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7 BRUTALLY Honest Remote Year Reviews [2020]

If you are looking for some honest Remote Year reviews – you’ve come to the right place!

Over the past few months, I personally reached out to 7  ‘Remote Year Citizens’ who were currently on, or had finished a tour with the growing company. 

The goal of all this? Simple! To help you decide whether Remote Year is for you, by giving you an honest, and up to date perspective on what it’s really like to travel with ‘Remote Year’.

With the help of these brutally honest Remote Year reviews, you’ll have a deeper understanding of this life changing experience, and be able to evaluate if it’s the right move for you!

#1 - Jill Gomez

Jill Gomez

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

I would rate it a 9. Overall, RY has been life-changing. In one year, I visited, learned, and experienced what I thought would take a lifetime to do.

The community and network I am a part of now will continue to provide friendships and opportunities long after the year is over. 

I knocked off one point because the company could improve accommodation standards and sales tactics.

I was misled by a salesperson to believe that certain activities were included in the program such as Spanish lessons in Latin America. I later found out that the lessons were offered at an extra cost.

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

My husband and I knew we wanted to travel and had spent 8 months driving throughout the US in an RV.

During that time, we realized how time-consuming and cumbersome it was to plan our itineraries, and, despite having each other, we felt lonely on the road.

RY seemed like a perfect fit because we would be traveling with others (yay friends) and the company would take care of the planning. As I like to call it, it was traveling with training wheels.

What has been your favorite city in your time and why?

One of my favorite cities was Medellin, Colombia. It had hammocks, lush vegetation, easy-to-use public transportation, lots of vegetarian food options, fresh exotic fruits, and vibrant street art.

I also felt a special connection to the people of Colombia, who after having lived through very dark and violent times, still felt proud of their country and wanted to make it a better place for all.

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

I was surprised by how much this year has transformed me for the better! I have embraced a minimalist lifestyle after living out of a suitcase for a year, I have a new perspective on death after spending time with a Buddhist monk in Thailand, and I have learned to be more resilient and adaptive because I had to be in order to make it through the year. 

jill gomez

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

RY could make a big difference by making our living accommodations feel more like home. Each month, we had to adjust to a new city and we depended on our apartments to serve as our sanctuaries, a place to recharge and be at peace.

The apartments varied throughout the year but generally lacked TLC. Small changes like adding comfortable pillows, more kitchen items, plants, and art on the walls would help provide that special touch.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

I often think about my tramily (travel family) and the unique experiences we shared! For instance, in Santiago, 16 of us lived in one large home we called “the mansion”. The month was filled with family dinners, ukelele sing-alongs, and random shenanigans including creating this music video

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

I encourage everyone to do as much traveling as they can, but, to do it with an open mind and realistic expectations. Many of us see seductive pictures of beautiful travel destinations and have a misinterpretation of what it means to travel.

Although there is lots of beauty to see in each place we visit, there are also hardships to witness and endure.

RY was emotionally and physically exhausting at times. It is important to be prepared with coping mechanisms and a support system.

Will you do Remote Year again?

Yes, but I would do a shorter 4 or 6-month program. I would love to revisit many of the RY cities again and be a part of a different traveling community. 

#2 - Simone Arora

  • Age - 26
  • Job - Client Success Manager
  • Attended Remote Year - Jan, 2019 – Jan, 2020 (1 year trip)

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

As of right now, I’ll give it an 8. Two points deducted for small communication mishaps and how a few incidents were handled with our group.

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

I was planning to travel the world on my own when a family emergency came up. I had to quit my job and my plans of traveling for almost a year. 

I got back into the workforce and found a job that I realized I could do fully remotely. My boss didn’t like the idea of me traveling the world without knowing if I’d have wifi.

 Enter Remote Year; the promise of travel, wifi, and others working similar hours! Things just sort of, fell into place after that.

What has been your favorite city in your time and why?

Surprisingly, Valencia! I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. It felt safe, the convenience to travel outside the city was unbeatable, and the people were welcoming. 

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

The freedom! I came in with absolutely no expectations, except that I would have to see the same people for a full year. This wasn’t nerve-wracking, being the extrovert I am, but I was worried it would get … monotonous. It’s been quite the opposite so far. 

I’ve gotten to explore on my own, in smaller groups, and have met plenty of non-RYers. I always look for non-RY activities, events, and exciting people in the next city we’re going to be in, which also broadens my network.

The one part I love about Remote Year is that you’re not forced to be with your group. With that, I had the chance to go out and see 10 different cities in Spain, while still having an apartment, co-working space, and friends to come back to.

