Remote Profile: Cedric Al Kazzi

CEDRIC AL KAZZI 

ARCHITECT AT HORD COPLAN MACHT, BALTIMORE

LEBANON

 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

Even though Im a professional procrastinator, I didn't want to push traveling and exploring until later in my life. Remote Year came at a perfect time personally and professionally.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

With Hord Coplan Macht I am lucky enough to be working on redeveloping a prominent 1970 18- story office building in downtown Baltimore into 350 apartments. It is under construction at the moment and my main task is construction administration.  That includes issuing drawings for construction, answering questions from the consultant and contractors, and reviewing sub contractors' work and drawings. 

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

When you say remote work, you don't think architecture, I personally never thought about it. I took it as a challenge, had to shape my job position into a remote one, tested it for a couple weeks and pitched it with the results to my office. The office has been very supportive to the idea and they were on board for the challenge. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Yea, yes, yassss, cool, coolio, sure, awesome, great!, You do you! You go girl! It might look overwhelming, but baby steps. There's always home you can go back to.  You set your own limits and timing. 

 

HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELLING HAS AFFECTED YOUR CURRENT WORK?

I wanted to bring traveling to the forefront but not at the expenses of my professional development. It doesn't have to be either or.  Being on Remote Year added lots of value to my career. Most improved skills were in communication; how to briefly and concisely convey ideas via whatever technology I have on hand. The clearer is it the, less clarification is needed and it facilitates on the long run our communications with contractors and clients. 

Technical tips aside, my work has improved from meeting interesting people here and there, and physically exploring architecture and seeing it up close; spatial, visual, material variations of the vernacular and modern interpretation of architecture in every city we visit. 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

I am from Beirut, Lebanon, moved to the US for school and work four years ago. I traveled around for school projects to Syria, Spain, Colombia, Estonia, Finland, and China. Plus multiple visits between Lebanon and the US to visit Family members. 

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

Birkenstocks, external battery, Google Maps ( I spend so much time on Google Maps - Terrain View, there's something about its virtuality that gives me so much freedom and control)

 

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU OVERCAME WHILE ON REMOTE YEAR?

Traveling on a Lebanese Passport, you only have access to 1% of the Earth's surface without being questioned for papers. Malaysia was the only country on the itinerary that did not require a visa. I had to collect so many visas along the way and the process was challenging and tiring. 

DID ANY OF YOUR WORLD VIEWS CHANGE WHILE ON REMOTE YEAR?

Traveling around so many countries, I often get to reflect about my identity as an Arab and what it is like to be Arab in South America, Europe and South East Asia. The many faces and stereotypes that I care for or not care for overwriting. One question 'Where are you from?" was hard to answer most times. What identity prevails at the moment of the question? The audience, my willingness to open up and how much time I have,m where factors to consider for what identity to pick. 

 

WHO AND WHAT TAUGHT YOU AN IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON THIS YEAR?

Attachment to places, people and materiality. Every month starts with a reset button. 

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Figuring out what's next, where, why, and when; Making independent decisions on the spot. Remote Year's role here was crucial for the journey; it facilitated the process pretty well. Oh and FOMO. 

 

FOLLOW CEDRIC ON HIS INSTAGRAM!

Remote Profile: Alison Ward

ALISON WARD

PR SPECIALIST, TOPTAL

USA
 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

To shake up my routine and be challenged. I'd been in the same city for 6+ years and was craving adventure, something different. I wanted to go somewhere and become more independent -- something that traveling will certainly teach you.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

I work for Toptal, an amazing, 100% distributed tech company and an advocate of working from anywhere. When I'm not thinking of ways to tell our story through public relations, I'm dodging tuk tuks, writing my personal blog over at www.nomadalison.com, and attempting to learn Spanish.

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

I found out about Toptal through my own research, but was ultimately connected through the Remote Nation network (a testament to the strength of the community). I accepted the position about one week before I left for Malaysia. My team at Toptal was incredibly understanding during my first couple of weeks with the 23 hours (or something ridiculous) time difference. I got really lucky to be able to work for a company that recognizes and appreciates the digital nomad lifestyle and embraces the future of work while living it myself.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

It's better to feel like you really know a country, city, then to travel to a bunch of places in an attempt to check them off your list. The months I've really enjoyed so far on Remote Year are the ones where I actually stayed put and got to know the city and surrounding areas like a local. Sidetrips are fun and a new country every weekend is cool, but can be a bit draining (financially and mentally).

