Why Remote Year?

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I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the last few months why I’m doing Remote Year. Why, after claiming that one of the big reasons I left graduate school to be closer to my family, am I suddenly taking off again. That’s a totally valid question. And trust me I have many reasons.

yes I will miss my family.

Being closer to family was just one of the many reasons I left my graduate program. I talk about that a lot and have explained it in detail in this previous post so I won’t belabor that here. My decision to leave graduate school was as influenced by being near to my family as it was by not feeling that my PhD was moving my life forward, was not educating me in the way it had promised, but really, it was because I was miserable and finally realized that the PhD wouldn't give me the kind of career that I had realized I wanted.

So what were my real reasons for doing this?

i’ve Always wondered about Remote life! 

Especially in my generation, I think that everyone of us has wondered about what it would be like to live remotely. To wander the world, seeing all sorts of incredible, beautiful places, while needing only a laptop to work and thrive. I know I have! Ever since the first time I read "The Four Hour Work Week" I wondered if that kind of lifestyle was really possible. That expat life! I also wondered if I would like it. I mean, travel is amazing and new experiences are what life is all about, but at what point do you get sick of constantly moving? At what point does it get irritating to have to relearn each new city? At what point do you get sick of living out of a suitcase?

I don't know! I don't know if you ever do or if the new experiences and the growth and understanding you gain from constantly traveling the world and experiencing new cultures more than compensates for the inconveniences.

And the bottom line is I could never know until I tried it!

i also love to travel! 

I'm relatively young, so the majority of my travel experiences have been limited to trips with my family and camping. But the trips that I have taken on my own? Oh man, I have the travel bug for sure.

When I was 17, the summer before my Senior year of high school, was my first time traveling without my family. It was a 2 week whirlwind trip through Europe with a Washington Ambassadors of Music program. We had a full choir and a band and you had to audition to get into the program. But we traveled Europe for 2 weeks performing and seeing incredible things. We went to London and the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and performed in a local church. We went to Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and Luxembourg Gardens. We went to Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Venice, Germany, etc. We went to so many incredible places and it was my first glimpse into what the world outside of the US is like.

Since then, I've camped all over the Pacific Northwest, been to Mexico multiple times, the Caribbean, and obviously my Road Trip across the USA! But I've still had the itch to get abroad again! And this allows me to do that!

when I leave what I know, I grow immensely! 

In applying for Remote Year, we were asked to describe our personal and professional goals. I'm a very goal-oriented person so I had a lot to write here. But one of my biggest goals was surrounding growth.

When I moved cross-country for graduate school, the years that followed were the most intense periods of growth in my life. I believe that comes from putting yourself into an unknown environment with new people. Those kinds of experiences challenge your own personal authenticity and self-confidence and in doing this program, I knew that I would challenge myself that way again.

It's been a long time since my move to Michigan and since that time, I feel like I've stagnated. I havent' been challenged in those same ways, ways in which presented me with very profound personal obstacles. It's been the same thing day in and day out. And I want to be challenged again! Basically, it’s been a long time I put myself in a new situation that involved me meeting new people from completely different life situations that I would otherwise never get to meet, experiencing new things, and doing something different and unexpected with my life. I’ve followed a “plan” for a long time, with a road map that has been laid out for me. There’s been very little uncertainty and though that’s comfortable, it’s not necessarily the key to growth and to living a great life.

It’s time to do the unexpected. The challenge of doing so with a group of strangers in a new city every month, potentially on a new continent, seems like the ultimate in personal challenges. And that's exactly what I wanted out of this adventure!

the bottom line is there was really no better time for me to do something like this. 

I hear people talk about the reasons why they can’t or won’t travel. Maybe they have a relationship, but neither of them can leave for an extended period of time because of work. I don’t have that. I am not in a relationship right now, so I'm not leaving a love behind that I, for lack of a better way to say this, will have to "worry" about. That immediately frees me up in a lot of ways. Also, my job is remote so I can totally go off and explore and still keep my income. Nothing changes for me in regards to traveling.

After people have kids, they obviously are responsible for raising those little humans. They sure as shit couldn't leave them behind. Well, they could but that would be pretty negligent. And it would certainly be impractical to take their kids along. Again, I don’t have that either. I'm single and childless.

Basically, all the things that would keep me from doing Remote Year, leaving behind a significant other, kids or the “dream job,” I don’t have that right now! So really, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was NO BETTER time for me to do something like his than right now.

So that's why I'm doing this. That's why I'm going on this adventure. I get that it's unconventional and I get that people won't understand. Trust me, my parents definitely didn't when I dropped the bomb on them that I was doing this.

But I'm not doing this for anyone but me. And that's real talk, my friends!

Do you have any questions about Remote Year?

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