Remote Year: Month 2

It’s been awhile since I had a moment to get to posting a blog.  I am hoping that this isn’t a pattern for me.  The moment we got back home we renovated two rooms in our house (just because), traveled to see family and friends, and the program that we are a part of just took off on us which was great! We are in the process of meeting all 30 students to see how we can help them in their next chapter of their careers.

But I wanted to make sure that we keep our eye on Amanda as she just finished month 2 of her Remote Year life to see what she has been up to, what she is learning, and of course where she is and her adventures.

For the month of March, Amanda left Malaysia and flew off to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She let me in on how an entire group of 75 make that journey and other aspects of her journey as a remote worker.

Again, I am not an affiliate of Remote Year nor do I sell anything for them.  This blog is solely for the purpose of bring remote work to life through Amanda’s journey.

TRL: How you prepared to leave your first location and got to your second location.

Amanda: Preparing to leave Malaysia for Vietnam is similar to watching an Olympic team travel together as half of us were sporting our Remote Year t-shirts. Overall, the RY team had the travel day all planned out and organized for us to make it as smooth as possible.

Our day started at 10:00AM in the lobby:

  • Line up single file to collect your boarding pass
  • Return hotel key card
  • Return work-space key card
  • Get into one of the buses (each held 6 passengers)
  • Arrive at Airport, walk in like a herd and take over the baggage drop off counters lol
  • Wait at Gate – or in some cases premium lounge
  • Share some laughs
  • Board flight and nap for an hour (hehe)
  • Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Wait outside of Arrivals for everyone to make it through
  • Share some laughs
  • Get into one of the busses
  • Receive your new SIM card on the bus and hotel information kit
  • Share some laughs
  • Check into hotel and “negotiate” with your roommates on who gets the big room haha
  • Then go find the closest place for dinner and relax

TRL: How has work been going (Fibernetics) and how have you been structuring your day being remote and on a different time zone.

Amanda: I have a good little routine going on for being on the opposite time zone. I usually start the day off by checking messages right when I wake up, because I might still be able to catch people online in EST zone. It also allows me to scan for any higher priority items to handle first which helps me to decide where I am going to work from that day, whether it is from the apartment/hotel, the work-space, or another comfortable location.

Most days I stay on the SE Asia business hours routine, and this is because I will do my best to schedule any EST phone calls into one evening in the week. I can’t say I work a true night shift, but I will work more of an afternoon shift on that day, or a split shift. And as always, since technology allows for it and remote work continues to be the way of the future, I have my smartphone glued to me at all times.

TRL: What fun things have you been doing since we’ve last spoken?

Amanda: Some fun things we have done are had a farewell party in KL, arrived in HCMC. Since being in HCMC I have made a trip to Vung Tau where we climbed the 800+ stairs to see the Jesus statue and then inside the statue up some more stairs to stand on His shoulder. We ate lunch at a fish market restaurant on a floating dock.

Amanda_Vietnam_Jesus stairs

I have been staying alive darting in and out of the traffic of scooters, riding on UberMotos, checked out the Benh Thanh market, and had a custom dress made for me.

Amanda_Vietnam_Custom made dress

I decided not to do too many side excursions because I am taking 2 weeks to visit Australia.

So as I type this, I am on a layover waiting to board my plan into Gold Cost. This is going to be so much fun! I sent the flight itinerary to our Remote Year friend who is already there (he’s from GC) and he sends a message saying he will pick us up at the airport; we’ll drive to Brisbane, boat over to Morton Island and stay there for the first 2 nights.

My friend and I will make our way to Melbourne and Sydney too, and then meet up with the rest of the remotes in Cambodia.

TRL: What are you learning as a remote worker vs. a 9-5 worker that you didn’t expect?

Amanda: I am learning that I need less as a remote worker, which tells me I really didn’t need those things to begin with. I barley use any stationary supplies, I am able to do my work from a laptop or smartphone, I don’t need a second monitor, fancy keyboard or mouse.

As long as I have a good Internet connection I can work. Another thing I am learning is that quantity of hours doesn’t necessarily = productivity. There are many people who put in time at a physical office because they are required to fulfill a certain number of hours in a day, but they aren’t working the whole time. If you can remove yourself from positive and negative distractions you suddenly work faster, more efficiently, and smarter.

I am living vicariously through her right now! You to can follow Amanda’s adventures at http://amandalittle.ca/ and on her Instagram @adaniellelittle.

If you have any questions for Amanda that you would like me to ask her please let me know and thank you for reading!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter and of course here at The Remote Life blog.

Cheers xo

Inside Scoop: Remote Year – Getting Started

I will let you know that I am in no way affiliated nor do I sell for Remote Year.  I looked into this program and it wasn’t for me but I have a friend who did get accepted into their 4 month program and I thought it would be cool to interview her monthly and follow along with her journey with Remote Year.  This will allow everyone to get an in-depth view on what she is doing with the program and to see if it right for you.  There are several companies such as this that exist and you can click on this link to look into others:

https://www.theremotenomad.com/blog/2016/5/10/travel-the-world-and-work-remotely-with-these-10-companies

Remote Year “brings together communities of interesting professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers from across the globe to spend a year working, traveling, and exploring 12 cities around the world.” (This was taken off of the Remote Year website.)

You do not have to be with them the entire year but can opt to do segments with them.  Currently Amanda is doing 4 months with Remote Year and is traveling with them on their Southeast Asia adventure.

I asked Amanda a series of questions and if there is a question that you would like me to ask her in our next interview round please let me know.

Let’s begin…please welcome Amanda, and Human Resource professional from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

TRL:  Amanda, give us a bit of background on yourself; your life before starting the Remote Year program.

Amanda: I am Canadian and work as a Human Resource Professional in Ontario.  Other things about me:  I have a new love for travel, I have a love for yoga, I am a pet parent to a standard poodle, and I have a hobby knitting business during Canadian winters.

I would say that I had the typical Canadian lifestyle that is ingrained in us to achieve from a young age.  Go to University, get a profession, buy a home, car, etc.  I worked the typical 9-5 office environment, lived alone with my dog in a 1425 sqft. townhouse.  I would go to yoga, or hangout with friends after work and on weekends.

TRL: How did you hear about Remote Year (RY)?

Amanda:  I saw an ad on a social feed, clicked the link, and then started to read about RY and follow them on other channels.

TRL:  What was the process like to apply to RY?

Amanda:  It was professional, organized, and relatively simple process.  Simply fill out the form on their website and if you qualify for the next step they will reach out to you for more information about the process.

TRL:  Was the company you’re working for happy about your decision to do RY?

Amanda:  Yes – I felt that they were excited for me and secretly envious 😉  I was actually quite nervous to approach my company about my desire to work remotely, but when my proposal was received with openess and excitement I remembered why my company is so great!  We came to an agreement that the 4-month option was the best route for the company and for me.  Plus, if all goes well, I suppose there is always room to extend it down the road!  RY has some flexibility for us to join in on another 4-month option down the road.

TRL:  Was your role already a remote role at your company?

Amanda:  No – I typically worked from the headquarters and would work remotely on occasion either from home, a coffee shop, or one of our other office locations.

TRL:  Tell us a day in the life of you while at RY.

Amanda:  Where do I start!!  Each day is different, but a few things remain the same…I know there is always someone to have breakfast with, walk to work with, have lunch wth, or hangout in the evening.  The RY team has an official calendar of events that they organize for the remotes, and then there is an unofficial calendar of events where the remotes organize our own outings and share it with the group.

For me a day in the life includes spending time at the work space to get some core work done in an office setting, grabbing a bite to eat with some fellow remotes, touring the city or discovering a new place to eat (Malaysia is all about the food!).  Some days will also include time at the pool, gym, or an offsite adventure.

No matter what the day entails I know it will be full of good company, lots of laughter, and discovering new things about the country I am in.

TRL:  What support do they (RY) offer you while traveling with them?

Amanda:  So much support!! The on-boarding is on point; from the portal where all of our information is stored, to packing tips, to an international help line.  I know that the RY team is here to support me like a family member.  RY also does a great job at building up the remotes to be a strong community where we know we are here to support each other.  Already, in just 2 weeks, I have seen so much support between the remotes themselves.

TRL: How many people are with you at any given time during RY?

Amanda:  My group consists of 65 remotes, program leaders, and city guides.  Some events are for the entire group and other events are for smaller groups that are capped at 20.  It is easy to find at least  4 people to hangout with at any given time.  If someone’s preference is to hangout in a small intimate group or a large group both options are there.

TRL: What other jobs are people working in while doing RY?

Amanda:  Oh let’s see…Web development, Graphic Design, Business Development, Sales, Marketing, Social Media (vlogs/blogs), Matchmakers, Recruiters, Architecture, Building Construction Business Owners, Photography, Fitness, Health & Wellness, and Human Resources.

TRL:  Tell us the set up the RY provides to you. (How do you live? Internet? Travel Arrangements, etc.?)

Amanda: The set up may vary from place to place, but my current (Malaysia) set up includes living in the downtown core – a short 15 minute walk to the office.  Currently, all remotes are living in the same serviced apartment building in two bedroom units with a roommate.  We have internet at the our apartment as well as the office.  RY does there best to meet everyone’s needs based on the information we fill out in the on-boarding surveys regarding our living and working preferences.

We may not all live together in other countries as the set up can change.  RY takes care of all travel between the countries and remotes are responsible for obtaining their own travel visas where required.  We walk a lot in Malaysia as everything is close, but if we need a ride somewhere Uber is very reliable and easy to use here.  We can also take public transit.

TRL: What part of the world are you traveling with Remote Year?

Amanda: My four month itinerary is based in South East Asia and I will spend a month living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Bangkok, Thailand.

The remotes on the 12 month option will also spend 4 months in Europe, and 4 months in South America.  RY has itineraries launching at various times throughout the year – all which are slightly different.  So there should be something for everyone.

Amanda is starting month 2 and will be back to let us know how she is doing.  She has done a trip to Bali so I am excited to hear all about that.  If you have any questions about this program, about what she is doing or anything else please leave me a comment and look for it in March.

You can also follow Amanda’s blog at http://amandalittle.ca/

And of course please follow me as I continue my adventure of my own Remote Life journey.

xxoo