Remote Year is not a decision that you make in a minute. It’s not even a decision that you can make in a day, a week, or a month. While you might feel that immediate tug toward diving in head first into the experience of a lifetime, the thought of picking up your life to travel the world with a group of strangers can feel overwhelming. You might feel apprehensive, contemplative, and even fearful about the thought of following through on turning your remote work and travel dreams into a reality.
Until that one moment.
The moment when everything you’ve been thinking and feeling tips over the edge and you realize that this is an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day. When it hits you that your life actually could be full of adventure, freedom, and purpose, and it isn’t a crazy pipe dream.
Welcome to the tipping point - the moment you realize that you’re all in. You’re throwing in your chips and calling society’s bluff that says you have to follow a straight and narrow path. That’s not you! And now you know how you’re going to change your world.
That’s the kind of thing that happens on Remote Year. Growth moments and lightbulb dings are the norm, not the exception.
We spoke to a few Remotes and Citizens who know this feeling all too well and asked them about the critical moment that they knew they were going to join Remote Year.
Join a community of like-valued people who are seeking purpose and growth on a work and travel program
What Did You Want to Change About Your Life?
When people are considering joining Remote Year, it’s usually because they want to make some sort of change. They look at the way that their lives are unfolding, and they want to adjust their trajectory and change their course.
“I felt like I was checking off a series of checkboxes in my life, you know? It was like ‘Go to college, get a degree, work in your field and maybe when you’re 65 you can then live your best life.’ That just wasn’t working for me. So when Remote Year came along it seemed like an opportunity to 1) see the world but also 2) continue working in my field and exploring the different things that I could do in public relations and journalism. ” - Rhonda Craig, Remote Year Darien
“I was at a point in my career where I was sick of watching the events of the world unfold before me on my computer screen. I wanted to go experience them. I wanted to be immersed into new cultures, new ideas and things like that. When [Remote Year] came across I knew it was the right thing to do.”- Marc Johnson, Remote Year 1
For others, the opportunity seemed like a perfect opportunity to align their dreams and passions - it was just too good to pass up.
“I was at a point where my relationship was about to go long-distance and a couple of my friends were sort of branching out of their comfort zones. I had been at the same job for two years and at that point I wanted some way of changing location, some way be able to travel. Some of my friends were getting opportunities abroad and it seemed like this would be a great point to challenge myself and get out into a place that I hadn’t been before.” - Samvida Patel, Remote Year Ikigai
“I was always looking for a way to be able to travel but I couldn’t take off an entire year - I couldn’t afford it. It was like the best of both worlds: you could travel and work at the same time.” - Darrin Lindsay, Remote Year Cousteau
What Were Your Biggest Fears?
Taking the leap to change up your lifestyle and hit the road for a year doesn’t come without its own bevy of fears and doubts. Don’t worry - it’s not just you! Everyone who goes on Remote Year has a moment of, “Is this really going to work?” before they join a program.
“I don’t have a job that I could do as I have time. It’s stuck to East Coast hours and it’s a pretty full time position. I also train employees and the fear was that how could I do that remotely?” Darrin said. “It was easier than I thought with the technology. I knew it was going to be challenging, but I did it pretty well.”
“For my family it was definitely a safety thing,” Rhonda said. “A lot of times I pull up CNN and show them the headlines and just remind them that these things happen any time, anywhere, so I feel just as safe in Morocco [as I do anywhere else].”
“I guess with any new change, any big step you take, you’re going to be a bit nerve wracked about the people that you’ll be with,” Samvida said. “Will you gel with them? It’s almost like going to college again and being nervous about finding your niche but that worked out. I can definitely vouch that it’s something you’ll get over.”
After dealing with personal fears, some Remotes worry about what people back in the office will really think about their experience abroad.
“I went back to Turkey for a wedding and worked in the office again after being abroad for three months,” Selen Atac from Remote Year Magellan said. “Some of my colleagues were thinking I was kind of on a holiday. I literally had to tell them that I overworked for two months just to prove to myself to my directors and to my company that I was good with my deadlines.”
For Samvida, another concern was how Remote Year would translate in a professional conversation, or even on a resume.
