Morocco and I had a rough start. That new normal I found in Vietnam, well, it turned into a dumpster fire. My suitcase broke, my phone broke, my phone was repaired, my phone broke again, Wi-Fi stopped working, cellular service was not available, my computer stopped charging.
It is unclear to me if it was Marrakesh or the series of unfortunate events, or a combination of both, but I was slow to warm to Morocco.
Views from the mall food court in Marrakesh
A small courtyard in the Medina, the old city markets in Marrakesh
I started working during the day again. It was hard to adjust to working during the sunshine. I was enjoying having days to explore and then nights to work, and/or sleep (which is optional during remote year).
The infamous tannery where all the raw animal hides are treated, dyed, and cut for various crafts. The smell was intense.
The landscape is reminiscent of a young, less developed southwestern United States; wild west with a mini-modern city stretched out, painted the same colors as the surrounding, scattered with a casino, an occasional tumbleweed, and a mall with a Chili’s. Baby back ribs, anyone? The old square is where most of the shopping happens. It is bursting with life! Jemaa el-fnaa, the medina or old city, is city jam-packed with trinkets, artisanal crafts, exotic foods, and spices.
Leather Baboosh, aka Moroccan slippers are very common artisanal crafts in the Medina.
I am blown away with the languages people speak, especially in the market! Arabic, French, English, Spanish! The majority of the people were at least bilingual, often trilingual. The best salesmen spoke, what seemed like every language and could guess where you were from just by looking at you.
In Taghazout, camels cruising the beach were just as common as tourists. For a small fee, you can go for a quick ride and take photos.
Breathtaking Sahara Desert.
Side trips (as we call them in Remote Year) included the surfing beaches in the north of Morocco like Taghazout and Agadir, and surfing sand dunes and camel rides in the Sahara Desert. Both adventures were incredible and reminded me that Morocco is way more than just the crazy whirlwind of Marrakesh. The natural beauty of Morocco is stunning and assisted
in opening me to the appeal of the country, but it never quite felt like home, even a temporary one.
Anyone for a magic carpet ride? Artisanal rugs made with the Fez blue cobalt.
During Ramadan, Moroccans fast between dawn and sunset as worship to God. Because there is no separation of church and state, it is illegal for a Moroccan to eat during the day. We have a couple of people in our RY group that could have been mistaken for Moroccans; they were advised to keep their passport on them in case an issue arose when they were eating or drinking in public.
Reminiscent to the dedication during Thaipusam in Malaysia (March’s blog), I am impressed by the dedication that our local friends have for their religion. They describe Ramadan as a time to reflect, become closer to God, and abstain from eating to unify the rich and the poor. I decided to try the fasting for two days.
Day one, I brushed my teeth for 10 minutes as an excuse to try and put moisture back into my mouth. I was sure not to ingest as that would be cheating. No water, no food, all day long. What was I thinking!? A few other girls in the group were fasting in solidarity and around 8:00 P.M. we all met at my apartment to break our fast. It was like Christmas. We sat around the table and enjoyed the traditional meals for breaking the fast. Dates, Harissa (Moroccan soup), milk, and Chebakia (a honey-soaked Moroccan cookie) filled our empty bellies. I thought we were all going to stuff our faces as fast as we could, but we each took time to taste every bite. We sat around for hours and chatted, and of course, drank as much water as we could fit around all the food. Day two was much easier. I had the traditional last meal before sunrise, which I did not do the first night. I stayed awake until 3:00 A.M. just to eat and drink one last time. I had an unusual amount of energy on day two and once fast broke, I only ate a few things. Dates, more cookies, and a small piece of chicken. It was an incredible experience, both challenging myself, and being able to relate to those fasting for an entire month.
Tajine all around! Also pictured is the Moroccan salad and the beautifully crafted Moroccan dishware.
In addition to the Ramadan foods, Morocco is filled with incredible flavors and diverse food selections.
Key Moroccan staples:
Tajines – a version of a Dutch oven and refers to any meats cooked over coals, low and slow.
