into a few ridiculous races.  My running mates know that if they promise me Macca’s at the end, I won’t be able to say no!  We did a 13K trail race in Bogota, Colombia where I was cursing at the 1K mark when I realized it was point to point and all uphill.  I finished much faster than expected out of spite and annoyance that I signed up for it.  

We also did a half marathon in Buenos Aires, Argentina - signing up only 10 days prior.  Two of my buddies PR’d the race which was incredible!

These are the days that we all look back upon and can’t stop laughing!

 

Where are you in 30 years?

My 30 year goal is to be in the same spot I am today - financially stable, enjoying life to the fullest and spending time with amazing friends/family.   

As my Dad always says “better looking and younger everyday” which wouldn’t hurt 30 years from now!


Your favorite quote / words to live by?

“If you can’t win, make the person ahead of you break the record”