Aloha

Aloha is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy

Yesterday after driving back from the Bamboo Forest and finding hidden waterfalls to explore and swim in, a guy from our hostel told us about a local gem, Peahi, also known as Jaws Beach. It’s down an unmarked dirt road, full of potholes and obstacles, which only adds to its mystery and allure. A few minutes into our tricky drive a cherry red, circa 1960s old speedster, comes barreling up the road with dust swirling in its tracks and a guy bumping along on the back. We pull up, wave them down, and ask if we’re on the right path to our secret beach. They assure us we are and that the drive is worth the views. The guy in the back hops off and asks for a ride back down. He wasn’t quite ready to leave this magical site. He jumps in and we’re off. Luckily for my Charleston and LA passengers, they had a backroads Wisconsin girl behind the wheel. Years of dirt roads and field parties prepared me for this very moment. After a few hairy, almost tire popping maneuvers we made it. The views didn’t disappoint.

Jaws gained its savage name from daredevils who’ve tried to ride it’s sometimes 50ft waves. When the waves get this big you can hear them from miles away crashing down and turning over on itself. It’s beautiful and terrifying. The spray of water coming off the crest hits the light just perfectly and a rainbow appears. It’s literally possessing, putting a spell on you to stay and watch just one more beautiful wave.

To add the cherry to the top of this adventure, a couple locals were listening to music, drinking a few beers, and telling surf stories from days long past but still just as vivid from a good storytellers mouth. They offered us a cold one and told us tales of the island and how serendipitous catching a ride with a couple of pretty girls, drinking beer with friendly locals, and enjoying these views is exactly what Maui Magic brings to those who choose to visit or live on the island.

I snapped a picture of their two girls; Alohalani, which is derived from Aloha and means love for one another and the beautiful land they belong to, and Keahi, which means fire. Because she’s beautiful and has fire in her soul. They were wild and beautiful, just like this back road, secret, local hidden spot.

Mahalo

 

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Tips for using your Phone Abroad

Whether you’re making plans to travel extensively on Remote Year or taking a trip for a week or two overseas here are some tips and tricks to use your phone abroad.

The biggest thing I stressed about before leaving the states for my year abroad was my phone and how I was going to work and live without always having access to my phone.  In the 21st century, we are attached to our phones. Good or bad, we use our phones constantly for making calls, texting, or taking selfies; our phones are our lifelines. So how can you continue to use your phone when your provider wants to charge you an arm and a leg to use it out of the country?

Here are a few options:

  • Buy a local SIM card

If your phone is unlocked, you can replace your current SIM card for a local SIM.  Local SIM cards are relatively cheap and you can make local calls and use data.

Pros: You can call local restaurants and hotels to make reservations.  Data for browsing the web and ordering Uber’s/Taxis without looking for WIFI. You can cancel your US number and plan and save some major $$. Fun Fact: The average American shells out an average of $110/Month on their cell phone bill. The average SIM card in Europe is $30.

Cons: You forfeit your US number for a local number.  Not all SIM cards are created equal.  Sometimes you’ll have great service everywhere you go and other times, like at home, your bars are limited or nonexistent. Data & Minutes run out, so you need to make sure you buy enough.

Who is this good for?

Anyone who doesn’t need their US number to travel.  Developers, Designers, Social Media Influencers.

  • WIFI

If you need to keep your US number and you plan to use a workspace or your Airbnb has strong WIFI, then you can use the old and mostly reliable WIFI method.  Europe has WIFI in most restaurants, some cities are connected and allow free access, or you can pay for WIFI if available.

How To: Create a Skype account and buy minutes to call unlimited throughout the US (Go to Settings, Phone, Call Forwarding, Switch On and add your Skype Number)  This will forward all your US number calls to your Skype account for Free.

Pros: You keep your US number for clients, work, or family calling you.  Disconnecting from your phone when not in WIFI and enjoying your travels.

Cons: Consistently searching for WIFI.  Unless you are connected to WIFI your phone is basically an expensive camera.

Who is this good for?

Anyone who needs their US number for clients or their business. Personally, as a recruiter, I use this option.  My consultants and Back Office can call me at my current number and reach me anytime during office hours without issue.  It’s less confusing for my clients and unless I tell someone I’m in another country they’d never know.