I got back into the workforce and found a job that I realized I could do fully remotely. My boss didn’t like the idea of me traveling the world without knowing if I’d have wifi.

Enter Remote Year; the promise of travel, wifi, and others working similar hours! Things just sort of, fell into place after that.

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

This one is easy for me. Once I signed on with Remote Year and handed over a few paychecks’ worth of dinero for my downpayment, I didn’t hear a peep for a few weeks. I thought I had fallen for an elaborate scam. 

Luckily, I knew someone who had done the program and they could confirm that it is, in fact, legitimate.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

Locations, locations, locations. Not only does Remote Year choose great cities, they also do an incredible job at hiring local teams to help boost each cohort’s experience during the month. 

I specifically chose my program because of the cities they were sending us to. Our program hits 5 continents in 12 months.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

Take a long hard look at your current life.

Are you loving every second of it? If not, maybe it’s time to shake things up and try finding a different perspective out in the world.

If you are loving your life, then you definitely need to do Remote Year because it sounds like you’re too comfortable! Take up the challenge and find a new way to live outside of your comfort zone. It’s worth it.

Will you do Remote Year again?

I don’t like to do many things more than once, since there’s so much out there to do. So just for the fact that I’m stubborn and don’t like to change my ways, no. 

But I don’t think I’ll ever be able go back to the desk life.

#3 - Saif Bechan

  • Age - 35
  • Job - Full Stack Developer
  • Attended Remote Year - April 2018 – April 2019 (1 year trip)

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

Personally I would give the whole experience a 7. For me it was pretty much as it was advertised to be. All travel and accomodations were taken care of. 

The tracks were decent but RY definitely lost some points there. I would have given a higher grade if the tracks would be more professional.

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

It was a combination of travel and personal/professional development and then mostly leaning towards the travel part. After university when I started working I did not take a good vacation for about 5 years. 

I thought this would be a great way to compensate for this time, and it sure was! Another thing I was also interested in is working remote and not being in the office all day. I think I am way more productive outside of the office than inside.

Remote Year review

What was your favorite city and why?

This is a hard one as my opinion keeps changing a little but at this point if I have to pick one I would go with Cape Town – South Africa. 

The people I have met there were amazingly friendly. The food there was amazing, I did not have a bad meal there. Also the prices of the food and everything were pretty good. Lastly Uber works amazing there, and is pretty cheap also.

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

Most pleasantly surprised I was about the people I met during RY. 

Before I went into this I thought I would meet people that were the same as the people at work, and would think that there would be some people I would not be able to get along with quite so good. 

Also our program leaders were pretty amazing. They put a lot of work and effort in into making sure we had a great time.

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

Definitely more improvement on the professional development. I was under the impression there would be more workshops and/or professional/networking events. 

I hoped that there would be tracks or events that would steer towards freelancing.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

I would say the friendships I made during the year. I did not expect to meet people I would get along with so well. 

Also the sense of freedom is amazing. Just living out of a suitcase for a period of time, without having a lot of belongings is amazing.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

I would say make a good calculation about the cost, because you can end up spending a lot more than that you anticipated on. Especially if you like to do side trips and the occasional party, you can lose a lot of money there. 

Also I would say having a steady income helps a lot. There are some people that are planning to land a job on Remote Year, I would advise against that. It did happen to some, but not for everyone.

Will you do Remote Year again?

I am not sure about this but for now I would say no. If I would do a new year this would not be same experience as the first time, I would know a lot already. 

There would be no real benefit of doing a whole year again, I would be better off planning on my own. It would be a little bit cheaper to arrange your own apartment and travel and just pick the side trips you like

#4 - Barbra Araujo

  • Age - 32
  • Job - Freelance Fashion Illustrator & Designer
  • Attended Remote Year - April 1, 2018 - March 29, 2019 (1 year trip)

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

10 – It was the greatest discovery of my life — a new lifestyle that I absolutely fell in love with. It was more than just working and living in a new city each month:


– I instantly gained a new travel family— many of these people are now lifelong friends.

– The ever-growing Remote Year nation is worth it alone. It’s an incredible network.

– The unforgettable cultural experiences made me feel more like a local than a traveler. 

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

– I knew that I would learn so much about myself.

– I’ve always wanted to live in different countries. 4-5 weeks per city was long enough to know if I’d love living there or not in the future. 

– I love traveling solo but for my first time traveling for such a long period I wanted to travel in a group. 

– I had the chance to develop deeper bonds with the people in my program through our shared experiences.

– I would instantly gain an international network of people from all different industries.

What was your favorite city and why?

