This week Ikigai celebrated 6 month of our journey around the world, wrapping up the first half of a year living and working abroad. As one could expect, we celebrated the occassion, and because we were in Spain at the time it involved paella, sangria and music. One unexpected surprise was a gift of RemoteYear branded Ikigai hooded sweatshirts accompanied by hand-written card from our program leaders. This note reflected on goals and ambitions I communicated during my application process months before starting this year abroad in Lisbon.

I originally had the ambition of starting a blog to share what it’s like to live abroad while working remotely. After six months, this not-so-gentle reminder of my stated goals provides just enough motivation to begin the process.

I suppose I should start by explaining RemoteYear, and Ikigai, but I’ll let you mostly figure it out as you go (Google also works). It *is* important to understand at a very basic level that Ikigai is the name given to our cohort of 75 remote workers traveling together for 12 months.

Ikigai is the reason for existence, our purpose, that thing that motivates us to get out of bed in the morning. In an ideal world, Ikigai is the perfect balance of having the oportunity to do something you’re good at, you feel passionately about, benefits society as a whole, and most importantly earns money.

I’m not saying that Remote Year is my Ikigai, however it does provide an opportunity for discovering what it means to me.

So why haven’t I started this blog yet?

I was convinced I didn’t have a unique and compelling story: plenty of others traveling with Remote Year already have blogs, snaps, stories, and feeds filled with awesome stories and beautiful photos.

I’m not witty enough: I’m not good at catchy phrasing and witty commentary, and attempting to do so would feel forced. It’s just not me.

Taking time out to document thoughts in a meaningful way is hard.

Despite the impression given from most of the content on Social Media, Remote Year is a LOT of work. It’s not a year-long vacation. It’s not all fun and party time. In fact, Remote Year is pretty damn hard.

Sure, go ahead and say it. I get to travel the world for a year and live in nice apartments, in amazing cities, what’s the problem?

I am not complaining, nor am I being negative about the experience: I’m just being honest. Consider the theme of my writing here to be a reality check on what Remote Year is REALLY like.

No, I’m not going to tell stories about lost jobs, lost relationships, or stolen wallets/purses/phones/etc. Yes these things do happen (not to me, yet), but I’m more interested in talking about the more tedious challenges of living abroad. The things nobody thinks about. Like how to buy the correct flour, the shortage of realiably good avocados, battling with malfunctioning technology, the constant struggle to find good internet connectivity, or deciphering the laundry cycles on a washing machine.


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