  • T-Mobile

Keep your US Number with T-Mobile. Pros

Unlimited international data coverage and texting are included with a qualifying plan at no extra charge. 20 cents per minute for calls to mobile devices and landlines.

Pros: You can keep your US Number, use unlimited data and texting, and make calls when needed.

Cons: Limited calling as it can become expensive. If you don’t already use T-Mobile it can be expensive to switch carriers.

Who is this good for?

Anyone who already uses T-Mobile in the US.  Anyone who doesn’t need to make frequent calls.

  • Port your number

Similar to the WIFI option however in this option you can port your US number through Google Voice.

Pros: Keep your US number, drop your plan back in the states, and save major money on your monthly bill.

Cons: You will still need WIFI to use this option.  Confusing setup process. Lose your local US number when you come back to the states. Porting can take 48 hours or longer to port.  You cannot port after out of the states. You may be charged for canceling your current plan.

Who is this good for?

Anyone who wants to keep their local US number and drop their normal plan.

  • Mix it up

Have an old iPhone that’s unlocked and you no longer use? Great! Bring it along, buy a local SIM and use it as a Hot Spot.  This is the option I wish I would have known about and used from the start of my travels. It’s easy and so much less hassle and combines a few of the above options for all the pros and fewer cons.

Pros: Keep your US number. Use data, and make calls when needed without worrying about finding WIFI.

Cons: The more expensive option. Carrying around all your devices and keeping them charged.

  • $ You will need an extra phone + current phone
  • $ US plan
  • $ Skype plan
  • $ Local SIM

Who is this good for?

Anyone! This option allows you to use your phone anytime, almost anywhere, without sacrificing your traditional plan.

6 Month Review

I thought this was my eat, pray, love year. I’d be healthy, clear my mind, find myself (whatever that means), and maybe fall in love with a handsome stranger on a beach in Greece. I would spend hours at a little cafe, drinking espresso, reading, and people watching. I’d become a regular. I’d learn some Spanish and I’d be mistaken for a local. I’d either become one with nature and hike every mountain or become a European fashionista. Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina comes to mind.

What really happened…

I ate my way through Europe. Gained 10 pounds and now have an infatuation with Portuguese banana bread, Spanish paella, and Greek tzatziki. I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of beer in Prague and wine in Italy. I now search for acai bowls in every new country and truffle oil might be gods gift to human kind.

Since leaving in March, I’ve been to 10 countries: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungry, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and South Africa.  Flown on 12 planes, taken 7 trains, spent countless hours in the car listening to Spotify on road trips and too many taxis and Uber’s to count; all while lugging my 50-70 lb checked luggage, a carry-on, and a backpack. I’m exhausted.

My European lover never showed but I did fall in love with my Remote Year group and 3 amazing women who I can now call my best friends. We are all completely different but somehow all chose this same path, which ultimately brought us together.

Although the last 6 months haven’t been the picture perfect, meet cute, romantic, self-awakening experience I envisioned it has been imperfectly perfect. I spent a magical sunset drinking wine and talking about life in Venice. I bungee jumped off an old (probably not safe) bridge in Bulgaria. Spent a weekend meditating and practicing yoga in the mountains. Dove with great white sharks in Cape Town. Crashed a Vespa in Sorrento. Partied with KYGO in Ibiza. Went to jail in Croatia. Walked the stairs of Dubrovnik. Watched burlesque in Prague. Spent Easter in the ancient Budapest thermal baths. Cliff jumped in Santorini. Spent the 4th of July on a gondola and a night on a random couch in Florence when we lost our only set of Airbnb keys.

The saying, some day you’ll laugh about this, couldn’t be truer.  Laugh at the chaos, the mistakes, and how crazy wonderful this life really is. Tonight I’ll pour a glass of champagne, watch the sunset, and look forward to the next 6 months.

Why you should travel after a breakup

Breakups are messy and complicated and sometimes a complete head fuck.  Regardless of who broke up with who and what the circumstances were, a breakup always makes you question your direction in life. Why did I choose this person to begin with?  Did they make me happy at one point? Was I searching for something in them that just wasn’t there?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I unlovable or too picky?

