Jessica DeWitt is a freelance designer from the USA traveling the world with Remote Year Battuta
Why did you decide to come on Remote Year?
After spending the last 29 years of my life doing all the things you are supposed to -- you know -- getting the college degree, the job in New York City, the masters degree and still not feeling like I had found my place I couldn't let another year go by. So I turned 30, gave up the life I had been so careful to build and decided that while the rest of my friends get married and have kids, I am going to eat, pray, love my way to the life I always knew I wanted.
What are you working on for the year?
This year I am facing fear. I am working on defining what being a remote professional means to me. This also means I am working on figuring out how to make money, get clients and be a successful designer on the road. Most people tend to build up their freelance business to a point where they are comfortable quitting their traditional office job, but not me - because why do things that make sense? Instead, I am doing it all at once. Every day is a new lesson, a new victory and a new reason to eat cake.
How did you find yourself a Remote role?
I didn't. I am making one. Unfortunately, my previous company was not ready to embrace a remote role and as a result, I took the risk and dropped my two-weeks notice like Kanye drops a mic. Luckily, my profession lends itself to remote work and I get to spend most of my time hustling for my next client, taking online courses to enhance my skills, and eating snacks.
How do you think traveling will affect your current work?
Traveling is only making me a stronger professional and overall human being. I am constantly surrounded by people, places and things that are giving me new perspectives, challenging my comfort zones and showing me beauty in its simplest of forms. It is also humbling my New York City Bitch by throwing me in new situations that require patience. FYI - ordering a smoothie should not be a 20 minute process. Furthermore, it should not take another 25 minutes to make. I am learning.
What would you say to others looking to bring travel into their lives?
Stop looking to and bring it. If you're still nervous, start small. Go for a weekend away or be a tourist in your own city. Once you've conquered your city, move on to the next and before you know it you're half way across the world falling in love with countries you never thought twice about. Looking at you, Bolivia.
Where does your passion for travel come from?
Probably from fairytales and science fiction movies, books and shows. There is a magic in travel that can't be matched. Give me a fairy godmother, a killer outfit, a TARDIS, and I'm set. Also, my best friend Raquel does a pretty good job at making me jealous of all of her travels. The one with the most countries wins!
Where have you traveled to/lived previously?
Made an appearance in Delaware for the first few months of my life but switched coasts to grow up in Arizona (Peoria) and then moved to Tucson, Arizona for college (Bear Down Arizona). From there I moonlighted in Hollywood, CA for a few months, ultimately landing in Brooklyn, NY before Remote Year. As for travel, I am not as well versed as my fellow remotes. However, I am pretty solid on my continental US and have had some crazy moments in Italy, France and the Cayman Islands. You can ask me how I survived a train wreck on your own time.
3 things you can't live without on the road?
2. Red lipstick
Favorite place on the globe?
Recently, I spent time on the Isla Incahuasi on the Salt Flats in Bolivia, and while that place pulled at my heart strings hard, my favorite place on the globe is still Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona. It's my favorite concert venue, brunch spot, bar for late night drinks and dance floor that will always be a party. Keep Tucson Party.
What book should everyone read?
Everyone should just read. Read anything and everything. I love getting lost in Patti Smith's words and New York City punk culture like Leg McNeil's "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk." Authors like Chuck Klosterman and Miranda July tell stories in a way that keeps me laughing and guessing.
What does your typical day look like?
I don't do typical. Anymore. Remote Year has showed me what it means to live life the way I want to. Some days I am at the workspace early, sometimes not at all. Some days I sleep in and crush the gym. Other days I eat too much and desperately stream as much Netflix as my internet connection will allow. It's all about finding that balance, not being too hard on yourself and eating ice cream.
Your favorite digital nomad hack?
My favorite hack of this year has quickly become a RY trend. When landing in La Paz, Bolivia my bed was dressed with the most adorable, what can only be described as a table runner, turned scarf. You're welcome, ladies of RY2.
If you had to be stuck on an island with one other Remote, who would it be and why?
Carmel. She's from Hawaii -- I think she might have some ideas about what to do on an island. And if not, her laugh turns everything to gold.
Describe your Remote Year experience in 3 words.
I'll Venmo you.
What is your secret talent?
I am your resident pole dance instructor. Three years ago I was certified by ElevatED and taught at a few studios in New York. Shout out to my pole fiends at IncrediPole. If pole dancing isn't your speed, ask me about my gaucho walk.
Where are you in 30 years?
In 30 years, I will be 60 and probably AirBNBin' my sweet digs in Cabo Polonio to the next class of RY participants, making sure they know how to make Old Maid a drinking game.
Describe your perfect day.
I don't know about the whole day - but there will be an ice cream cake that I don't have to share for breakfast, a partly cloudy day on the beach, nachos I don't have to share for lunch, live music in a small venue at night and afterwards a drive under the stars. If we could work getting caught in a monsoon into the days plans that would be perfection.
Your favorite quote?
"Money costs too much."
Who do you hope to be by the end of Remote Year?
I know I'll just be a more bad ass version of myself. And if my design work and holistic healing practice take off, I'd count that as a major win. OH! PS. I am also a Reiki practitioner, looking to amplify my offerings and have a solid practice in the works.