If I had to pick one, it would be Cape Town for its nature, mountains, beaches, wildlife, street art, culture, workspace, and great nightlife. It had it all!

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

The track events were a fun and memorable way to learn about each culture. I learned to cook local meals in almost every city, walked through townships in Cape Town, learning about the history and local culture, made my own street art stencil in Valencia, made my own knife in Hanoi, made food for elephants, fed, and bathed them in Thailand, carved my own Hanko stamp in Kyoto, learned how to play Tejo in Bogotá, and so much more. Now I look for culturally-immersive experiences everywhere I go.

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

Remote Year isn’t for the faint of heart. Even those of us who thought we were tough enough to endure an entire year of non-stop travel, work, and constant social activities came across some challenges and even breakdowns.

Mental health is of utmost importance. Having a place to seek support would greatly benefit remotes.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

I loved having a community—there was always someone up for doing the things you wanted to do.

Having a new home every month always gave me new places to explore and made everyday life exciting.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

– Have a job/clients lined up beforehand.

– Take part in the amazing Positive Impact opportunities available. I want to do more of this going forward. I want to give back to each country I visit.

– Really take part in your community and get to know everyone in your group and people from visiting groups. I learned so much from the people I met on Remote Year. 

Will you do Remote Year again?

As much as I’ll miss the community aspect, I’m excited to travel solo. Now that I’ve done RY, I can connect with anyone from the RY nation wherever I go while making my own travel plans. It’s the best of both worlds. 

This experience has inspired me to continue exploring the world and immerse myself in other cultures.

#5 - Cassie Loewen

photo credit - https://www.cassieloewen.com/

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

9/10

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

I think many of us have a desire to see and experience the world and the many cultures within it; and originally, I thought in order to travel that I’d have to give up my job.

In January 2018, I called my manager—explaining to him the tension I felt in being torn between the two. To find a solution, I went researching different programs that allow employees to get the best of both worlds, and long story short, that ended up being Remote Year.

What has been your favorite city in your time and why?

This is so hard to answer. But I loved Cape Town: for its natural beauty as well as the amazing people

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

I was so pleasantly surprised by the dynamic that our group had. We were from all over the world, with such different background and perspectives; and yet, we gelled like family. There were so many ups and downs, but man did we learn from each other.

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

As far as the program goes, I can’t think of a whole lot. Each person and group who experiences RY will vary so greatly… but it really all comes down to what your expectations are and how those are met. 

Of course, there’s going to be operational bumps along the way, wifi outages, and interesting housing situations—but that’s all part of the experience.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

We saw some amazing sights while traveling, but the moments I am the most grateful for were the small things: sunsets with friends, family dinners, and the things I learned the most from. 

For example, hiking the salkantay and learning to freedive taught me how to push my limits and how important the stories are that you tell yourself.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

Do it. Don’t even think about it.

Will you do Remote Year again?

100%

#6 - David April

Follow Dave on ig! travel ig - @where.is.dsa157 - photography ig - @dsa157
  • Age - 26
  • Job - Product Management, SAP
  • Attended Remote Year - April 2018 - March 2019 (1 year trip)

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

10 of 10 – Remote Year was a life changing experience for me. 

I have been comfortable travelling for most of my life, but only had 1 previous experience of living in another country for an extended period of time. 

Having the opportunity to do this 12 times over 12 months was unique and amazing. A month long stay in a location is long enough to develop habits and routines and meet local friends and short enough that you can’t do everything you might want to do, giving you great motivation to come back!

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

I have been interested in location independence and the digital nomad experience for quite some time now and RY provided a well organized and comfortable framework to test the waters.

What was your favorite city in your time and why?

I loved every city for different reasons. Atlas was a global program allowing us to visit 1 African city, 3 in Europe, 4 in Asia and 3 in South America and 1 in North America. 

If I had to pick tho, Hanoi stands out to me as my favorite. The food, the people, the chaos, the smells – everything about it was a welcome assault on the senses and there was great energy that made it a pleasure to experience.

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

How easy it was to live as a minimalist. 

I didn’t think of myself as a materialistic, but when you downsize to a suitcase and carryon luggage and store, sell or give away the rest, you see what you actually need is very different from what you have. 

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

As this is a work/travel program, I think the apartments as well as the workspaces should have reliable connectivity. 

I understand the challenges with that, but for me personally, I would often struggle with insufficient bandwidth that led to dropped calls or slow connectivity.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

I miss waking up in a new city where every day is a new opportunity for exploration. 

I love Chicago and enjoy it to the fullest, but being somewhere where you don’t speak the language, don’t know the culture, don’t get the nuances in language and expression and have to be learning constantly is exhilarating and fun. 