After a breakup, you want to hide.  Sometimes self-reflect into a bowl or more accurately a whole jug of ice cream. You second guess your decision.  Was it better to be with someone even if they weren’t the right someone? It wasn’t that bad, was it? You hide the red flags, tell yourself little white lies to make yourself feel better about the relationship until at some point you decide to be honest with yourself. Or maybe that person decided to be honest with you.

Rejection is hard.  Simply put, it sucks. Everyone wants to feel they belong, that they are loved and that the energy you put out into the world will come full circle. However, even if you love someone deeply, you might not be the elusive one. So instead of dwelling on the what ifs, the what could I have done differently, or even the how do I win them back… Travel.  Travel for you, travel to meet new people, travel to move your soul and see yourself through foreign eyes. Travel to remember or find who you are.

It’s never too late to change your direction, mentally and physically. Traveling can be freeing and terrifying.  Enlighten and scary.  You’re forced to emerge yourself into the uncomfortable zone.  Speak in a new language, even if it’s some version of sign language. You’re tested and strained.  Boundaries are crossed and new versions of your norm are created. Strangers become friends and what you use to call home becomes something of a fictional place.  Who were you back then? If you returned home would it be the same or would the colors, sights, and smells be different because you are?

Maybe that breakup was meant to break you… broken so you could be exactly the person you were always meant to be.  Something chipped, and flawed, and beautiful. Maybe you were meant to be broken so that the pieces glued back together could be a masterpiece.

f scott

Month 3: Lisbon

I arrived in Lisbon after dark to my new home. A quaint central apartment, down a narrow alley, through maybe a 5′ tall blue door, and up 62 uneven and irregular stairs to my 4th-floor square box. It was perfectly imperfect. I loved every bit of it. We were on the top floor, which had a narrow terrace that ran along the outside of the unit with iron railings and French glass doors. Through the kitchen, was a small wooden table and two small chairs, where I could sit and drink my Nespresso and gaze upon the entire city, over the orange clay roof tops, the purple jasmine like trees, and out to the ocean.  Every morning was a treat for my eyes and soul.

There are a few moments in life that you stop and think to yourself, I should enjoy this moment, take a mental picture, remember everything.  This month, was exactly that.  Lisbon will forever be etched into my brain with all its beauty, quarks, and luster.

I could go on and on about this beautiful city but I will stick to 3 of the highlights, which made this stay special.

THE FOOD

Lisbon has the best food I’ve had so far during my 3 months in Europe.  I soon became a regular at a few of the cafes in town either, working, or having coffee and a healthy breakfast with friends. There’s something about cafe’s in Europe that make my heart happy.

Hello Kristof, Heim Cafe and The Mill were my favorites (pictured above)

THE PEOPLE

Mila

Sometimes happiness comes in brown paper bags

Lisbon has some of the warmest, most generous, and special people I’ve ever met. While walking home from a friend’s house, I stumbled into Mercearia da Mila, a design workspace turned boutique grocery store.  This 1837 storefront has kept its unique splendor while the owners Tiago and Mila make the store feel like home. The smell of cheese, citrus fruits, and freshly baked bread lured me in and the Mila kept me coming back. From my first visit to my last, Mila remembered my name, my remotes, and always had my favorite homemade banana bread waiting for me. This special treat tucked into a brown paper bag gave me so much joy and possibly an extra 10 pounds, but Mila and her husband made this place a real treat to visit.

DOORS AND TILE

Lisbon doors

Oh the Tiles!! Every pattern, color, and shape you can think of.  This is the hidden gem of the city.

Every tile is unique.  They aren’t afraid to use color.  They aren’t manufactured in a plant, stamped by the thousands, but rather handcrafted made exclusively for that very spot in the grand scheme of the design.  Lisbon is an old city and some of the tiles are hundreds of years old.  The cracks added flavor.  The bits of tile that broke off over the years just added to its magical mystery. Who painted these, how did they pick the pattern, color, and design? Did they paint the bright blue door to stand out next to the green twisted leaf pattern?  Did they know one day a girl would be traveling through Portugal and stop and wonder at their handiwork?

