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So you work remotely and love to travel the world? We’ve got a destination for you that’s not always on everyone’s radar, but definitely should be! The small island nation of Taiwan. This beautiful country in the South China Sea might not be the first place you think of when deciding your next location in Asia. However, it’s packed with high-rising mountains, lush green rainforests, volcanic arcs, and bustling cities to top it all off. Who doesn’t want to visit that?! This post we’ll tell you a bit more about Taipei, which we’ll visit the entire month of March 2017 with our The Remote Trip community.

First, Taiwan is often mentioned as one of the hotspots for Digital Nomads and indeed the country has great potential to be a digital nomad hub in either one of it’s biggest cities: Taipei (North) and Kaohsiung (South). However, if you’re looking for the next Chiang Mai or Bali then think again. You won’t find thousands of remote workers here and the digital nomad scene has not been as developed yet, but certainly don’t let that hold you back! Be a pioneer and pave the way for other remote workers. Many people currently working out of Taiwan said they never planned on staying for a long time, but that they loved the country and its capital so much that they actually never left, or simply kept coming back. Sounds promising!  

Connection hub

Getting to Taipei from either an Asian destination or from a different continent is incredibly easy! Taipei is one of the biggest connection hubs in Asia and therefore many flights will easily drop you off here. Flights from either the US or Europe are very reasonably priced if you book a bit in advance and if you’re not too picky on your dates. Taiwan has a quick Visa On Arrival for either 30 or 90 days, depending on your nationality. Once you're here you can either take a taxi for around $30 into the city center, take a shuttle bus or use the bullet train. All clearly indicated at the airport.

Want to do a quick weekend trip from Taiwan? No problem, either. You’ll be in one of the nearby countries in no-time and it likely won’t even cost you much. Japan, The Philippines and China have never been more within reach!

 

Food, food, and more food

Try finding an article about Taipei that doesn’t mention food. That’s right, you can’t. How good must Taiwanese food be for everyone to rave about it?! Small eats are the deal in Taiwan. Lots of small eats. Prepare to change your food pattern from having three larger meals a day, to having 5 or 6 smaller snacks a day. This won’t be difficult anyways, since the food is just so delicious, you’ll won’t want to stop eating. Taipei has 20 streets completely dedicated to food and street stalls, so you can (quite literally) eat your heart out.

Try beef noodle soup, all types of bao, fried chicken, and stinky tofu (sounds worse than it is!), among many others.. The absolute top spot for dumplings is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, a Taiwan-originated dumpling restaurant with a Michelin Star, which by now has branches in seven other countries all over the world. In the sweet corner we have shaved ice (with fruits and syrup), pineapple cake, and the famous ‘bubble’ tea. Related to food, did you know that one of Taiwan’s whiskey brands was awarded best in the world? It even beat Scottish whiskey. Go figure! Furthermore, Taipei’s coffee culture is rich and widespread, with many cafes dotting the city map. Nope, you won’t have to worry about enjoying food & drinks in Taiwan!

 

Tech-focus

Taipei has a very enthusiastic startup/entrepreneur scene, and even though it’s not as big as the likes of of Silicon Valley, Berlin, or even Singapore, it’s still worth keeping an eye out on this innovative movement. Try to find entrepreneurs in one of its many coworking spaces (Impact Hub, Makerbar, or Hun, among others). Digital nomads who speak Mandarin definitely have an advantage over their foreign counterparts, but nevertheless this may change very fast in the future. Business is still mainly focused on the local market, but a fresh outside view from a laowai (foreigner) may be very welcome!

Internet is fast and spread out through the city. You can basically check your email from a local convenience store, update your presentation from the subway, or simply work from one of the many cafes around town. Starbucks, as always, is a good option, and they’ll even refill your water bottle throughout the day!  

Getting around

Taipei is a huge city, like many other Asian capitals, but still has that small city feel to it. It’s fairly easy to go around, mainly because it has a rocking subway system that is equally distributed throughout the city. The subway can also quickly take you into nature to go hiking (South end of the Red Line) or just to get away from the city noises.Taxis are abound and they are fairly cheap too, just make sure you know how to pronounce your destination right or have a local write it down for you. Lastly, the Youbikes are bikes you can rent that have pick-up/drop-off stations throughout the city. They are dirt-cheap (between $20-30 cents per 30 minutes) and it’s a great way to explore the sights while maneuvering the streets. Just make sure you watch out for the cars and buses around you.

 

Highlights

The beating heart of Taipei is the Ximending area (or spelled Shi-men Ting), which is pretty central and easily reachable. Another great neighborhood that is a bit more upscale is the area around Zhongxiao Dunhua station. In terms of sightseeing, there are more than enough temples and sights in Taipei’s city center, but Lungshan Temple of Manka and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall definitely stand out as beauties.

Nevertheless, don’t stay in the city too long, as Taiwan has so much to offer in terms of nature. Go hiking in the dramatic mountains, there’s so many places where you can! You can go gorge trekking, white river rafting, mountain biking, visiting hot springs etc. You definitely won’t be disappointed by the views and the countryside. From Taipei you can also take a short trip to Jiufen, a lovely village about an hour away from the city. Again, you can eat delicious foods here and check out the beautiful Ruifang mountains.

So why visit Taiwan when working remotely? Because it is an unexpectedly exciting destination that’ll leave you wanting more. We are getting more and more excited to visit this amazing country and city in March. Would you like to join us? Then apply for our program here!

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Michelle & Amy

Co-founders of The Remote Trip

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely.

We bring together a like-minded community of remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 or 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

Holidays are just around the corner and everyone is running around to get the right gifts for their family and friends. But what do you buy your digital nomad friend/brother/sister/daughter/son who’s always running off to other places? Obviously a pair of socks just won’t do (because it means more for them to carry around), and likely you won’t even be able to give it to them in person. So how can you still shower your loved ones with gifts if they can’t hold still?

We are here to help you! Here are 5 gifts that are perfect for digital nomads. You won’t only make your DN friend super happy, but they are also quick to buy online or send to any address in the world.  Win-win-win!

If the gifts below don’t tickle your fantasy. Then it’s good to know that digital nomads are mostly concerned with three things: traveling, their laptop + technology accessories, and wifi connections.  So as long as you’re in that area, you’re good!

 

Flights

One of our most expensive costs is always flight tickets. So we’d love it if you bought us a flight to our next destination! Nowadays this really doesn’t have to be that expensive. Europe has many budget airlines that allow you to fly for as low as $10, Asia flights are always cheap and even in North-America you can find bargain deals to other places (with that in mind, don’t forget to check out our blog post on how to buy flight tickets 20-50% cheaper) Buying a flight for a digital nomad can also be fun because you decide their next destination and they don’t have to think about it. Surprise!

 

Overnight stay

The second biggest necessity for a digital nomad is having comfortable accommodation with high speed internet. Sometimes it’s awesome and sometimes it’s horrible. So, you can majorly help a digital nomad out by giving an airbnb voucher or booking the accommodation altogether for a few nights. Just make sure to check that the internet is rocketspeed (often reviews of a place will tell you this). On top of that, what we would personally love is to get a luxury hotel stay for a couple of nights, especially after arriving at a new place. Staying at budget-medium range places can get tiring after a while. So going straight from the airport to a nice hotel and sleeping off our jet lag in huge bed would be amazing!

 

Co-working space membership

If you know that your digital nomad friend is going to be in one place for a longer period of time you might consider buying them a weekly or monthly membership to a nice co-working space in their area. These expenses can be quite high, so we’d love to get some support to go to these co-working spaces to meet other like minded people, or to be able to completely focus. Often you can sign up and pay for them online. Your friend will thank you loads!

 

Wireless internet hotspot device

We are always struggling with this. Having bad internet is the worst thing that can happen to a digital nomad who’s planned a productive day, because now we have to go find a different spot and pray for enough outlets or a comfortable place to work… Therefore, having a wireless internet hotspot is like heaven for digital nomads. Although this is a slightly more expensive gift, it’ll makes us happy every single day we’re using it. Buy it online and have it delivered to an address anywhere in the world.

 

Entertainment subscription

Finally, everyone loves watching movies and series online because it keeps you sane (distracts your mind) when work is stressful and it can make you relax before going to sleep. So why not give your friend a membership to Netflix or Amazon Prime and get them hooked on the latest series? You can easily do it online and the digital nomad can watch whenever and wherever they want. Perfect!

 

Bonus: noise cancelling headphones

Okay this is on the list as a bonus point just because we personally want this so bad! Quite an expensive gift, but at times when we’re working in a busy cafe we’d love to have noise cancelling headphones to drown out all the sounds around us and just focus while listening to music. If you really love your digital nomad friend or family member you might consider shipping this to them. We know they’d be forever thankful!

That’s it folks! We hope you’ll have the best holidays, whether you’re with your actual family, friends that feel like family, or friends that you’ve just met on the road. Wherever you are, remember that you’re incredibly lucky to be able to live this dream of a remote lifestyle.

Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂

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Michelle & Amy

Co-founders of The Remote Trip

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 or 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

the remote trip

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! It’s already been seven months since I quit my high-paying corporate job and took the scary leap into the digital nomad lifestyle. Do I regret it? Not for a second! In fact, it has been the best decision of my life. I’ll tell you why.

I remember it all too well. It was July 25th of this year when I boarded a plane on my own with a one-way ticket to Thailand. If you’ve ever traveled alone, you’ll most likely relate to the sensational feeling that you get when saying goodbye to your friends and family at the airport, boarding a 22-hour flight to the other side of the world, and seeing the plane taking off while you see your home country fading away into the white clouds as you head towards the sun.

 

The “scary feeling” that you had when starting your adventure turns into excitement, because you know that you’re heading towards the experience of a lifetime.

 

After extensive research on ‘digital nomadism’ through blogs, articles, and youtube videos, it became obvious to me that Chiang Mai, located in the northern part of Thailand, was considered “the place to be” for people pursuing this lifestyle - so that’s where I went. Four months after I boarding the plane though, did Chiang Mai live up to the hype?

So after living the reality, sifting through the hype, here’s 5 reasons on why Chiang Mai is the place to be for people pursuing the digital nomad lifestyle:

 

1. A like-minded community

 

First and foremost, the advantage of being in Chiang Mai is the established digital nomad community that has become so synonymous with it. The city is known for having one of the biggest - if not the biggest - digital nomad community in the world, which turned out to be completely true!

Every single week, there are a host nomad events ranging from coffee meetups, lunches, workshops or entertainment based events like salsa classes. Feel like a break from work? No problem! Just show up at one of these events and hang out with other like-minded people. I want to stress “like-minded”, because it’s such a refreshing feeling to hang out with people who have the same mindset and understand your goals and ambitions. I think a lack of this ‘community’ is probably one of the most frustrating aspects for someone to aspiring this lifestyle, who hasn’t yet taken the leap from their home environment.

 

Nomad lunch, Chiang Mai

Conversely, although there’s lots of entertainment on offer, nobody will hold it against you if you feel like working instead of attending a social activity, people get it. Everybody understands the importance of making your online work, well… actually work.

One exciting event that is coming up in Chiang Mai and shows the presence of the nomad community in this city, is the Nomad Summit in February 2017. It’s a two-day conference where hundreds of digital nomads from around the world gather for a day of inspiring TED-like talks from successful location independent entrepreneurs who share their business models, productivity tricks, travel hacks, and money making - followed by a fun networking day at the pool.

The Nomad Summit 2017 is also included in the Chiang Mai destination of The Remote Trip.

 

2. Immersion in the Thai culture & local community

 

One of the most fulfilling things about travel, in my opinion, is to immerse yourself in a totally in different culture and in local habits that are different from your own. This allows you to broaden your perspective of the world and the people in it.

One of the first things I noticed about Thailand, is that Thai people are one of the most humble and respectful people I’ve ever met. This was particularly noticeable after their King passed away on October 13th this year, after being head of state for 70 years. All social events and activities were cancelled for a period of 30 days, the local people wore black clothing, and the country declared a total mourning period of one year. I’ve really never seen a culture more respectful towards their head of state as the Thai people.

Furthermore, there are so many options to explore the Thai culture & local community. Here are a couple:

  • Learn how to cook local Thai dishes: after just one cooking class, I’m now able to make 16 different local Thai dishes!
  • Have an informal chat with a monk: at Monkchat you’ll have the opportunity to talk with real monks and ask them anything you want to know about their lifestyle. Super interesting!
  • Visit the long neck hill tribe villages: see what it’s like with your own eyes how these traditional tribes live.
  • Volunteer or visit Elephant Nature Park: ever wanted to see an entire herd of elephants and get so close that you’re even able to stroke them and feed watermelon with your own two hands? Make sure to visit this one!

the remote trip

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

the remote trip

Long neck tribe villages

 

 

4. Personal & professional development

 

From my experience, Chiang Mai has been one of the best places to focus on your own personal & professional development. From a professional perspective, you can attend numerous meet-ups that focus on online businesses such as SEO or drop-shipping, or you can attend the Friday coffee meetups with weekly keynote speaker sessions from successful location independent entrepreneurs.

From a personal development perspective, there’s a wide variety of workshops that focus on self-discovery and development, that allow you to get the most out of the new experience. For example, I attended an “Ultimate Success” NLP coaching workshop from Lifeworks that can help you to understand your outlook on life and why you do the things that you do, and aims to create the best version of yourself - and your business.

We are excited to have Eddie Moore, founder of Lifeworks, at our Chiang Mai destination for The Remote Trip for a full 1-day “Ultimate Success” NLP coaching workshop.

 

5. Health & wellbeing

 

Chiang Mai is the perfect place to be if you want to focus on your health & wellbeing too: as a city it’s packed full of restaurants that offer healthy (and vegetarian/vegan) food options, you can go to the gym, practice yoga, or go on a meditation retreat to clear your mind and regain focus.

 

digital nomad community

2-day meditation retreat at Monkchat, Chiang Mai

 

 

5. Cost of living

I wanted to save the best for last for you.

As you’ll probably know, Thailand is known for its super low living expenses. This is what makes the country in general extremely attractive for digital nomads who are still figuring out how to generate a stable income or people who are looking to bootstrap startups and companies.

Whilst living in Chiang Mai, I became accustomed to incredibly low prices for pretty much everything that I needed. After a period in Chiang Mai, my intention was to spend some time in the Netherlands, so I assumed I’d need to face economic reality of living in a Western European country again, I’d simply have to bite the bullet and pay €750 a month for a small apartment in the Netherlands.

When I reached home in the Netherlands though, I started to do some calculations:

 

It was cheaper for me to buy a ticket back to Chiang Mai and live their for a month, than to pay for my living expenses in the Netherlands for the same period.

 

Wait. What?! Let me say that one more time.

 

It is cheaper for you to buy a ticket to Chiang Mai and live their for a month, than to pay for your living expenses in your own Western home country for the same period.


That’s crazy!!!

Once I saw it written in black and white, it didn’t take long for me to book my ticket back to Chiang Mai just two weeks later. And no, you don’t have to stay in a crappy hostel to take advantage of low cost living in Chiang Mai...

 

the remote trip

Accommodation in Chiang Mai

 

All together…

So yes, I do completely agree with the general consensus that Chiang Mai is the best place to start for people who are figuring out how to create a ‘digital nomad lifestyle’ and it still is an incredible place to visit even if you’re an experienced nomad. The city has everything to offer from an established like-minded digital nomad community, local & cultural experiences, to a chance to focus on your personal & professional development and health & wellbeing - while having extremely low costs of living.

 

We're super excited to kick-off our first The Remote Trip destination in Chiang Mai upcoming February 2017. This kick-off marks the beginning of a journey full of travel, meeting new people, and - best of all - life changing experiences. To celebrate this event, we designed a special Chiang Mai program for you, see below.

Join our community for our 1-month trip to Chiang Mai (or even join us for the months afterwards in other digital nomad cities all over the world!) in with our special inaugural program, that we'll give away with 25% DISCOUNT from our regular program fee! Apply sooner rather than later to secure one of our limited spots, but latest before December 31st.

 

the remote trip

This is a guest post by Alissa van der Voort, happiness coach and founder of Happy Insights

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I want to talk to you today about happiness. Imagine sitting underneath a palm tree, sipping some juice from a fresh coconut while confirming to your manager that he will get the presentation by noon.

Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

Maybe even too good to be true, because even though the image sounds very appealing, you might also wonder if this is actually realistic. At least, that was my first thought when Michelle (creator of The Remote Trip) told me about this trend of remote workers or ‘digital nomads’ who work while traveling the world.

Aren’t these remote workers feeling isolated, less valued and maybe even less productive, when everybody else is working in an office together? I can imagine it’s easy to get so caught up in your life of travel and freedom, that you hardly get any work done.

I needed to know: will the possibility to dial-in to a conference call with the ocean gazing at you, or to design a product for your client on a snowy mountaintop, actually make you happier?

Guess what? It turns out it does.

Last year, TINYpulse conducted a research on 509 full-time remote US employees, in which they compared the remote workers’ responses to benchmarks calculated from over 200,000 employees across all work arrangements. Most importantly, the benchmark population did not work remote.

There are three specific findings confirming the idea that remote work increases employee happiness:

  1. Remote workers are happier at work: on a scale of 1 to 10 (when asked the question: “How happy are you at work?”) remote workers scored 8.10, compared to ‘traditional workers’, who scored 7.42.

  2. Remote workers feel more valued: In answer to the question, “How valued do you feel at work?” – remote workers scored 7.75, compared to ‘all workers’ 6.69.  

  3. Remote workers feel more productive: 91% of the remote workers believe they “get more work done when working remotely,” compared to only 9% who feel they don’t. Even though this is a self-assessment question, the large margin appears to be significant.

 

So how does remote work contribute to an increase of an individual’s level of happiness?

According to the Social Determination theory, there are three universal needs that influence an individual’s happiness:

  • Autonomy
  • Competence
  • Relatedness.

I believe this explains perfectly why remote workers are happier and more productive.

 

Remote work facilitates autonomy

We have the universal urge to feel in control of our own lives and to act in harmony with ourselves. In the survey, remote workers state that they are happier at work because “they enjoy freedom and flexibility”, thus confirming that they feel a sense of autonomy. As a remote worker, you are in charge of deciding where you work and when you work. You can travel if you like, or stay at home to be with your family & friends. Being able to make these types of decisions is a major accelerator of happiness.

 

Remote work stimulates you to excel at your competences

The need to control the outcome and experience a sense of mastery - simply said: the ability to be good at something – is of great influence on our level of happiness. Since working remote allows for working in ways that you are more productive, for example during a certain time of day, or at a certain place, you become better able to influence the outcome of your performance. Moreover, you will be less distracted by people ‘stopping by your desk’, and you can choose when to respond to emails, which again improves your ability to focus and excel at what you do.

 

Remote work hinders relatedness

Whilst the first two needs (autonomy and competence) are met when working remote, the third need that contributes to an individual’s happiness – relatedness – is harder to achieve. The universal human being wants to interact, to be connected to others, and to experience caring for others. This can be more difficult when working in an environment without any direct colleagues around. That’s why, according to the survey, the relationship with co-workers scores lower for remote workers (6.69), compared to the average of 7.75 for traditional workers. However, co-working spaces and remote communities do a good job at countering this.

It makes sense to conclude that this score is highly influenced by a feeling of isolation from, and a lack of (high level) relatedness with, one’s co-workers. Luckily, when working remote you are more in control of your environment. Meaning remote workers are able to find alternative solutions to interact and connect with others.

 

How to solve the 'lonely' aspect that might bring your happiness down

One of the best ways to create a strong bond with other people while working remote is joining a remote travel program, such as The Remote Trip, where you travel together with a community of remote workers and spend each month in a different location. Being able to experience such an exciting time together, while still being able to work, chat, and bounce ideas off of each other is a great alternative to the office. There are many great initiatives, that tap into this need to relate to others, and that facilitate the opportunity to connect with others even more than you would in a traditional office. .

Overall, being able to create ‘the perfect environment’ for themselves, and being responsible for their daily activities, determines around 40% of the remote worker’s happiness.

As for me, I can surely say that I’m more convinced that remote work is the trend of the future and that employees will experience greater happiness because of this flexibility. Now, let me just get my laptop and a coconut…

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Alissa van der Voort

Founder of Happy Insights - coaching individuals and organizations to find their happiness

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 or 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

The application period for The Remote Trip is closing by the end of this month and we've heard so many people be enthusiastic about the program. "That's awesome! I wish I could do that some day". Why wait for some day tho? Why do you keep telling yourself these things? Don't get us wrong, we've gotten many wonderful applications and can't wait to meet the people who've already signed for a Trip in person. However, we also want to talk to those people that keep telling themselves these excuses for why right now is not the time to do this. If you wait for the time to be right, it'll probably never happen!

In this blog post we address the most common excuses and why they're invalid. These excuses don't only apply to The Remote Trip, but to all aspects of your life! Stop wasting time and start doing what you want. Start living the life you want, today. Here we go:

 

#1: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but I don’t have a Remote Job

No problem. We got you covered! At the time of application you don’t need to have a remote job yet. However, we do require that you have one at least by the start of the trip. Or else what’s the point of joining a remote work community?! Getting a remote job is not that hard, you just have to know where to look. We can guide you in the right direction. For example, we have a Remote Starter Kit that can help you and there is a large community out there who can help you too. So if you really want a remote job, you will find it for sure. Just know we are not a job provider and you are eventually responsible that this happens. Next question!

 

#2: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but it’s quite expensive

Fair enough. We understand that the first time you look at the monthly payment or the total sum it looks like a lot of money. But have you ever considered how much you are spending on a monthly basis in your current situation? The Remote Trip asks that you contribute €1800 a month (average amount of the three trips). We can promise you that your monthly costs right now add up to about the same. Really. Start tracking your expenses and you’ll see!

Currently you're already spending €1800 a month or much more for your lifestyle. We can meet that lifestyle and add: six amazing destinations and the flights between them, an awesome remote workers community, great activities for your personal and professional development, and local cultural activities. We also throw in great accommodations, fun social get-togethers, and gym passes for a happy body. So you are only getting more bang for your back on The Remote Trip!

Not convinced yet? Think about how far €1800 a month will get you in some major cities around the world. Living in most North American cities, €1800 won't get you through the month. Same goes for London, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo. In other cities, like Amsterdam or Barcelona, it will just be enough, but you'll have to watch your spending closely. You can check for yourself on Numbeo (this is just an estimation, obviously you can make it much more and much less expensive based on your lifestyle). So why not spend that money that you're spending anyway, on a great life experience?

Still not convinced? Okay here we go: we’re giving you an exact overview of our price build-up. We want to show you that The Remote Trip is not after making the largest profit possible. What we do want, is to create great experiences for you! We want you to come back from this trip and say “this was the most awesome thing I’ve ever done and I’ve grown so much from it”. However, organizing this experience does not come for free and that’s why we invest in the costs below. Transparency builds trust and we want you to trust us that we’ll always put you first.

 

#3: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but I don't have the money (right now)

We've been there too. We have deeply wanted to do something that we didn’t have the money for at the time. But what often happens is that you “think” you don’t have the resources, when actually you do. Again, we know the lump-sum total amount looks large, but hey that’s what you spend in normal life as well, just in smaller increments. So, as all big things in life, you just need to divide it into smaller, less daunting pieces:

If you are invited to join us on The Remote Trip you will first pay a down payment of 2000 or 3000. Because obviously we need to make arrangements for you as soon as possible. That’s your first big expense. After that you pay 1800 a month (this is an average, 3 months Latin America is a bit more, 6 months Asia & Latin America is a bit less). That gives you 30 days to gather the funds for the next month. Also, that means you need to earn 1800 / 30 = 60 euros a day in order to join The Remote Trip. Luckily, that is less than what most remote workers earn on average per day!

Apart from the actual monetary calculations, have you considered the value that you’re buying when joining us?

You are investing in the opportunity to have great life experiences. You are investing in a way to brainstorm with and learn from other great remote workers. You are investing in a new network of friends, attendance at inspiring workshops, and a supportive community.

It’s all about being ready to invest in your life, your fulfillment and your growth. To find a professional that you trust, a supportive community, or learn a skill you want to improve. Fact: going on this remote work journey is easier, faster, and more fun when you connect with people who have been there before, or who are on the same journey as you.

 

#4: I’d like to join The Remote Trip, but my work requires me to have my own private and quiet work space

No worries. We understand that some people have jobs that require a private and quiet work space where you can make phone calls and have meetings from time to time. Think about people in customer service, sales, coaching, or who have daily meetings with their remote team. Or maybe you just prefer to work by yourself for a couple of hours. We understand!

We’ll make sure all our coworking spaces come with a few private rooms where you can make your private calls when needed. We personally inspect our coworking locations to ensure they meet our requirements. This way you can choose whether you want to work at the coworking space with the community, or in a private room for a little bit. Of course, you’ll also have the option to explore other work cafes/places in the area whenever you feel like it. However, if you require a private workspace every day, all day throughout the entire trip, please let us know beforehand, so we can make sure that you have a dedicated spot just for you.

 

#5: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but there are some other players as well. Why should I choose you?

We hear you! There are a number of players offering the same type of trips. Some for a year, some for a few months, some in other types of ways. And we celebrate that! There should be multiple options and types of remote work programs, so you can choose the program that best fits your needs and the type of experiences you are looking for. Why choose us? Because you are the most important part of our trip. We have planned and designed our trip in such a way that we can guarantee you the best possible experience!

The level of quality that we can provide you on The Remote Trip is our number one priority. YOU are our number one priority. And this will be reflected in the flights, the personally inspected accommodation, the internet speed and the type of transport.

In addition, we have some things that (most) other players don’t have:

- Focus on health & well-being: Gym passes at every location and other sport activities, such as yoga, muay thai, salsa lessons etc.

- Local cultural immersion activities: we don’t just want a group of one nationality and we definitely want to get you in touch with local people and businesses

- Volunteering opportunities: travel the world and leave your mark by contributing to local economies, societies, and ecosystems

- Food: a number of dinners on us! And we can’t completely guarantee it, but we will certainly try to arrange some breakfasts or food snacks for you where possible.

So yes, there are multiple players, but we can promise you that if you choose us, you will get an amazing and seamless experience, throughout all 3 or 6 months!

 

#6: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but I'm afraid it will distract me from my business/job/blog

Okay, we can be obvious and tell you: “well uhm, the whole point of this trip is traveling and focusing on your business/job/blog”. But we understand your concern: you think that you are constantly going to be invited to activities, covered in workshops, and dragged into social get-togethers. No. That’s not what we have planned for you and that is definitely not what we are trying to achieve.

We want to find the perfect balance between planning something for you and you having time to work. You can choose whatever you want. We will make sure that you have a great place to work, where you can focus and have meetings. We will also make sure that you can work during the day and during the night (for the time zone-sensitive among you). So there is no need to worry about not having enough time to focus on your work, because you can do just that.

Also, this point probably has a bit to do with self-motivation, and nothing motivates you more than having other people around you that are working as well! In the first place because you won’t feel lonely, but also because you can bounce ideas off of each other, brainstorm together, learn from each other. You never know, it probably will grow your business/job/blog even more!

 

#7: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but I'm worried about what the group will look like

That makes sense. We can imagine that you are concerned about the type of people that you’ll be hanging out with for 3 or 6 months. However, this is a group of 30 people. We are very sure that you will find at least a few people that you will completely vibe with and can hang out/work with.

We’ll make sure that the TRT group is filled with supportive, encouraging, ambitious, and travel-seeking women and men in their 20's or 30's. We’ll also make sure that there is a good balance between the sexes, the ages, the nationalities, the entrepreneurs vs job-havers, and the early birds vs night owls (joke: we won’t actually be checking that last part). Also, there will be a healthy mix of new-to-the-remote-workplace people, and seasoned remote workers.

So we can only tell you to not worry about this too much. It is probably your mind coming up with concerns because it is a bit scared of how you’ll fit in the group. But you will be completely fine, trust us!

 

#8: I'd like to join The Remote Trip, but I'm scared

We feel you on this one! Some things or trips can seem a bit scary or overwhelming at first. So, we are going to pull out some cliché’s, but there are said so often for a reason:

If you feel scared, it often means you’re growing: you are going to be experiencing something you’re not familiar with, and your mind instinctively finds that a bit scary. But no worries, you have to push through it, to have that amazing experience!

Check your intuition, it never fails: what is your gut telling you? Try to see why you clicked on this page in the first place. Where you intrigued? Did The Remote Trip sound awesome to you? That’s probably your subconscious telling you that you need to do this. This is for you!

Mind over matter: we strongly believe that you can think your way into (and out of) anything you want. So if you decide not to do this because you are scared, that’s what you accept to be the truth. But you can also decide that you want this, and rationalize your way into it.

 

We hear a lot of people say: “you’re program is so cool! I’d like to do that some day!”. Well guess what? Today is someday. If you won’t do it now, when will you ever do it? If you’re waiting for the right time or situation or for the stars to align, you might never get there. Take a chance now and have an amazing experience that you’ll remember a lifetime! Once you make the jump and put your trust in our hands, we will make sure to not let you down and we can assure you that you’re going to have an amazing experience.

 

Ready for take off?! Apply now for The Remote Trip

 

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Michelle Hooijen

Creator of The Remote Trip

 

---

 

At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

A lot of people have been coming up to us asking: "is it real, being a digital nomad, or is it all a hoax?". We can't blame them for thinking that. If we weren't living this lifestyle every day, we might also think it sounds too good to be true. That's why we wanted to let you hear it from the horse's mouth! We've interviewed 3 experienced digital nomads, who've been doing this for years and we’ve put their stories into a handy e-guide for you to read through.

 

In the interviews, they share their personal experiences on:

  1. Hurdles they encountered when transitioning into the remote lifestyle, and how they've overcome them
  2. How they combat the “lonely” aspect of a remote lifestyle
  3. Their best advice for people who still need to take the leap
  4. Many other tips on getting the most out of being a digital nomad!  

 

As a bonus chapter we’ve included our own experiences of being on the road full-time. Spoiler alert: we never want to go back to the regular schmegular office cubicle! So, do you want to know what it’s really like? The e-guide with full interviews is only available to people on our email subscribers list. Sign up at the bottom of the page here to receive your copy!

Nevertheless, we also wanted to offer you a little sneak peek in this week’s blog post. We’d hereby like to introduce you to Nathan, Dave, and Victor!

 

What were the 3 biggest hurdles you faced when transitioning to the remote lifestyle, and how did you overcome them?

 

Nathan Morgan

My name is Nathan, I'm 27 and from the UK. My remote working experience started in January 2014. I'm currently based in Chiang Mai and I run several successful online businesses. First and foremost, I'd say I'm in the SEO (search engine optimization: In Focus SEO) business in its various forms. Being able to rank websites on Google has allowed me to start a number of online ventures, some of these include drop shipping physical products, lead generation, client based SEO work and more recently branching out into private labeling Amazon FBA sales. Diversifying how I make money is key to me.

 

  1. Earning actual money to travel and live

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is the hardest part. Like they say though, 'where there's a will there's a way'. I had a monthly figure of X in my mind before I'd travel and see the world. Yes, I could have done it with less. I could’ve started traveling on my savings and let the need to make money motivate me (both approaches have their positives), but I was a little more cautious and chose to build up my businesses before I took the leap.

 

  1. My own mentality

Anyone who tells you that it's not hugely intimidating to do this, that it's 'easy' to just uproot your life and pursue your dreams, has probably never done it. For me, overcoming this was about making the transition as easy as possible. I researched popular remote working locations and weighed up the pros and cons. I decided that I wanted it enough to put the fear aside and do it anyway. I've never looked back since!

 

  1. Discipline

When you get to a new and exciting place full of interesting people and opportunities, it's far too easy to get caught up in bright lights of it all and forget how and why you're really there. Sometimes you have to be able to say no to that salsa class/drinks/meals out with new friends and get down to business. After all it keeps the whole thing going!

 

Dave Weatherall

 

Hi, I’m Dave Weatherall, creator of That Travel Blog; a blog for travel-preneurs and those who aspire to be one! In April 2014, at the age of 20 without a degree and no savings, I quit my 9-to-5 desk job to travel indefinitely. With my blog, my main sources of income are from affiliate marketing, Instagram promotion and guest blogging. I also make money while travelling with my team of digital marketing nomads; That Social Agency.

 

  1. Entrepreneurial freedom

Being your own boss is incredible but it can be extremely stressful when you have no idea what you're doing! I experienced this feeling almost 75% of the time while transitioning to the remote lifestyle and the other 25%, I only thought I knew what I was doing! There’s no-one there to tell you what to do next, so you just have to go figure it out for yourself.

I continue to overcome this by seeking feedback and advice at every opportunity! Even if you run out of friends and family to annoy, there are countless amounts of people on the Internet who are ready and willing to critique you and your work. Just remember to not take everything to heart.

 

  1. WWW (Workspaces With Wi-Fi)

When you're not tied down to an office-space, it is easy to waste a lot of time trying to discover exciting Wi-Fi cafes, e.g. cafes with power sockets, a chilled environment, non-pushy staff, and reasonably priced food and drinks.

I avoid spending too much time walking around by paying a little extra for a nicer hotel or Airbnb, with super-fast Wi-Fi and a space for my work. That way, I can cross out most of my to-dos while I am at home and save money on endless coffee, for exploring when I’m on a break.

 

  1. Saying goodbye to family & friends

I have been travelling on and off for almost 3 years. I miss my family and long-lasting friendships. I have 2 brothers who I rarely see which makes me especially sad.

But I also love constantly meeting new people and hearing unique stories. While I am young, I want to soak up as much ‘new’ as possible. This does mean saying goodbye to many meaningful relationships but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice (for the moment). Luckily, you can always decide to travel home for a bit. There’s no one telling you that you can’t!

 

Victor Kung

 

Hi there, I’m Victor Kung. I started living the remote lifestyle in February 2016 when I quit my high-paying consulting job at Accenture. I run a small web agency with my sister called Tandem Designs. On the side, I created a blog called The Remote Lifestyle, which chronicles my transition from a corporate 9-to-5 to living and working remotely.

 

  1. Giving myself enough financial runway
  2. Preparing everything I needed for my web agency
  3. Taking the leap

The first two are kind of related. Before I quit my job, I made sure that I had everything set up for my web agency, including:

- Website

- First set of clients

- Contract templates

- Incorporation

 

I also waited until I had enough projects to cover me for the next 3 months. To be honest, these things weren’t difficult. It was more about executing the game plan and going through my checklist.

The most difficult part was actually taking the leap. I had talked to family and friends about this already, so I was mentally prepared. However, actually speaking with my manager at work about this was a nerve-wracking experience.

Luckily for me, I’ve found everyone, including my colleagues at work, to be incredibly supportive. And that made it so much easier for me. 

 

 

Want to read how the digital nomads answered other questions? - Check out our full interview (including a bonus chapter where we answer the questions ourselves!) by subscribing to our newsletter at the bottom of the page here.

--

 

Amy & Michelle

Creators of The Remote Trip

 

--

At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

price transparency

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” - Robert Frost.

 

Most people tend to choose “the road most traveled”, which is often the easiest and therefore a less eventful path through life. However, most people never question whether this “normal” path is really the right path for them. That way people can become trapped all too easily in thinking in a way that we’re expected to by others, rather than perhaps thinking ‘outside the box’ and finding an approach to life that we would ultimately find more fulfilling.

 

This year I took the road less traveled, I quit my secure high paying corporate job and booked a one-way ticket to Thailand and dived head-first into unemployment. Since taking that decision, I’ve never felt better: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to seven countries in the last six months, I’ve started my own company with a best friend, and I’ve created the freedom and flexibility to be able to work everyday wherever and whenever I want. I learned that when you act independently and take the road less traveled, you free yourself from the need to conform to the expectations of others and oftentimes find more success and fulfillment. This holds for both personal life and in business.

 

In this blog post I’ll detail how we, The Remote Trip, aim to conduct business. We’ve opted to do things not in “the usual way”, but rather how we feel we should conduct business, which is the way that provides most value to our customers. We believe honesty, openness, and authenticity are key to establishing trust in relationships, which is crucial for any person or business.

 

One of the most sensitive, least talked about, and yet most important, aspects of any business is its pricing. Most businesses perceive it as taboo to inform their customers about their financial information. However, we believe it’s important to make our customers understand how we’ve come to our final program fees. For this reason, we’re here by introducing Price Transparency at The Remote Trip.

 

We believe that being completely transparent and sharing trusted company financial information with the public has three major benefits:

 

  1. Transparency breeds trust.
  2. Transparency leads to more feedback.
  3. Transparency allows us to live by our company values.

 

At The Remote Trip, we find it important to focus on the benefits that transparency offers, rather than the potential downsides. Because we believe these so-called ‘downsides’ are totally unfounded. Why wouldn’t you want to take your customers along in your vision and business?!

 

Price transparency at The Remote Trip

The Remote Trip is 100% funded by bootstrapping, meaning that we operate without external help and run solely on founders' start-up capital. We aim to grow by reinvesting company profits into our own growth. This enables us to have a 100% focus on our customers instead of trying to please our external investors. Overhead costs are kept at a minimum wherever possible (e.g. operational activities such as accounting, legal, web development, etc. are all done in-house), meaning we can pass on these savings to our customers while at the same time ensuring the highest quality experiences for our customers.

 

The Remote Trip's goal is to provide unique work-travel experiences for remote workers at the most cost-effective prices, while always prioritizing the customer experience over profits. We do however, as with any startup, need to generate sufficient cash flow in order to secure a long-term, sustainable, and growing business.

 

The advantage of organizing group travel is that, on average, we’re able to negotiate better prices than someone who is booking individually. The table below shows our expenses for our Asia & Latin America Trips planned from February to July 2017:

 

the-remote-trip_price-transparency

Expenses for trips Feb - Jul 2017 (30 participants/month)

 

*Total revenues are based on the average monthly program fee = €5,600 (Asia) + €5,800 (LATAM) + €11,750 (Asia & LATAM) / 12 = €1,929.17/month.
Note: The numbers in this table are merely an estimation of our budgeted expenses. We’ll publish the exact numbers after the Asia & Latin America Trip 2017.

 

Program costs

- Accommodation: 31.10% of program fee

As we aim to create a community of remote professionals, not backpackers, we want to make sure that our community members experience the quality of life that they deserve. We believe that suitable accommodation is one of the most important  aspects in achieving this, and therefore we’re personally looking for private rooms in each destination. This will ensure that our community members aren’t housed in substandard locations such as hostels (which has reportedly happened with other remote travel programs). On average for all trips, we budget around €600/month for accommodation, making up the biggest portion of the participant’s monthly program fee (31.10%). The accommodation fees may be lower in some countries (Thailand) and higher in other countries (Panama), which is why we use the average.

 

- Flights: 19.87% of program fee

Flights between all destinations of the trip running from Feb - Jul total €2300/person (this includes a pricy flight from Indonesia to Panama). On average this amounts to €383.33/month per person, making up 19.87% of the participant’s monthly program fee. Of course, if you were to take the three month trip only, the total price would decrease to €400/person. Nevertheless, most of our participants are joining the 6-month trip.

 

- Activities: 14.00% of program fee

As part of The Remote Trip’s package, we include gym passes, yoga sessions, occasional massages (budgeted around €70/month per person for these activities), local and social activities (budgeted around €100/month per person), and professional & personal development activities incl. workshops and keynote speaker sessions (budgeted around €100/month per person). This totals €270/month, making up 14% of the participant’s monthly program fee.

We want you to leave the program feeling healthy, having had true local & cultural experiences at each destination, looking back at fun social activities with the community, and feeling fully developed in your personal and professional life!

 

- Workspace: 9.85% of program fee

As a remote worker, we know how critical your workplace and reliable internet is. That’s why at each destination we look for high-quality (co)-working spaces with high-speed internet, meaning that our community members can always work without having to worry where to find a reliable internet connection. On average, we budget around €190/month for this, making up 9.85% of the participant’s monthly program fee. Again, some locations have lower costs, while others are higher. We used the average for our calculations.

 

- 24/7 Support staff members at location: 5.16% of program fee

To ensure everything runs smoothly during the trip we, the creators of The Remote Trip, will join the community at each location to be able to respond to any question or situation that may arise, on a 24/7 basis. We are super passionate about building these Trips for you, and we’ll dedicate all of our time to make sure that you have the best experience possible. To be able to do this, we’ll of course need to cover expenses for our program costs too. This monthly expense amounts to €99.56 per participant, making up only 5.16% of the participant’s monthly program fee. 

 

- Transport: 2.59% of program fee

We believe that taking the hassle out of arranging transportation for our community members is a vital service, as we aim to offer a seamless and easy travel experience. We are here to make the trip as convenient as possible for you! In order to do this, we arrange transport to/from accommodation to airports between destinations and to/from activities that are included in the trip. We budget around €50/month per participant for transportation costs, making up 2.59% of the participant’s monthly program fee.

 

- Welcome package: 0.22% of program fee

At the start of each trip we provide our community members with a personal welcome package, which will cost around €25/person (0.22% of a participant’s monthly program fee).

 

Administrative Costs

- Team member salaries: 8.30% of program fee

As creators of The Remote Trip our number one goal is to provide unique work-travel experiences for remote workers at the most cost-effective price, while always prioritizing customer experience over profits. However, of course we also need to make a living. Which is why we pay out a pre-tax salary of €2.250/month per person to ourselves. In addition, we also have a part-time team member who supports us in Social Media activities. As shown in the table above, team member salaries make up 8.30% of the average monthly program fee. Our total monthly costs for salaries are €4,805.83 which is based on:

 

  1. 2-full timers (the two founders who will be joining the trip to offer support at location):
    • Full-time pre-tax salary per month/person = €2,250
    • Monthly total: €2,250*2 = €4,500
  2. 1 part-time employee:
    • Total (6 months): €1,835
    • Monthly: €1,835/6 = €305.83

 

- Money transfers: 3.67% of program fee

Unfortunately, worldwide money transfers are still quite expensive and the fact that we are receiving money in about five different currencies (EUR, USD, CAD, GBP, AUD), really pumps up these costs. For money transfers we use PayPal, who charges an average fee of 3.65% + $0.30. This means on the average monthly program fee of €1,929.17 per participant PayPal receives on average €70.71, making up about of 3.67% of a participant’s monthly program fee.

We are aware that there’s many new and established players out there that perform money transfers and purchases, and we have definitely investigated which one would work best for our startup. Paypal is still the most convenient in our opinion and the costs for large amounts of money transfers adds up to about the same as other large players out there.

 

- Personal destination high-quality services inspection: 0.52% of program fee

Obviously, we aim to provide our community with the best value for money, with regards to the fees you pay vs the quality you get. To do this, we carry out a personal inspection at every location for things like accommodation, coworking spaces, gyms, and activities prior to the start of the trips.

We budget around €300 per location for local inspection, totalling €300 per month, which is 0.52% of a participant’s monthly program fee. This ensures that our participants get a much higher quality experience than they would otherwise have if we didn’t carry out this crucial step.

 

- Computer & program equipment: 0.39% of program fee

To capture our community member’s memorable moments during this unique life experience, we’ll have a GoPro (around €700 incl. accessories), a camera (around €500), and insurance (€150), making up 0.39% of a participant’s monthly program fee.

 

- Advertising & marketing: 0.24% of program fee

As a startup, the main challenge is to get our brand out there. For the inaugural trip we allocated €850 in total (€141.67/month) to advertising & marketing activities such as social media advertising, flyers, buying commercial pictures, etc. This amounts to 0.24% of a participant’s monthly program fee.

 

- Tools & servers: 0.03% of program fee

As a two-person startup we can luckily still work with a lot of free tools out there to run our business. We only have to spend €40/year for Google Apps for Work and €73/year for web hosting, making up only 0.03% of a participant’s monthly program fee. However, as we continue to grow in the future, this price is likely to increase.

 

- Profit: 3.85% of program fee

Finally and probably the most interesting topic to a lot of people: the estimated profit. The company’s profit is intended to be used for one thing only:

 

“To generate sufficient cash flow in order to secure a long-term sustainable business, in which we grow by reinvesting our company profits into our own growth activities.”

 

By completely bootstrapping, we’re able to have a 100% focus on our customers instead of eternal investors. As mentioned earlier in the post, The Remote Trip's company goal is to provide unique work-travel experiences for remote workers at the most cost-effective price, while always prioritizing the customer experience over profits.

We estimate The Remote Trip to have a monthly total profit of €2,225.56, making up merely 3.85% of the participant’s monthly program fee. This profit will be reinvested in the company’s growth in 2017/2018 by:

 

  1. Hiring more employees
  2. Advertising & marketing
  3. Organizing new trips for 2017/2018 (Europe, North America, Australia, Africa!)

 

So, there you have it! All of The Remote Trip’s financial information.

I’m particularly interested in hearing from you how our transparent pricing makes you feel! Honesty and self-reflection are one of the key core values of our business as it allows us to continuously reflect, adapt, and refine our business processes. So feel free to reach out!

--

Amy Fransz

Creator of The Remote Trip

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At
The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

It’s the one question that plagues remote workers the most: how can I be as productive as possible the next few hours, so I can spend the rest of my day relaxing and visiting beautiful places? Now that you finally have the flexibility to decide when and where you work, you want to make use of of that as much as you can, right?! One of the perks of working remote is that as long as you get your stuff done, no one will ask you what you did with the rest of your day. #winning.  

 

One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned was that you can always get more money, but you can never get more time (btw that’s one of the rules I try to live by. Ask yourself sometimes: are you enjoying the way you’re spending your time right now? If the answer is ‘no’ too often: you need to change something). So you might understand how wasting time due to low productivity levels is one of the most annoying things. For me personally it varies a lot. One day I’m on fire and I can focus for 8 hours straight, while the next day goes like this:

 

screenshot_20161020-084754

Credits to @Instachaaz

 

I’ll start randomly doing other stuff that’s not on my to-do list and I find myself 8 hours later wondering why the day is going by so fast. Hopeless! Especially when being on the road full-time it can be hard to stay on track, because there’s so many new impressions and distractions each day. So to help myself get organized I created an overview of the tools that I use on a daily basis to increase productivity, which I know will help you too:

 

1. F.lux

 

If you’re a night owl and you work best at night, like me, I would definitely recommend installing F.lux on your laptop. You’ll surely have noticed that when you’ve been looking at a bright screen for hours right before you go to bed, your brain is way too active to fall asleep. So annoying! F.lux is an application that reduces the “blue” light on your screen and turns it “red”, which makes it easier for your eyes to adjust to night time. You can set your location so the screen adjusts automatically depending on sunrise and sunset, and you can turn it on and off as you please. This has dramatically improved the hours of sleep that I get. Quick tip: the app I use for my phone is called Twilight (Iphone has this built-in, just drag down your quick access menu and tap the light adjustment button) and it works the same way.

 

2. Trello & Todoist

 

Trello is an amazing and widely used project management tool, used by small startups to huge project teams in corporates. It allows you to create multiple “boards” for different projects, and within those boards you have “lists” that serve as categories, and “cards” with topics within that list. Makes sense? Don’t worry, it’s super intuitive. Trello functions as a project management tool, a calendar, a to-do list and anything else you want to write down in there. You can easily track progress of activities (just drag cards from ‘To Do’, to ‘In Progress’, to ‘Done’), create databases, exchange notes, set reminders, add members to activities etc. In summary, it’s heaven for teams. Especially teams working remote.

 

Nevertheless, even Trello can become messy because of it’s free-format nature. Luckily, my counterpart Amy is very structured and keeps our Trello board organized, but if you don’t have someone like that: Todoist is your friend. It’s more structured regarding your tasks, sends reminders based on your progress and tracks your productivity analytics as well.

 

3. Evernote

 

An oldie, but great nonetheless. Evernote is the place for your daily brain dump. I personally use it to gather all the papers that I would normally keep in my house (business cards, one pagers, flyers, important documents etc). Now all I have to do is take a picture of it and I can toss the paper. You don’t think I’m gonna travel the world with a bunch of admin stuff in my suitcase right?! But there’s so much more to Evernote (I’m probably abusing it a bit). You can sync it with many other programs, you can write down to-do’s, install reminders, record audio, save links you want to read later etc. Moreover, you can quickly search for stuff with key words, and it will even find these words inside your photos. Must have!

 

4. Onetab

 

I'm notorious for having a million tabs open, which distract me constantly! They end up staying open for days until inevitably my computer freezes and I have to restart. Onetab fixes this, because it gathers all your open tabs in (you guessed it!) one single tab. No more distractions like article titles in your browser (“I really want to read that later”), but still quick access to tabs you want to have open all day. You’re welcome.  

 

5. Stayfocusd

 

This is the holy grail of productivity tools, however it also scares the hell out of me. You know how you can spend hours on time-wasting websites without even noticing? Stayfocusd minimizes the time you spend on those websites (so yes, that includes Facebook!). The program asks for the websites that you want to avoid, and how much time you allow yourself to look at them in one day.

 

It doesn’t give you an amount of time per website (because then you’d do just go from Facebook to Twitter if your FB time is up), but manages your total time. If you really want to go hardcore you can set that time to 0 minutes and you will be completely cut off from attention-sucking websites all day long. This one is hard for me. It’s like getting a slap on the wrist every time I’m scrolling through my timeline. Ouch.

  

6. Google Drive

 

Do I even have to explain this one? The whole Microsoft Office suite, but then online. Google Drive allows you to collaborate, share content, edit, work in the same doc at the same time, and track each other’s progress. On top of that, one of the best advantages is that it autosaves while you’re working in it. Say goodbye to lost files because you forget to save something! However, be aware that the functionalities are not as extensive as the actual Microsoft programs, so if you need to calculate advanced formulas in Excel sheets, I would still recommend using MS Excel. Also, you need to be connected to the internet in order to really use it. Nevertheless, it works great for remote collaboration and easy sharing of information. Amy and I use it on a daily basis, in addition to our shared Dropbox, where we store the Microsoft docs.

  

7. Rescuetime

 

This one I recently came across and it’s still pretty new to me. Rescuetime provides real-time analytics based on your own productivity (yes, you become your own research subject). Sounds great right? The programs runs in the background on your laptop while you work and tracks your habits, productivity levels, time spent on applications & websites etc. It provides you with a dashboard of your habits & productivity over time, can send you reminders on task time, and even recommends programs that you can use to increase your productivity. Simply wonderful!

 

Of course, you don’t want to have so many tools and programs that you spend more time managing them, than actually being more productive. That’s why I didn’t want to overload you with “100 best tools to use” here. I only listed the ones that we actually use. There’s a bunch of articles on this, but this is my top 7. Just pick and choose what works best for you. Remember, tools are here to serve you, not the other way around.

 

Newly added tools:

 

8.  News Feed Eradicator

This Chrome extension was pointed out to me by one of our readers (thanks Roxine K!). It's concept is simple: perhaps you have a job that requires you to be on Facebook (for example, I have to post for The Remote Trip and answer to comments/messages), but every time you open that darn window you get distracted by your own Facebook newsfeed. Super annoying right? It sucks you in and leaves you dry, 30 unproductive minutes later… Blocking out Facebook entirely, as some other productivity tools do, isn’t effective in this case. In comes News Feed Eradicator: it hides your timeline and even gives you a nice quote to keep you motivated, but you can still post and access your messages. Now you can focus on the Facebook tasks that are important to your business or job, and you can leave the distraction behind. Perfect!

 

9. TimeDoctor

TimeDoctor is time tracking and management software that can be used on your own, or to track the productivity of your employees. The tool is often compared to Rescuetime, however, they do have differences that make it worth mentioning TimeDoctor separately in this post. TimeDoctor has a more interactive design and, as a result, make productivity tracking more accurate, while RescueTime only runs in the background. For example, other productivity tools focus more on the programs that you’re in and whether they classify as productive vs unproductive, while TimeDoctor will actually ask you what tasks you’re working on and whether they count as productive or not. Of course, how much interaction you want depends on your preferences. On top of that, TimeDoctor will take screenshots during your “productive time” to see if you’re actually being productive and not just staring at Youtube videos. Overall, TimeDoctor is very useful if you want to track time/productivity not just for yourself, but your employees as well. Try it out for free here.  

 

Do you have any tools, programs or hacks that save your life on a daily basis? Let me know, and I might even add them to this list!

 

Here’s to another productive day!

 

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Michelle Monty

 

Creator of The Remote Trip

 

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, this working remote sounds great and all that, but my company would never allow me to do that”. Stop. First off all, when you start with that perception, of course it’s never going to work. Because your starting point is stated in a negative way. As Tony Robbins always says: “your thoughts and patterns are the only thing standing in the way of you achieving your goal”. If you truly want something and you choose to make it happen, it will be much easier to achieve, believe me!

 

So now that we’ve come to: “I want to work remote and I’m going to try to make it happen with my current employer”, I’m here to help you. I understand that at first this idea seems daunting. It’s probably very unconventional at your company, and I’m not going to lie to you: it’s probably gonna take you a while to achieve. It’s not going to be easy and people might even make fun of you a few times. Moreover, I have to mention that not all jobs are suited for a remote work contract, and not all work cultures are open to it. For example, I know companies that have such strict policies on having their employees be present in the office, that even asking to work from home for a day makes the manager gasp (whether you want to work for such an employer is up to you, I personally can’t work that way).

 

But if you’re destined to make this happen: I will take you through the steps of negotiating a remote work agreement - even if you’re currently working in a traditional 9-5 office job.

 

Step 1. What is your goal?

Of course, before you set out to get that remote job, you have to define your goal. Why do you want to work remote? Do you want to travel the world? Spend more time with your family and friends? Be able to go to the gym or the grocery store on a Tuesday afternoon? Or do you want to enjoy a day on the beach when the sun’s out? Once you define why you want something, you are better able to create a plan with laser focus towards that goal.

 

Secondly, how long do you want to work remote? Do you just want to do it for a couple of weeks? A couple of months? Or permanently? Obviously, negotiating a few weeks is easier than immediately going for the permanent arrangement. Also, you probably need to start with a few weeks to build towards working remote permanently, but I’ll get to that later. Knowing how long you want to work remote will help you negotiate your proposal with your employer.   

 

Step 2. Assess the possibility of working remote

What type of job do you have? Be realistic. Can this be done remotely? Try to assess that for yourself. What activities do you do that you actually have to be present for? Often times, you think you have to be present, while in reality, you can also do it over the phone, or miss that meeting altogether (there’s so many meetings nowadays that truly aren’t necessary and can be handled over email quickly, but that are deeply ingrained in a company’s culture. That topic is for a whole ‘nother blog post, but think about it!). For now, assess the possibility of working remote with your current job through the following points:

 

  • Time spent: What do you do on a daily basis? If you spend 90% of your time working online, and by yourself in a closed-off office: yes, your job can be perfectly done remote. Congrats, this is an easy win! If not, what are your most important activities, can you transfer the activities that require you to be present to one of your colleagues?
  • Connection: Does your company have an intranet or system that you can access anywhere in the world through VPN? Then your job can be perfectly done remote. However, if you have to be in the office to access it, it’s going to be a bit harder. Try to see if your company can setup a remote connection for you.
  • Clients & customers: Are you in contact with customers or clients a lot? How? By phone, email or physical meetings? Talking to clients over phone and email can easily be done remote. In fact, a significant number of remote jobs currently out there consist of Sales and Customer Service. However, if your job is dependent on face-to-face contact, working remote might not be possible. Could you switch your client contact to Skype, Facetime or video calls? There are remote companies out there who communicate entirely remote with their clients, such as Toptal. All their communication goes through Skype, so it’s definitely possible. Nevertheless, if your job requires intense relationship building, you might want to change your job description before going remote or throw in the towel at this point (sorry, I don’t sugar coat. Trying to manage expectations!).
  • Colleagues & activities: Think about how you interact with your colleagues. Do you really need face-to-face time? For example, being the only one on the phone while everyone else is in the same room during an intense (visual) brainstorming session might be challenging, and definitely not that much fun for you. But would it get the job done? Often times you’ll see that thinking you need to be present in the office is just a mindset. It’s how we were taught to work, but try to think unconventionally. Another example: are you the linking pin in a project with many stakeholders? You might need to be on the ground to talk to everyone. Think about your day-to-day activities and imagine whether you could do them remotely. How would it impact your job?
  • Current position & policies: Do you already know about other employees within your company working remote? What’s your company’s policy on working remote or from home? Where do you fit in as an employee in terms of being greatly valued and trusted? Having such a position can definitely strengthen your case for working remote.

 

Step 3. Create a proposal for your employer

This step is incredibly important. You want to pitch your idea to your employer in a way that you won’t get shot down immediately. So start off slow. I suggest to start with scheduling a face-to-face meeting with your boss or manager. Some people will say that a written proposal is better, but I disagree. You want to be present for the discussion and to be able to respond to every thought of your boss. A written proposal is more likely to be declined upon reading, and your boss will move on to his/her (more important) daily tasks. Then, once you scheduled your meeting: prepare it thoroughly. Practice makes perfect, and is incredibly important in this case.

 

  • Proof: Arm yourself with facts and research. Find proof that working remotely makes employees more productive, happier, less stressed, more capable, more energetic. Whatever it is. It must show the positive effects of working remote (FYI, The Remote Trip’s Facebook and LinkedIn page is a good way to start looking for such articles. Either way, try googling it, there are tons of articles out there). Furthermore, have you already worked from home before? Can you show how you were more productive when you did? Use this information! It will help you build your case. Finally, think of all the possible reasons why your boss would say “no”, and create a counter argument that makes sense. Remember, this is a negotiation.
  • Proposal: Paint a very clear picture on what it actually is that you want. Manage your boss’ expectations and discuss your idea extensively, so he/she is not badly surprised later on. You don’t want to hear “this is not what we agreed upon” in a couple of months, because you’ll likely be pulled back to the good ol’ desk. So, guide your boss through every step of your idea.  

 

Step 4. Be the best remote worker any employer has ever had

As mentioned earlier, don’t immediately start talking about working remote permanently or moving to the other side of the world! This will scare your boss away. Start by suggesting to work from home 1 or 2 days a week and build from there. Make sure that when you do work from home, you are more productive than ever! Also, try to make it visible to your boss how much more productive you are.

 

From there, start working from home more often. This way, you won’t disappear from the work floor from one day to the next. Your colleagues will get used to you not being around and they will tend to call you before dropping by your (now empty) work space. Then, start negotiating with your boss to work remotely during a short trip. Say: “I’d really like to work from (insert awesome location here) for a week, because there is a great conference (or whatever) that I’d like to attend”. Think of all possible ways that he/she could argue against this idea and prepare your counter arguments. Again, during your trip amaze your boss by how productive you still are, make sure you are reachable to all your colleagues, and do not miss (or be late for) a single meeting!

 

After a few months you’ll be able to schedule another meeting with your boss (you might even schedule this one over Skype) and show him/her proof of how much more productive you’ve been while working remotely in the past couple of months. If you’ve done it correctly, you might ask to work completely remote for a month and keep building from there. After a while, you can work remote permanently and your boss will likely wonder how this happened?!

 

Nevertheless, he/she will be happy it did. Now they have an employee that’s happier, more productive and less likely to leave in favor of a more flexible job!

 

Step 5. Use a remote program to negotiate your remote work term

If you don’t feel like going through all of the trouble above, you can also choose to negotiate a remote work contract that allows you to join a community for a few months. The advantage being that such a community is focused on working remotely, while maintaining productivity and personal/professional development. The Remote Trip can offer you the opportunity to negotiate a remote work contract for 3 to 6 months, while convincing your boss that this is not just an excuse to not work and only travel. It’s actually a great chance for them to have a happier employee that will increase his/her network and work together with other remote professionals! If you are interested in negotiating this with your company, please contact us through team@theremotetrip.com and we will discuss with you how to make this a reality.

 

To sum up: if you really want to work remote, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work. Don’t be held back by the traditional way of working. It’s all about changing the mindset of your employer, and guiding them towards a new way of working.

 

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Michelle Monty

 

Creator of The Remote Trip

 

P.S. Have you been able to negotiate a remote work agreement already? Or perhaps you have some tips that aren’t listed here? Let me know how it went, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).

the remote trip

What the heck am I doing here? It's 7pm on a Thursday, I'm 11 hours into an 8 hour working day, I'm late for dinner, again, and the cursor is blinking at me menacingly from another faceless spreadsheet...surely this can't be life...can it?

Today I've decided to share my personal story with you on how I felt completely stuck working the 9-5 corporate job, how that was reason enough for me to quit my job to become unemployed, and how this made me find my inner self and what I am truly looking for in a career and life.

 

Disclaimer: Please note that this is my personal story on how I escaped the corporate treadmill and how it led me to discover the beauty of remote work. There are so many less drastic ways that you too can start your remote working life, which I will cover in future posts, but here I’d like to share my story.  

 

The senior year slap in the face

For 1.5 years I worked at Unilever, ranked 8th on the Top Attractors List 2016 according to LinkedIn. Though the company offers a comfortable existence, a secure job and above-average pay, I couldn’t bear to stay any longer. Here’s why:

 

  1. I wasn’t passionate about the company and its product.
  2. I'd joined the corporate treadmill and completely lost sight of what life is really about.
  3. Inevitably large companies become all about results and as an employee you feel completely expendable.
  4. I hate the 9-to-5 work-for-work lifestyle and being stuck in the same office all-day-err-day.

 

Only one week back in the office after a two-month graduation trip, I got the “senior year slap in the face” – Is this what life looks like after graduation? Have I studied my entire life, to live like this?

In the weeks that followed, I remember feeling completely lost. I had become so caught up in work and general busyness that corporate work demands, that my entire existence revolved around the company and its survival - at the expense of my own. Anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty dominated my feelings. I felt like I had no idea about what I actually wanted to do “for the rest of my life”. All I knew is – it’s not here. Once I'd come to that realization, it was reason enough for me to take the leap and dive into the unemployment in order to make a fundamental change to my life.

 

So I’m unemployed, now what?

I can't pretend that it was a clean break for me from the corporate world. As a protection mechanism from the scary thought of needing a solid income, I'd started two job applications for two reputable corporate companies by the time I left my regular job. Luckily, I got rejected at the very last application round for each, which then forced me to take the next steps that helped me to find out what I am really looking for in a career.

 

1. Find your inner self

People nowadays are in a constant “going” mode. From primary school, to high-school, directly to college with numerous side-jobs and extracurricular activities, and ultimately to finding a full-time job ASAP – because that’s how society taught us life should be. This makes it easy to forget your childhood fantasies, inner interests, and true passions when choosing a career after graduation.

As someone who's made the transition already, my number one advice for someone in a similar situation would be: Take a step back from this rollercoaster, and think “What do you really want to do? What are your true passions?”. Take the time to stand still, let life sink in, and find your inner self. These activities have helped me a whole lot in this journey, and I’m sure will help yours too:

 

- Health & well-being: How you feel depends on two factors: your mindset and your body. The first, and I’d say most important, thing to do on this journey is to take care of these two pillars that determine your state of being. You could do this by practicing mindfulness, going to the gym, and eating healthy food for example.

- Knowledge is power: I used to be the type of person who thought that reading books and watching videos other than Netflix was a waste of my time. I was already using my brain too much while working my butt off - how the heck am I supposed to absorb even more brain-intensive information?! But then I found the power of self-development materials: reading books, articles, blogs, watching podcasts, and TED presentations changed my life. It’s crazy to see how these resources can literally open your mind (thank you Lean In, Rising Strong, the 4-Hour Workweek, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk, and The Remote Lifestyle among many others).

- Clean up your life, clean up your mind: You’ll be surprised how a clean life will clear your mind. Delete and sort your email inbox, computer, phone, tablet, etc.  Do a BIG clean up at your house: Throw away EVERYTHING you haven’t touched for the last year (yes, including clothes, those messy drawers, or even stuff from your childhood. If you haven’t used them in the last year, you won't look for them in the future either).

- Journal writing: If you feel stuck, unfulfilled, and you experience feelings like anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty in your current life - no worries, I felt the exact same way! After reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown, I found that writing can be a valuable tool to clear your mind, understand your true feelings, and rise strong from facedown moments in your life.

- Learning new skills: If like me you take the leap from your corporate life and you now have all the time available while being unemployed, you can find out what truly interests you and focus on improving those skills. Pick up a childhood hobby (like playing piano or reading, as for me) or find out that your interests lie in learning an entire new skill (like coding or blogging for me).

- Solo travel: After I quit my job, I booked a one-way ticket to Thailand to have an adventure with... me! I’ve done a lot of long-term travels with friends before, but I believe the magic of living on your own in a new country & culture is key to the journey of finding your inner self. Now, a few months into my trip, I can say it has already been the best experience of my life - and I would recommend everybody to do a solo travel at least once.

 

2. Find out what you’re looking for in a career

My journey to finding my inner self through the activities mentioned above, allowed me to truly understand what I am looking for in a career and in life:

 

- I need to do entrepreneurial & meaningful work within the tech industry

- I need to have flexible work hours

- I need to be location-independent so I can travel as much as I want

- I need to work in an environment where employees are valued and work-life balance is respected

 

These insights led me to discover the beauty of remote work, which fulfills all of my requirements and as I'll cover in future posts, is more attainable than ever before! This finding meant a dramatic shift in my career focus and eventually even the creation of my own startup "The Remote Trip".

 

Now, four months after I quit my high-paying corporate job to be unemployed

- I can still say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

 

I hope, if you are one of those 52,3% people who are unsatisfied with their job, that like me you'll trust yourself and take the leap and quit your job in order to take steps that will allow you to live the life that you want, even if that means being unemployed for a period of time. I hope you’ll find your inner self and what you’re really looking for in a career. Don’t be fooled by living the life that society expects you to live. You only live once - it’s time to take control.

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Amy Fransz

Creator of The Remote Trip

 

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At The Remote Trip, we firmly believe it is time to change the way people work. Our technology era allows us to transition from the traditional office job to a remote job, where you have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. The only downside of this movement is that it tends to get quite lonely. Therefore, The Remote Trip aims to improve the quality of life of remote workers.

We bring together a like-minded community of 30 remote workers to work, live, and travel the world together for 3 to 6 months. We arrange flights, accommodation, co-working spaces, and social activities - while traveling to an exciting new digital nomad destination each month. The Remote Trip differentiates itself by prioritizing unique travel experiences, communal activities (keynote speakers and workshops), well-being (gym passes, yoga sessions, massages) and local cultural immersion (volunteer opportunities, cooking classes etc.).