There comes a point in your Remote Year journey where you’ve made the decision: you’re going to change your life and join a work and travel program.
After weeks (maybe even months) spent internally making the case for and against packing up your bags to hit the road, you can put those anxious feelings behind you at last. All of the back-and-forth, the could-this-change-my-life-or-am-I-making-a-mistake thoughts have been resolved: you’re on the path toward the person you want to become. You can finally feel at ease.
Until you realize you’re going to have to talk to your family about it - and that conversation is going to be a little difficult. They’re going to have some questions and you’re not quite sure that you’ll be able to answer them succinctly, or in a way that makes sense to someone who doesn’t completely understand what’s possible in the digital age. How can you possibly explain that the only way that you can reach your full potential is to meet a bunch of strangers and travel the world together?
Well, when you put it that way…
The truth is, your family might not get it at first. It might take a few conversations for them to grasp what exactly it is that you’re pursuing - and that’s okay. You’re entering new territory here, so give them some time and be prepared to respond with the following answers to the questions that they’re sure to ask:
Wait...what are you doing again?
Glad you asked! I’ve signed up to join a work and travel program, which is an organized experience in which participants have an opportunity to keep their jobs and work remotely while traveling the world.
So I’ll be traveling the world for a year (or four months) with a group of like-valued people. I’ll have the chance to live in different cities for a month at a time and experience different cultures, all while working remotely.
What does working remotely mean?
Working remotely means being able to handle all of the responsibilities of my job outside of the traditional office.
For example, since I spend most of my time at work on the computer or the phone, it makes it simple for me to take my work with me anywhere. I don’t have to be inside a traditional office to excel in my career; I just need access to a WiFi connection. In fact, many companies are offering fully-remote jobs or implementing remote work policies so that their employees can have better work-life balance.
Why are you doing this?
Option A: I’ve been feeling stuck in my life lately. I’ve gotten into a routine: I wake up, get through my hour-long commute, work from 9-5, head home, eat takeout or leftovers, watch TV, and head to bed. Even though I haven’t been unhappy, I haven’t exactly been happy either. It’s more like I’ve just been comfortable with the way things are going.
Option B: I want to see everything the world has to offer - on a larger scale than a vacation would allow. This program lets me live and work in these cities as if I were a local, and organizes all of my transportation and accommodations along the way. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work and travel with a community of people who are just like me. How could I not take advantage of that?
Option C: I just want to get out there and see the world! When else will I have a chance to live and work in a new city every month for an entire year? Every day I’ll have new experiences, new views, and new chances to meet people from different backgrounds with unique stories. Breaking out of my comfort zone will help me find out who I really am, who I want to be, and how I can grow into that person.
Where are you going?
There were a lot of different options when it came itineraries, so I chose the one that made the most sense for me based on the destinations and timing. A few of the cities that I’ll be living and working in are Mexico City, Cape Town, Lisbon, and Hanoi, but I’ll visit 12 cities in total over the course of the next year. You can check out my itinerary here!
Who will be with you?
That’s the best part of the whole thing: I’ll be traveling with a group of people who share my values and sense of adventure. I don’t know exactly how many people I’ll be traveling with, but group sizes range between 30 and 80. These groups are diverse, with people aged 22-65 with over 40 nationalities represented within the entire Remote Year community, so I’ll definitely be traveling with people who are both similar and different from myself.
Remote Year curates communities of professionals from around the world, so I’ll be meeting people who I would have never connected with if it weren’t for this experience. It’s not only a great networking opportunity, but also a great way to make friends as an adult outside of a work environment. I know that after traveling the world together I’ll come out on the other side with lifelong relationships and friends to visit whenever I start to get the itch to travel again.
Are you going to be safe?
Don’t worry - I made sure to look into safety measures! Remote Year has connections with local resources, government resources and is contracted with ISOS so that they can respond to a situation if something goes wrong. They also have a dedicated local staff that can give me the lowdown on which areas of the city are safe to explore and which are better to avoid.
There is also great safety in numbers. I’m going to be traveling with a large, tight knit group of people. We’ll all keep tabs on each other to make sure that everyone stays safe. I think it’s going to be very unlikely that someone could be gone for more than a few hours without someone from the group asking, “Where is so-and-so?”
Is this going to be bad for your career?
I’ve thought about that too! I’ve looked into it, and people who go on Remote Year actually experience a lot of professional success. People have been promoted while working and traveling, have gotten raises, won awards and have even started their own businesses with other people in the Remote Year community. There is a lot of research out there to backup remote work’s benefits as well - I’m happy to share that with you!
Can I visit?
I’d love you to! As a visitor, you can stay with me in my accommodations in whichever city you choose to visit and there will be some opportunities for you to tag along to events with my community if you’re interested. I can’t wait to see the world with you!
See, that wasn’t so bad was it? You might have to go over these answers a time or two with your family, but just know that they’re looking out for you. The more you can educate them on what you’re doing, the more secure they’ll feel with your decision. Soon enough, they’ll be on board and ready to encourage you as you pursue personal growth on Remote Year.