Remote Year – Meraki

meraki-infographicIn my last post, I talked about my plan to go freelance in 2017. That’s related to another big life change, which freelancing will enable me to tackle: I’m traveling around the world.

On January 1st, I leave New York City for Mexico City. From there, I will spend each month of 2017 in a different country, traveling with a company called Remote Year. I joined their Meraki group, which means that along with 80 other globetrotters, I’ll be following this itinerary.

Living abroad has been a lifelong dream. I got a small taste of it when I studied abroad in Barcelona in college, and again after graduation when I lived in the UK for a summer. But a couple of months didn’t feel long enough to really appreciate life outside the US. And while I’ve traveled extensively since college, I’ve mostly stuck to Europe and North America.

This summer, I started to research the best countries for US expats. I came up with a few viable options (Argentina and Thailand looked pretty appealing), but I was nervous.

How would I find a community?

Was I willing to move to a new country alone, with no one to advise me on local culture or housing or the best places to explore and the spots to avoid?

Would my rusty Spanish improve enough to make friends if I moved to Argentina? Would I be able to study Thai fast enough to communicate?

Then I stumbled across an article about Remote Year. If you’re accepted to a program, for $2,000 a month (plus a down-payment), Remote Year organizes housing, an office/coworking space rental, and travel to and from the countries on their itinerary. Sure, I could find housing and flights to a lot of these places for less, but it would mean intensive research on my part (especially when looking for safe yet reasonable neighborhoods).

But the biggest draw to RY was the community. The people in each RY group run the gamut from freelancers to startup creators to employees at traditional companies. The only thing everyone has in common is the ability to work remotely (at least for one year).

RY is designed to foster a global professional network. In this day and age, as the world shrinks and the internet increases our ability to build communities from oceans apart, that’s the kind of network that makes sense. After all, I have friends dotted across the globe who are just as close to me as my local friends. Why shouldn’t my professional network mirror my personal one?

I’m looking forward to taking this journey and building those connections. I’m also, let’s be honest, looking forward to traveling my butt off for a whole year.

A month may not be enough time to truly settle into a new city, but it’s long enough to get a good taste for the flavor of each place we’re going. Maybe I’ll return to one for a more in-depth stay later. Or maybe after a year of living the nomadic life, I’ll finally experience this “homesickness” thing people tell me about. Tough to say the answer now, but I can’t wait to find out.

As for this blog, I’ve recently revamped (big thanks to Atmosphere Websites for the design and the new and improved functionality!) in preparation for this trip, because I plan to keep everyone posted on my travels to each spot. Follow any of my posts tagged WhereInTheWorldIs for the latest updates!

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