Month 2 of Remote Year has me living and working in Colombia’s sprawling capital, Bogotá. The city itself is surrounded by Andean peaks and filled with urban sophistication and colonial wonder. It is the third-highest capital in South America at about 8,660 ft above sea level. Because of the altitude, the first few days here had me gasping for air even simply walking up the stairs or to the office. I have been trying to drink 2 liters of water to keep me from getting altitude sickness because several others from our cohort are feeling a bit off. Aside from living in the clouds, I’m grateful to be experiencing Colombia’s rich history, legends, and colorful cultures this month.
The second half of month one in Mexico City went by way too quickly. I had been in a little bit of a funk ever since I got back from Cuba. I was in this state of mind that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do here, and I was busier than normal with work, so it was hard to be in the constant state of FOMO. Back home I am an extremely independent person so I am also still adjusting being “on” all the time and spending most of my free time surrounded by others and building new relationships. I am still going through periods of self-doubt paired intense moments of fearlessness, but have to keep reminding myself that is expected and the new normal. On top of that, the inauguration left me feeling pretty raw and broken. Even if the world back home is in disarray, I am going to make the most of my time on Remote Year.
First things first, Havana‘s absolutely beautiful. Probably one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever seen and like nowhere else I’ve ever been to before. The architecture and colors are mind-boggling, yet it is contrasted with sadness and economic downfall. It is very apparent that the years after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the city, and Cuba in general, have suffered decades of economic deterioration. Havana is real and authentic. Pre-Cold War military squares, 16th-century colonial palaces, 1950’s American cars, and ration shops paint Havana a beautiful city frozen in time.
The first month of the Remote Year experience begins in Mexico City. Mexico City or CDMX is the 5th largest city in the world, only outnumbered by Tokyo, NYC, Sao Paulo, and Seoul. I am living and working in quirky Condesa: one of Mexico City’s coolest hangouts and a neighborhood that is well worth the time to explore during any visit to here. It is filled with leafy streets and loads of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture.”Condesa” means “countess” and it is named after María Magdalena Dávalos de Bracamontes y Orozco, the Countess of Miravalle, whose lands stretched from what is now Colonia Roma to Tacubaya.
Meraki is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. With that being said, I am beyond excited to head out in 2017 with Remote Year Meraki spending each month traveling to and living in 12 different cities, within 10 countries, spanning 3 continents. An enormous thank you to my boss and coworkers for their support of me telecommuting for the next year!
Remote Year is a start-up that organizes groups of 75 professionals to travel and work in 12 cities for 12 months. Founded two years ago, Remote Year adds community and infrastructure to “digital nomadism,” a growing trend among millennials who work from their laptops in foreign locations.
Portland, Maine had never been on my radar of places to visit until it came highly recommended from a close friend when she visited last year. Being from the Midwest, I always crave the crisp air and bright colors of the leaves changing in autumn so I traveled from the southwest to the northeast to soak it all in for my birthday. Portland is a city in the lovely state of Maine, set on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay. The Old Port waterfront features working fishing wharves and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops. Nearby, the Western Promenade is a public park atop a bluff, offering river and mountain views. Its surrounding district, the West End, is full of Victorian-era homes which I adored because I’m a total sucker for that style of architecture. From the ocean, the cute historic downtown, the friendly people, the food (oh, the food!), and to the simpler pace of life, it was enough to make me fall in love.
Santa Barbara wine country is quite literally Sideways. The movie title hints at the unique geography of Santa Barbara wine country. It is the longest transverse valley (East to West) found on the western Pacific coast–from Alaska to South America. This creates climate conditions perfect for world-class cool climate wines (like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Santa Barbara wine country is also sandwiched between two mountain ranges with elevations ranging from 200 feet in the valley to 3400 feet in the hillside vineyards. Many people travel to California to visit Napa or Sonoma, but in my opinion, Santa Barbara is one of the coolest grape regions in California.
“The Mountains Are Calling, and I Must Go…” –John Muir
And thus, I booked a trip to Durango for some fresh air and adventurous mountain vibes. Located in southwest Colorado, Durango was founded in 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, when they extended their line from the town to Silverton in order to haul precious metals from high-country mines. In my experience, if it can be done outdoors, it can be done in Durango. There are so many day trips and activities in this bustling mountain town. Not far away is Vallecito Lake reservoir where I spent the afternoon on a high-mountain lake, hiking along amoung the aspen trees, paddleboarding on the water, and camping under the stars.
In the foothills, overlooking Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs has the only aquifer of thermal, mineral spring water in southern California. Desert Hot Springs’ natural hot mineral waters originate from the Desert Hot Springs Aquifer, which continues to be heated by ancient geothermal forces thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. Naturally heated to temperatures as high as 180 degrees, for centuries, the waters have been believed to hold curative powers. When the first scientific analysis of the hot mineral water was performed in 1937, its therapeutic value was affirmed.
Oh, springtime in Paris – can life get any better? Paris is always the city that makes me feel the most inspired, the most romantique, the most worldly, and certainly the most happy. Each visit has been unique, but still allowed me to experience the essence of the city. If you didn’t catch my initial excitement for this post, I’ll reiterate that Paris is my absolute favorite city. I love it so much, it was already my fourth time visiting and certainly not the last!