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How to Travel the World for a Year without Losing Your Job

What if you could trade in your boring cubicle for a chic cafe in Buenos Aires, or schedule meetings in between walks on a beach in Croatia? It sounds like a daydream, but a new program called Remote Year is making it possible for people to do just that. Instead of taking a year off to explore the world, Remote Year allows people to bring their work with them as they travel across three continents, living for one month at a time in twelve different countries.

“Digital nomad” is a new term that describes someone who can forgo the office lifestyle and work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have their laptop and a solid Wi-Fi connection. But while traveling the world and simultaneously earning a paycheck may sound like the ideal life, it also comes with its own stresses—like managing travel arrangements on top of your regular workload. This is where Remote Year comes in.

For $27,000 for the year, they will organize a round-the-world adventure that will let you travel the world without having to worry about where you’re staying or how you’re getting there. It’s a steep price to pay, but for a year of travel expenses and accommodation in a private room, it may be worth considering. Remote Year also makes arrangements for a common workspace for all its members, and organizes activities like tours, speakers, and excursions.

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The one thing Remote Year does not provide? A job. You must be able come into the program with a remote job lined up.

The company received more than 25,000 applications when it was announced in late 2014, but it limited participants to just 75 people. With such a narrow acceptance rate for applicants, Remote Year takes many things into consideration when looking over applications. All participants must have their own job before the program begins and have some experience working remotely. Applicants must also be at least 23 years old.

While the first Remote Year group has been underway for a couple months now, the company is already accepting applications for 2016-2017. The itinerary is exciting so far:

  • February: Montevideo, Uruguay
  • March: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • April: La Paz, Bolivia
  • May: Cusco, Peru
  • June: Istanbul, Turkey
  • July: Prague, Czech Republic
  • August: Belgrade, Serbia
  • September: Cavtat, Croatia
  • October: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • November: Koh Phangan, Thailand
  • December: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • January: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

And if that’s not enough to tempt you to take off for a year, you can check out what the current “remotes” (what they call themselves) are up to on Remote Year’s blog.

If you are seriously considering applying to Remote Year’s program but do not currently work remotely, it won’t hurt to ask your employer about telecommuting and explain the program to them. Many people currently in the program have done just that, emphasizing to their employers how this opportunity will also be valuable to the company.

It can’t hurt to ask, right?

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

(Photo: Young woman lying in a hammock in a garden and looking to a laptop via Shutterstock)

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