 

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

Better at navigating public transportation. I still get on the wrong lines, in the wrong direction, all the time. But it's a learning process, I tell myself, as I'm doubling back on the tram for the eighth time. I also hope to become a better listener, friend, and independent traveler.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

Carmen Sandiego (I mean, where in the world, is she, anyway?) And my parents. They both lived overseas in their 20s and didn't really stop. They took us on International trips with them when we were kids and made it a fun, family affair.

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Gonna go with a mix of Britt, because she's resourceful; Michelle, because she'd somehow find the only other two people on the island and we'd become friends; and Alexandra, because I'd finally learn how to Salsa.

 

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

I can open a banana from the opposite end and then eat out of it like it's a boat.

 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED AND TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

Born in England; have lived in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Tokyo. In college, I studied abroad in Ireland so guess we can count that, and the 358 Guinnesses I drank while there, too. Before Remote Year, I had traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Hawaii, and Germany. Through Remote Year, I've added Malaysia, Croatia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and the Maldives to my list. Does the 4 hours I spent sleeping on a purple velour chair in the Singapore airport count?

WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

 

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?

Cook breakfast and lunch for yourself at your apartment. It saves you money and helps keep your weight under control. Plus, trying to find coffee at 8AM, blearyeyed and hangry, is always tragic and probably scares the locals.

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

Kindle, Mophie battery pack, Dramamine.

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

Tokyo is still my favorite city that I've both lived in and traveled to. Good food, chaotic yet organized, a reverence for Hello Kitty.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS?

Crazy. Weird. Necessary.

WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?

Probably on some Thai island, eatin' coconuts, still living that digital nomad life.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

How you can author your day in the most fantastic way. In Thailand, you could take a boat to another island to explore a beautiful beach, and still be back in time for your 6PM conference call. Each day is different, and it's totally rad.

 

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET WHILE TRAVELING?

The lady who gave me 300 Baht (like $8) massages on Koh Phangan. I once saw her successfully balance her 3-year-old toddler, dinner, and a small ladder on her scooter.

 

YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

Hello, do you have wifi?

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Seeing the world and doing good.

 

FOLLOW ALISON ON HER BLOG AND INSTAGRAM!

Remote Profile: Dan Gold

DAN GOLD

FREELANCER, FRONT-END DEVELOPER & PHOTOGRAPHER

USA

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

I was getting bored of coming home from work and plopping down on the couch. I wanted to come home from work and plop on the couch in a different country.

Before Remote Year, I was living in New York. If you rewind three years, you could find me in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  As you can see from my couch experience, I was feeling a little too comfortable in my previous situation. I wanted to take a risk and try something that I’ve never done before. Traveling was a way to exercise that level of uncertainty and adventure.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

I have been spending a lot of time working on my photography. It’s been a passion of mine since I was young. Traveling is a great way to see a spectrum of different people, places and things.

For work, well, I work all the time. I joined Remote Year working for a NYC-based clean water nonprofit. I made the tough decision to move on and focus more on contracting frontend web development, side projects and focusing on my photography.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

At my previous role, we already had remote employees, so my decision to work remotely was an easy move. Our office was well-equipped to handle people working remotely. They have TVs with a Google Hangout integration, and we use Slack for our day-to-day communication.

When my contractor transition happened, I was able to acquire clients that appreciated remote work. Most of my meetings start with “Wait, where are you?”

 

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

I hope to be the same. Remote Year has given me the chance to focus more on personal growth. I am still ‘me,’ all the way through. And I hope that never changes.

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

Wake up, run, eat breakfast, work and repeat.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

I actually don’t know, and no one in my family is a big traveler. If I were to guess, I think my passion for travel boils down to my perspective on changing environments. I like variability and I start to feel unmotivated when I am too comfortable. My creative motivation comes from seeing and hearing new things around me.

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

A universal remote would be my choice. You can turn up the volume, change the channel and add closed captions...the possibilities are endless!

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?

Credit card incentive-driven airline miles. Since I left for Remote Year in June 2016, I’ve accumulated more than 200,000 airlines miles. Also, the Chase Sapphire Reserve with Priority Pass.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS?

Best. Year. Ever.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.

The perfect day would be a day that is spontaneously unique- a day that is unexpected and new. It would be a day that could change your perspective and get you out of your comfort zone, and a day that has a memory that will last a lifetime.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Video calls and internet speed. It's usually like, "Heh- hey. Hi? Hi can you hear me ok? Hi - ok hey, I think we're good."

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

The best part about being a digital nomad and being able to travel is the fact that it is even remotely possible. I am grateful that I am able to work with amazing people and experience different cultures on a day-to-day basis.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Do it. Don’t look back.

