One of the companies currently creating the most buzz in digital nomad communities is Remote Year, a program that allows participants to travel the world while keeping their jobs. With four, six, and twelve-month programs all across the globe, Remote Year is revolutionizing the idea of work-life balance.

We sat down with Luke Woolley, a program placement consultant at Remote Year, to pick his brain about how the program works, who it’s for, and some expert packing tips for digital nomads.

Remote year revolutionizes a work-life balance

What Exactly is Remote Year?

With a company evolving as quickly and as dynamically as Remote Year, it’s genuinely tough to provide one firm answer. At first glance, Luke says that Remote year is a travel company designing the perfect platform for today’s location-independent professional. Keep your job, and let remote year handle the planning, flights, accommodations, and local travel tips.

However, for most participants, the company is much more than a cut-and-dry logistics agency. Remote Year is effectively an immersion program that allows participants to explore the depths of new cultures while surrounding themselves with an intimate group of other eager, open-minded travelers. “Once you become part of one of these communities,” says Luke, “the answer to this question morphs into so much more.”

Remote Year is a fresh start, a stepping stone to your next professional goal, an opportunity to push boundaries -- the list goes on.

Enjoy connecting with people and explore new cultures

Who is Remote Year For?

If you don’t currently have a job that allows you to work remotely, don’t worry, Remote Year isn’t out of the cards. While the program is definitely tailored towards those who have established remote jobs, Luke says the company has built an entire team of HR professionals and remote working experts who help applicants pitch the idea to their existing companies.

Instead of hitting your boss with the “Can I work remotely?” question without any preparation, reach out to Remote Year for some advice. The company will be able to help you leverage the topics of professional development and networking, while also offering case studies of previous successful participants. With all this in your back pocket, Remote Year becomes a possibility for a wide range of eager travelers.

What’s the Most Important Piece of Advice for First-Timers?

When asked for the most critical advice for first-time participants, Luke echoed a mantra that holds true for all types of travel: “Be open and vulnerable from the start, keep away from expectations, and “Ask not what this community can do for you, but what you can do for this community.”

While Remote Year is very much an exercise in personal independence, it’s equally an exercise in nomadic group living. Integrity, honesty, and hard work are all qualities that go a long way in the Remote Year program.

What are the Most Important Packing Lessons?

Because Luke and the team at Remote Year have led tons of trips around the world, it’s safe to consider them authorities on the matter of packing. According to Luke, the most common pitfall of first-time travel is overpacking. “Almost everyone has a story after their first month of mailing a box back or simply giving away half of what they bought.” Transitioning into the life of a digital nomad goes against many people’s instincts to collect and protect. Thus, minimalism stands at the forefront of their packing priorities.

“There’s a freedom in giving up what you think you need,” says Luke, “and embracing the fear of the unknown for what it really is -- adventure.” Once travelers decide to detach from their belongings emotionally and cling more to the potential experiences, packing light becomes second nature.

As far as no-brainer packing tips, the team at Remote Year are big on

  • Packing cubes
  • Athleisure outfits
  • Hold off on buying toiletries until actually arriving in your destination.

What’s Next for Remote Year?

Remote Year is a program and a brand that is very much defined by the unique characteristics and passions of its participants. There’s liberty and flexibility in each program, which is what makes Remote Year tough to pin down. Past programs have set out to build a 58-home project in Bogotá, and others have coordinated a 4-month conference on marketing, writing, and design coding. They recently launched their 6-month program throughout Europe, Africa, and Latin America, so there’s no real telling where the company goes from here.

Keep in touch with Remote Year on Facebook, Instagram, and Medium.

Written by Dillon DuBois