Rich Rama, Rich Life: How this Creative Entrepreneur Learned to Let Go On His Remote Year Journey
20. Dec. 2021
If you asked USA-based multi-professional Rich Rama what he does for a living, a better question would be – what doesn’t he do? It seems like Rich has done a little bit of everything, from producing music videos for high profile celebrity artists to opening a ramen shop based in Florida, USA.
In 2017, while doing some light research on how to shake his life up, Rich found out about Remote Year and fell in love with the idea of traveling around the world. In January 2018, he joined the 12-month Kanyini Journey with Remote Year and set off to explore the world while focusing on his personal and professional development.
Rich recently sat down with us to discuss remote working on the road, his journey of self-reflection, and how the Remote Year community supports each other through thick and thin.
What made you decide to join a Remote Year program?
I was in search of something spiritual that disconnected me from my everyday routine and the hardships of life in general. I did a search on Google one day – seriously, a Google search! – to explore some options, that’s how I came across Remote Year in March of 2017.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career and business ventures?
This is always a loaded question because I do a lot of different things, but my main occupation for over two decades has been in the advertising industry. I'm an Executive Producer for a production company called JANE. I specialize in visual effects, design, and animation. I've also made commercials for big brands such as Nike and Apple, and music videos for artists like John Legend, Jay-Z, and Calvin Harris.
I also co-founded a ramen shop called Ichicoro and a Japanese-American restaurant called “Yojimbo” in Los Angeles. Additionally, I’m a Brand Director and consultant for Sun Noodle which is one of the leading fresh noodle manufacturers in the US.
Then without going too far into it, I've co-founded a group home for autistic women in Detroit, an OG for non-profit #HashtagLunchbag, a Brand Ambassador for Priority Bicycles (which kept me cycling throughout my Remote Year program), and have lent my time and ideas to Mama Los Angeles.
Clearly you’re passionate about giving back to communities – did you do any positive impact experiences on your Journey and if so, what were they like?
I did! I wanted to learn about the cities in a non-touristy way and I feel like when you volunteer, you’re able to get involved and create a meaningful impact in these communities. I worked with some amazing organizations and met some really great people, and it all aligned with things I cared about.
My view is that we come as a group, the cities welcome us there, and I think we should give back by donating our time, money, or whatever else you think would help. At the same time, you’ll gain a perspective on your own experience traveling and see a side of the local culture that regular tourists often don’t.
What was it like working remotely while on the road with Remote Year?
It wasn't as hard for me as for probably many others because I had already been consulting, life coaching, video editing, and various side/personal projects that included a lot of online work. I managed my own time and tried to create routines that helped promote the things I was trying to accomplish. There were maybe a few times while in Asia that I had to do middle of the night calls in the work space, but it was never to the point where it affected sleep schedules and such.
How did your Remote Year experience affect you personally and professionally?
Though I was running away and separating myself from what I felt at the time was a lot of unwanted pressure, on the trip I realized that a lot of that pressure was coming from myself. That I had been living with this chip on my shoulder for so long that I had to prove myself to everybody.
I realized that I can let go of that and I've done my best to let go of it. It's helped ease the pressure that I put on myself both personally and professionally.
A lot of that self-reflection came about during my Remote Year experience. I think part of it was because I had already started doing that work prior to going abroad, but I believe the program helped accelerate that growth within me.
How was your career transition after Remote Year?
Honestly, the easiest thing about coming back to LA after Remote Year was transitioning back to my professional career! In month 10 of Kanyini, I re-connected professionally with my friends who started a production company called JANE Studios. I worked as a consulting Producer while I finished the program and transitioned into being an Executive Producer once I got back.
When you've put nearly 2 decades of work into your craft and are surrounded by some of the best in the business, it really is like riding a bike.
After the program, have you used the Remote Year Network and Citizens Slack to network or connect with the community?
I use the network and Slack as a way to bring people together as well as promote some of the things I'm working on that I’m proud of. At this point, I see Remote Year as a community that supports each other. We cheer each other on when something great happens or and cheer each other up when we’re going through something difficult.
Are there any locations, international experiences, or ways of life that you encountered while on Remote Year that inspired you professionally?
If there was one way of life that I wish I could adapt into my life are the gentlemen in Hanoi who take naps on top of their scooters. It's such a special skill of balance to look so damn chill and comfortable while the organized chaos of Vietnam just passes them by.
I think it's their way of saying to me, "It's okay to slow down once in a while...you're moving too fast, enjoy life a bit!”
What other lessons have you learned that you’d like to share with the community?
I’ve met so many new people. Learned about different cultures and religions. Tasted so many new foods. Heard new music and sounds. My views about life have changed so drastically. The steps towards my end goals may be steep, but it’s so necessary towards growth and evolution to become the best I can be.
What I've learned over the years is to ask myself these questions whenever I want to do something big: "How does this add to my overall happiness?" and "Do I have the time for this or will I make time for this?"
If I continue to move forward with that thinking in the many things that I do, I can continue to lead a happy life. You can do the same!
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