Msemen – the BEST pancake, thin, soft, and pillow-y served with Amlou (almond butter with argon oil) and local honey.
The TEA! Mint tea, tea time is very important. It was a time to slow down and enjoy time with others. The higher you pour, the better.
The workspace was far away from our apartments and awkwardly quiet, I think I used it twice. I worked from home mostly as it took a lot of effort to go out as there was no Uber (this was the first location with out it), taxis seem to always want to swindle you, and I worked weird hours.
It was weird working during the day again. I found myself adjusting to work late into the evening without even meaning to. It may be that I am more productive at night, or I may have never adjusted to the local time.
Low Atlas Mountains passing through on the way to the Sahara. Reminded me of Sedona, AZ.
The final farewell to Marrakesh and our 100-day celebration (100 days of being on remote year), brought the community back together at the end of the month, which had seemed to be a little disconnected. With our sense of community revived, we set out for Croatia and a month by the sea.
Shukran & Au revoir!
I arrived in Vietnam on Saturday, March 31st! Hanoi is a busy, chaotic, energetic city exploding with eastern culture. It’s incredible, the kind of Asia I have been looking for. Until now, I have felt the previous destinations were so westernized, and have enjoyed them, but was looking for something with more shock.
Vietnam is that something more.
Everything in the city is risky. Crossing the street felt like you were swimming through a heavily populated school of fish but instead of water you are swimming through “zebra crossing,” in the concrete jungle and the fish are thousands of motor bikes that swarm around you. Stay at a steady pace and just keep walking, it may not comfortable for everyone, but once prepared, it is an energizing adrenaline rush. Eating street food is risky because of high potential for food poisoning or because of the police coming by to usher people and tiny tables off the sidewalk. If they came by in the middle of your meal, you would have to grab you table and food and pretend to move inside until they left. If you were lucky, they just did a quick drive by. In the previous cities we had Uber as a transportation option, here it is Grab Bike, a motor bike shared with a local driver. They offered a helmet so the risk of injury is slightly lessened, until they just drove on the wrong side of the road.
Because of the French colonization, the architecture is colonial, bursting with life down tiny alleyways, that would open to a beautiful maze of skinny, tall story homes where the ground floor served as their place of business and the floors above where the multi-generational families live. Each mini-street has a different craft, party city street, bike repair street, food street, lamp street, plastic container street, casket and flower street, small appliance street, like a Vietnamese version of Home Depot disorderly organized around the city.
The culture is a combination of everyone out for themselves and a strong sense of community. The sidewalks are where the community gathered. They were for everything but a walkway. Sidewalks were filled with live roosters, dead roosters, dogs chained up, crates filled with various small animals, millions of motor bikes both parked or driving around the obstacles, tiny baby furniture, blood, haircuts, shaves, markets, dead fish, you name it, it is happening on the sidewalk.
We were lucky enough to get out of the city we trekked through the wildly unexplored jungles and national parks. Jungles, trekking to the caves of Hang Va, where we learned of the Son Dong cave system that is still unmapped and mostly undiscovered. The caves we entered have been explored by less people than have summited Mount Everest.
During the trek to the caves I was overcome with emotion when I thought of the young Vietnamese and American soldiers trekking through the jungle during war. The thick overgrown jungle, sharp rock formations, and muddied ground made up the path that we followed. I couldn’t imagine fighting a battle in these conditions. Respect and admiration for our Vietnam war vets filled my heart.
Inspired when I returned to the city, I went to prison. The Hao Lo Prison, known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” where we saw pictures of the pleasant time the POWs had during their stay, like a lovely Christmas celebration, or friendly basketball and volleyball games, did not seem to add up when you compared that to the emaciated figures they had when they were released. Interesting perspective. I am sure the truth is somewhere between the American version and the Vietnamese version.
On the menu:
Street food is a must, Pho, Obama’s Bun Cha vs street Bun Cha, competition between Bahn Mi 25 and 14 (personally, 25 for the win),
Hanoi Social Club and Lifted Café are a delish break from eastern foods with items like mango French toast, Social Club Burger that rivals most restaurant burgers in the US, and the happy hipster avocado toast.
Vietnamese coffee foamed up with egg white and sweetened with sugar, appropriately named Egg Coffee, was addictively satisfying.
Our boat rower in Tam Coc is informing us of the favorite foods in the very little English he could speak, eating dog, cat, goat, pig, and sugar cane that tasted like a slightly sweet bark or a tree.
I thought dog and cat would be to… exotic for me, therefore I had to pass on the consumption.
Remote Year (month 3 away from old home with my travel family)
This month I lived three lives. One life last month of night shift work, another life was a social life with the RY Kanyinis which dipped into the night shift work life, and an independent life, thanks to the accessibility of Grab Bike (and of course, the Internet) to jump into my own adventures. Until now, I have relied heavily on the RY program and its events/planning.
Building my experience was not lacking negative emotions. I felt a weird pressure when I was not doing enough of the touristy stuff, or exploring the same things that other remotes did, or even liking the same things as much as others did. But then, I had a candid little chat with myself, saying, “you’re not a tourist. You came on Remote Year to immerse yourself into the local cultures. To challenge yourself.” Duh, and like that, a switch flipped, I felt more open to be myself, let my guard down, became more conformable. I spent time exploring the city, hung out with people that I did not typically, and found my new normal. I am not sure if it has been because of the time on the program (like dog years, remote year time is the 1-year equivalent), my enjoyment of Vietnam, or some cosmic force, but I have felt like a citizen of the world, acclimating to this city as if it was my own.
Lived locally. Worked locally.
Now, I look forward to seeing what Africa has to offer.
The land of 1 million malls was left barren of Remote Year Kanyini on March 3rd, 2018. We left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and landed in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
The Culture of Thailand
Can be summed up in 2 words: Food (which gets its own section) and Fun!
Thailand means “Land of the Free,” and is a culture of some of the funniest and playful people I have encountered. As our climbing guide said, “if it isn’t fun or food, it’s not important.”
The area we lived in was Nimman, which as one of my RY companions said looks like someone took all the things a millennial would love on Instagram and made a city from it. Cafes, fancy coffee, rooftop bars, vegan restaurants, art galleries, and cute local shops lined the streets of Nimman. The “fun” was apparent in the bars with bunnies, hedgehog cafes, slides and ball pits (for adults) in restaurants, and the flamboyant, hilarious and extremely talented lady boy performances. I even found a Philadelphia Eagles bar, with of course, amazing food.
Although Uber was available, transportation around town was usually in Tuk-tuks or Red Cars (Song-taew). Tuk-tuks fell under the fun category as they whirl around corners and small streets as if they are trying to eject you, followed by a small giggle from the driver. Not everyone’s type of fun, but I enjoyed it!
Along with food and fun, I found that respect and courtesy was also among the top priorities of Thai people. This was expressed through greeting with a wai, a gesture of paying respect (put your palms together at chest level and bow slightly). Be sure to look if there are shoes outside, you probably should leave yours too.
Khao Soi, a magical mixture of sweet savory and spicy! Coconut milk-based, noodle soup either vegetarian or with any protein. I preferred the Seafood Koi soy with grilled squid. Yum.
7-11 toasties were amazing for late night treats as food places in Thailand close by 10:00P.M. (2200). As a night shift, toasties got us through the night, and some regretful mornings. Think of a buttery grilled cheese filled with anything from pork floss (my personal favorite), fish, or even sweet ones filled with chocolate. The 7-11 cashier would toast them up in a panini press, ready for consummation. Not sure why they are not in the states, because, they would make a killing for late night food.
Thai Tea is a sweet magical milky treat with condensed milk and lots of flavor.
One of the best meals I had, besides the one million bowls of Khao Soi, was a local famous street food stall. My brush with fame was Cowboy Hat Lady, as seen on Anthony Bourdain’s show. She makes the most flavorful, fall-off-the-bone tender pork. You just have a seat (if there are any available), and servers bring you an amazing feast, all for less than $10 U.S. dollars.
