Remote Year is releasing a series of perspectives from a different Remote on month 1, month 6 and month 12 showcasing the evolution of their time on Remote Year. Next up, Melissa Scatena currently traveling with Remote Year — Ikigai.
One word to describe how you are feeling right now?
What’s one thing that you miss?
My students — I spent the past two years teaching in inner-city Baltimore and they stole a huge piece of my heart.
What are you looking forward to?
Surprisingly enough, I am really looking forward to the uncomfortable travel that will be South America. I know there will be quite a few growth zone moments to come that will push me to adapt, reflect, and grow — I welcome the challenge. I’m also excited to explore, eat, dance, hike, and (attempt to) speak my way through a brand new continent.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Audible — when suitcase weight is limited and time is of the essence, I cherish the opportunity to listen and learn on the go — while commuting, traveling or working — audiobooks have been a lifesaver.
One thing you are nervous about?
Life post-Remote Year. Right now, it is all very unknown. I don’t know where I’ll be living, what I’ll be doing or who I will be with. I’m extremely happy and content in this moment and I am hoping I will be able to find a way to sustain a similar lifestyle and community.
What’s one thing you would say to someone thinking about joining Remote Year?
Focus less energy on the risk and more on the reward. You can’t put a dime on the value of this experience. Quit day dreaming about it and make it happen!
What is some advice you would give someone currently on Remote Year?
It’s okay to take off your rose-colored glasses once in awhile and feel emotions other than pure happiness. So many of us are afraid to share with family and friends back home when we are sad or hurt or stressed- in fear of being perceived as being ungrateful for this opportunity. But, the real world doesn’t just stop — shit still gets real out here exploring the world. We still feel homesickness, heart break, work stress, and the like - we’re just experiencing them in a new place.
Do you have any tips on managing a remote role?
Be transparent, communicate clearly (and often), and manage expectations. Don’t set the precedent early on that you will be available 24/7 just to prove yourself, it will end up being impossible to maintain as the year continues. Also, learn to appreciate and love your work for the lifestyle it allows you to lead and the experiences it allows you to have!
How have the people you met on remote year impacted your life both personally and professionally?
Just to preface, I am the youngest in my group. It has been such a rewarding experience gaining the personal and professional respect of those older, wiser and more experienced than myself. When you are surrounded by so many intelligent, ambitious, and talented people, you can’t help but to push yourself to be more driven, open-minded and motivated to succeed. We are not afraid to have tough conversations, give it to each other real, and help each other out at any time of day, both personally and professionally. Because I am an entrepreneur, the Remote Nation has become an invaluable community for gaining knowledge, mentors, and a better understanding of my potential.
People always describe our community as consisting of “like-minded” people and we definitely are like-minded in many ways (i.e. our love for travel, interest in the remote lifestyle, passion for giving back). But what has impacted me the most has been discovering the diversity and unique story of each individual remote in our family. Remote Year has truly set the bar for the people I want to surround myself with for the rest of my life.
If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be?
Forget FOMO (Fear of missing out) and be here now. My very wise old man told me this before I left as a way of learning to truly embrace each moment. It wasn’t until a few dozen side trips later that I realized what he meant. I was so busy planning future travels, crossing items off my bucket list, and making sure I didn’t miss out that I was missing the local adventures that were right at my doorstep. Around month five, I made a promise to myself to stick to one side trip a month. This helped to create consistency and a better understanding of the cities where I lived. It has changed my outlook on the entire experience and allowed me to spend a lot more time focusing on myself.
Anything else you would like to say about your Remote Year experience?
I have been constantly filled with gratitude for the past six months. I would love to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for those who have created, supported, and made my Remote Year experience.
Thank you to the incredible humans who work tirelessly to challenge the status quo, change the future of work, and support a lifestyle that makes sense for free-spirited professionals like myself.
Thank you to those I left behind- many of whom may never have an opportunity to see so much of the world.
And to my community, Ikigai, saying thank you will never be enough.