Two weeks ago, I arrived back in my home city of Denver, Colorado, after a year-long journey around the world. I took 42 flights and visited 17 countries on 6 continents.
“Wow, welcome back! How was your vacation?”
“Cool! How did you afford to be on vacation for so long?”
And here’s the thing: I wasn’t on vacation for a year. I spent the year working remotely, living as a nomad, and traveling with a program called Remote Year, a company that helps professionals turn their regular jobs into remote jobs. In August 2017, I joined the Remote Year group Yugen, with 57 other professionals giving nomadism a try.
Each month, we lived in a different city, all around the world, meaning I spent most of the year taking client calls at all hours of the day and night from a variety of coworking spaces, apartments, and cafes. In between work hours and overcoming jet lag, we explored our constantly-changing host cities, tasted exciting and strange new foods, and tried our best to learn the local language. We even spent a lot of time and effort raising money for our positive impact project, Yugen Build, in which we built transitional homes for people living below the poverty line in Bogotá, Colombia.
When I was first accepted into Remote Year Yugen, I wasn’t sure how Blue Moon Digital would feel about it. I put together an in-depth proposal about the program itself and the benefits of working remotely. To my (ongoing) surprise, everyone at the agency was incredibly supportive and excited about the opportunity. They helped me organize everything I would need to work remotely. All I needed was strong WiFi, and it would be just like nothing had changed.
This lifestyle of work-travel fusion is still relatively new, but it’s growing in popularity. A recent Gallup poll showed that 43% of the American workforce already works remotely part of the time, and other estimates claim that 20% of the labor force currently has the potential to work remotely full time while traveling. While only a small fraction of that 20% takes advantage of that potential right now, the visibility of so-called “digital nomads” is growing, leading to more and more people taking the leap and trying out the lifestyle for themselves, either through companies like Remote Year or completely on their own.
Blue Moon Digital has always had a remote working policy in place, but I was the first employee to stretch that policy to its limits by working from Morocco, Cambodia, Argentina, etc. While I’m incredibly happy to be back home, putting down some roots again, I wouldn’t give up my experiences over the last year for anything, and I’m incredibly grateful to Blue Moon for supporting my travel bug.