Remote Year Experience (working and living)
Because there were so many Expats and many parts of the area we lived in did not feel foreign, it did not feel like I was in Thailand, just a trendy neighborhood in (insert any state here), which was not a bad thing, I was just looking for more of a culture shock when I entered the RY program.
The workspace provided by RY was efficient during the day, however, for night shift it was covered with mosquitos that swarmed the vibrant lights of the outdoor bathrooms. You can imagine the bug bites that followed. To stay awake on the overnight shifts we would make a game out of swatting them with an electric, tennis-racquet-sized swatter. I did not frequent the workspace during evening hours.
Chiang Mai had many co-working spaces in cafes and restaurants that accommodate the remote worker. You could work from a different place for the entire month (maybe more) without repeating.
Chiang Mai felt easy to acclimate to, welcoming, and kind. It is no surprise why many expats call it home.
And only one mall.
Laa-gon Thailand (I will be back).
Now on to Hanoi, Vietnam!
Kob-Kuhn Kah (Thank you)
Thailand’s Grand Canyon (no rules, just fun, and someone always gets hurt)
Southern Thailand Beaches (Krabi, Railay, and Tonsai)
Month one has come to a smooth coast. Feels like the longest month of my life (in the best way possible).
Wow! What a diverse population to say the least. Muslim, Hindu, Arabic, Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese influences make up the welcoming city of Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL. KL is littered with hidden labyrinths of indoor malls, amazing diverse food stalls, and pop-up restaurants. If you needed anything at all, you would find it in a mall. Need a dentist? In the mall. Need vaccinations? In the mall. Need an Auntie Ann’s pretzel fix? In the mall. Grocery stores? You guessed it, the mall.
The bustling metropolis is home to innumerable skyscrapers reminiscent of downtown Manhattan mixed with the luxurious shops of the Las Vegas Strip. The two most iconic buildings are the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Tower (pictured). Petronas has also become home to the most employees in KL, home to over 50,000 employees. Through interactions with the local people, I have learned that Maybank, Shell (oil and gas companies are abundant in the market), and Intel are large and sought-after employment options.
If there wasn’t a mall or skyscraper taking up real estate it was a temple. The temples (Hindu and Muslim mostly) in KL were stunning to say the least. The detail, dedication and decadence of the religious people is much to be admired. One of the first experiences I had was the religion procession, Thaipusam (pictured). Beautiful chaos, as we entered the Divine Circle. Religious devote faithful climbed almost 300 stairs with hooks in their flesh, bare feet, and 5 feet tall to the temples nestled inside a natural cave. As we, the remote year family, ascended the stairs, the amount of people exponentially grew as quickly as personal space diminished. At the entrance of the Batu Caves, we were greeted by devote Hindu’s eating hot coals to remove them from trance state, smells of warm bodies, incense, fragrant saffron, and turmeric permeate the air, American sports-like announcers chanting Malaysian blessings and the beat of the drums kept us going up what seemed to be a never-ending stair climb in 90% humidity. In the temple was not short of gift shops as they lined the inside of the cave, monkeys savoring bananas and other treats people were sharing, and chickens cooing and clucking in what seemed to be their form of praise. My heart and my senses were filled and the energy and passion fueled my journey for the entire month in Malaysia.
Notable observations in KL: monkeys run around the city like squirrels, our accommodations were a 5 minute walk from the world’s smallest rainforest, Bikut Nannas.
From the moment I arrived, I knew I was going to have a strong relationship with the food here. Street food street (pictured) had anything you could desire from SE Asia. The pungent smell of durian that cuts through the air like hot steamy trash; it is more a mix of hot garbage (aka rubbish), sour garlic and a hint of pear. The local favorites were nasi lemak: a fragrant rice dish served with the most tender, slow-cooked chicken falling off the bone, covered in a sweet, spicy, and salty sauce. Eaten with your hands with creates a sensual relationship with food and those you enjoy it with. Another favorite (in which I ate far too much of) was roti with dahl. Roti is a magical tortilla style bread slathered with butter and served with, well, served with really anything as it was so versatile and delish! The tandoori chicken, unlike any tandoori chicken I have ever had. The street buffet had the best tandoori, it was charred and crisp on the outside and as you bite through the crisp outer crust of char from the open flame the internal white meat, falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. When laziness struck on the late-night work shifts we would have Uber Eats deliver some Halal, an Arabic favorite among the remote year fam.
Luckily, walking at least 5 miles a day to enjoy local events, food, or malls, helped build up an appetite without any weight gain.
The Remote Year Experience:
The walk from the accommodations to the workspace was an interesting one as you had to cross through the jungle known as bar street. The marketing tactic for the bars and restaurants was to shout at you profusely claiming they had the best drinks, food, Wi-Fi, air con (air conditioner), really anything to get to come inside. I walked down bar street nearly every day for one thing or another and thought every time, umm don’t they remember me? I walk here nearly every day. Finding a new normal did not include that walk so often I worked late nights from my apartment which was productive but could be a little lonely. Good thing I had amazing food to keep me company on those late nights.
Working night shift was an easier transition than I could even imagine. I enjoyed having my days free for exploring and had incredible support from others that had to work the same shift. It was tough as I did not see many of those who work days and could not make full use of the workspace as it would require an Uber as I did not feel safe walking home alone.
Adjusting to the culture, location, weather (mainly humidity coming from AZ where there is none), all while getting to know 34 strangers and performing the duties and functions of a full-time job. Often, we refer to time as RY time, as one mentioned is a pressure cooker. Feeling after a month of knowing our RY family, many have already become close enough to be real family. How has this only been a month? Speaking in time-space continuum, it is amazing how much you can fit into a day while working 40 hours. Sleep, optional. While I was living my best life in KL, I didn’t feel like I was doing too much, however now that I am reminiscing through the photos… I do not know how I did it all. Month one, in the books.
Quotes Of KL:
“I am not sure what I am eating, but it is delish!”
“Where is the rooftop pool? Does it have Wi-fi?” (just to get a dose of sunshine)
“What’s the Wi-Fi? (Wi-Fi is given out more freely than water.)
Insert Jurassic Park and/or Indiana Jones theme song into all adventures.
Terima Kashi! (Thank you)
Week one of Remote Year ends, I must remind myself that it is in fact only 1 week! After a short week of a crash course in acclimating to a new culture, new location, and total opposite time zone, I find that I am blown away that even with all those distractions, we have already created deep connections with a talented, diverse group of nomadic professionals. In our travel family of 35 people we have IT professionals, graphic designers, attorneys, HR/management and political consultants, producers, operations managers, finance professionals and entrepreneurs. The work ethic is astounding, the talent is mind-blowing, and I get an entire year with this group.
WAY harder than I expected. How does one pack for a year?! Be warned, this is not an advising entry.
Supplies: Bagail packing cubes, 24-inch Samsonite suitcase, and 30-liter North Face Backpack
Packed each packing cube individually, weighed them, added up to about 38 pounds. Too easy. Ready to combine that with my 8-pound suitcase should be totally fine. Oh, but wait, that is 46, must be under 20 kg which Is 44.9 pounds.
Take out two shirts and extra pair of shoes I won’t need. No problem.
Let’s get this all together now.
Everything is going my way! Room to spare in the suitcase, easy to close, this is way too easy. I lifted it up to the scale, feels a bit heavy.
Scale: 52.8 pounds. I took stuff out and it weighs more than originally?!
Round 2 Beth vs. Samsonite
Take out a pair of jeans, two more shirts, and some luxury items I enjoy (the struggle was real on that one). Sweating as if I am running a marathon in 70% humidity.
Scale: 47.2. Dear baby Jesus, please help guide me, give me strength.
I need reinforcements. “Mom, I need help!” Mom provides sound advice, that I of course, do not take, because, Yes! I DO need 7 tank tops!
Back hurts. I am sweating. Start heeding mom’s advice.
No extras, less shirts, one bra, still tough to remove dresses, but down two more dresses, 1 skirt, really… I am not even sure what is left.
Hallelujah! I can successfully board the plane.
Immigration: My first time out of North America and I stood in line for an hour just to be asked, “are you traveling alone?” said with an awkward giggle from the immigration dude/officer. Is that normal? Seemed a bit anticlimactic. Then, wait for it, the FIRST stamp in my Passport! Wow, what an incredible experience. I feel like I accomplished something. Made the 24 hours of travel and loss of one day all worth it.
Airport: Surprisingly western. Littered with overpriced stores and souvenir shops. You know you are not in the states because of the smells of curry being carried to your nose in the humid, wet air, as if you were face-first over the hot pot of freshly cooked curry. Another shocking difference was the restroom. I was not expecting to squat but after being on a plane for almost 5 hours, any bathroom would suffice. At first, I thought it was so kind for two women to let me ahead of them in line, I thought, “they must see the emergency in my eyes.” Then I waked into the stall only to have the metaphorical wind knocked out of me in shock. Knowing I was being looked at, I acted like, oh, I got this. One thing the Army teaches you, you can pee anywhere. So, I used the “squat” toilet, only to realize as I left, there were western toilet options. The women were not allowing me to go ahead, they were waiting for the western toilet. Well, when in Asia!
Fast forward to about five days into the year: More than enough clothes, but should have brought my little bottle of Tide (MOM!) and my water filter. Could have done without 1 pair of jeans (too hot and humid). Overall, there is no way of knowing what you will need for an entire year. If the rest of the locations are like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there will be plenty of places to buy anything you need.
Welcome to December, y’all!
It is officially official, my Remote Year experience has a launch date. On January 26, 2018, I will be flying from Phoenix to L.A., then on to Hong Kong, and finally landing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! The longest flight I have taken to date has been six hours from NYC to L.A., which is a stroll to the park compared to the 16-hour flight to Hong Kong. I can barely sit for six hours, let alone 16! Oy! Any tips for long flights are appreciated, so please feel free to comment. Also new in November, as part of the Remote Year program, we have gotten to meet our community! I have already spoken with several co-travelers that I will be with, and three are from Arizona! With even that limited information, this travel has become less daunting and mysterious and more welcoming. Enough about me…
In mid-October, I had the pleasure to work with LearnKey’s production team to create a marketing video for our sister company, Brighton College. I am giving a HUGE shout-out to the incredible work of Mer, Jason, Seth, and Neil. They create masterful videos with ease. If you have never been on a production shoot, it is NOT easy. I, the amateur, probably had 15 takes just to say, “the need is urgent”. Neil creatively edited the video, resulting in me sounding less awkward. Thanks Neil! Feel free to check out the video below. Side note: Neil and Seth have amazing taste in horribly-terrific holiday horror films.
The Job Ready Team is pleased to announce that three BO students were hired and started work in November! LearnKey is proud to improve employability every day! We are also giving our online Job Ready Resource Center a new look, launching in 2018. Please keep a lookout for the improved layout.
Wishing you all an inspired holiday season. Next blog will be from Kuala Lumpur!
Did I just have an unusually long blink? Where did September go? AND October is gone?!
Lots of exciting news from September, maybe that’s why it went by so fast…
It all started with getting to meet a LearnKey Alumni that relocated to AZ for an IT job at Spectrum. It was an honor to shake his hand and see the joy in his eyes brought on by finding a career in his field. LearnKey has assisted nine Blue Ocean graduates finding a new career in their field in the last six months.
Next, I was shocked by the final itinerary for my Remote Year experience! It could not have imagined a better list of places! Emotional roller coaster is a term that I continue to use to describe my experience but it is more like ton of happy, exciting, anxiety bricks hitting you at any moment, like when you are celebrating a moment with a friend who you may not see for an entire year, presenting a resume and interview workshop in Las Vegas, or ya know, just breathing, just hits you. Seeing the places in which I will live made this experience become very, very real. And, here they are https://remoteyear.com/itinerary-kanyini .
Speaking of that resume workshop and Interview workshop, I had the pleasure to work with an amazing company called Three Square. Three Square is Southern Nevada’s only food bank providing food assistance to the residents of Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda, and Clark counties. Three Square’s mission is to provide wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community. We combine food banking (warehousing canned and boxed goods), food rescue (obtaining surplus or unused meats, bread, dairy and produce from hospitality and grocery outlets), and ready-to-eat meals to be the most complete food solution for Southern Nevada. They, in partnership with LearnKey, have stepped up to take its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, outreach efforts to the next level. Three Square approached the state with a proposal that it create a pilot program to train SNAP recipients in call-center work, with an eye toward becoming a certified third-party training provider.
I had the privilege to administer the Resume Writing and interview Workshop to the students in the pilot program for Three Square as of October 10, 2017, 3 out of the 5 participants have been hired.
- Went to the HeroZona Launch Luncheon for Arizona’s Veteran’s week, find more information here: https://www.herozona.com/
- Met with an AZ Congresswoman’s Community Liaison who mentioned that the VA is moving to hire more work-from-home customer services representatives, more information will be shared as it is received.
September 2017 has changed my life for the better with all the inspiring events. I look forward to sharing my October with y’all!
In July 2017 I decided to share an exciting adventure with my LearnKey family. Here is the story.
In my first two years with LearnKey, I have created a Job Ready Team from nothing, managed over 50 veterans’ successful placement in careers and assisted with strategic initiatives…. All while learning the ins and outs of the IT field and training myself to be efficient and productive at home, which in theory sounds awesome, but when you are a social butterfly (as my parents say) it can pose a bit of a challenge.
The first year, I was distracted by negative questions like, “am I doing enough?” “can I do laundry during work hours, or is that illegal (I can be a bit dramatic)?”, “do people remember that I even work here?” I felt like I was doing something wrong if I wore pajamas or workout clothes all day, I mean no one saw me, right?! This negative self-talk can be detrimental to productivity especially when you do not have the physical support of your peers and coworkers. However, one day, with the simplest conversation with someone who worked remotely, and who I admired, my work from home life changed.
I was at lunch with a mentor that I revere, a woman that has it ALL together, inspires others to persevere and does it with the utmost grace and integrity. She said to me, “do you ever take an early meeting without brushing your teeth?” – or something to that effect. OMG! YES! I was overcome with excitement, like a child that can only express the excitement with a squeal. This woman, perfect, powerful, professional, sometimes does not have time to brush her teeth before a meeting!! I was not alone. I did not have to be perfect. I had to be productive. And I was.
From that day on, I hit my stride working from home. I developed new processes, assisted massive amounts of students with resumes/job searching/and interviews, often in leggings and a tank top. I made sure I brushed my teeth BEFORE every meeting! I was killing the game.
At that point, I decided I needed a new challenge. I presented my Remote Year program to Jeff, the coolest CEO you could meet. His progressive mindset and passion to change the world fueled his approval of the program. To travel the world for a year… and work. Because of the two years I had been working remotely, and the accomplishments I have, Jeff said yes. This month, July 2017 – I shared the program with my LearnKey family. And with little shock, as the team is comprised of the most genuinely, supportive, creative and all around amazing people I have encountered, they approved of my adventure as well.
Now, I HAVE to go through with this. I have no choice. Nervousness excitement is the simplest way to describe what I am feeling. But it’s more like an emotional roller coaster of EVERY AND ALL feelings you have ever felt. I hope I do not disappoint my team. I hope I can find good food. I really, really, really hope my Internet connection does not fail me in Thailand, or Prague, or Colombia! I hope I can afford shopping in every country. I hope people like me. With lots of hope, excitement, nervousness, and dedication, I embark on my journey January 2018. This blog is meant to inspire, relate to other remote workers, and hopefully make you smile. Until next month!
To learn more about Remote Year, please visit their website: https://remoteyear.com/
Photo: St. George Office Team