Introducing Meet The Remote Year Team. We are excited to feature interviews of some of the incredible humans that help bring the remote working concept to life. First up Anastasia Chapman!
What is your role at Remote Year?
I am what’s called a Program Leader. A program involves a group of participants (called “Remotes”) living and working remotely in a different city around the globe for a month at a time.
I am responsible for planning, leading, and implementing community events and local experiences for Remotes. I am a travel “mamma bear,” if you will. My job description in a nutshell: problem solver, communicator, building maintenance, therapist, internet technician, and dance-off enthusiast.
Why does Remote Year employ Program Leaders? How do you help Remotes during their adventures?
While creating an amazing experience for Remotes is extremely important to us, ensuring the safety of all our participants is paramount. We work to ensure a smooth transition from city to city and to make sure Remotes have what they need to be successful while living and working abroad. We focus on day-to-day connectivity in the workspace, troubleshooting any issues that may arise, and also providing access and information to cultural, community, and local events.
What is it that makes Remote Year so special? Why?
There are a lot of other options out there to help you plan travel. Remote Year not only takes care of all travel arrangements, but also puts together vibrant communities of diverse professionals who travel together. They meet as a group of strangers and in only a few short months, they feel like a giant family. Not only does the community travel together, experience cultural and community events with one another, and hold and attend workshops to boost their professional skillsets, but they also hold each other accountable for reaching their goals. The deep connections they make over the course of a year become the bread and butter of an unforgettable journey and relationships that can last a lifetime.
What led you to become interested in Remote Year and join its staff?
I had been following Remote Year on all its social platforms for over a year and loved everything the company offered. The thought of traveling with a core community of diverse individuals, while not having to worry about the logistical headaches seemed so unique and something I wanted to be a part of. I originally wanted to join one of the programs myself, until I came across the job posting for the Program Leader position. I believe in Remote Year’s vision and values, and this position seemed like an incredible opportunity. I took the leap, applied, and in a few months, was on the road. I’ve never been more happy in a position, and I’ve never looked back.
So far, what has been the biggest surprise to you about Remote Year?
One of the biggest surprises for me was how feasible the remote-work lifestyle really is. When I first started following Remote Year back home, I would constantly tell myself, “Wow, these people are so lucky to be able to work and travel,” or, “I wish I could do something like that.” Prior to this experience, I assumed you needed to be tied to an office to be productive, when I now believe just the opposite. Passionate and inspiring people are contagious, and traveling ignites this. I can see how happy my group has been in their day-to-day living and also in their professional work.
What has downsizing to a suitcase taught you?
I’ve learned to prioritize experiences over things. By consuming less, I have more financial and emotional freedom as well as more time and energy to pursue what truly makes our hearts pulsate with joy and happiness.
What has been your favorite Remote event to date?
In each destination, Remote Year offers something called Tracks™ which are aimed to give Remotes a tailored and authentic flavor of each city. I really loved one Track event called “Day At The Bells” which involved an overnight camping and hiking trip to the Bells Monument in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was a truly authentic experience as we weren’t in a designated campsite, but the Experience Manager, Laura, knew just the right spot. We had traditional Bulgarian food prepared and sang campfire songs. It was a great bonding experience for the community.
Has the Remote Year program you served developed any rituals?
My favourite ritual is our Starfish Award which was initiated by a Remote. Every bi-weekly community gathering (called a Town Hall) ends with the Starfish Award, where one Remote gets the opportunity to acknowledge another Remote who has positively impacted their journey in some way. We then take a moment to go around and appreciate that person and all that they bring to our community.
One of the great things about Remote Year is that Remotes get to observe over the course of 12 months how every personality type or profession has something to contribute to the group dynamic. Repeatedly, I see empathy and humility coming together to allow people from different backgrounds to appreciate one another.
What does it take to be a Remote?
While exploring a new city every month can almost seem like a dream, it comes with unexpected challenges. I think one thing our community does well is “embracing the chaos” (our community’s motto) that comes with traveling. They are adventurous, patient, adaptable, and most importantly, can find the humour in almost any situation. I love our community!
What is the biggest piece of advice you would offer someone starting their Remote Year journey?
Remember: It’s a marathon, not a race. The first few months on a program can feel overwhelming as participants develop new routines, while simultaneously building relationships with other community members, and trying to see all the amazing sites of the city. Take your time and remember you have a whole year to build connections with other Remotes and form lasting friendships.