 

CONNECT WITH DAN THROUGH HIS WEBSITE OR FOLLOW HIM ON EXPOSURE!

Remote Profile: João Pedro Coutinho

JOAO PEDRO COUTINHO

LAWYER, LEGAL TRANSLATOR, FREELANCER

PORTUGAL

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

It was super spontaneous: I occasionally read an article about Remote Year on Business Insider and got instantaneously excited about it. My girlfriend was not living in Lisbon at the time, I've always been passionate about traveling (did a lot of it on my own before the program) and was also needing a bit of a change to figure things out after a 5-year period working for a tier-1 law firm in Iberia. Well, one thing led so naturally to another that the day after I was filling in an application to be part of this journey.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

Beyond some side creative projects (on video producing, acting and writing), I'm doing legal counseling and legal translation to both Portuguese and international clients.

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

Basically I reached out to all of my legal and corporate network back in Portugal to find myself some clients willing to work with me, did some light branding on the new services I was offering and, out of a sudden and much work, I was freelancing.

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

What I always wanted for myself was to be fitting, adaptable, socially responsible and openminded and that's definitely what I'm getting closer and closer to. I've also always wanted to give myself some time to explore alternatives in terms of jobs and roles I can perform and I'm on my way on that path as well.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

I first started traveling with my family and my family's friends when I was younger, then I did it on my own, or together with friends, all around Europe and afterwards I made it to some other continents. Eventually it got stuck to me...

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

It'd be Patrick Almaguer. My brain gets excited when he's around... and if we had some wine with us we'd come up with and shoot the craziest ideas, like the "Coconut Dance" or "Patrick and João's Island Dinner Party" (monkeys would be invited).

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

People say I'm a pretty decent hugger.

 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

Previously I've lived in Portugal and Poland and have travelled to about 40 countries, most of them in Europe. But I've also been to a couple of countries both in America and in Asia and, of course, to 5 or 6 in my favorite continent: Africa.

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

My passport (so many stories about it...), reliable underwear and stylish sunglasses.

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

Sao Tome and Principe in Africa.

DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS?

In 3 letters instead: BAM!

 

WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?

Traveling all around with my wife, children and grandchildren (a tribe as big as my current one!)

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I'm passionate about politics, world history, football, performing arts, creativity and creative people.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

The sense of commitment with yourself whether job-wise or just regarding personal growth.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Just do it! Is it to "Nike"ish...? Well then, I'd say that there are no excuses if you really mean to have a 1-year super enlightening experience of actually living in (and not only visiting) so many places and absorbing so many cultures around the world. Well, you could always buy a car instead... really up to you. ;)

 

FOLLOW JOAO ON HIS FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND LINKEDIN!
 

Remote Profile: Liz Van Dijk

LIZ VAN DIJK

FOUNDER, ONCA

BELGIUM

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

I came to a point in my life and career where things just all came together in a way that made me ask "why not?". TJ (my husband and business partner at Onca) and I are both in the luxurious position of being 100% remote and we are traveling together. What appealed to us the most is the prospect of being connected with a greater network of remote professionals from around the world, though doing so while exploring some awesome places around the world is obviously  great side benefit.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING FOR THE YEAR?

Through Onca, we offer operational and web development (specialized in eCommerce, e.g. Magento) consulting services to a couple of large customers. My main focus is the senior leadership role I fulfill at Percona, an Open Source service delivery company.

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

I was first confronted with Percona about 6 years ago, which is also the first time I opened my eyes to jobs like these. I'd been working as a consultant at a research group in a local University when I first connected with them at a conference. I felt like a whole new world of possibilities had just opened, and I couldn't get it out of my head. Less than a year later, I was working with them on my own terms and I've never looked back.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

I might go against the grain here by saying first and foremost that it is not the holy grail it seems like. I feel like it's misleading to portray "travel" as this monolithic concept that is always fulfilling and always feels sort of like vacation. It most certainly does not. There are some very definite downsides to this lifestyle, and starting off with the right expectations is key to making it sustainable for yourself. Like most big life decisions, traveling will not fix anything by itself, but it's great at shaking things up and allowing you to see things in a different light. If you maintain balance and peace within yourself, it's one of the most enriching and inspiring life styles you could imagine. If you struggle with those, it can also be the exact opposite.

 

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END REMOTE YEAR?

A calmer, quieter, more thoughtful version of myself. I definitely jumped on this opportunity to satisfy an overwhelming urge that had been pulling at me all my life, and I feel like I've scratched that itch somewhat. Furthermore, I hope to have built a reliable network of fellow professionals to provide my business with remote work opportunities for years to come.

