Out of the Comfort Zone

When I signed up for Remote Year I understood the general concept – to travel the world while maintaining a regular, albeit remote, job with a diverse group of, like-minded, people.  But the part I didn’t really appreciate, and probably still don’t, was what else Remote Year and my fellow Remotes will bring to the experience. And I mean this both in terms of professional experiences as well as personnel experiences.  I am now 20 days into and the variety of activities and learning experiences has already been diverse and not what I had expected.

I had only been Valencia a few hours before attending the first event, described as a Community Lunch.  The lunch included a talk by the CEO of STARTUPXPLORE, about new start-up companies in Spain and how they obtain and match investors. This may seem like a bit of a strange starting event but many of my fellow Remotes had already been in Valencia for a few days and this was the first planned professional event.

The main Remote Year kick-off event took place a few days later, a morning of talks about what to expect during the year and a PechaKucha – a quick fire style presentation where each Remote had just 30 seconds to describe their life to a backdrop of their photographs.  After a long lunch and a siesta the Welcome Party then started: tapas followed by private party at Umbracie, Valencia’s main nightclub. The partying continued into the early hours as the Valencians came out to join the party.  What we all started to appreciate was that the Spanish do not even start partying until the early hours and people were still queuing to get into the nightclub at 4 or 5am! The conclusion was that this was an incredible start to the year, and a great opportunity to meet so many new interesting people.

I can’t describe all the events and activities that have taken place over the last couple of weeks but will concentrate on some of the more work orientated aspects.  A week in, we had our first networking event, named ‘The Junction’.  Again we had a professional talk, this time on feeling comfortable in the uncomfortable – something I am going to have to get used to.  And then the opportunity to meet interesting people who live and work in Valencia.  Valencia seems to have a vibrancy about it with a diversity of new start-up companies covering a wide range of subjects including one specifically associated with recycling of used coffee machine pods.

On Friday I attended another interesting talk about a product design company that have completely redesigned the cycle helmet for the urban environment.  Check out www.closca.co to see the effects of what good design can have on a product that we all take for granted but assume will always look generally the same.

And now we come to the future – how do we as Remotes get involved?  Well this is where things start to get exciting, interesting and definitely outside my comfort zone.  We are in the process of arranging an event based on the TEDx style of talks – I was not aware of these internet based talks until a week ago but the general concept is that each talk is a short presentation on any subject.  The presentation is given at a live event but is then also recorded and posted on the internet.  So I’ve signed up for the first one, a five minute talk on Sustainable Travel which will be in a week’s time. I must admit when I signed up I hadn’t fully appreciated that the talks would be filmed but I’m getting used to that thought now.  The main issue now is how do I fit everything in to only five minutes: I could talk about this subject for hours!

So watch this space.  Remote Year is going to be lots of things I never thought it would be. I have no idea what I will be doing in even a month’s time but all I know is that its going to be different to anything else I’ve done before.




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