Shock. Excitement. Disappointment. Excitement. Envy. Excitement. Sadness. Excitement. Admiration.
These and more were the reactions I got from family, friends and co-workers as I began to let people in on my plans to quit my job as a corporate lawyer in Washington, D.C. to travel the world in 2016. In a matter of days, I will be leaving the comforts of home for Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo is the first of 12 cities that I will live and work in over the coming year through the Remote Year program. I’ve already been to five of the 12 cities that are on my itinerary and am most looking forward to visiting South America, a continent that I have yet to explore, and where I hope to regain some of the Spanish skills that I used when studying abroad in Spain during college.
I am among the second group of 75 participants in Remote Year, which launched its first trip in June 2015. My fellow Remotes (our group has been dubbed “Battuta”, after the famed explorer Ibn Battuta) hail from every corner of the world in addition to the U.S., including Colombia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, the Netherlands and South Africa. While most of us are in our late 20s to mid 30s, our ages range from 23 to 63. Going into this, I’ve met only three of the other 74 people that I’ll spend the next year with. There were a few meet-ups that I missed in D.C., one because I was stuck at work and another because I was out of town for a funeral. A few weeks ago, I finally managed to have brunch with three other women in the program and if they, and our conversation, were any indication, it’s going to be an amazing year!
Last Saturday was supposed to be my “bon voyage” party, but Winter Storm Jonas had other plans. As my wise younger sister told me, this will undoubtedly be the first of many things that don’t go according to my plans this year, so I’d better get used to it. She’s right, as usual. As excited as I am for this year, I know it will present innumerable challenges -- stepping outside of your comfort zone always does -- not least among them, figuring out what I want to do with my life upon my return next year.
This website will be where I post reflections on each of the cities I visit during the year, post some of my favorite photos (at least the ones that aren’t on my Instagram), and link to other articles that I’ve written. I hope you’ll follow along and, if you happen to find yourself in or near any of the following cities this year, let’s have a drink! I’d love to show you around my new home.
February: Montevideo, Uruguay
March: Buenos Aires, Argentina
April: La Paz, Bolivia
May: Cusco, Peru
June: Istanbul, Turkey
July: Prague, Czech Republic
August: Belgrade, Serbia
September: Cavtat, Croatia
October: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November: Koh Phangan, Thailand
December: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
January (2017): Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam