6 months down, 6 to go. Crazy.

In Cape Town, I was spoiled with regular hikes, beautiful beaches, and perfect 85 degree and sunny weather. Marrakech brought a lot of tajine, the insane Sahara desert, and a special project with the Amal women’s cooking center. Then, I fell in love with Lisbon (but seriously, I dream of it often). It rained a lot, but I was so happy to be in a beautiful city, in a culture that was very familiar to me, and a short plane ride to family. Valencia had the most amazing greenway, in which I spent most days scootering around, and was full of paella and sangria. Then Hanoi, I hit a bit of a wall where I did not love the city, I was insanely hot, and I was overcoming personal challenges. Not to totally discount it though, I enjoyed the noodles and found a love for riding on the back of motorbikes. And now, Chiang Mai came as the sweetest surprise. I explored stunning blue beaches by longboat, ate more food than I should’ve because just so good, and lived the life of a digital nomad, hopping from café (to temple) to café.

I have started a new job that I will have through the end of the year (woot woot!) and have made 23+ new great friends. I have also met some really cool people on the road and documented some of them on my @just_a_different_view_ Instagram.

I have taken just about every form of transportation: bus, bicycle, plane, car, motorbike, tuk-tuk, camel, beach buggy, red truck, ferry, longtail boat, electric scooter, train, cable car…

I have interacted with and seen so many new animals: leopards, giraffes, elephants, camels, penguins, a little puppy we rescued. And I’ve tried so many new foods!

I have learned an insane amount about the world and myself and summarized a few of them below. Honestly, feeling incredibly lucky and grateful to be on Remote Year. As low as the lows have been, this whole thing is pretty damn cool. I cannot imagine going back to a ‘normal’ life, so I’m accepting this as my new normal for as long as it can be.

Things I’ve learned on Remote Year…so far:

  1. There is beauty in just living in a place as much as there is seeing a lot of it
  2. I don’t need things, maybe should live out of suitcase forever
  3. I have a peanut butter obsession, or more it is a taste of home, it’s first thing I get in every place
  4. I am definitely an introvert, too much time with other people is exhausting. Likewise I love exploring on my own, I take things in much better that way anyway
  5. First week of the month should be spent nailing down a routine, finding gym, grocery store, looking at map of the city, trying a few local dishes and walking the neighborhood, learning a little language but NOT doing everything
  6. Transitioning every month has a lot of challenges and wears on my body (always changing food/water/air), definitely not something I can do every month forever
  7. On the other hand, it’s 12 reset buttons. If you have a bad month, quickly move on
  8. I can get through anything and am mentally stronger than I thought. Fear is literally all in my head and within my control, as hard as it is to push through
  9. Sometimes I just need to do nothing
  10. I really don’t like the smell or taste of durian but MANGOS are amazing
  11. I don’t do great in humidity and heat, namely ‘feels like 120’
  12. When working with charities, it’s best to get a sense of their needs first. Don’t come in with an idea of how we will help because it will probably be inaccurate
  13. The world is really small, we can get anywhere, just get on the plane with the right mindset if going on a long flight and accept you’ll be there for a while
  14. Asia is not another planet
  15. Women’s rights in America, though needing improvement still, are a heck of a lot better than some other places. Exhibit A: Morocco.
  16. Any time I’m surprised by something, it means I set false expectations
  17. Don’t wear sweatpants to an Asian temple in the summer
  18. The most valuable moments are interacting with locals in the places I visit
  19. As much as living in cities is awesome, I need time in nature to refresh, too.
  20. People that care about me will always be there for me even if from far away
  21. Stick to my gut even if hard to do and/or will hurt others
  22. It’s ok to be vulnerable and weak and allow people to get to know all of me. Being perfect is impossible so stop trying and stop lying.
  23. Kitchen essentials: a good knife, chip clips, Tupperware, vegetable peeler, frying pan, one pot, fork, spoon, knife
  24. Don’t jump of a 14 meter cliff, may result in fractured vertebra
  25. Always strike up conversation with an Uber driver
  26. My digestion system may never be the same
  27. The city team is the most valuable part of Remote Year. How would I know not to touch someone’s head in Thailand otherwise!?
  28. My brother is actually the coolest for visiting twice…still waiting for another one.
  29. I love cats and dogs but really not inclined to pet stray ones all over the world
  30. Packing is a lot easier when you have a set amount of stuff, and it all just needs to get in the bag.

Flight Count: 17
Continent Count: 3