What just happened to me
Pinch me. My Remote Year has ended, how did that happen? The last thing I remember is meeting my 50 “Tramily” all the way back in Split - “Travel family”, Uggh, one of a few new terms I visibly gagged at when first hearing but have since come to accept. Now twelve months have passed and we are bidding each other farewell in Mexico.
As with a regular extended family there are some you “click” with more than others. There are some I have planned to meet already (a few I have already travelled through Mexico and Nicaragua with since the breakup), some I intend to meet up with and possibly travel with in the future, others I just know something will work out, there are some that I am not sure if I’ll ever see again.
Thanks to the ubiquity of social media (and our very chatty WhatsApp group) I don’t think I’ll ever be strangers with any of the group nor would I want to be.
We are now all alumni to a very special experience, something that has been shared, experienced, survived and even endured. No amount of research or preparation could have prepared us for what we were signing up for. Prior to departure my focus was all about the places, where I would be, what I could do and how to stay safe while there (Well, maybe not so much the last one). What couldn’t be articulated is that Remote Year is not about the places but the people experiencing it next to you - a large group of doing so many firsts, juxtaposed against generally routine lives back home you can’t help but forge strong bonds - some of the group more active “bond formers” than others.
Ask about memorable adventures not my favorite city/country
The first thing anyone asks when discovering my wandering adventuring tendencies is “What was your favorite country/city”, and I can never provide an answer, each location was an experience and adventure unto itself with the only common thread being the crazy group I was sharing it with.
Each country required passing through the various phases each remote goes through. Initial culture shock followed by “I can do this”, then comes acclimatization, then comfort, a little compliancy followed by ‘What? we have to leave already’. Some locations took longer than others to work through these phases but that is part of the adventure.
What was the secret sauce of each location was the side trips, track events or group dinner outings that take a turn (that one time it turned into run-in with the Yakuza during a 24hr bender in Osaka).
15 month recap
I have jumped,
I have foregone comfort.
I have given up safety and security.
I have turned from happiness and love, warmth and wealth.
I have leaped. Oh fuck!
I wrote this as an intro on my very first post when I started my travels, a full 15 months ago almost to the day. The tone of the post betrayed the inner gut wrenching that was going on, I had taken a massive and potentially career limiting risk - a leap into something that ‘sounded cool’ but I hadn’t really thought through the implications of.
I am so glad I did, it ranks up there as one of the best decisions of my life and something that will continue to pay dividends for many years to come (perhaps actual dividends in the case of Laazy).
I am returning a different person than left those 15 months ago. I feel profoundly changed but can’t think how or what about me is different, much the same as you can’t feel age creeping in but creep in it does.
I outlined some vauge goals in that post and I just wanted to recap to see where I am now that things are done and dusted.
Work on startups and projects for which I have equity.
In theory my goal was simple, throw in a well paying, secure but essentially unrewarding job and spend a year building value in businesses. Then at the end of the year I had to be confident about the trajectory of said businesses such that I don’t want to go straight back into a job.
This was my main goal and my reason for doing Remote Year and I feel I have nailed it! I am deeply involved with two amazing start-ups.
Dirt - the eco detergent taking Australia by storm, I am blown away with the sales growth and enthusiasm of our loyal following - Frankie, you rock!
Laazy - Media preparation for Smart Laazy people. Whilst this project is still in beta and has a long way to go, we are seeing glimmers of the true goal of the tool coming through and our users as starting to see that. We have a strong committed team and a solid roadmap to reshape the way people approach image processing.
I am very excited about where these two businesses will be in twelve months time.
Build skills that I have not had time to learn whilst in full time employment (primarily Data Science & Front end technologies).
My data science study took a back seat such that I have not spent any time on it, but I will look to be reigniting that as the need for ‘smart actions’ in Laazy come up on the roadmap.
I originally wanted to stick to two blog posts a month, doing a quick calculation now yields a post per month rate of 1.5, I am pretty happy with that although sometimes the publishing cadence was a little ‘lumpy’ at times. The readership of this blog has been steadily increasing so I will be continuing publishing as my adventures continue.
I intended the blog writing to be practice for a larger project, a fiction novel that has been bouncing around my head for a time. However due to other projects and the day-to-day mayhem of Remote Year this project will need to stay in the ‘future stuff’ column in my life Trello board for a while longer.
Consulting (I need to pay the bills somehow)
I picked up a few consulting clients through the year - no easy feat when never being able to conduct an in-person meeting. This was not a priority but if I could stem the outflow of cash from my savings even if only momentarily then that is a good thing.
I am finishing my travels with a much lighter wallet but with a feeling I made an incredible investment.
So, What next?
This post is being written from 40,000 feet, having just spent a month exploring Central America, from partying in Cancun to narrowly avoiding political riots in Nicaragua (post coming soon), I am flying to the US for one last adventure as I take the long way home. As my first time in ‘Murica I thought it best to hit the crowd favorites of NYC, DC, Vegas and LA before finally heading home.
From there I am finally heading back to Melbourne for a stint. At this stage I have given myself at least three months working on my businesses and divesting myself of my house before I decide what to do next. I am very much looking forward to a little routine and normality.
I am tired but not done with my adventures - I feel they are only beginning.