“I didn’t have any concerns about logistically working remotely but I did have concerns about what would happen after Remote Year. Whether this would enrich my resume, what kind of career I would fall into after, whether people would take this program seriously or whether they would just see it as an opportunity to travel. But, reflecting on how a lot of my friends are coming back and sharing their experiences about how [their travels] have enriched them, that gave me comfort on a professional level.”
What Was Your Specific Tipping Point?
Finally, after wading through the waters of excitement, then fear, then doubt, many Remotes make it to that glorious moment when they feel completely sure of their decision. They know they want to commit to a life-changing experience - and they hit that “I’m ready to go!” button without any more hesitation.
“For me the tipping point really came when I paid that deposit. I want to make it really clear that it wasn’t about the money at that point, it was more about the action, taking the action,” Matt Tritico of Remote Year Battuta said. “When I got accepted, I knew I wanted to do it and of course all of these thoughts are going around in my head and when I paid it, it was the first positive action I had taken toward this trip. So that was definitely it. Then the ball started rolling.”
“I think my tipping point was seeing [the members of Remote Year 1] in Istanbul,” Selen said. “I was looking for ways to do work and travel together when I stumbled upon on Instagram post from a Turkish coworking space about Remote Year. It was like a dream come true. So I reached out to Greg the founder and he put me in touch with Remotes and I got to see them in Istanbul and I stayed in touch with one of the Turkish participants in that group. She really helped me along the way with all of my crazy questions until my acceptance. I was really confident with my decision but it also helped to reach out to the Remotes who were already doing it.”
“The tipping point for me was when my founder came on board,” Samvida said. “When I got the okay from the founder, he sent me an email with a bunch of exclamation points saying ‘You got it! Go sign up!’ So I reached out and asked if I could get into the August itinerary before anybody could change their mind.”
What Would Be Your Advice for Someone Considering Remote Year?
Now that these Remotes have embraced the remote work and travel lifestyle, , they have plenty of wisdom to share. If you’re considering making a major change in your life and joining a work and travel program, you’re going to want to hear these Remote Year reviews.
“If I were to give any advice I would say commit to the decision and commit to the entire year if you can,” Matt said. “When you commit to something you get this extra level of resolve, and this resolve will help you when things get hard out on the road because they will. There’s all sorts of challenges out here. The resolve will help you and the whole group. Don’t forget you’re traveling with this community and everybody’s committed to the same goal - getting through the year together.”
“That being said I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to do this. It’s for everybody that’s still here, it’s been one hell of an adventure. Many people say it’s the best decision they ever made and the best year of your life.
“Life doesn’t stop when you join Remote Year so don’t come expecting unicorns and rainbows all the time, but expect growth, expect to be pushed out of your comfort level and expect it to be a life-changing experience,” Rhonda said. “Don’t let your fear guide your decision.”
“If you have the slightest inclination of wanting to travel consider whether you’d regret it if you didn’t do it,” Samvida said. “If it’s something professional that’s keeping you on the fence, you will figure it out. I think a lot of organizations really do value this kind of exposure and what you can bring to the table after your year abroad. If you’re having any struggles, blockages, obstacles in terms of having your employer approve this, Remote Year has a great business case where they almost can’t take no for an answer.”
“To echo everyone, it’s tough. It’s a year of your life. It’s a serious commitment. You should do it,” Matt said. “You’ve only got one life, why not? It’s amazing and if you don’t do it, you’ll regret it - whether that’s a week after you were supposed to ship out and all of your could-be friends are hanging out in a city across the world getting to know each other, or it’s a year after or you’re 85 and you’re wrinkly and you’re looking back at the things you didn’t do. You’ll regret not taking this chance.”
When it comes to deciding whether or not you want to join a work and travel program, the best people to talk to are the ones who have been through it all. They’ve taken the chance, they’ve made the leap, and they’ve stuck it out - and their lives have been changed for the better because of it. As you consider your own decision, think back to these anecdotes and nuggets of advice or, even better, see if you can connect with somebody who has done Remote Year and chat about their experience.
In the end, though, it all comes down to you. This could be the decision that changes your perspective -and your life. Are you ready for it?