It’s month four of Remote Year and I’m sitting on my little balcony in Lisbon. It’s not fancy. There are a couple of chairs and a table and there’s some plastic ivy to “dress it up.” I can hear kids whining in the apartment next to us (whining in Portuguese is no less annoying than whining in English, in case you were wondering).
To be clear, Remote Year life is far from glamorous, but it’s never boring. I’m glad to be in Portugal with a wonderful group of humans. This country has been on my “must-go” list for a few years now, after a friend gushed about his trip here and said, “You have to go.”
I didn’t get here all by myself. A few people have been instrumental in supporting me, and I’d like to take this chance to say, “thank you.”
Blogger, Chris Guillebeau
Back in 2012, I volunteered to spend a weekend helping out at a conference called The World Domination Summit. I knew little about the event, aside from the fact that it was run by the one blogger I followed at the time, Chris Guillebeau. Chris is a writer, traveler, and proponent of living life on one’s own terms. The experience of volunteering at WDS was pivotal for me. Not only did I hear about the concept of location independence/digital nomads, but I found a new tribe of people who are interested in travel, entrepreneurship, service and personal development. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Chris!
My friend Jules, who followed her dream by moving to Paris
Jules cried tears of joy when she first laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower. She and I were there, with a few other girlfriends, for a week in Paris. For Jules, it wasn’t just a vacation. After that trip, the wheels were in motion for her to spend a summer there, and then to return and become a full-time American in Paris. As difficult as its been to be so far away from one of my favorite people in the world, it’s clear that she made the right decision. She’s been someone I’ve admired for going after her dreams, including that of becoming an ex-pat. Thanks for proving that it’s possible, Jules!
Jeff, the wonderful man I was dating when I decided to come on Remote Year
One important element of love is that the people who truly love us have our best interests in mind. Right around our two-year anniversary of our first date, I told my boyfriend, Jeff, that I was thinking of leaving to travel for a year. He could have easily asked me to stay in Portland and continue our cozy life together. But instead, he encouraged me to do this crazy thing because he knew it would be a dream come true for me. It was as unselfish as it gets. Thank you for loving me with all of your heart, Jeff.
Every couple of years, I have one of those phone calls with my family where I tell them about a major decision I’ve made. Some of them have included:
“I’m moving 3,000 miles away to Portland, Oregon.”
“I’m buying an old house.”
“I’m quitting my job to become a writer.”
“I’m going to pursue a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education.”
And most recently, “I’m going to leave my home and all of my friends to travel the world with Remote Year.”
Even though they might not understand my decisions 100%, my parents and siblings continue to trust me and love me, no matter what. For that, I’m extremely grateful.
Kristin, my amazing best friend
Ever since we were awkward teenagers in our CT high school, Kristin and I have been super close. No matter where we are, we talk all the time. Naturally, Kristin was one of the first people I called when I was contemplating Remote Year. “It’s like this was made for you. You have to do it,” she said. As a seasoned traveler herself, Kristin really appreciates my desire to see the world, and wants to know every detail of my trip. Thanks for always being invested in what I’m doing, Kristin!
I’m also grateful for all of my other wonderful friends and readers. I miss you like crazy. Please come visit me.