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Let's face it, that would probably be TJ, my husband. ;)

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

I've lived in Belgium all my life, but over the past couple of years have had the privilege to travel all over North America and Europe in the context of my job.

 

WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

Throughout this trip, I've been gradually working my way through "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. It's the gift that keeps on giving and has taught me more about my own head than any inspirational self-help book ever has. It's applicable to literally everything in my life and packed full with eye-opening examples that demonstrate how we still jump to the wrong conclusions, even when we know we're being tricked. Despite its practical and scientific approach, it's helped me work at my daily mindfulness and attention to detail as much as any meditation practice.

 

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?

That moment you realize all you really need is your laptop (sometimes just a phone, to be honest), a mobile hotspot (this is key), and maybe a pair of earbuds to be productive anywhere. Everything else is gravy and probably best gotten rid of until you can survive without. I've worked from the back of a camel in the Sahara, the bottom of a waterfall on Hawaii, a poolside palau on the Mexican Riviera, and everywhere in between. Scale back what you need to be productive and the whole world becomes your playground.

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

To be perfectly practical: Credit Card, Passport, Laptop/Phone. Everything else is just stuff. We have a bit of a running joke whenever I pack up to go on a work trip; I'll ask TJ "what am I forgetting?", and he'll list those three things. If I have all of them, I'll probably be fine either way.

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

So far, the one city that has consistently filled my heart to the brim on any of the three visits/stays I've had there is Lisbon, Portugal. A few places come close, but there's a magic there that hasn't been topped by anything else.

YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

"The task is to live your life in such a way that you have to want to live again – you will in any case! If striving gives you the highest feeling, then strive; if rest gives you the highest feeling, then rest; if fitting in, following, obedience give you the highest feeling, then obey. Only make sure you become aware of what gives you the highest feeling and then stop at nothing! Eternity is at stake!" -- Nietzsche
 

FOLLOW LIZ ON HER INSTAGRAM, TWITTERLINKEDIN AND BLOG!

Remote Profile: Tyler Duzan

TYLER DUZAN

SENIOR TECHNICAL OPERATIONS ENGINEER, ELIGIBLE INC. 

USA

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

I wanted to explore the world and meet new people, weave their characters into the tapestry of my life.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

My primary focus is to build relationships and get out of my shell.

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

I've been wanting to travel for some time and was actively seeking a remote role specifically.  It's difficult to find as an Operations person, but I was lucky enough to find a company focused on remote work.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Plans will go awry.  Just go with the flow anyway.  By accepting the unexpected, you'll find yourself immersed in amazing experiences.  Also, homesickness is real, but then you'll also feel the wanderer's call when you're at home.  Once you really commit to travel, it becomes part of who you are.

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY END OF REMOTE YEAR?

I want to be someone who is comfortable wherever I happen to be at and who is accepting of others as they are.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

Up at 7AM local, morning routine, work from 9AM to 6PMish local, city exploration + food, beers, in bed by Midnight.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

I love learning, photography, food, and beer.  Travel provides me the unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of other cultures and places by exploring, capturing moments, and of course eating and drinking my way towards cultural connections.

 

HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELING WILL AFFECT YOUR CURRENT WORK?

I'm a bit of a workaholic who tends to get sidetracked easily.  Travel provides me an opportunity and a challenge in forming routines around my work that drive focus.  Exposure to new things has also given me a lot of ideas for projects I'd love to start.

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Not actually a remote, but an RY staffer.  Jenna Winn because of her infectious optimism and ardent belief that we can make it through anything.

 

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

Finding myself in really strange situations and making it out alive with a story to tell.

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

I've been all over the US and Canada before I left on this journey, but hadn't really traveled much outside of that.  I lived for a brief while in Colorado and loved it, but I call Texas my home.

 

WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

"Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson

 

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK.

Travel vests! You might look dorky, but the extra 3-5kg of stuff you get on your flight without needing to check a bag is pretty awesome.

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD.

A good camera, my Kindle, and laptop

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

So far, I'd say Valencia, Spain.  Great food, friendly people, amazing street art, and very walkable.  I spent 52 days there and didn't want to leave.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.

Level Three Fun.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.

Wake up at 10AM, meditate, get brunch, wander around with my camera. Sit down to work on something at 2PM and go till around 8PM.  Get dinner and a few beers, then head to bed around midnight.

 

WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?

No idea, honestly.  I'd like to be an angel investor that travels and provides mentorship to startups on how to use technology effectively and securely.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

I think my answer to this vacillates regularly.  Either the language barrier in new places or changing time zones and how that's reflected in the expectations of friends, family, and colleagues.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

I'm constantly surrounding myself with beauty and new experiences.  This breaks the normal monotony of commuting to an office every day, so rather than work becoming boring, I feel constantly inspired and excited.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I have many passions, but at the forefront is my love of all things beer.  A close second is my absolute obsession with the nitty-gritty details of technology and information security.

