The first day of Remote Year

May 27th will be the three month mark of being home from Remote Year. Looking back, I already feel like an entirely different person. Not in the exciting, bubbly sense you would think. The Remote Year platform itself didn’t help me to become a better, more worldly person with enlightened perspectives. The Remote Year was a platform that fostered situations for me to be challenged me on a daily basis, on every level. Personally. Professionally. Friendships. Romantic. Health. Everything. And I came out the other side with lots of scars, that’s for sure.

It’s sort of funny when people ask why I did Remote Year. I share this interesting little anecdote:

I was doing research for a solo backpacking trip through South America when I came across Remote Year on a list of resources for travelers. I was intrigued, I’d always worked remotely, so it seemed like the perfect combination. I applied and fast forward a few weeks, I was accepted into the program. I didn’t accept right away. I told my then-business-partner and he said he would support me either way. It wasn’t until an organization that I was part of announced in an email to our members that I was leaving that I finally said, ‘Well, guess I’m doing it then.’

Maybe I should have taken my hesitation as a sign. Who knows where I’d be if I had. But, I didn’t, and so the crazy whirlwind of a year began.

But I didn’t begin alone. One of my other business partners who I’d gotten drunk with a handful of times and otherwise didn’t really know all that well had decided to jump on the bandwagon with me. My thought about it was:

We’ll either love each other or hate each other after this. There’s no way around it.

I’m happy to report, it was former. The year was a completely different experience for each of us, but throughout the ups and downs, we were there for each other in a way I don’t think anyone else could have been. He’s one of the best people I’ve had the fortune to trick into hanging out with me.

So, here we are. On our way to Cordoba, Argentina. 70 of us, bright-eyed a bushy-tailed. It’s like the first day of high school. (Really though, the whole year could be compared to high school dynamics.) When we landed, we were herded by the welcoming committee onto different buses to be dropped off at our assigned apartments throughout the city. It was the middle of the night so we couldn’t see anything as we were driven through what would be our new home for the month.

The first day in Cordoba was swelteringly hot. I remember Snapchatting my walk to the office and thinking:

I’m literally going to die here. This is where it ends.

Unfortunately, that was not where it ended. It may have well been better if it had. Okay, that’s a joke, but really, I was miserable. Anyone who knows me knows there are two things I hate: heat… and well I honestly can’t think of another thing I hate as much as I hate heat. Maybe it’s the ensuing hot flashes I would inevitably have on a daily basis.

But, back to the first day. I picked up Adam (also referred to as Mann as there were three Adams in our program, all of which hung out together, so they were called by their last names) and we went and sat down at the closest and most tourist-friendly restaurant we could find. Fortunately, I had some Spanish background from my year studying in Spain, was was like:

Hey, I got this, I can order us some water and sandwiches. Yeah, sup.

After our loaf of bread with a slice of cheese and some random meat on it, we paid our bill and continued on to Incutex, the co-working space that would be our home for the month. If I’m not mistaken, we crammed into an under-ventilated room to talk about the basics of Remote Year and all the stuff you would expect of an adult-traveling-the-world day care. Gotta cover all your bases, right?

It’s weird writing about the beginning of everything, because it seems like I blinked my eyes and now I’m here, back in Arizona, worrying about all the things I worried about two years ago. It’s such a hard thing to explain how a year can be like one of the longest periods of your life and one of the fastest all at the same time. But that’s what it’s like. An absolute mind fuck that will change your life forever.