Why I declined a year working remotely and travelling 12 countries?
Remote Year a travelling program for online working professionals. You get all your accommodation and workspace sorted for you, you get to travel with 70 fellow entrepreneurs to multiple destinations and go to tailored events.
Applied. Here’s my application submitted.
Accepted. Success. Approved.
Great — so let’s do it? Or not..
It was 2016 when I applied and decided not to follow through to go and travel the 12 exotic countries proposed, spending a month in each, living the digital nomad/remote working life I’ve always dreamed of.
As much as I enjoyed reading the success stories of the program, it was everything I wanted. It seemed possible to start an online business from the ground the minute you landed or to team up with fellow entrepreneurs on the program. However, realistically, I didn’t have a remote working business at the time and paying $5000 (US dolls) down payment and earning $2000 (US dolls) each month to pay for all the accommodation, travel and events Remote Year held got me financially questioning.
Do entrepreneurs really pay this amount alongside running their own business as well? Aren’t they still trying to make profit in the first two or more years? Who has this much money? And if they do, why not travel to anywhere they want themselves? SO many questions.
My main ponder was; as each country varies in cost, how did spending a month in each country cost the same? E.g. London vs Prague. Vastly different. Remote Year assured me that the costs would be utilised well for all the accommodation, working facilities and intuitive events held. I didn’t doubt the program as such (maybe the cost a little on myself), but I wanted to understand if this was right for me.
Whilst working full-time as a (mid-weight) digital designer in London, at that point in 2016, I was already earning and what I’d have to pay for Remote Year was the cost of nearly my entire annual salary. $29,000 (US dolls) / £22,465 for the year of travelling and working to pay for the travel. Depending on profits, I’d essentially come back with £0.
From my travelling experience and budgeting skills, £22k can get you many many plane tickets and many many travel experiences whilst travelling the entire world.
So what did you decide? Not to start your remote working dream?
I stopped there. I decided not to go to the final stage.
I sometimes wonder what the experience would’ve been like for me if I bit the bullet, but I like planning, my decisions where to go, knowing where my money is being used exactly and felt my savings could be utilised alternatively to set up my own working and travelling experience. So I did it a little differently.
Without having a remote business yet, I moved out of London and moved to Berlin. I had a job secured before moving out there and I lived there for 18 months experiencing two winters and one and a half summers. It was great meeting new people, other designers and being a part of the creative, Berlin start up culture. Learning German and facing -15 degree weather was the most difficult part, and I didn’t have to worry about money as my full-time job had me covered. So essentially, I could still travel and work in a new country.
Where are you now on your remote working dream goal?
I’m in Sydney. I’m a freelance UI product designer for companies/agencies. Not quite working the remote world yet. It’s definitely not an easy life on your own (so I’ve read), and I do love collaborating with people, creating working connections, being in a good culture and making friends in a new place too for that matter. Remote working would benefit me in a way that I don’t have to pack in a job every time I want to visit somewhere new. Then, in that somewhere new, I look for a new flat again, network again, learn the market, job hunt all over, again. The chase has always been exciting but I’m getting old (haha *cries*). Continuously starting new — can be pretty exhausting. So working remotely would be a perfect balance of consistent work and being able to live in new places for the experiences. Life is too short to stay in one place.
3 years since my RY application, if I did go on the program, I’m sure my journey would be crazy different; I would’ve learnt a ton of entrepreneurial work life aspects and I would’ve been a success story for sure (or be super broke — either one). But at the same time, I’m happy for the slower route I’ve chosen to travel to the spots I want and to reside in each place for a longer time to study the market and build more and closer worldly connections.
No regrets. Just pathways.
No wrong and right routes. Just A and B.
Life and decisions. How exciting.