 

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET WHILE TRAVELING?

Definitely Gonçalo, the owner of LX Brewery in Lisbon, Portugal.  He and I clicked so well and immediately because we have a similar vision.  He started the first craft brewery in Portugal and since then has helped other craft breweries start, has taught people how to home brew, and has organized the first craft beer festival in Portugal, Lisbon Beer Week, which I was fortunate enough to attend and meet him at.  

Beer is something that deserves respect enough to care about its quality, because it's something that brings people together and forms communities and relationships.  Gonçalo helped to show Portugal the importance of beer, and both Lisbon and Porto now host burgeoning but good craft beer scenes.  Such an all-around great guy, and an inspiration to me as I think about my own journey with craft beer.

 

YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand." - Ansel Adams

 

FOLLOW TYLER ON HIS WEBSITE, INSTAGRAM AND FLICKR

Remote Profile: John Elston

JOHN ELSTON

FOUNDER/CEO YO!DOG MARKETING

USA

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR? 

I wanted to be a part of a REVOLUTION. I believed from day one of my application process that this MODEL is the future. I wanted out of the RAT RACE of everyday life. The stars were aligned personally and professionally. I was not willing to accept anything else.
 


WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

Most importantly, I am working on not oversteering this journey. I came in without a month to month plan and an open mind. I go where opportunities have taken me. I live remotely now with the most amazing people and I am now working with more then a half a dozen fellow remotes on passion projects and professional ventures.  I am meeting the most amazing people in every country. I have made a point to go off the beaten path and connect with locals. Artists, business owners, entrepreneurs, street performers and diplomats. These encounters have turned into business opportunities and most importantly new lifetime friendships. So I guess the answer is
“I AM WORKING ON A LOT OF THINGS :)”

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

I founded a Digital Agency 6.5  years ago. I decided It was time to get out of the direct path of my TEAM. I de-centralized the office 6 months prior to learning about RY. I believed that the remote worker was the future. My team proved it so I jumped in with both feet and never looked back.

 

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?

Setup Schedule
What can happen to you is that you don’t know what to do, and you spend a huge amount of time figuring that out. So make sure that all the time you have clean tasks list the day before you need to execute it. I usually make one right before I go to sleep so I know what to do next morning and I can start executing tasks right away with my morning espresso.

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

I will be a creative proponent for the current and future EXPLORERS around the world. I will stand on the highest mountain and shout “You can have it all. Professional success and personal experience while living and working ANYWHERE in the WORLD.   

 

WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

REMOTE by Jason Fried

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

I would say if you are looking to bring travel into your life take a VACATION. If you are looking to have travel BE YOUR LIFE, there has NEVER been a better time. Don’t wait another day. The WORLD as never been so ready to accept and promote talented people who can deliver results and exceed expectations.  RY has eliminated the excuses and provided the support we need to be successful.

3 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD? 

  • iPhone
  • Quality Day Pack
  • Extra Battery Power
     


IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Well if the goal was to get off the Island I would pick my recent flatmate Tylor. Because he is the MOST knowledgeable person I know and would get me off the island. If I had to stay on the island it would be Alisha & Ee Yeen because they are smart, funny and and both LOVE coconut milk.

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU'VE MET WHILE TRAVELLING?


Lucien Zell, I met Lucien in Prague, Czech Republic where I lived for more then a month. He is a Poet, Novelist, Singer/ Song Writer, Photographer and now FRIEND. His work will BLOW you away and he backs that up by being the most passionate, humble person I have met on this year long journey. He has lived in Prague for more than 18 years. If you get to that GREAT City look him up. He won't be hard to find.
 


YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

"Work For Reward"




FOLLOW JOHN ON HIS INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK, TWITTER AND WEBSITE

Remote Profile: Rachel Scott

RACHEL SCOTT

GRAPHIC DESIGNER, FREELANCE

USA
 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

2015 was a crazy year for me. I got divorced and really had to take a good, hard look at where my life was headed and what I needed to be truly happy. The answer was travel. I happened across Remote Year in a random travel blog I'd been following and absolutely knew that it was what I was looking for.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

I have been involved in the outdoor industry for over 8 years. I freelance for Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal and Utah Adventure Journal. I also do some contract design work on the side.

I’m getting into UX/UI design right now so I’ll really be focusing on that in the coming months.

