100 days ago, I boarded a plane to Kuala Lumpur with my boyfriend, a one-way ticket and way, way too much luggage.
Since then I’ve taken 22 more flights (plus three ferries and a few very, very long bus rides) to 19 cities spanning eight countries and two continents.
I’ve eaten frog’s legs, something called “stink fruit” and more noodles than I would like to count.
I’ve seen dozens of temples and learned exactly how to dress “appropriately” without having to wear long pants and long sleeves in 100-degree heat.
I’ve swam in rooftop pools, island lagoons and one very, very dirty river in the middle of Malaysia.
I’ve seen a Ping-Pong show… and never (ever, ever, ever) need to see one again.
I’ve spent a weekend on a Commune in India.
I’ve seen the sunset over the Bali sea and the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
I’ve been to Australia.
I’ve gotten a crash course in what it means to live with a boyfriend… And so far, so good.
I’ve cried in the back of a Tuk Tuk. And in the courtyard of a Pagoda. And into a bowl of Pho.
I’ve drank the Remote Year Kool Aid, and have a new #tramily (tribe+family=tramily) full of brilliant weirdos who inspire me daily.
I’ve missed deadlines, quit my job and taken work calls from bar bathrooms at 3 in the morning more times than I’d like to admit.
I’ve achieved some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning, and decided to let go of some of the others… And realized that’s OK.
I’ve started making strides toward starting my own company.
But most importantly — I’ve fallen in love with this lifestyle.
Whether I like it or not, I am a different person today than I was 100 days ago. I no longer brush my hair for an hour every day, or freak out at the site of a lizard/cockroach/mouse (even if they’re living in my room). I know what it means to take hardships in stride — whether it be losing a job or fighting with a boyfriend or living in an apartment with no hot water for a month – and am learning to see them as growing experiences instead of as the end of the world.
When I left New York at the end of January, I was positive that I would be back on February 1, 2018 — the day the program ended. I promised my mom that my stuff would only be sitting in her basement for a year, and that I’d be back to business as usual. Now, I’m not so sure. I miss my family and friends — my people — and they are the only thing that makes me pause to consider that I maybe couldn’t do this forever… But deep down, I feel like maybe (just maybe) I could do this forever.
When got to Kuala Lumpur, I wrote a story about my journey and attempted to answer the question of what, exactly, I’m trying to get out of this experience: “When this year is over, I want to have a better sense of who I am and more clarity about what I want in my life, personally and professionally,” I wrote. “I want to meet people who will push me, and learn about the world outside of the teeny, tiny existence I’ve been living for 25 years”
To be totally honest, I think I’m getting there.
The week the program started, a guy from an old Remote Year consortium came to talk to our group and someone asked him what one piece of advice he would give to people just starting out on this insane ride. “Plan for day 366,” he said without pause, “Because that’s when shit gets real.”
I don’t know where I’m going to be in 266 days, besides the fact I am going to be a completely different person that I was on day one, and then who I am today, on day 100. I hope that I’ll be able to check all of the boxes next to the “GOALS” list I have on a stickie note on my computer, and that at the very least I’ll feel like my life is headed in some sort of direction… whatever that direction may be.
But will I be on a plane back to New York? Probably not. (sorry mom!)