Chief Storyteller, Chronicle Brands
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME ON REMOTE YEAR?
Why not? Ok, yeah, it does sound a little trite, but it's an answer I've come to accept over the course of our program. When you're surrounded by people who seem to have a real purpose, or who approach decisions like "should I go on Remote Year" in a way that's so calculated, it can be kind of hard to accept that you're just a somewhat overprivileged 25-year-old who felt like traveling for awhile. But alas, that's what I am. C'est la vie and all that jazz.
DESCRIBE YOUR REMOTE YEAR EXPERIENCE IN 3 WORDS.
Best 👏 year 👏 ever
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON FOR THE YEAR?
Personally, I'm working on my self confidence. Being a part of this loving, accepting community has gone a long way towards that goal, and I'm decidedly more outgoing and less introverted than I was when I arrived in Prague. Professionally, I'm just trying to keep my business afloat while I figure out what my next career move is. Classic Millennial BS, if you will.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF A REMOTE ROLE?
I made one. I was working for a great company with a great boss doing cool stuff-- and I f^¢£!%g HATED it. I didn't have any excuse for being unhappy in my role, other than my inability to accept needless rigidity. I could finish what needed to get done and more by 2PM; why did I have to sit at my desk and browse Buzzfeed til 5? I do my best work and I'm at my most creative between 11AM and 3PM; why was I starting work at 8? I think it's pretty normal to just accept these types of standard business "rules," but I've always had a real authority problem. I remember my 6th grade soccer coach telling my mom I was "uncoachable." I was 12, for God's sake. Anyway, the whole situation was bringing me down; I was uninspired, depressed, exhausted, and just thoroughly over it. So I quit! No savings to fall back on, no clients lined up. I just got the hell out of there. Best decision I've ever made.
WHERE HAVE YOU LIVED/TRAVELED TO PREVIOUSLY?
I'm from Connecticut, lived in LA, moved to New York, settled in because once you live in New York you don't not live in New York.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS LOOKING TO BRING TRAVEL INTO THEIR LIVES?
You don't have to choose between travel and building your life. As a society we have this gross tendency to perpetuate the idea that travel is self-indulgent, and means hitting snooze on your career, your social life, your family, etc. The whole concept is laughable. My business has grown tenfold since I started Remote Year, and I owe that in part to the connections I've made both through travel and through the RY network. I feel like my personal happiness is allowing me to forge deeper connections with my friends and family and re-evaluate their importance in my life. The new perspectives travel has granted me have allowed me to view my world through a new, more informed lens. I feel vibrant and bright and sparkly for the first time; something that sticking around to "build a life" could never have given me.
WHO DO YOU HOPE TO BE BY THE END OF REMOTE YEAR?
With Darien closing in on our final month, it's hard to wrap my brain around what changes I could make in so little time. But in the 10 months that have passed already, I've grown so, so much. I've learned how to say "please" and "thank you" in Spanish, French, Arabic, Portuguese, Serbian and Czech. I can make a pretty decent pirri pirri sauce, fry a plantain, and stew a tajine (though I daresay I won't be in the mood to eat one for the next decade or so). Laundry is now a task I can undertake without a washing machine. I know what a VPN does (and how to watch the Bachelor no matter what country you're in). I've gained an understanding of the refugee crisis. I know why we call the Czech Republic Bohemia. I can order from a menu or direct an Uber in Spanish-- a language I didn't speak a word of before Remote Year. I've developed an appreciation for Fado. I can describe the flavor profile of 8 local liquors, though most of those synopses will start with "well, for starters, it's gross." I know the rules of tejo and how to drive next to donkeys on a Moroccan mountain. That person? The one who knows all those things? She seems cool s%!*, and I'm proud as hell of her. So I guess you could say I am who I hope to be by the end of Remote Year.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
No alarms. Alarms suck. Wake up when I feel like it. Make coffee in my cute little single serve French press that a few amazing friends slash fellow remotes bought me for my birthday. Check Instagram. I love my Instagram. Follow me on Instagram. Seriously. @goodgollymiss_. Head to the workspace. Pretend to start working but actually do nothing until someone asks if anyone wants to grab lunch. Go grab lunch. Settle back in and actually get to work. Bust through a bunch of content writing work, then focus on my biggest client, Swoogo, for the rest of the afternoon. Wrap up around 6. Check Slack to see what everyone's up to. Going to catch a sunset? I'm in. Trying a new restaurant? I'll be there. Heading out for a run? See you tomorrow.
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL COME FROM?
I've traveled literally always. I can't even remember my first international trip, re: I was too young to form long-term memories. I have an amazing mom who traveled a lot as she built an international software company from the ground up. On short business trips, we'd stay home with an au pair. On longer ones, we got to go with. Sometimes they'd roll into actual vacations where we'd do stuff as a family, other times it felt like my brothers and I were just hanging out in Paris alone. No matter what, I loved it. When I grew up, that love turned more into an urgency. I looked at the people around me who hadn't had the same opportunities, and I realized that lack of exposure often translated to lack of understanding. Travel should not be optional. I think it should be an absolute requirement for every working, voting citizen, and that the government should subsidize it. Maybe that's radical, but whatever. I believe lack of exposure to other cultures, nations, and ideas creates a lot of "O'Doyle Rules!"-style nationalists, which I firmly believe is unhealthy for our society and our nation. Travel can go a long way towards stalling the memetic spread of fear, hate, and patriotic superiority complexes. So yes, this concept was born of my own immense privilege, which I fully appreciate and understand isn't the norm for most. But one of my long-term goals is to find a way to make travel more prevalent and more accessible, to help the world share ideas.
HOW DO YOU THINK TRAVELING WILL AFFECT YOUR CURRENT WORK?
Traveling hasn't affected my work at all. Traveling with a group, though, has lent me the necessary social pressure to get to the office every day. Thanks, group!
YOUR FAVORITE DIGITAL NOMAD HACK?
Do. Not. Forget. Your. Chromecast.
WHAT BOOK SHOULD EVERYONE READ?
The Little Prince. Shut up, it's not a kids book. It's about knowing the value of what you have, and the importance of never becoming too jaded to see things clearly. Sort of a much smarter Peter Pan, maybe.
IF YOU HAD TO BE STUCK ON AN ISLAND WITH ANOTHER REMOTE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Tyler Duzan, because you can bet your ass he's gonna figure out how to get us off that island.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON THE GLOBE?
Probably my grandma's house. I'm not crying, you're crying.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?
Looking out of the window and knowing you can change your view anytime you like.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TALENT?
I can spell anything. Seriously.
WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU HAVE MET ON THE ROAD?
This boy I met at a refugee shelter in Serbia. He was 15 and he had walked there from Afghanistan. He was the scout for his family, in charge of finding a way to bring his mom and sisters out of Afghanistan too. He was completely alone, completely exhausted, and completely wonderful. He made me a paper flower and braided my hair, and I cried myself to sleep that night.
3 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT ON THE ROAD?
S'well bottle: really keeps your water cold! Macbook Pro: makes life worth living. Patagonia 25L Black Hole Backpack: keeps my stuff dry, looks cool, is cool.
YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE/ WORDS TO LIVE BY?
"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Kurt Vonnegut