I can’t help but make a correlation between these broken, cracked, sometimes graffitied tiles.  There’s so much rich history and craftsmanship built into every piece.  They are unique like a snowflake, one can never be like the other.  As are we.  Our past makes us who we are.  Makes us interesting in some way.  Our story changes as we grow.  A little crack adds character and keeps the eye guessing.  I like to think, like the gorgeous tile, we can add a little color to our lives, look for the interesting pattern and design in people, and love everyone for the beauty they bring to our lives.

lisbon tile

Month 2: Prague

Prague is one of those cities that takes your breath away.  The whimsical, fairytale-like streets of Old Town and the bohemian allure makes this girl feel like a modern day princess; minus the prince, riches, and gowns. Nonetheless, it swept me off my feet and I fell head over heals in love.

A few of the highlights:

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The Prague astronomical clocks is the oldest still working astronomical clock in the world.  Legend has it that the clockmaker Hanuš was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors after he completed the construction. The Councillors didn’t want him to be able to replicate his work in another city.  After, Hanuš had someone lead him to the top of the clock tower and threw himself into the gears, ending his life and the clocks for some years after.

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Started in the 1980s, The John Lennon Wall is littered with song lyrics, Beatles memorabilia, and current pop culture graffiti. The wall started as a place for young Czechs to “tag” their grievances with the communist regime and has now turned into an inspirational sight for all to enjoy freely. On a nice day, you can even find an acoustic guitarist singing some of the Beatles tunes.

easter market

Prague’s Easter Market’s were a surprising treat.  In Old Town Square there are vendors offering traditional Czech food and products.  Beautifully decorated Easter Eggs, toys, crafts, and other decorations are for sale.  Having a glass of honey wine and a gingerbread cookie, while people watching, and enjoying the music and dance performances was a unique experience.

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Now usually I’m not a zoo-goer, however; the Prague Zoo was rated as the seventh best zoo in the world by Forbes Travel Guide in 2007, and the fourth best by TripAdvisor in 2015; so I had to see it. The best part of the trip… my fellow remote, Yun had never been to a zoo.  It was like being a kid all over again.  Seeing the excitement and the thrill in his eyes made the experience worth it.  Lions and Tigers and Bears OH MY!!

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The Prague Burlesque was a humorous and fun night out.  The dancers were beautiful and the MC was one of a kind. Can’t beat the beautiful costumes and the fantastic atmosphere of a 1920’s theater.

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Through Remote Year, a group of us participated in a traditional Czech cooking class. The class was focused around Easter Leftovers and local flavors. We made 1) Asparagus Soup 2) Egg, cheese, and herb spread on bread, and 3) Fruit dumplings.

bone church cz

In Kutnz Hora, you can find The Sedlic Ossary, a small Roman Catholic Church filled with bones.  The Bone Church is estimated to contain between 40,000 and 70,000 human skeletons from the Black Plague, which have been arranged to form decorations and furnishings in the chapel. Pictured is the coat of arms of the House of Schwarzenberg… made from actual human arms.  Pun intended!

jewish cemetary

The Old Jewish Cemetary of Prague is the largest Jewish Cemetary in Europe. The Cemetary contains over 100,000 people, 12,000 tombstones, and is 12 levels deep.  It’s home to famous Czech rabbi’s, businessman, and historians. During WWII, other Jewish cemeteries were destroyed by the Nazis and the gravestones were used for target practice, however, Hitler ordered that this cemetery be saved to serve as part of a museum after all the Jews had been extinguished.  Although the graveyard is meant as a resting place and it is sad, it is also one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

charles bridge sunrise

I’ll leave you with the sunrise at the iconic Charles Bridge.  We woke up at 5:00 am and raced to the bridge to catch this beautiful sight. I’m grateful Prague sent us off with this breathtaking view.  I will surely be back to this gorgeous and unique city.  I’m already looking forward to it.

 

Month 1: Croatia

 “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
Benjamin Mee

Before joining Remote Year I came across this quote and it resonated with me. So many times in my life I have held back because I was afraid.  Afraid of what others might think, afraid that I might fail, afraid that one wrong move might crush my comfort zone. Looking back on this month and the decision to take those seconds of courage, change my whole life, and push myself out of my “normal” was the best choice I’ve ever made.

Something changes when you decide to live in the uncomfortable zone. It’s been terrifying, exciting, and exhilarating. I’ve experienced more in a month than most do in a year. And this is only the beginning of my story… Chapter 1: Croatia

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
John C. Maxwell

Knin Fortress

Part of the Remote Year experience includes Tracks.  This month, our Track included a day trip to Knin Fortress. Knin is the city that most symbolizes the Homeland war that happened in the 90´s, as the place where the most known army operations occurred, including Storm, an operation supported by American Army forces.  It’s hard to think that not long ago a war occupied this beautiful city.

In contrast, the second part of our Track was to one of Croatia’s beautiful National Parks, Krka. This national park is one of the most breathtaking and lush natural areas in the region. Krka is famous for its numerous waterfalls and multicolored lakes.

Hvar

We took a day trip to Hvar which is one of the Croatian Islands located in the Adriatic Sea off the Dalmatian coast. It’s truly spectacular. We were there during the off season so it felt like we had the whole island to ourselves, although I would love to see it in the summer, teaming with boats and people.

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On our way to Dubrovnik we pass through Bosnia.  Like Croatia it’s hard to believe that this picturesque country was once full of conflict.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik or as many call it… Kings Landing! (crazy Game of Thrones fan here)

This is a must see!! Book your ticket now, don’t wait, you must see this for yourself. It’s not hard to see why the show is set here.  This is the view from Bokar Fortress to Old Town.  The city is surrounded by massive stone walls. The orange rooftops are beautiful. The sea is full of blues and greens. To say it is breathtaking, would be an understatement.

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We watched the sunset at Cafe Buza. It’s the perfect place to drink a beer, kick up your feet, and reflect on a gorgeous day. I will never forget this view.

Group dinner in Dubrovnik

And our whole group joined together for a family dinner at Azur.  A unique blend of Asian and local flavors. As we ate, we remonstrance on our travels, meeting our new Remote Year family, and drank our share of local wine.

swim in the adriatic sea

What better way to wrap up our month in Croatia than to jump into the Adriatic Sea with my travel mates. Our team leader, Anastasia, gave us a pep talk before our jump into the cold waters.  She asked us to think about something that either we want to do in Prague, the next leg of our trip, or something that we would like to leave behind. This Year means something different to all of us, but somehow we all chose to take this journey together.  While taking the leap, I chose to leave fear behind and to take these new-found friendships and bonds with me.

Until next time – Thank you Croatia for your beauty and grace.

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(Travel Day Track Suits – All the rage in Croatia)

Level 3 Fun

One of the wise Remote Year veterans informed me of Level 3 Fun.

Level 1 is a typical adventure.  You plan a bike ride.  You take said bike ride and come home.  Everything went as planned.

Level 2, you took said bike ride but maybe you ran into one of your old high school friends and stopped somewhere for a drink to catch up.  It was unexpected and fun.

Level 3 Fun is everything went completely wrong.  You went on your bike ride but got hit by a car, your bike got wrecked, and the driver took off without asking if you were okay.  But hey, now you have a great story!

My first week included becoming an international criminal, throwing fire, having dinner with local hosts, and getting lost in Split, Croatia.

Policija

Level 3 Fun! Unfortunately, the trip started a little bumpy.  In Croatia, if you rent a house for an extended period of time you need to register your stay with the police. Luckily, Remote Year lets you know this and facilitates everything you need to do.  However, what the staff members didn’t plan for was the rain.  It’s common in Croatia for things like restaurants, shops, and police stations to close when it rains…. NOTED…

So when my roommate and I went to the police station to register for our trip, in the rain, it was closed. No problem right? We’ll just come back tomorrow. Nope… by this time we had been in the country for over 48 hours and therefore broke the law by not registering in time.  We spent the next 2 days in and out of the police station with our translator, who negotiated our fine, gathered the necessary paperwork, scanned our passports, and eventually got us out of the whole mess. We paid 800 Kuna each, got a international ticket, and signed some paperwork in Croatian.

It wasn’t the ideal first couple of days, however now we had a great Level 3 Fun story for orientation with the group the next day.

