Kinda Kaizen: Becoming a Remote Year Citizen

“I thought you were done with Remote Year?”

Yeah. I am. But I wasn’t ready. I don’t think a lot of us were. You can probably tell that from my series I did featuring five posts about Remote Year. (Here's one, two, three, four, and five if ya wanna read 'em.)

“So, what are you doing now?”

Oh, I joined Remote Year again.

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It’s not what it sounds like.

Allow me to explain.

At the end of your Remote Year, if you finish it, you become a Remote Year citizen. This allows you to travel with pretty much any Remote Year group at whatever point and time you want, while paying a cheaper* fee than you’d pay on Remote Year. (*most of the time it should be cheaper. Sometimes it's not. They're working on it.)

They provide all the same things as before (apartment, co-working space, wifi, city managers, experiences, the whole shebang!) and you have to do nothing but pay. AKA, amazing, because logistics are hard. That’s obviously part of the draw of Remote Year. Not to mention the amazing community that comes with it - and lucky for me, I’ve now met a couple of them.

While traveling before Oktoberfest in Europe, I ended up in Prague for a week, which was, to say the least, unexpected. (I booked the trip two nights before.) Lucky for me, Prague is a Remote Year city, and there was already a group there. I didn’t opt in as a citizen since I would only be there a week, but I did book an airBnB with my friend Dan. AND we were able to hang out with the group via joining their Slack community, which was awesome.

(Note: Slack is an online app that gives me social anxiety because everyone in the Remote Nation uses it to communicate, both within groups and not. It’s meant to help communication problems, but sometimes is so overwhelming with all of the groups and messages that you just want to slam your computer into oblivion when you see an @channel pop up on your screen three times.)

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In Prague I met Yugen, a group that was only in month two. They were extremely welcoming. When I say extremely, I mean that I booked the wrong night for Dan and mine’s AirBnB and I actually put it out on their group Slack that I needed a place to stay for the night and would greatly appreciate any extra couches. Lo and behold, about 4 people were gracious enough to offer that up. I stayed on a couch in a kitchen that night (because Czechs don’t believe in living rooms) right after meeting a group of them in that same kitchen to play Picolo (THE GREATEST GAME EVER) and drink cheap wine - all in my first night of meeting these people. That’s the kind of community Remote Year has:

When you’re stuck without a place to stay, you can always bet that someone will let you crash on their kitchen couch.

I got to know a bunch of them in the short week that I was there, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing them again.

But the real story here is how I’m becoming kinda Kaizen. For two months, anyway.

After I finished my Remote Year program (Ikigai), I was super bummed that we didn’t go to Asia. However, there were plenty of other groups that were going - which is where the citizen program comes in. Kaizen happened to be going to Asia right as we were finishing up, and while I couldn’t hop on right away, they were the first to be going back to Japan --a bucket list country for me - at the exact right time. So again, you ask...

What are you doing post-remote year, Lauren?

This is who I am now; just a girl, in Asia, living her traveling and ice cream dreams.

This is who I am now; just a girl, in Asia, living her traveling and ice cream dreams.

I leaned in.

I flew from Munich to Chiang Mai to meet up with the group so that I could transition with them; 1. Because it was cheaper and 2. Because I knew I’d be too hungover from Oktoberfest to figure out the travel myself), I went from Ikigai to Ikizen. 

News alert: the Kaizen Krew is krazy kool.

It’s been a week and I’ve already made lifelong friends, along with met some people that I knew over the internet IRL! I’ll be recapping my time with them, obviously, but wanted to give an intro into the life of a citizen since it's such a new concept. And though I haven’t bonded with everyone yet, I definitely feel weird about the fact that they’re so great. Like, way over my expectations great.

Mostly because when you’re in your own group, you think they’re the bees knees.

Your RY group is the best one that exists, and you will fight people to the death over it.

(Over Slack, of course, but also in private when you’re talking shit about other groups, because everyone does this. Playfully, of course.)

But the truth is,

every group I’ve met has been amazing.

Every group has been one that I could find a niche in.

And while I LOVE mine the most (#ikigaiordie) and will always have that bond of traveling for a year with the same people, hopping into a new one has been a lot easier of a transition than I thought.

Another amazing part about this? Five other peeps from my Ikigai family are also here with me! Definitely hit the jackpot with the best of both worlds; a few old friends, a lot of new, one OTHER citizen borrowed from the group Darien (who's not as bad as Ikigais would've originally thought), and nothing blue because this isn't a wedding, get it together. 

Iki-zens!

Iki-zens!

SO, no, I’m not done posting about Remote Year just yet. I’ll be with this group for two months in Asia (one in Japan and one in Kuala Lampur) and then, please don’t ask me what I’m doing, because I have no idea, still.

Stay tuned for all my krazy adventures with some new krazy kids, as well as some more elaborate posts on the things I’ve done in all the previous cities I’ve lived in! 

 
 

*kaizen kall*

 
Note: The Kaizen kall is the thing I'm doing completely by myself in this photo, and I don't care. 

Note: The Kaizen kall is the thing I'm doing completely by myself in this photo, and I don't care. 

 

Freelance writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Traveling the world with Remote Year 6, living in a different country every month. Currently living in Cape Town, South Africa and probably drinking wine.