Remote Year Merantau captures the indescribable choice to leave your past behind as you move towards your future. The meaning of merantau is “to take a journey or to wander”, often in reference to leaving behind your home and family to venture into the world. You’ll join a community of people who, like you, are leaving behind their comfort zones to search for the next iteration of themselves over the course of this 12-month adventure. With their support, you’ll learn that letting fear hold you back has never helped you. By spreading your wings there’s a chance you could fall, but there’s also a chance you could fly.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cape Town, South Africa
Mexico City, Mexico
Embrace the abundance of beauty on this program - Hike Machu Picchu, visit Colombia's highest waterfall, and scale Mexico's pyramids.
This UNESCO World Heritage in South Africa site is where Nelson Mandela was held captive for years before the fall of apartheid.
Ride Uber Motos (yes, that is Uber for motorcycle rides and it exists) down the bustling streets of Hanoi, contrast your digital life against 2000 years of Chiang Mai history, discover the elegance in Kyoto's simplicity, and never taste the same meal twice in Kuala Lumpur.
It's only been two days and I'm already in love with Asia and Hanoi. I'm digging the chaos, the humidity, the plastic chair dining establishments, the chilies so hot they make you cry, the daily juices and smoothies, the cheap massages, the random tropical rainstorms, the 23,000-1 exchange rate, the lightning storms as you sleep, and the fact that crossing the road is a near death experience.
"From the countless night markets and street food stalls, to the fascinating and creative ladyboy cabaret shows, to the bajillion temples scattered throughout the city and the surrounding hills, there is a ton of stuff to discover."
"I was told that Kyoto had Savannah/Charleston vibes and I totally didn’t believe it. I was completely wrong. (...) It’s a biking town with little streets, little buildings, little cafes, and a river winding along the side. There are crosswalks and traffic laws. It is littered with bistros and parks and temples, and surprisingly also high end fashion. "
"Our city managers explained this well our first week in KL – when you say culture, in KL this means FOOD. Jalan Alor is a road home to the coolest street food night market, which I lovingly call ‘food street.’ Here the food is ready to eat, cheap ($2 ish for a meal), and even though you might not know 100% what it is, it’s a ton of fun. The place becomes alive at night and stays open till who knows when, I’m in bed by then anyway #grandmastatus."
"Falling asleep the sounds of the waves. Spending a weekend on a boat. Watching the sunset change the colors of the sky, the water. "... "In Split, Remote Year has built their first co-working space, WIP, and it’s awesome. There’s amazing light, plenty of space, and it really feels like a true co-working space."
"Lisbon really is one of those places where you find unexpected delights round every corner – whether it’s an ancient, crumbling but beautiful building, a restaurant serving only mushrooms, an amazing view across the city or yet another wine bar. One thing I certainly wasn’t expecting was all the tiles (...) turning buildings into artworks in themselves, (...) The food in Lisbon is incredible – and impossible to pass up."
"Wandering commute through the grand Valencian buildings, orange and palm trees, and past bustling cafes filled with relaxed spaniards, being able to leave in the middle of the day to see the sights of a place I would normally set as a desktop background. Valencia is sunny and 75 degrees, relatively flat, and absolutely gorgeous. I’m living in Russafa, the ‘trendy’ neighborhood, filled with coffee shops and bars that advertise a plethora of 1 euro beers and plenty of diverse foods. It feels like Berlin, without all the dog shit on the sidewalks, mixed with the ease and charm of Florence or Rome."
"There is little reason to wonder why so many people are drawn to Cape Town. The city has almost everything to offer: beaches, food, mountains, wildlife, history, culture, wine, and adventure sports. Exploring Cape Town takes time; life seems to move a little slower in the Cape. The locals enjoy their city’s very laid-back attitude, and you’ll want to do the same. We stayed for two months and still hear about things that we missed. We’re already plotting our eventual return!"
It's a wonderful place for strolling and each neighborhood has its unique flavor and tone. Head out for the day to take in the museums, grand architecture, and pedestrian malls of the Centro, before an having an afternoon picnic in one of the gorgeous hillside parks that punctuate the city's landscape. Nightlife takes off in the sidewalk eateries, cafes, and beer halls of Barrios Brasil, Lastarria, and Bellavista, or head east to well-heeled neighborhoods like Providencia and Las Condes, where you'll find tiny restaurants and world-class hotels. With a growing economy, renovated art scene, and plenty of eccentricity to spare, Santiago is an old-guard city on the cusp of a modern-day renaissance.
Lima sits on the Peruvian coast and provides access to beaches and cliffs for the Pacific Ocean, but is also surrounded by desert and snowless mountains. It’s given us surfing each morning, workouts in parks, evenings in bars, clubs and raves, some of the best food in the world, the strongest and smoothest pisco sours, and a base with which at least one person flew to Cusco every week to hike Machu Picchu. We took weekend trips for hiking, glacial trekking, sand boarding, dune buggying, lagoon swimming, white water rafting, repelling and zip lining across rivers and between cliffs.
They don’t call Medellín the City of Eternal Spring for nothing – although, paradoxically, it hasn’t always been that way. (...) Spring is the season of new beginnings, and Medellín’s story of rebirth and transformation over the past 15 years or so is nothing short of miraculous. Once a hub of cocaine-fuelled crime, and ruled over with an iron fist (plus an arsenal of weapons) by Pablo Escobar – he of Narcos notoriety – now Colombia’s second city is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with a real sense of restored pride. We were based in one of the nicest areas of the city (...), the leafy and coffee shop filled area of El Poblado (...) The city (well – half city, half jungle to be more accurate) sits in a deep valley, surrounded by steep mountains on both sides. Looking out from a rooftop, it appears as if the scenery is rising up to meet you, carrying the clouds along on top.
"Today I’ve completed my first week in Mexico City. This place is electric. The local culture is palpable and the people are friendly. It’s also the first place I’ve been to this year where finding someone who speaks English is a challenge. On the plus side, I have a pretty solid foundation of the Spanish language and am loving the practice. The food is pretty tasty, too."
City teams plan unique events so you can experience each destination like a local and develop professionally.
Remote Year staff puts together community events in all destinations, from fun and casual to organized and themed.
Experience a new lifestyle every month as you change countries and your daily routine.
Be inspired by your surroundings and work from some of the most inspiring coworking spaces in the world.
We believe in giving back to the communities in which we live. From volunteering at food banks in Portugal to helping refugees in Serbia, Remote Year partners with local charities and sustainable causes to do so.
Your Remote Year community may start as a group of strangers, but soon, there's nowhere in the world you'd rather be.
Want to dive deeper into each destination or get away for awhile? Book side trips outside of your itinerary with our dedicated team.
"Sure, I could travel abroad by myself for cheaper than Remote Year, but the value of the friendships I have made in Remote Year and the connections I have made through the Remote Year network at large enrich my experience in the moment, and will continue to do so for years to come. I wouldn’t have it any other way."
"My Remote Year journey and my loving new family taught me how to take care of myself; how to be my own star player and biggest fan. They taught me to love myself; to trust myself and my talents. They helped build my self-esteem. They fortified the confidence, peace and strength within me and in others. I couldn’t have asked for a better year."
"Remote Year is a wily gang of people from all over the world, but despite our differences, they are among the most open minded and good natured people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. It’s certainly a huge part of what makes Remote Year so fun and worth it relative to organizing your own travel around the world, which anyone in theory could do."
"Remote Year took my entire life and turned it upside-down (in the best way). There’s no such thing as a “typical 9-to-5” here. Every day, I learned more about the world and its people. Every day brought something new: a conversation with a friendly local, bizarre cuisine, cozy workspace in a hidden cafe, skydiving trip before the workday started(!). If I could rewind and live the whole thing again, I’d do it in a heartbeat."
"Back in Jersey, I thought I was happy; I thought I was motivated. After just one week on Remote Year I thought, 'How the hell haven't I done this sooner? This is amazing.' I can't imagine going back to that life. I'm the happiest and most inspired I've ever been in my life."
"The professional growth I’ve experienced while on Remote Year and working remotely would not have been possible at a typical 9-to-5 production job. I have significantly improved and widened my skill set from client management, pitching proposals and scoping contracts to research, copywriting and design."