Croatia Football Game

Football in Croatia is more like a religious experience.  The masses gather together, drink massive amounts of beer and spirits before heading into the stadium where the fans chant and sing to the crowds and their team. When the team scores, the opposing teams flag is burned and thrown onto the field. Although this is illegal, the fire department is ready and waiting to extinguish the flames. Smoke fills the stadium and the fans go wild.

Croatia Group Dinner

Croatians are very friendly and inviting. I have traveled throughout the world and never felt more safe and welcome. A local cigar shop owner invited a group of my fellow Remotes to join him and his family for dinner in his home. He served us local wine which he produced from his own vineyard, and locally sourced food.  Farm to table. He told us about how they made the local cheese and where our greens were picked. He gave us background on the country and what a meal like this with friends and family meant to him. He gave a toast to our new formed friendship and presented my friend Yun with a gift for bringing us all together. The food was better than any restaurant I had visited in Croatia and the company was nothing short of perfection.

Croatia Bell Tower View

The best part of spending a whole month in a city is having the time to get lost. Walking through the city and exploring back alleys has been an adventure. There’s so much history in the cobblestone roads, green shutters, and clay shingles. This picture perfect view was taken from The Cathedral of Saint Domnius, known locally as the Saint Dujam or colloquially Saint Duje, which is the Catholic cathedral in Split.  You can see the city for miles and into the clear blue breathtaking Adriatic Sea. There’s something magical about waking up on the other side of the world, having conversations I can’t entirely comprehend, and losing my way, only to find it again with a group of strangers.

Remote Year Preparation “Take 1”

Take 1
Planning a year abroad is not an easy task, especially post-college with an adult life including; a house, dog, bills, employment, friends, and family. Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I had an internship in Dubai for the summer. My parents paid for my flight, my things were already packed up from my dorm for the summer, and my part-time job allowed me to take the 2 months away. My mom took me shopping for a few business wardrobe essentials, I borrowed a suitcase and hopped on a plane. I stayed with a local family who had a live-in maid, personal driver, and a cleaning service. I was beyond spoiled. This time around will be a little different.

Now I’m 29 years old with a full-time job which, up until this point, has been 100% on-site in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So, step one, after being accepted to Remote Year, was to convince my boss at ThreeBridge Solutions, an IT consulting firm, that it was a good idea to let me travel the world for a year while working completely remote, with a program he had never heard of. I did this by putting together a presentation outlining what Remote Year was, how our core values factored into this adventure, and how I would accomplish my job as a digital nomad. Surprisingly he was almost immediately on board. Insert one cool concept, with a handy PowerPoint, and you get one terrified new RY recruit.

Step 2, research all things living aboard for an extended amount of time. This could take a lifetime as there are thousands, if not millions, of blogs on study aboard, digital nomads, and world travelers. I was easily sucked in. I found the best way to accomplish this giant task was to start making a checklist.

Credit / Debit Cards
Chase Sapphire Reserved and Charles Schwab came out to be the best travel cards. Both have “0” travel fees and are welcome in most countries. Also, both are Visa cards, which from what I have read, are accepted easily throughout the world.
The Chase Sapphire card offers travel points to sign up, travel and dining bonus points, and a ton of other perks, if you use it enough, including money toward your TSA pre-check, a must, and entry to airport lounges.
Charles Schwab has “0” international ATM fees and the ability to transfer money from your normal checking account onto your debit card for use while out of the country.

Most blogs I’ve read said you should have multiple cards in different bags in case of theft or your bank disabling a card due to irregular use while outside of the US. So in total, I will have my current debit card from Bremer Bank (local to MN), a Capital One Credit Card with 1% back on all purchases, a Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Charles Schwab debit card.

Packing
Again this is based on research so I will follow up with a “Take 2” on lessons I’ve learned after a month or two.
Suitcase: I purchased Samsonite stackable luggage from Costco; a trusted brand. Costco always has a good deal.
Packing cubes: Basically organizes your things to fit neatly into your suitcase or carry on and doubles as toiletry bag and dirty clothes hamper.
Compression Bags: These are handy little packing bags, that when rolled, suck the air out of your clothes and conserve space. When packing for a year, this extra room will be much appreciated.
Luggage Locks: Can’t be too safe when traveling internationally and your whole life is in one bag.
Travel Towel: A quick drying towel for the beach or side trips when I’m not at my apartment or hotel.
Fanny Pack: Great for long hikes and festivals.
Backpack: (Foldable) Side trips, hiking, and other activities like the gym.
• Computer Bag: Co-Working space is 5-30 minutes away from apartments so a durable and comfortable computer bag is needed.