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

I quit my 9-5 and took a massive pay cut, but luckily I've been doing freelance for over 8 years so that part was a pretty easy transition.

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

I hope to have a better understanding of myself as a person and I hope to be a more experienced traveller and a kinder human.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

I left the United States to travel Europe when I was 14. Ever since then I've been absolutely addicted to traveling and experiencing new cultures.

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE WHO WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?

I would be stuck on an island with Randy because he’s the master at island life and I really like to bicker with him for fun.

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

I am really good at remembering and recognizing people. Even if I’ve only met you once, chances are I’ll remember your face.

 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and have lived there all my life except for a brief study abroad in London.
I have traveled to England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and Thailand.

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

My quick-dry micro towel, a great book (for all those long plane rides) and my portable speaker for music anywhere.

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

It's been London for a very long time, but there is a high probability that may change by the end of this year.

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WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Getting regular check-ups. I haven’t been to the dentist in 9 months!

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

I've never done really well in traditional office settings and I always felt like my work/life balance has been way too much work and not much life. Being a digital nomad gives me more freedom to enjoy my life and not feel like it's passing me by.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Don't wait. If you want to travel, find any way possible to make it happen. Traveling changes your life in ways you can't imagine.

 

FOLLOW RACHEL ON HER WEBSITE AND BLOG

Remote Profile: Jessica Schlauderaff

JESSICA SCHLAUDERAFF

MARKETING ANALYST, NIELSEN COMPANY

USA

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR? 

I like to say that my parents inadvertently raised me for this program. I was homeschooled until middle school, and then finished my schooling through an online program. Thus, a job that allowed me to work remotely was a must when I graduated from college. I have also never lived in one house or apartment for longer than three and a half years at a time. So, after graduating from college and spending some time living in my parents’ basement to pay off student loans, I was itching for somewhere new. My personal time limit in one place was coming up, so I decided to explore the world – or at least a few countries in Europe, Africa, and South America.


WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

I am working as a Marketing Effectiveness Analyst for Nielsen. In basic terms, I work with Consumer Packaged Goods clients, like Kelloggs or Purina Pet Food, and I – along with a small project team – combine their past marketing campaigns with their past sales to consult on future methods. Personally, I’m writing a blog (www.lifelivedhere.com) and trying to eat as much new food as possible. And snapchatting pictures of the food to friends and family back home.

 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

I’ve lived in seven US states (and visited 36 – getting to all 50 states is my goal for the next couple years). I studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. Before Remote Year, I had been to Canada, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, and the UK.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?

My job was actually remote before I applied for Remote Year. A lot of my co-workers are scattered across our main offices in Chicago and San Francisco, but we are mixed up into different project teams every four or five months, so we are able to work anywhere in the US, and, more recently, the world.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

I don’t really have a typical day, but let’s pretend like yesterday was “typical.” I woke up around 7am because my brain has recently decided sleeping past sunrise is for the weak. I got ready for the day and ate some of the Christmas goodies that my family sent back with me after my visit home last week. I spent a couple hours finishing a blog post about the last country we were in – Valencia, Spain – and doing laundry. After publishing the post and putting away my clean laundry, I went into our workspace and worked for a few hours before a quick lunch break. Our program leaders put together a 45 minute “Taco Crawl” at two street taco carts a few blocks away, so I joined my friends to eat tacos we can’t accurately pronounce or describe. Then, back to work. At night, I got coffee with a Remote Year friend who just got back in town, then we met up with a few other remotes for a drink across the street. Before bed, I made some Christmas cookies to hand out in the workspace since Christmas is coming soon! On the weekend and during my days off this week, I’ve got plans to see some nearby pyramids and maybe a Lucha Libre match? A year ago, I never would have imagined a day in my life like this.



HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELLING WILL AFFECT YOUR CURRENT WORK? 

The only way that traveling has affected my work so far has been the time zone shift. While we lived in Europe, I was usually between 5 and 8 hours ahead of my co-workers, which meant I took a lot of calls after 6pm. Luckily, a lot of my work is done on my own, so I could move my hours around based on my call schedule. I also really do feel more focused now when I work because I used to daydream about places to travel to and get distracted, but now I’m in those places, so I know I have to get my work done and get it done well so I can get off my computer and try new things.

