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:
- There is beauty in just living in a place as much as there is seeing a lot of it
- I don’t need things, maybe should live out of suitcase forever
- I have a peanut butter obsession, or more it is a taste of home, it’s first thing I get in every place
- 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
- 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
- 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
- On the other hand, it’s 12 reset buttons. If you have a bad month, quickly move on
- 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
- Sometimes I just need to do nothing
- I really don’t like the smell or taste of durian but MANGOS are amazing
- I don’t do great in humidity and heat, namely ‘feels like 120’
- 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
- 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
- Asia is not another planet
- Women’s rights in America, though needing improvement still, are a heck of a lot better than some other places. Exhibit A: Morocco.
- Any time I’m surprised by something, it means I set false expectations
- Don’t wear sweatpants to an Asian temple in the summer
- The most valuable moments are interacting with locals in the places I visit
- As much as living in cities is awesome, I need time in nature to refresh, too.
- People that care about me will always be there for me even if from far away
- Stick to my gut even if hard to do and/or will hurt others
- 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.
- Kitchen essentials: a good knife, chip clips, Tupperware, vegetable peeler, frying pan, one pot, fork, spoon, knife
- Don’t jump of a 14 meter cliff, may result in fractured vertebra
- Always strike up conversation with an Uber driver
- My digestion system may never be the same
- The city team is the most valuable part of Remote Year. How would I know not to touch someone’s head in Thailand otherwise!?
- My brother is actually the coolest for visiting twice…still waiting for another one.
- I love cats and dogs but really not inclined to pet stray ones all over the world
- 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