Booking a Flight
With Remote Year, your first flight is not included. So I hit up the usual sites and searched Minneapolis to Croatia and cried at the numbers. So again, I did some research. A few other travelers mentioned a site called SkyScanner.com. Skyscanner compares millions of flights to find you the cheapest deal, fast. They also compare and find the cheapest hotels and car rentals. I don’t think they will be unknown for long. They found me the cheapest flight by more than a thousand dollars. The one catch is if you switch airlines, you need to pick up your checked luggage and recheck your bags. This can be costly and time-consuming so make sure you have the time, and add up the extra charges, before booking. Even with this, however, it was by far the best choice.

Travel Vaccines
Yes, this is a thing. Call your local doctors office and they will direct you to a travel clinic. They will ask you for all the countries you will be visiting and put together a list of vaccines you will need. Make sure to bring the records along. Some countries will ask for a list of your vaccinations before letting you in.

Do this at least a month in advance. Some vaccines will take multiple doses and some clinics are booked out weeks in advance.

Also, book any doctor’s appointments and dental care needed prior to your trip. Take care of any issues before going aboard where your current insurance will most likely not cover any costs.

Medicine
Tell your doctor you will be out of the country an extended amount of time and ask for a longer prescription.

Bring any medicine you might need from home (Benadryl, AZO, Aspirin)

Passport
Make sure your passport is up to date and more than a year before expiring, per your last destination. Some countries will not allow you in with a passport that is expiring in 6 months or less. Also if you plan to visit multiple countries, ask for the large passport with extra pages. Some visas can take up a whole passport page; you’ll need the extra space.

Make copies of your passport to carry for visas and other identification.

Home Ownership
Now in my late 20’s, I own a home. Normal right… however not easy when you want to drop everything and move out of the country for a year. So I called around, and asked some friends, and stumbled across a business that markets and rents your home and then also acts as the landlord for any issues while the home is being rented. It’s not cheap, but it’s cheaper than paying your mortgage and also paying to live aboard. Next, move everything I own out of my home and get it ready for someone else to move in.
1. Stage House and take pictures for marketing
2. Box everything I own up and move it into a pod for storage
3. Have a cleaning crew come in and clean my house for new renter
4. Transfer mail to parents house
5. Pay all bills before leaving and cancel services like TV and internet

Electronics
Phone: SIM Cards (unlocked phone) / International Plans: Luckily my company pays for my phone and is paying for my international plan. This may be outrageously expensive and in that case, I will need to pay for a SIM Card that is provided through Remote Year. This is $30/month and provides a local plan with a new number and data plan. The downside of a SIM card for my type of work is that my number would change month to month, making it difficult for my consultants to get in touch with me. Also noted, bring an extra phone in case of theft or damage.
Kindle: Paper white so I can take it anywhere inside or out without glare or the distractions of my phone or iPad.
Portable Charger: To avoid battery interruptions while traveling
Headphones: Nice for travel and also to block out noise in co-working spaces.
• Computer: I have a computer provided by my work. Our tech team is adding extra security for any sensitive information and upgrading my computer for warranty issues while I am away.
Power cords and adapters: Be sure to have the right adapters for your electronics while you are aboard and also extra power cords for your phone and computer. Backup batteries as well if possible.
GoPro: This is a once in a lifetime trip so I plan to document as much as possible and upload as many Instagram-worthy photos as I can for your viewing pleasure.
Amazon Fire Stick: Great for traveling. The Amazon Fire Stick is a small device the size of a flash drive that plugs into a TVs HDMI port. The Fire Stick enables any TV to stream content over WiFi such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu.

Itinerary
Be sure to provide a copy for your itinerary to your friends and family. Safe for them to know where you are if you run into any trouble and also for them to visit!

Bedding
Anything that will make you feel more at home including a pillow case and thin sheet to protect from scratch or unpleasant bedding already provided in apartments, hotels, and hostels.