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

This is a tough question. I really like the person I am right now – in the least conceited way that can be said. I do want to be able to speak Spanish. I want to continue writing on my blog and on personal projects. I want to keep traveling and meeting new people. I want to volunteer more and continue to respectfully challenge society’s expectations.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Keeping in touch with people back home! It’s hard, first of all, to figure out when to call or text people from home. But in Morocco, they had banned calls through online systems like WhatsApp and Skype. And sometimes in countries where it usually would work, the internet isn’t strong enough or the connection keeps cutting out. It takes a lot of patience and determination to keep in touch.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

All the incredible foods and sunset views. Being able to do bucket list items on what is basically just a normal day. But the best part about being a participant on Remote Year is the community, hands down. I can’t help but be sappy and mushy about these people. They are amazing, talented, inspiring, and caring people. I’m honored to be part of this group.
 


WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

I’ve suggested this to a few fellow Darien remotes, but I’m a big fan of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I read it in less than a week – which is rare for me lately. The book isn't terribly life-changing, but I love the story and the way it was written. It’s a SciFi Dystopian novel with a lot of references to 80s pop culture. It’s also being adapted to a film that will be directed by Steven Spielberg, so definitely read the book before the movie comes out because this one will be worth seeing.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

If it’s something you want to do, you will find a way to do it. Also, if you can’t afford a big trip, just start small. Explore your hometown. Explore the region around it. Go to the touristy places. Eat the local foods. Your travels don’t have to be far away to impact your perspective.



WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

I’m really good with maps and directions. I am also double jointed in my shoulders, which always freaks people out a bit.



YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” Miriam Adeney This has never felt more real than when I think about the end of my Remote Year program. I really do love the people in this community and will be so upset when we won’t all live in the same city. But it’s worth it to have met them and lived this year with them.



FOLLOW JESSICA ON HER INSTAGRAM AND BLOG

Remote Profile: Ben Schmidtke

BEN SCHMIDTKE

SENIOR DEVELOPER, DIGITAL PRIMATES 

USA
 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?

Is this a real question? Why not?! All joking aside, I was at a point in time after living in Chicago for 7 years where it felt like it was time to move on. I had been doing a fair amount of traveling and, but nothing like this. Like a moth to a flame, the attractiveness of being able to continue working full time while traveling was a natural transition from my current situation.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?

After 10 months, this year I have worked primarily with two of our enterprise clients. One is based on the East Coast and one based on the West Coast. It's made for some interesting late night meetings now that we are in Asia, but I signed up for this. I'm having a great time and really don't think about it. One application is in the manufacturing sector, a behemoth of an application. The other is a streaming video application requiring me to connect to remote video streaming services during development.
 

 

HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE PROFILE?

I asked. We talked about it, I was packed up and on the road in 3 months. It was more stressful for me than I think my company. My company is not a remote first company so proving to them that I was in fact going to work full time still was very important to me. 

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?

Everyone is different, I think people need to find what works for them. Don't be afraid to push boundaries and take risks. Far too often we get comfortable with our lives and put other things before what we aspire to do. We need to take a hard look at what is essential to us as individuals and do it. There are always reasons why we don't pursue something, however if it is essential to where you want to go in life: Stop wasting time with non-essential things. Go.

 

WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?

This is a very hard question to answer right now. Given we are only 6 weeks away from the end of our program... yikes! My tentative plan is to keep traveling for a week or two then swing back to the US for a little bit. After that? I'm cooking up a few things, my Schengen calculator says a fair amount of time in Europe.

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

I have worked 40hrs+ per week, all year and have yet to take a sick day.

*knock on wood*

My schedule for the most part has been pretty consistent, although it has changed every continent we have moved to. This has been to accommodate meetings that will never be moved to align with what timezone I'm in. In the western hemisphere and Europe, I'd be done by 7pm at the latest.

My schedule is basically the same as when I lived in Chicago. I'm in the office before 10am, I work between 7 and 8 hours depending on what time zone I'm in. I go out to dinner, explore or do whatever else I want. Then I sign in later in the day, evening or night for any meetings I have. Right now, I have about an hour of daily meetings between 11pm and 12am, depending on day of week. I really enjoy this rhythm, but in Asia it doesn't allow me to relax at night with one eye on the clock.

As a full time employee, I have set a certain standard for myself in regards to how I want to conduct business with my company back home. It's extremely important to me that there is a minimal difference between physically being in the office and being remote. That standard has led to the schedule I have, and it works for both myself and my company while on Remote Year.

 

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?

The passion I have for travel stems from multiple sources. Growing up in rural community in a fairly poor family, our vacations or weekend trips involved putting a mattress in the back of a pickup truck that had a cap on it and driving somewhere. My parents would load us in the back, throw a canoe on top then drive across the midwest to go camping and fishing. If we could afford a tank of gas, a 6 pack of beer and some staples (flour, butter, bread), we could catch our meals at the fishing spot. A cast iron pan over a wood fire, throw some butter in and make fried bluegill, bass or walleye. We'd save the Northern Pike and smoke them when we got home. My sister and I would play cards in the back of the truck to pass time. I wouldn't trade those memories for the world.

