Work and travel programs are relatively new, so we don’t blame you for wanting to get to know them a bit better before diving in. In fact, when we first started Remote Year, work and travel programs weren’t really a thing.
In 2014, Greg Caplan and Sam Pessin - the cofounders of Remote Year - were looking for a way to continue building their careers while traveling the world. They knew that people were the most creative and productive when they were inspired by their surroundings and that, with a great WiFi connection, great work could be done from anywhere.
We’ve led the way by ushering in a remote work lifestyle that doesn’t separate work from “real life” - it brings the two together so that each can be pursued to its full potential. That’s what we believe a work and travel program should do.
What is a Work and Travel Program?
Let’s start with a basic definition. A work and travel program is an organized experience in which participants have an opportunity to keep their jobs and work remotely while traveling the world.
Simple, right? Now, let’s shake things up.
Work and travel programs vary based on different factors including the length of the program, the number of people in each group, what types of people form the community, where the program travels to, what kinds of resources participants have access to and so on.
One thing a work and travel program is not? A job provider. Participants typically come to the program with a full-time position, freelance clients or their own business in hand, ready to take on the next step in their career while traveling the world.
That’s what a work and travel program looks like on paper. What that description doesn’t tell you is how life-changing, earth-shaking and goosebump-giving a work and travel program can be.
Why go on a Work and Travel Program?
We get asked this question a lot. While everyone seems to have a different answer, each response typically revolves around one of three main topics:
Freedom and Purpose
Hands down, one of the main reasons that people join a work and travel program is because they are searching for a larger sense of freedom and purpose. Whether that means the ability to set your own schedule or adding a bit of adventure to a role that is already remote, a work and travel program can provide the structure and support you need to continue pursuing your passions, both personal and professional. Open your mind to the idea that frequent exposure to new surroundings will result in creativity, inspiration and a renewed commitment to your goals - and then get out there and achieve them.
Ever heard of the term “comfort zone”?It’s not a part of our vocabulary. A work and travel program will push you to discover parts of your personality that haven’t been stimulated in years. Instead of heading to happy hour after work with your typical crew, you’ll be inspired to expand your network and prospect new clients - or employees if you own your own business. In fact, many employees use work and travel programs as an opportunity to get to know a country and culture that their company is considering as a potential market.
The people who go on work and travel programs have an opportunity to live in each city that they travel to as a local. On Remote Year, we even have on-the-ground City Teams that curate immersive cultural events and provide personal recommendations on where to eat, work and explore.
Beyond the new relationships that you will create throughout the year, travel in itself will force you to grow in ways that you might not expect. Everyday tasks like shopping for groceries and making dinner reservations will take a bit of extra effort as you adjust to cultural norms in a new country. When you decide to let go of the comforts that have been holding you back, you enter the growth zone and find ways to succeed in any environment.
Hands-down, one of the major reasons why people join a work and travel program is because they are craving community. There is nothing quite like the bond that you will develop with each of your fellow travelers after living, working and exploring together for an entire year. These are the people who will start as friends and become more like family as you work together, laugh together and support each other through rough patches. With so many talented, motivated people inspiring you to reach the next level in your career, you’ll feel empowered to crush your goals and encourage others in their endeavors.
You have the unique ability to pick the brains of professionals from different industries, engage a test audience for your new business idea and, just think, you’ll finally have a few friends to drag along to that meetup you’ve been wanting to attend! Whether you are a full-time employee at a company, a freelancer or own your own company, you’ll find that group meals, jam sessions, local experiences and late nights in the workspace will lead to a diverse professional network that will last a lifetime.