Reporting Lead, CoderDojo Foundation
Why did you decide to go on Remote Year?
Before remote year I had lived in Dublin for over 6 years and was getting itchy feet to explore somewhere new but I still loved and enjoyed my job too much to leave.
Following a night out, I was lying well tucked under my duvet and blanket in the middle of the day scrolling bleakly through the Irish house rental site but of course I easily became distracted. As any person does when distracted on the interwebs I began scrolling through facebook in the hope there was a cute animal video to distract me from my hangover, instead I stumbled upon something better; ‘Travel the world with 75 interesting people while working remotely! Apply now.’ While initially dubious that this could be a huge scam, I clicked the button and here we are.
How did you find yourself a remote role?
My company is a global non-profit called CoderDojo which has over 1,200 free coding clubs for kids in 70 countries. Originally my role was not a remote role, nor were any of my team remote. However, once accepted to Remote Year I put together a case for my role to become remote, which meant a small amount of restructuring but not too much. In addition to this, a large part of that business case was also centred on connecting in person with our volunteers in the cities I was living in or in neighbouring cities to those on my Remote Year itinerary. For me connecting with our local volunteers has been one of the most valuable experiences on Remote Year. Asia and South America are a bit further from our office base in Europe, and so we don’t often get the chance to meet the people in those continents who are powering the CoderDojo movement and inspiring more young people to learn to code!
What advice would you give to others considering Remote Year?
I think weighing up why you believe Remote Year is the right platform for you is really important. For me it was a chance to explore and keep my job, trying out this digital nomad lifestyle, with the safety net of a community around. For others it was a completely clean break from a career they disliked and a chance to explore a different opportunity. If you don’t know why you want a year on the road in the first place, even if that reason is to take some killer instagram photos, then it’s hard to keep going on through the tougher moments.
What are you working on for the year?
I’m working in my full time role for CoderDojo doing all things operations, product management, impact measurement, community enhancement and sometimes even content creation! The best part of my job on remote year is meeting volunteers or even attendees of our clubs on the road. I’m continuously in awe and inspired by the technology projects that the young people are building and the dedication of our volunteers, whether it be in Argentina or in Romania!
What do you hope to achieve/gain by the end of Remote Year?
Life long friendships and if not that at least 50 couches around the world to crash when I need to!
What does your typical work day look like?
This is highly dependent on the continent we’re on but I’m generally one of the earlier birds in the office along with the rest of the Europeans and Horacio, who will be in early creating the newest custom emojis on slack for our group. I’ll clearly start my day with coffee from the nearest local coffee shop, though I have been known to give in when I’m late and Starbucks is super close to the office. For most of the day I’ll be stuck in a call booth or if I’m lucky out meeting our amazing volunteers who are based locally. Then in the evening you can find me trying some new activity from Capoeira to boxing or in the pub with my fellow Irish remote!
How has working remotely affected your current work?
In certain timezones I’ve been able to be more productive with some enforced quiet time when my colleagues are asleep, this is something I’ll definitely miss when I head back to our Dublin office! On the flip side though, it’s definitely harder to do whiteboarding sessions and team meetings and you miss out on the social things in your colleagues lives unless you make time for that water cooler talk on skype.
Do you plan to sustain this remote lifestyle after Remote Year?
Cc’ing my boss on this one...
What is the most challenging part of being a digital nomad?
Finding wifi in remote locations, like a surf town or the desert!
What is the best part about being a digital nomad?
The opportunity to nip to [insert beautiful place here] for the weekend without even thinking about it.
Where have you lived / traveled to previously?
Thanks to my favourite airline, Ryanair, I’ve seen quite a lot of Europe being so close by! I’ve also travelled in South East Asia and Australia, and spent a summer working in Chicago.
What book should everyone read?
I’ve decided to narrow down to books I’ve just read this year, which is tough considering our Magellan book club had chosen some great reads but ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy has to win out. I read it when we were in Morocco and distinctly remember being transported to India every time I picked it up.
What is a song for the road?
Bangor Town - Foy Vance
In our first month one of our community’s favourite cafe’s had an Irish barista and played Foy Vance’s ‘Wild Swan’ album on repeat. Since then I always listen to one song on this album titled ‘Bangor Town’ for our transitions which reminds me that even though I may be travelling that where I’m from is still one of the most beautiful places on earth and will always welcome me back to it’s shores.
Your favorite digital nomad hack?
Using every feature on Revolut. For any us non-Americans, who don’t get amazing credit card deals and currency rates, this app and credit card is the hack that has made my year and impressed me every turn.
What are 3 useless items you have kept on the road?
An old school scientific calculator which I prefer to my phone calculator but always forget to bring to work, emergency teabags in my hand luggage (for the small chance that I may get stuck at an unequipped airport or desert island without tea) and a roll up portable piano that I bought in the Hong Kong market but can’t actually even play! For some reason I know these are entirely useless most of the time but I 100% haven’t been able to part with them!
What has been your favorite Remote Year city? Why?
Hanoi!! I had previously been there for a short time when travelling through South East Asia and I had loved Vietnam from the get go on that trip. Nothing changed this time around and it was even more magical to get to know just Hanoi for one month. Hanoi is organised chaos, with amazing food, great people and a large expat community. It was also a stand out month for me as two of my best friends were already living there and spending an extended period of time with them was exactly what I needed at our halfway mark.
Describe your Remote Year experience in 3 words.
Chaos, Breathtaking & ‘Turn up’
What are you most passionate about?
Creating a sustainable social impact which is (local) community led & finding a magic cure to my hangovers.
Your favorite quote / words to live by?
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea', the great philosopher" Eric Cantona.