I also miss the friends I made in the program. Going from seeing them everyday for a year to being alone in Chicago has been an adjustment.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

Do it and don’t look back. 

It is a great way to see the world, challenge yourself professionally, make new friends and do a lot of soul searching about what matters and where you want to go in life. 

Even if you return to your previous routine afterwards, you will return with a new attitude and perspective.

Will you do Remote Year again?

I am dying to do it again – whether it is formally with the program or continuing a nomadic life on my own. 

I have convinced myself that I can effectively serve my team and customers from anywhere on the planet. Whether I continue in my current role or find a different opportunity, remote work needs to be a fundamental part of my life going forward. 

#7 - Paul Evans

  • Age - 34
  • Job - Data Strategy Consultant
  • Attended Remote Year - April 2018 - March 2019 (1 year trip)

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how is your experience with Remote Year?

10

What made you interested in joining Remote Year?

I have always wanted to travel and was in the process of plotting my next year living in two locations for six months each: Mexico and Portugal

While at the friend’s house, working and researching this move, he asked me about it and proceeded to mention “some ad [he] heard about working and traveling for a year.” Google “remote year” and there it was, Remote Year. 

Really that was it, I signed up that minute without hesitation.

What was your favorite city in your time and why?

Classic question that is quite difficult to answer. I always tell people that I had many favorites for many reasons, but if I HAD to choose one, it would be probably Cape Town, maybe Hanoi. 

Cape Town was gorgeous, fun, reasonably priced, and had lovely weather while we were there. 

Hanoi was essentially the opposite but might be my favorite because the street food was plentiful (not to mention delicious and healthy to boot), everything was super cheap, the people were friendly, and the culture was just so different from anything I knew. 

This is why I love travel and Remote Year: I get put into these situation that I might not have chosen on my own (solely because there’s so much world to see) and it ends up blowing my mind.

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Remote Year?​

How much love the group had for each other and the quality of the RY service given the price. We meshed so well so quickly and people just accepted each other; It was quite wonderful. 

On the second point, while the cost for a year seems high at first, the amount of stuff you get out of it is far more valuable. I kept thinking to myself, “how are they able to stay in business when sending us out on these crazy adventures and having a huge staff and programs to support us at every step???”

Where do you think there is room for improvement?

I’m a pretty laid back person in some aspects, so I didn’t have any real problems while on the program. 

That said, I do know that there were times when I and others could get a bit frustrated at the lack of communication. We have a really great Slack community that’s very active and most of the staff is on there a ton, but there are some that don’t participate there as much and it leads to some lines getting dropped. 

This is really a small issue with isolated occurrences, so doesn’t really lead me to complain about it much.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?​

I’m going to sound somewhat as a broken record here but the group is what I remember most. 

All these cities and cultures and foods and adventures were great, but the travel experience was easily made the best of my life by the people that surrounded me. I’ve traveled many times in many different ways and this was so completely different because of the motivation and support provided by this group. 

Add to that the fact that Remote Year had some amazing cities and in-depth experiences lined up for us and you have one epic year.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Remote Year?​

It’s going to be an expensive year because you will want to do so many things, but don’t worry, you can make it work and there are tons of ways to save and still have the time of your life. 

We had people who ate and drank the cheapest things they could find and had no less of an amazing experience than anyone else. You can have an absolute stunner of a time without doing any side trips whatsoever.

Will you do Remote Year again?

  • There are two possibilities here: 1) I do Remote Rear again sometime in the future or 2) I go back in the past doing Remote Year again for the first time but knowing what I know now. On the former, I’d have to say it’s doubtful. 

One of the biggest bonuses of doing Remote Year is the network of amazing remote professionals that you get access to and I already have that now. Also, I don’t think I could ever hope to repeat the feeling and wonder that came along learning and growing with that group of people. 

If I did it again, I don’t think I’d be as amazed and in awe of the people and places on the itinerary. On the later, it’s a resounding yes. 

I would absolutely do Remote Year again knowing what I know now. What an incredible journey. 

The behind-the-scenes access that Remote Year gives you is something that I just haven’t been able to replicate on my own. Plus, as previously mentioned, the people I traveled with were awesome and now some of my closest friends

Final Thoughts on Remote Year

It doesn’t get any more honest than that!

Truth be told, going on Remote Year is a big decision, but if these reviews are any indication, basically everyone recommends the same thing – to just DO IT!

Have any of you Digital Nomads been on Remote Year? If so – comment below! Or better yet, email me at Aaron@nomadsnation to get featured in this article to help more Digital Nomads make the jump!

Further Reading…

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Noodle crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -