Remote Year is a crazy idea that came to me when I found myself a little worried about directions in my life. The idea of travelling with 50 strangers 1 month per country for a year may sound awesome or scary but what is it like really? Through this interview of me by me, I will try to explain my original motivations, my first impressions when it started and how I feel today about this insane social nomadic quest around the world.
Remote year is gonna last a year and I hope to make a movie every month for each city. This first month is special because it is first contact for everyone and I filmed a lot of the first meetings. No color grading or any adjusting for this video because I am late! I can’t be editing october while I am living november. I should already be filming Prague as I write this. I will (try to) get better on timing. There are a few videographers in the team and I am excited about what collaboration can come out of it. We all did different things (we are 50) so I put together a rough cut of my experiences. I tried to use the drone more and more. Film in D-Log but not manual… I need to think and compose my drone shots better. So when I speed them up, I dont have this exposure change. Some of the drone footage by the way is not from me (Thx Matt at and Mike) so thank you! And as for the music, I will try to use a local music everytime. Makes sense. This track is from TBF (the beat fleet), very famous band in Croatia. I kept hearing that song in my Uber rides. I dare you not to sing along!
- Nikon D750 (Sigma 12-24mm 4.5 + AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8)
- Gopro 5 + Karma Grip
- DJI Mavic Pro
- Premiere Pro CS6
How do you feel after spending a first month into the biggest social nomadic experience?
It feels great, it feels right. I remember feeling out of touch with my life before starting remote year. Things were going well but the routine was killing me softly and I was refusing to go further in what seemed to be a social funnel. My Facebook feed was full of babies and my heart was heavy. I was going through some sort of little personal crisis. Now that I am surrounded by adventurous professional people that are redefining a “new normal” I just feel better. I am not crazy after all. But it is true that this is a lot to adapt to and even though I am very excited about the year to come I also feel a little “home sick”, I miss the relative stability of the life I left behind. But this was to be expected. “Biggest social nomadic experience” is actually something I heard from Travis, community manager at RY (amazing human speaking real fast), travelling across the globe to give an introduction to all groups starting the program. So far, there are 8 programs completed already, 10 currently travelling and they launch new ones every month or almost… We are lucky to have remote jobs and travel across the globe, I hope that besides improving ourselves, we also actually improve the places we leave behind. A “social positive impact” is part of what RY is trying to do and I respect that. They are defining a new generation of good-minded travelers.
We are a group of almost 50 mostly from USA but with a few Europeans. All sort of talents and different professions. Strangers today, family tomorrow.
If you could ask one thing to the guy you were before starting remote year, what would it be?
Starting remote year was a social escape for me. Not really ready to settle down or maybe just up for the weird, the unconventional and the unexpected. I would ask younger Fab what exactly are you running away from? What do you hope to find? Do you think you will find you at peace at the end of this? Well Fab, yes, I really hope that this year abroad will help me feel more at peace with myself and understand what is my mission could be in this world.
One of the first activity I did was to go visit the famous Plitvice National Park or course. Waterfalls everywhere! The colors of the fall made it all better too.
So what do you think about remote year so far? And what would you do remote year instead of travelling by yourself?
Remote Year is more organized than I will ever be. I would eat a donut found on the ground so why do I do remote year? Well, I guess for the people and the structure. Remote Year plan my travel while I go out and figure myself. 5 years ago you would have found me on the top of a school bus running on veggie oil in Utah. Selling devil sticks made out of trash and only wondering about the present moment. I have to say I was skeptical at first when I had to pay 2k$/mth to just travel so what made me do it? I do it for the team. And why not? It seemed crazy and interesting. And I guess that facebook advertising was on point. RY organises some “tracks” events that are put together by local teams to offer you some local experiences that fit you. And this is what really makes it worth it I think. And finally, combining 50 professionals will definitely spark creation and collaboration, and it already had.
Living a local experience was part of my request and I found myself in a quite interesting neighborhood. I was leaving in a building that was originally plan to be a military hospital rehabilitated in apartments. You could feel the soviet influence all over.
So how is it to work remotely really? What do you do to afford this and can anybody do it?
Remote Year feels like a traveling aura that take cares of me. When it comes to travel planing I am one of those who don’t care too much and is up to just improvise because it brings an element of surprise. But I have to say it feels good to be part of a structure and to follow a plan. RY is a serious organisation and whether it is the local team, our beloved mothers and program leaders Jolanda and Laura, or the travel planners or any other team it always felt very professional and organized. Working remotely has always been a dream I nourished and as I am waiting on a green card in US, I am lucky to be able to work part-time for this company in Boston 10h/week on a work visa. This is my bread but I try to get freelance contracts on the side and also develop my video and photo skills to a real professional level. Obviously you need a job you can do on a computer if you want to work remotely. But we do have a fisherman in the group, a vegan activist and a cross fit athlete. Some people dont even work during remote year, they just saved the money and now travel freely. Some others work everyday. The real issue that I didn’t expect is time difference. I am in Europe now and my job wakes up when it is 3PM for me. I sometimes have to work till midnight and this will be worse once in Asia… it just takes a little more logistics for me and I have to plan my work. So it really depends what you do and where is your work.
What do you think of your new family? Why travel with 50 strangers?
This program is 80% American but we have also a few Europeans including me (and our Australian girl Jeannnerrr). We all obviously start remote year because we found ourselves ready to try something new. Some are introverted and are looking to shock themselves, some others are extraverted and hope to find personal answers in this majestic random experience. I expected to find a lot of like-minded people in their 30s and I was right. It’s been a month and I obviously develop bounds with more than others. But they did too. We all are different. And this will evolve more and more. Split was a special place because we were all together all the time. Now in Prague, we are a lot more fragmented. And I am sure every city will change the dynamic of the group.
A good surprise were the “Tracks”, local activities organized by the local RY team. At the middle of every month, we get to choose which activity we want to do.
What did you think of Croatia? What were the people like? Did you manage to immerge yourself in the culture?
Croatia is our first country and we are also the last group to be here. I am glad we visited the country as it was relatively calm. Summer season was over and the entire old city was just empty and closed by the end. The old town of split was beautiful and you can feel history in the walls. People in their 20s in Croatia have parents and grand parents that went throught civil war and this is relatively new to them to be open minded but they are. They are genuine and nice. They just want you to feel good about Croatia and they love their country. And oh god, they love their soccer team (Hajduk). Croatia is mostly orthodox and the alphabet is latin. But trust me, just learning to count to 10 or the days of the week was something I did not achieve 100%. The only think I regret really was not to get a team of few remotes and mount a sailing expedition on one of the thousand islands off the beautiful Adriatic sea. Will have to come back for that.
When visiting Montenegro, Yolanda, Miguel and I took a good hike in the Dormitory National Park.
So how do you feel about the future of this adventure?
I still feel I am adapting to this whole thing and I certainly hope that my remote future will bring me joy and answers as I try to complete the puzzle of my identity together. Traveling and working at the same time turned out to be not that easy. This girl from a different travelling program came to visit Split and I naturally asked her what advice would you give to us young remote virgins? Well, she just told me simply that we should “chill the f**k out” and it felt good to hear. You can’t do everything so just follow your own music and take also time for yourself. That first month went fast and the first chapter is already closed. I am truly excited about the next months. We are in Europe now but we will soon go to Asia and South America.