If you love to travel, but your pesky job keeps getting in the way of your jet setting, you can now do both. A program called Remote Year allows you to spend a year working full time, remotely, in 12 different countries around the world. Each itinerary includes 50 to 80 people, from all over the globe.
“They provide apartments, co-working spaces, local events, volunteer opportunities, growth opportunities and networking opportunities,” says Seattle’s Dana Reinert, who just got back from her Remote Year. “And they take care of all travel between countries. Say, if you’re flying to Lisbon from Vietnam or from Vietnam to South America.”
Reinert works as a freelance design and product strategist. But she says most people on her trip weren’t freelancers or people who already worked from home. She estimates about 70 percent of her travelmates were nine to fivers who made special arrangements with their bosses.
“Customer service reps who have to be online for a set eight hours a day, analysts, we had lawyers, we had attorneys and people who are working with business development and accountants. A lot of web developers.”
Remote Year guarantees 24-hour-a-day high speed Internet and there are staff members traveling with you to troubleshoot any problems.
“We had two or three people whose CEOs and bosses commented that they were more focused and more plugged in and a harder worker and did more in the first three months of the program than the people who were left back at the office. Because when you’re working and traveling, you’re focusing on: I have a set amount of time in the day and I kind of want to make sure I get out of here at five so I can fully take advantage of being in this new country when I’m not at work.”
The Remote Year experience costs about $27,000.
“You put down a $5,000 deposit when you’re accepted into the program and then its a $2,000 payment every month. It ended up being almost a no-brainer to do it because it’s covering all of your flights, a lot of your activities, it’s covering 24/7 Wi-Fi and coworking access and you get an apartment. They’re taking care of all the logistics. When you show up in a new place you’re handed a key and the address. You’re given a map to the co-working space and then you’re off and running. They make sure they target neighborhoods that are filled with nice cafes, maybe some night life close to the city center.”
Reinert, who freelances with UNICEF and the UN, says she picked up new clients while abroad, and now she has a network of 50 Remote Workers living around the world who she can call on for advice and networking. But work aside, she had some amazing travel adventures.
“We went on a horseback riding trip through a national park in Portugal, I rented and learned how to drive motorcycles in the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam. A surf trip in Indonesia. I would say in every single country there were definitely two or three moments where you look at the person next to you, who is trying to send a PDF file on a Thursday from a train in Morocco, and you’re like, I wouldn’t be doing this if I was just sitting back in Seattle. I’m having the time of my life and I’m able to focus both on my professional life and my personal life.”
Reinert is 28, but she says it’s not just for backpacking set. People in her group ranged in age from their 20s to their 50s. And unlike a yearlong backpacking trip, you have the comfort of a home base where you can relax and use it as a launching pad for trips.