My grandfather bought a farm up in Wisconsin about 4 hours away so my perception of the world was pretty much every lake, pond, river and stream within 250 miles away from our small farm and his farm. Both him and my grandmother had been high school teachers, he was in the sciences and she was mathematics.  One day they handed me a pile of maps that had been replaced at the high school they worked at. The kind you pull down and they roll away. I picked out the biggest one and put the giant world map on the wall. I would sit on rainy days plotting out locations I learned about from in the books I read. As a result, I still want to go dinosaur egg hunting in Mongolia.

I think people often think they need to travel far to 'travel' but there is a lot near by where ever you live. Go check out that tower along the Mississippi where they made lead bullets in the civil war.  Maybe Salem Village, where Abraham Lincoln grew up, they have a pretty cool flour mill there. What about the Effigy Mounds in Iowa?

HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELING WILL AFFECT YOUR CURRENT WORK?

For the most part I'm on projects where I have clearly defined tasks. Most of our clients use JIRA or some other ticket tracking system, based on whatever our contract is I log in and begin knocking out work. Late nights in Asia are catching up to me, but not as bad as others. Some remotes are working 10pm to 7am. I'm thankful I have the flexibility to not work all day during the central timezone.

How travel on Remote Year HAS affected work has been internet issues and problems with phone calls. Chile cut the internet to Bolivia one day. Maybe the cellular service isn't that great for VOIP phone calls. Someone needs to plug something in and unplugs an innocent looking cable that happens to run the power to all the wifi routers. I have a series of backup options with me so it doesn't affect as much as other. Every time a call drops when I'm on the phone with my boss though I panic. I will say that I haven't had a lost day of work all year, just a few hiccups here and there.

 

IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Who is semi resourceful, has a high chance of survival, that I would not strangle? Probably Carmel Legacy. She has an infectious, positive personality and has a green thumb. After the two of us caught ALL of the fish off the coast of Thailand last month, I think she's a solid choice. It also helps she's from the Hawaiian islands and has experience in the matter.

A close second is our operations manager Jason, he'd get us off the island in a jiffy.

 

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?

It's fairly public. When I have a place to do it, I enjoy glass blowing and playing concertina in my spare time.

 

WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?

Belize, Kenya, Uganda, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Canada and a majority of the United States.

WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?

Right now I'm reading: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

 

YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?

Simplify your gear so you don't need hacks? The last hack I used was heating up a pan on the stove and using it as an iron!

 

3 THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?

Laptop, Power Adapter, Internet.
Throw the rest in the bin. Ok, and one pair of cloths.

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?

My grandfathers farm in Wisconsin. It has a log cabin style dairy barn and a class A trout stream across the road. How cool is that!? Yea... I'm sentimental. Chicago and Munich are a close second.


DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.

Work, Family, Travel

 

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.

Wake up. Kiss a lady good morning. (There is a lady right?) Make us some coffee and breakfast. Get started on chores done for the day, stack some firewood, feed the livestock. Go for a walk in the woods or do some fishing. Make some money in there somewhere. Turn on some classic rock while starting a wood fire grill for dinner. Cook some steaks with a beer. Watch the sunset with whoever is over for dinner (There is a lady right?). Dinner, shower, in bed by 10.

That sounds good, something like that.

 

WHERE ARE YOU IN 30 YEARS?

Hopefully retired while on Remote Year Battuta: Redux! Same 12 cities over 12 months. I may break a hip but I would love to do this again with our group. Cities and people change, it would be interesting to see the same places again 30 years in the future.

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Traveling with all the different personalities in this program.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Meeting all of the different people and seeing what they are doing to generate income. As a person who has spent his life in the corporate world, it's refreshing to see different ways of making a living and it has changed my perspective on a host of different things.

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Whatever it is I'm doing at that moment in time. It's important to be present to the moment because it is going to be gone before you know it.

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET WHILE TRAVELING?

I think everyone I've met on this journey has been interesting for different reasons. Obviously some more than others but the one that stands out the most is the gaucho I met while horseback riding in Argentina. He didn't speak a word of English and he didn't need to. His facial expressions spoke more words for him without needing to say a word. A true man of the earth and soil. I'd like to spend more time with him to learn about everything he knows.

 

YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/WORDS TO LIVE BY?

Beware of looking for goals: Look for a way of life.

 

FOLLOW BEN ON HIS INSTAGRAMBLOG AND LINKEDIN