Hola! This blog post comes to you from a rooftop in Valencia, and having finally recovered from a nonstop weekend, I am able to start Monday with a cafe and a smile.
The draw for the Remote Year program to me was the destinations. After all, the itinerary has us circling the globe! Other participants valued the connectivity to make telecommuting a possibility. To some it was the fact that the itinerary and logistics were planned, and all you have to do is follow directions and not miss the ferry. And some appreciated the value of traveling with a community versus solo.
Sure, traveling with a companion can be easier at times – you can borrow something you forgot, have someone else to take that scenic shot of you looking off into the distance, and someone to walk into a bar with. But there’s something to be said about connecting over a shared experience. Here with me are already some of the most fascinating folks I’ve ever met – those advertisements about traveling with ‘interesting people’ didn’t lie.
We kicked off Saturday with orientation where we discussed logistics, including the expectations for our accommodations. In Valencia, we are spread out across 3 or 4 neighborhoods, all a maximum of 20 minutes walking distance from one of the two co-working spaces. Our apartments vary in size and decor (mine, as I have mentioned previously, is a princess palace). Some people have less decorated places with a better view. One apartment has mirrored walls in the shower, which I consider a great idea but some find creepy. We’re assigned roommates based on a lifestyle survey we completed before arrival, and room assignments switch with every city.
The survey was very intriguing – and challenging. Along with asking for our expected work hours, how much we expect to go out and socialize, etc., we also had to rank the following in order of importance: Proximity to city center, natural sunlight, kitchen in apartment, newness of facilities, access to workspace, high speed internet (mid-speed will be available in all spaces), and preference of a big bed (full or queen). I remember reading it like “I want ALL of those things!” It was fun to pose the question to my friends back home, because their answers were all different than mine. “I would definitely want a big bed.” “You’d never use the kitchen!” Their answers were as diverse as I expect my fellow Remotes’ answers are, and I look forward to see how those preferences change as we evolve.
I don’t exactly remember what order I landed on, but I know proximity to city center was numero uno. And that’s where I am, in a trendy neighborhood surrounded by other Remotes. In fact, The Princess Palace also has tons of sunlight, and big beds and a super sweet kitchen. It’ll be different everywhere (for example, I think we’ll be in a hotel in Vietnam, and my next apartment in Lisbon may have bugs and no light) but that’s what makes it exciting. I’m particularly stoked for authentic Moroccan living.
Orientation continued with each of us doing 30 second presentations of who we are(pecha kuchas), and ended with a values workshop. We had to independently, then in small groups, then in large groups, then as a team, discuss what our top values were for the trip. There ended up being a lot of overlap with values like Support and Respect, and then some one-offs like Keepin It Real. I went into this exercise with skepticism (you know, ice breakers have a bad rap) and ended it feeling inspired by the positive yet realistic view I shared with my colleagues.
These are the sort of people I wish I met years ago. I’ve spent 29 years without knowing you and already in one week you’ve improved my perspective on life and tickled my funny bone while we headed to the L’Umbracle and danced under the stars until midnight…or 3am…or 6am.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? Well, you’re here now. Let’s do this thing.
PS if you want to see more pics, check out my instagram @apackedsuitcase_y