Why We’re Traveling the World In 2018
In this episode, I talk with Kayla my executive assistant, my marketing coordinator, and a good friend about our decision to travel around the world in 2018. We talk about where we are going, why we are going, and what we think will follow as a result when things are uncertain, then anything is possible.
Laura: Welcome to this special “extra” edition of the show…Today I’m talking with Kayla Wonisch. This is not the typical interview format, but rather this is a chance for you to listen to Kayla and me have a conversation about a big decision we have each made recently. I recently published a blog post that I sent out in an email with the subject line: I’m leaving Orlando. On January 28th, Kayla and I are flying (separately, as you’ll hear) to Kuala Lumpur, which is where our 12-month journey of living abroad begins. I decided to do this episode as a special edition because some of the people who consume the content I create prefer audio, and I wanted to have an episode that would give context to some of the content that I will be putting out into the world from February 2018 through January of 2019. Without further adieu, here’s my conversation with Kayla.
Laura: We’ll just start out with that.
Laura: So, no coughing but–
Laura: So, as you know, this is Laura. I want to introduce everybody to Kayla Wonisch. I’ll have her introduce herself in a moment. We’re gonna do a little bit of a different type of episode today. Kayla works with me. We work side by side. She’s very all up in my business in the most wonderful way. and we’re gonna, yeah, just have a conversation today. It’ll be a little bit less of the interview format that maybe you’re used to so far. So, Kayla, would you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
Kayla: Hi. I’m Kayla Wonisch. I’ve worked with Laura for about six months. It’s been amazing. And, yeah, what else would you like to know about me, Laura?
Laura: Um, what would you say you do here?
[2:07] Kayla: So, what do you do here?
Laura: What would you say? If you haven’t seen Office Space, that’s what I’m quoting.
Laura: It’s hilarious. Yeah, no. Tell us about your role.
Kayla: Yeah. So I kind of do, um, I kind of do a little bit of everything–
Laura: Uh huh.
Kayla: –which is what I like. You know, some days it’s going to the store but some days it’s, like, typing things up for you or doing a little admin work. So, I enjoy all of it. I love that every day is just a little bit different. I love that I’m never doing the same thing at the same time.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Kayla: Every day I feel like it’s super healthy and just, like, a great way to work.
Laura: Awesome. Well, and don’t, like, undersell yourself. I mean, I, I see you as my marketing person–
Laura: –my internal marketing person.
Kayla: Yes. I do some of that.
Laura: You coordinate the work of several of our freelancers who help us out and, um, you make my life a million times better.
Laura: Like, legit, my life has gotten so much better since you’ve been a part of it.
Kayla: Oh, that’s so great.
Laura: Um, you contribute a lot of creative ideas to, you know, all the things that we’re looking to do, like with the podcast and the blog and all that kind of stuff, so you do that too.
Kayla: I guess I do all that, too.
Kayla: I guess I figured out the whole podcast thing.
Laura: You did! Oh my gosh, yeah. And we’re like, you know, 10, 11 episodes in now. Something like that.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: [01:56] It’s awesome. So, um, I wanted to have a little bit of a different episode today because, um, I have some really exciting news. And I wrote a blog post about it. Um, we posted on the site and, um, emailed our distribution list about it yesterday and it was actually the most traffic that the site has ever seen so far. I recognize part of why I started doing the podcast, is because some of my audience, some of the people that like to follow the work that I do and the content that I put out, aren’t really– they don’t really like to read blogs. It’s just not their thing. They really prefer to consume audio content so we started the podcast, which I, I love so much and I thought, “Okay. I really wanna have a podcast episode where I can talk about some of the same things that I talked about on the blog.” I’m sure more will come up as well ’cause it’s more of an organic conversation. Um, but here it is. Here is the subject of what we’re talking about today. So, uh, my blog post was called “I’m– Why I am Living Abroad Next Year” and my email was “I’m Leaving Orlando”. So, I am, I’m leaving Orlando. Um, we’re recording this on November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Eve. Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Kayla.
Kayla: Thanksgiving Eve.
Kayla: Food Eve.
Laura: This is a holiday, right?
Laura: Um, and so, as of today, it’s like we’re– I’m leaving in 60-something days.
Laura: 60-something days.
Laura: So, it’s coming up and I am so incredibly excited and I just wanted to let people know what I’m doing and why. Um, and before I say all of the rest of the thing that I want to say about doing that, Kayla, do you, do you also have some, some news?
[4:46] Kayla: So, it turns out that I, too, will be doing Remote Year. And also living abroad. And I am
Kayla: I’m absolutely thrilled. I feel so lucky but also just like, “Yeah! I worked for this.”
Laura: Yeah. Absolutely you did.
Kayla: Yeah, so, it’s gonna be absolutely amazing. And I’m excited to, of course, join you.
Laura: Yeah. Oh, good. I’m so, so excited. It was such, like, making that decision felt really, really good.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: Um, so, you know, the blog post, um, and the email subject was like why I’m doing this and I’m leaving Orlando, but really we are.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: We’re leaving. We’re doing this. And so, of course, you’re the perfect person for me to talk to in this episode and like, let’s chat about, like, what Remote Year is, what I’m doing. So, here’s– okay, this is, like, one of the most annoying things to ever complain about, right? But I’ve noticed, I’m starting to feel a little tired of like explaining it over and over and ov– I’m so, so excited about it but I feel like it’s practically, like, a rehearsed, like, script now. Like, I know exactly what to say–
Laura: –I know what the questions are that I’m gonna get. And I’m like, “Okay. Here I go to explain it again.” Um, so now if people ask me, I’ll just be like, “Listen to the podcast!”
Laura: No, I won’t do that.
Kayla: You’re like, “This is already online.”
Laura: Just, could you just listen? Just be a– no. I’ll still explain it but, um, I do feel like if, yeah, if anybody listens to this, then maybe they’ll ask me new and different questions.
Kayla: Yeah. *(inaud)
Laura: Alright. So. Remote Year. Let’s explain what Remote Year is. Remote Year is a program– um, it’s a company and they offer a couple different programs. There’s a four month one and the 12 month. So, we’re doing the full year. And, so, remote year brings together a group of working professionals who will, for the most part, continue to do whatever it is that they’re doing now, continue to work for whoever they’re working for now. So, in our case, me. And, um, just continue to work while traveling around the world. So, Remote Year– none of us are working for Remote Year. Um, they are a supplier to us of, um, incredible infrastructure, um, logistics management, um, psychological and emotional support for, for making such a big decision. they offer– so, here’s what’s included. Right? So, it’s, um, you know, we pay to be a part of the program and we get ourselves to the first country. And after that, all the traveling that we do between the cities is covered. Um, the housing in each of the cities is covered and they figure all that stuff out for us and, um, a co-working space in every city is covered. So, they’re providing the “Here’s where you live, here’s where you work, um, and here’s where we’re going.” So, the itinerary was set. We didn’t get to, you know, pick the individual countries. I did choose the itinerary that worked best with my schedule and the one that I was most excited for. And we’ll be sure to post links if you guys wanna– maybe we’ll talk about the different countries that we’re going to. But, um, that’s really how the program works and they have, you know, a ton of webinars. They have a travel team. So, it’s just a really, really awesome way to provide support for people that want to experience living, um, all around the world but who still want to work. Um, and people like me who never in a million years would do that if I had to do all the logistics myself.
Laura: Basically. Is there more you would say about, like, what the program is?
Kayla: What I would say is that travelling around the world was also– was always something I was afraid of because I could never even, like you said, imagine the logistics behind it. Like, where am I staying? What am I gonna do when I get there?
[8:15] Laura: Yeah.
Kayla: Like, what are the, like, what languages–
Kayla: –am I gonna speak, you know?
Laura: I’m still gonna figure that out in some of these countries.
Kayla: Yeah, I’m sure I’ll have to figure out the whole language thing but it’s, it’s a lot more calming to know that there’s gonna be a whole group of people, including you, with me.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Kayla: So, it’s just, it makes it that much more real and realistic and–
Kayla: It takes away a lot of the nerves.
Laura: I love that. For me, too, it takes away a lot of the nerves and takes away a lot of the hassle. Um, and I wanna speak to something else you just said, right? So, so this group of people, this cohort, so it’s like 50 to 60 of us, I am so, so excited about the community.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: I had Alex Agresta, um, on an earlier episode and we talked about her company myLoop and community and I remember how much that resonated with me at that point in my life when I heard her pitch her company, um, because, yeah, community is everything. You know, as humans, we’re hard-wired for connection and we are very tribal creatures and, in modern society, some of us have really kind of fallen away from that–
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: –but the idea of having a community where people are supporting one another and we’re, like, learning together and we’re growing together and it’s just this network of bonded humans I’m so, so excited for. Especially because, and this is a self-serving bias, I acknowledge that, but I feel like this group of people is gonna be really fascinating. Like, whoever they are and whatever’s going on for them in their lives that they’re choosing to step away from their typical day to day and do this program for a year, like, I wanna hear those stories.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: And we’ve, we’ve talked about this. Like, I, I plan to bring some of those stories onto this show. I think that they’re gonna have some incredible, um, past experiences. I’m excited to talk to them about, like, the decision to, to do this and, you know, some of the fears that they had.
Laura: I’m excited to hear from them the things that they’re learning. One of the reasons that I, I wanted to do this for myself, really, to– where it started for me is I really wanted to live abroad. So, I will speak for myself, ’cause you know I’m really big on “I” language.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: Um, I’m very ethnocentric. Um, I’m, I’ve lived in the United States my entire life. I tend to think that this is just the normal way of doing things. Um, I have travelled internationally to several countries and I’m grateful for all of those opportunities and I get insight when I do that. Like, “Oh, right. Oh, it’s different here. Like, you know, this is how this culture works. This is how this society works.” And so that’s cool. So, I’ve gotten, like, little glimpses into it but, because I have spent so, so much of my life, the vast, vast majority of my time, my existence on this planet here, in this country, I just don’t have a good sense of the rest of the world. So, um, and I’m speaking for myself first. I will also say that I do think that the country as a whole is fairly ethnocentric.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: Um, I notice when I travelled to other countries, uh, you know and I would like turn on the TV in the hotel room or something, it was super common for their news channels to be covering things going on all over the world and, here in the United States, it’s like, if it’s not something massive or catastrophic or if it doesn’t involve Americans, we don’t necessarily hear about it. Now, I actually don’t watch the news.
Laura: You know that, like, I’m super particular about the information and the energy that I let into my world but I noticed that and that was really striking to me. So, I do think it’s something that’s fairly true, societally. Um, I will just focus, though, on me. I, I’m ethnocentric. I don’t want to be. The other thing I think I wanna say about it is part of what I wrote about in my blog post is that i love this idea of, you know, as we travel around and we experience different cultures and different societies, they’re gonna have different behavioral norms, different things that they do and I plan on learning why. And, you know, where does this come from? And what does this mean for you? ‘Cause we’re meaning-seeking creatures. And I just plan to, like, pick up all the stuff I like. Like, “Ooh. I like this. I’m going to do this. I’m going to bring this into my world, into my existence.”
Kayla: Yeah. Definitely.
Laura: And I think that that whole process, that whole experience is just gonna help me be more and more self-aware. So, as I butt up against different things in these different cultures that, um, challenge the way that I think about the world, I’m gonna have my own reactions to it. And that’s exactly what the whole self-awareness journey is about. What am I noticing from myself? How do I feel in this moment? What’s going on for me? What’s my story about this? What’s new and different? What’s scary? What’s the fear? What’s the fear? What’s the fear? So, I think this is a way for me to, um, accelerate even more the whole journey of, of self-awareness and growth. Just growth as a human being.
Laura: So, that’s, that’s a big part of it. Um, I originally wanted to go live in Sydney, Australia. That’s– right now, at this point in my life, that is my favorite international city. I love it so much. I was kind of heading down that path. I was planning for that. I’ve been gearing up to move out of this country since February of 2017. So, I’ve been in that head space for a long time and then I became aware of this program, um, from Isabella Johnston, um, of Intern Pursuit and Pivot Business Consulting. So, thank you, Isabella. She brought this up to me when I told her I wanted to go live in Sydney. She told me, “Oh! You should do Remote Year!” And my first reaction was, “Uh, that’s totally different. That’s not what I want to do.”
Laura: I didn’t totally say it like a valley girl, but it’s–
Laura: –but it’s really fun to use the voice. Um, I was like, “No. That’s not what I want to do. It’s totally different.” ‘Cause, in my mind, I wanted to pick a city. I wanted to move there. I wanted to put down roots, acculturate, assimilate, and really experience life in that country. and I was gonna do that alone. Just totally alone. And not necessarily know anybody and just start from zero and build a new network and so this program was so different. ‘Cause we only stay in each city for one month and then we’re onto the next place. And, so, that’s–
Kayla: And we have all these people.
Laura: Yes. And then there’s the community aspect.
Laura: Right? So, I’m not going alone now, either, right? So, you’ll be with me, which is fantastic. And then, yeah, we’re gonna have this community of people. So, every city I go to, we go to, it’s not gonna be like, um, brand new, I don’t know anybody. We’re gonna have this, this core. And I think we’ll also meet lots of people every place we go. So, it was a totally different experience and I thought, “You know what? This, this really maybe is more what I want to do right now.” like I said, Sydney’s my favorite city right now but I’m gonna go to a bunch of cities that I’ve never been to. I think, yeah, 10 of the cities on our itinerary are brand new to me.
Kayla: Oh, wow.
Laura: So, to experience those, maybe I’ll have a new favorite. Or maybe Sydney will stay at the top of my list and I’ll still want to go there afterwards. The funny thing is, Remote Year doesn’t actually go to Australia.
Laura: We don’t even go there. Um, but I do love this, so give a shout out to Lawrence, who I’m pretty sure listens to this show. Hi Lawrence!
Kayla: Hi Lawrence!
Laura: Um, Lawrence was, um, the person that, uh, interviewed me to be admitted into the program and did several video meetings with him as I was finalizing my decision to commit and so, when I, when I told him that my original plan was to live in Sydney, he goes, “Oh, I’m from Sydney.” And I’m like, “Oh, my god. There’s my Sydney! There it is!”
Kayla: There it is.
Laura: There it is. That makes sense.
Laura: So, it’s like totally represented in this whole Remote Year experience for me.
Kayla: Yeah, totally. That’s awesome.
Laura: So, what do you– can you talk a little bit for you, Kayla, about–
Laura: –any fear you have or excitement that you have or–
Kayla: Yeah. So, for me, it’s actually quite funny, like, how little I’ve traveled in my life. Yeah, I’ve been to a couple places. Like, Canada and Jamaica are about the only places I’ve been to outside of this country and that’s really not that far.
Laura: Uh huh.
Kayla: It’s about, like, you know, just up there and down there. Um, you know, besides that I’m not really, I haven’t really been exposed to much of the world. I haven’t been exposed to much outside of Florida. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. Um, so it’s crazy, to me, that, you know, I made the decision so quick–
Kayla: –but I’m not even slightly nervous about it. Like, I’m like, when you asked I was like, “Yeah.”
Laura: So, I remember, at one point, being really explicit with you about, like, “By the way. I totally want you to keep working with me.”
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: ‘Cause I– you, you knew I was planning this and, like, working through this and, you know, at a certain point I was like, “Oh duh. You know, she’s probably like…”
Kayla: Will I have a job?
Laura: What’ll happen to me?
Laura: So then I was really intentional. I was like, “Hey. I want you to know, I want you to stay with me. I want you to keep working with me. I wanna figure that out. I know it’s gonna look totally different.” So, I had done that step and, um, I was continuing to think about, like, what will that feel like and what will that be like? Because so much of what we do I love having you physically with me. Um, you know, having teams work remotely, obviously some of our team is remote so we manage that on a daily basis, but there’s so much that we do that I’m so grateful to have you physically there with me. Including our whiteboard sessions.
Laura: Um, and–
Kayla: Dance parties.
Laura: And you find things for me. I’m like, “Kayla, where’s my blah blah blah?”
Laura: We joke sometimes. I swear I’m not like this but I think one of my favorite scenes in a movie ever is the montage from The Devil Wears Prada–
Laura: –where Meryl Streep’s character is, like, just making these, like, ridiculous demands and she continues to throw her coat and purse–
Laura: –on the desk. And my favorite line that she says is, “Where’s that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning?”
Laura: So I try really hard to, like, not do anything quite that crazy but I will be like, I will ask that kind of stuff. Like, “Where are the chimes? Where did I put those?”
Kayla: Where’s the thing I had yesterday?
Kayla: It’s over there.
Laura: And usually you know.
Kayla: I do.
Laura: You’re like, “Yeah. I think I know where that is.”
Kayla: Well, I told you when you interviewed me that I was a big fan of The Devil Wears Prada. So,–
Kayla: — you knew what to expect.
Laura: Yes. I really, I don’t think that I’m the devil. I think I’m pretty good, actually. But yeah, so it’s that kind of stuff, too. So, I really wanted you… I started to think about, man It’d be so much nicer, actually, if she was with me. So, what I remember about it is I– ’cause I had not thought it through yet. I hadn’t thought through the finances of any of it or logistics of any of it and I was just like, “Um, is that, like, I don’t really know how this would go yet but is that something that you would, like, want to do?” A memory of you was like, “Yes! Oh, my god!”
Laura: Yes, like sort of this like – really excited. You know, the look on your face. I was like, “Okay. Alright. Alright. I don’t know how that’s gonna work yet, but alright. I know that you’re interested. Cool.”
Laura: ‘Cause it’s a huge thing. It’s a huge commitment and, you know, you’ve got friends here, family. You know, you’ve got a life here. So, not everybody would necessarily be super excited to just pick up and go, and so, to have your enthusiasm was like, alright. You know what? We’ll figure out a way to make this work.
Kayla: Yeah. And I think a lot of it, too, was that I did want to leave Florida. I didn’t really know how, yet, so I was like, well, you know, if Laura leaves I can probably go move somewhere else and, like, work remotely from there but that’s just a lot of, you know, logistics, a lot of work–
Kayla: –like, a lot of planning, a lot of like, when would I even leave to go do that? And I didn’t even really necessarily feel like I was going to be in Florida next year so for me to just, like, for this opportunity to just be like, “Here you go!”
Laura: How about this?
Kayla: How’s this? Hm. I’ll take it.
Kayla: So, yeah. It’s really awesome and it, it feels good. It feels like the right decision. It doesn’t– like, I’m not even slightly nervous. I should probably be a little more nervous.
Laura: You know, that’s funny. I think I said that to Lawrence, too. He asked what fears I have. I’m like, “That’s a great question.” I– ’cause you know I’m obsessed with fears, discovering our fears, because our fears hold us back. If we use fear to drive our decision-making, we tend to manifest the very thing we’re afraid of. So, I said, “You know, I’m just so in the head space for this right now. This is– I’m just totally ready for it.” I said, “But I’m quite sure that I’m gonna have moments on the journey where I wonder if I’ve made a mistake. You know, I’ll feel regret, I’ll feel homesick. I’ll miss certain things throughout the United States. I’ll miss certain things about my home. I actually love where I live.” And, yeah. That’s gonna happen. That’s cool. I know that.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: Um, one of the things that I like to say a lot is that I’m resilient AF.
Laura: So, like, whatever happens, you know, I’m gonna have those moments where it feels a little bit hard, a little bit tough and then I’m just gonna get over it and I’m gonna remember why I’m doing this–
Laura: –in the first place. And it’s gonna be great. So I like, I like thinking through that, thinking through the fear, but I also don’t really feel a whole lot. Like, maybe a little bit of nerves when I start to think about the day and how soon it is and then sometimes when I look at the list of, oh yeah, I’ve gotta do all that stuff. I do feel a little bit like, “Oh, yeah. Okay.” A little anxious, you know, a little anxiety comes up. But, yeah, I’m just so excited.
Kayla: Yeah. Lawrence actually asked me the same question. He said my answer was almost exactly like yours.
Kayla: Where I was just like, “No. Um, this feels just like the right decision.”
Laura: Yeah. It’s like the right thing.
Kayla: And saying like do you think I’ll get, you know, scared or something? Something will come up for me along the way before it comes up but am I really gonna say no to something like this because of fear? No. That’s stupid.
Kayla: That’s stupid.
Laura: Well, I mean, and it happens.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: People– they will let fear hold– I’ve done it before. God, I’m sure I still do. I’m sure there’s ways that fear holds you back all the time but if I can realize what the fear is, then I can reality check that fear ’cause the fear is almost always worse in our heads than it is in real life. And then I get to ask myself that question that I ask myself all the time which is, “If that thing happens, can I cope with it?”
Laura: And again, I am resilient AF. So, yeah. I can handle it. Like, I really believe I can handle anything.
Laura: I mean, you’ve heard me say I have that borderline delusional sense of self-confidence.
Laura: Really, I really do. Like, I can handle it, whatever it is. I got it.
Kayla: Yeah. That’s how I feel about myself too.
Kayla: I’m just like, “Oh. I got this.”
Laura: I think that’s–
Kayla: Whatever this is–
Kayla: –I got it.
Laura: I got it. I think that’s, I think that’s part of why I hired you. I totally had that sense from you. I was like, well that’s great. ‘Cause I’m gonna throw a lot of shit at you.
Laura: Day to day it’s gonna be god knows what. But it’s coming.
Kayla: And I was like, “That sounds awesome. Way better than working at Starbucks.”
Laura: And it’s totally true, right? Like, most mornings you probably wake up to like Slack messages from me where I’m like, “Oh, and this and this and that. Not to mention the things that we talked about yesterday–
Laura: –that I’d love for you to help me do.” Just whatever kind of comes at you. And you’re a rock star.
Kayla: Aw. Thank you. That touched my heart.
Laura: You genuinely have changed my life.
Kayla: Same. Quite obviously.
Laura: And you’re like, “Obvi.”
Laura: Yeah. When I stop and I think about this year, one of the things I’ve been telling people feels so good for me is, so maybe not the first quarter. The first quarter was really hard. I worked really, really hard. It was just, oh my god, it was rough.
Laura: But, Q2, Q3, and then Q4, which we’re more than halfway through now, I feel like I have worked less hard than ever before and I feel like I’m adding more value than ever before. I feel like I’m more productive than ever before and I feel like the business is doing better than ever before. And a lot of that is me and things that I can own and take credit for and feel really good about and a huge part of it is you and bringing you into my life and having somebody that I can lean on and rely on. I remember in the beginning, um, so my mom, Wendy –Hi, Mom!– um, I assume she listens to the show. She has to, right?
Kayla: Oh, come on Wendy.
Laura: She’s my mom, right.
Kayla: She’s your mom.
Laura: She’s got to. It’s like a motherly obligation, right? So, she was doing a lot of work with me, you know, in the finance space and other assistant type things. You know, she’s always been super supportive. She’s like the best mom ever. Always supported everything that I’m doing and she was doing it from a distance. And so when I was looking to hire for your role, I wanted a full-time person and she said, you know, “Do you, do you think you’re gonna have enough work for that person to be full-time?” And I said, “You know what? I don’t, I don’t know.” ‘Cause she wasn’t working for me full-time. It was part-time and very flexible. I said, “I don’t know, but I know that I want this person to be available full-time so I’m gonna go ahead and hire this person full-time.” And, Kayla, if I was to ask you, do you feel like I keep you busy full-time?
Kayla: Yes, I feel busy full-time.
Laura: And it’s so true. So, in the beginning it was, you know, doing, taking some of the stuff that Wendy was doing and now you’re doing it. Um, but then just, we just, I keep piling on. You know, you’re getting faster and better at all these things and we’re streamlining stuff and then the whole podcast thing and that was a lot to figure out and you got that figured out and that’s going great and I just keep kind of throwing more at you. So yeah, we’re having no, no trouble there. And so absolutely, you have been a huge contributor to me enjoying my life and enjoying what I’m doing with this work so much more.
Kayla: Aw. That means so much. It really does. I obviously know that you value and appreciate me but it’s really great to hear in such a candid way. So…
Laura: I like to, I like to tell you a lot.
Kayla: Yeah. I feel loved. She likes me.
Laura: I do. A little bit.
Kayla: A little bit.
Laura: A little bit. Yeah I was– I think, actually, what I said is if I didn’t have you working with me I would be devastated.
Laura: I think that’s what I said. So yeah, I kind of like you a little bit. A little bit. Um, alright. What else do we want to say about–? Should we talk about where we’re going?
Laura: Yeah. Do you remember? I think I’ve got the order down.
Kayla: You have the order so down. I’m like, “I’m going to Asia, Europe–
Kayla: –Um, I think Africa for a little bit and then I’ll be back in South America.” And everyone’s like, “Oh, cool.” And I’m like, yeah, do you want to see the list? I have the list.
Laura: Let me just pull it up. Yeah I, I think I just finally locked the final details into my memory in the last few days, actually. There were a few months that I was kind of, like, getting mixed up.
Kayla: Yeah. And, in my defense, I found out like–
Kayla: –a month and a half ago that I’m going, so–
Laura: That’s cool. That’s cool. You’ll learn. And you know what? If you don’t know, then we can just ask them or we can pull it up online.
Laura: So, we are flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, um, on January 28th. Oh my god. I love this. So, we’re not on the same flights. We made our decisions to, to go, um, you know different months probably.
Kayla: Yeah. Months apart.
Laura: Yeah, I think I decided a couple months before you. But, uh, yeah, do you want to share what we discovered about our flights that’s so fun.
Laura: Kind of planned, maybe?
Kayla: This was very intentional on my end. I pulled up Laura’s flight and I was like, alright, I know I can’t fly with her but I’ve never been this far away from home so I have to sync this up as much as I can.
Kayla: And so we– I leave about 20 minutes before you do and I fly to L.A. and then over to Hong Kong. So I’ll be going in, you know, they can’t see me pointing but I’ll be–
Kayla: –going in that direction.
Laura: You’ll be heading west.
Kayla: And then you’ll be flying up and east.
Kayla: But we will be hitting Kuala Lumpur within 30 minutes of each other.
Laura: That is so–
Laura: –freaking cool.
Laura: We’re literally going, it’s like, alright, I’ll meet you in Kuala Lumpur. Let’s race. I’m gonna go this way, you go that way. Let’s figure out which way is faster.
Kayla: Which way is faster.
Laura: So funny.
Laura: So, I was hanging out with a couple of friends on Sunday, um, and, you know, so they know that I’m doing this and this is my friend Steve –Hi, Steve!– and he said, uh, that he was, like, checking out Malaysia. He was on some kind of website or something where he was like, “Show me what is the furthest, um, away somebody can be on this planet from where I am right now.” And it was somewhere in, like, Indonesia only a little bit north of where we’re gonna be in Malaysia. So it was like, “Wow, Laura. You’re gonna go just about as far away as you could possibly go from us right now.”
Laura: “That’s where you’re starting.” And it’s like, yeah, that’s where I’m starting. And we kind of work our way back. There’s a little bit of back and forth but we do get closer and closer ’cause our final city is Mexico City.
Laura: Which is actually back in North America. So, we will, we will be back in North America. Um, although that’s not until 2019.
Laura: So, we will be spending, besides January of next year, January 2018, we will be spending the whole of 2018 in other continents.
Kayla: Pretty sick.
Laura: How about them apples?
Kayla: Yeah. How about those apples?
Kayla: And I definitely jokingly said, “I need to get as far away from Florida as possible.” So I guess–
Laura: Pretty close.
Kayla: –I did manifest–
Laura: Pretty close.
Laura: You manifested it. We are hardcore “manifesters” by the way. So, yeah, so we’re gonna start in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, um, which is so cool. Like, I love saying that. I’m like, “Oh, I’m flying to Kuala Lumpur–”
Kayla: I didn’t even know what Kuala Lumpur was.
Laura: Yeah. No. I had to look it up, for sure…
Kayla: And I was like, “Oh, this is cool.”
Laura: I know. Remember that whole thing about me being really ethnocentric? So, I’ve been embarrassingly bad at geography, um, my whole life up until this point.
Kayla: Oh, okay.
Laura: And I fully believe that this experience has already helped me get a better sense of the geography of the world.
Laura: And certainly when I’m over there I’m going to learn it that much more. Um, there are all kinds of countries that exist in this world that I literally don’t even know what they’re called.
Kayla: Know– definitely.
Laura: Um, I hate that. I don’t like that. I want to change that so I’m changing it. So we’re starting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And then we will be going to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Then we are going to Hanoi, Vietnam. And then we are going to, uh, Marrakesh, Morocco. Then we are going to Europe. So, we’ll spend four months in Europe and this is where I’m a little fuzzy. I’m like 90% sure. I believe we are going first to Czech Republic. I think we’re going to Prague. Then we’re going to Split, Croatia. And then we will be going to, uh, Belgrade, Serbia.
Laura: Then we’re going to Lisbon, Portugal. Then we’re popping over to South America. We’ll be in Lima, Peru. And then we are going to two different cities in Columbia. We’ll be in Medellin* and then Bogota.
Laura: And then we end in North America. Mexico City, Mexico. I am so excited by the way that we’re gonna have four months of Spanish speaking countries.
Laura: I studied Spanish in college; it was actually my minor so I was pretty good. I was doing, like, Spanish poetry and stuff. I don’t even really like poetry, at least I didn’t when I was in college, but I was doing Spanish poetry so I was pretty good but I never did immersion. I never went to go live or even exist for more than like a week at a time in a country where Spanish was spoken. And actually, September of last year I went to Colombia with my friend and co-worker Stephanie. If you’ve listened to the show, she was, um, on our first episode. Hi Stephanie!
Kayla: Hi, Steph.
Laura: So, we went to Columbia together. We were only there for about five days and, even in that time, the amount that I was leaning on my childlike Spanish, I could not believe how much came back to me. Um, and oh my gosh it was such a great example of, like, practicing toddler mentality, which I’ve talked about before. This whole idea that I don’t necessarily know, like, what I’m doing and I might sound really foolish and really stupid but I don’t want to let that hold me back.
Laura: So, I will choose to, um, push forward and I will stumble through my words and I’ll probably say things wrong and you’ll probably laugh at me but you know what? You’ll figure out what I’m trying to say. And you’ll teach me.
Laura: When I say words wrong, you’ll tell me the right way to say it, um, or how you say it or a way that I can say it and be understood and then I’ll correct it. And that’s what happened. And, like, letting go of any kind of self-consciousness around it was so insanely helpful.
Laura: I know earlier in my life I would have just, I don’t know, buried my nose in a dictionary or, you know, pulled an app up on my phone and just pointed at it or something because I’d be so afraid of looking stupid. It’s like, who cares?
Laura: Like, I love to be able to laugh at myself now. So, anyway. So, four months. Four solid, consecutive months of Spanish-speaking countries.
Kayla: I’m gonna be a pro.
Laura: I’m gonna like get it back so hardcore.
Kayla: People have thought I was Spanish my whole life.
Kayla: Now I can at least, I can at least pretend.
Laura: [32:00] Yeah. Fool them.
Kayla: Fool ’em.
Laura: You can do it.
Kayla: Like actually, no I’m not…
Laura: That’s not very authentic. Um, so that’s, yeah, those are the countries that we’re going to. Um, alright so here’s the other big question that people always ask. “Well, what about your business? Are you selling your business? Are you closing down your business? Oh, it’s a sabbatical, you’re not going to be working.” We are absolutely going to be working.
Laura: I love what I do so much. I love it. I cannot even imagine not doing it, honestly. Um, so the business is continuing. So, I want to talk about that a little bit. And, you know, some of this we’re gonna figure out ’cause I don’t totally know yet.
Laura: But we’ve gotten a lot more into creating content this year with the podcast, obviously, and I’ve been writing blog posts on a far more regular basis. Um, we’ve done one so far. We have another one coming up. We have, um, webinars that we do now, so we’re learning– we’re creating opportunities for people to learn online. So we’ll be doing more of that. And I also plan to start a vlog, right? Video blogging or vlogging. Um, it’s something I’ve thought about doing for a while anyway and then people pointed out that it’s gonna be so cool with like the changing scenery every month. It’s gonna be in a brand new country, so to have some kind of, um, I don’t know, I don’t know what it’s gonna be yet. Like, a video series or videos where, um, I’m planning to really combine talking about the experience of travelling with all the things I normally talk about on the show. Uh, you know, self-awareness and team cohesion and, you know, relationships and communication and how can we continuously improve in all of those ways? And so we’re gonna keep doing all that. What else? Oh, so coaching. So executive coaching is a really big part of the business now and the work–
Laura: –that I do. I love that. I get to coach some incredible people who are doing such cool, cool work. Um, and most of that’s done virtually anyway. Most of that’s done, right now, over the phone. Occasionally I do, um, face to face. Um, but I’m going to continue to do that. The time zones will be really fun.
Laura: First few months in Asia I’ll be doing, you know, coaching at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm–
Laura: –my time probably. That’s cool, though, like, totally, totally worth it.
Kayla: 13 hour time difference? Whatever.
Laura: Well, I am coaching somebody that lives in Europe so that one won’t be quite as bad, actually. So, you know, we’ll just be working with time zone from the other side at that point. So, I’m gonna keep doing that and, uh, the other thing that I do a lot of is working with intact teams and I’m really excited, actually, to experiment with ways to continue to do that, um, especially with teams that I’ve met so far. Um, I do think there’s a lot that we can do with technology. I don’t think that it has fully replaced anything that’s face to face, um, and I also think that there’s still a tremendous amount of value that can be levied across the interwebs. Which is something that I’m really into saying right now, apparently.
Kayla: Yeah. Interwebs. [34:54]
Kayla: The interwebs.
Laura: Yeah. So, um, yeah, I’m gonna do a lot of that. So, that’s kind of like the business stuff. And the other thing that I was super excited about that I’ve been talking about, literally, for years is I want to write a book.
Kayla: I love that.
Laura: At least one. ‘Cause I have a couple different ideas. Um, one of the things that I want to do is combine a lot of the stuff that I’ve been learning about, my own training, my own experiences, and my own journey in this whole world of psychology and organizational psychology and self-awareness and I want to combine that with, um, creative storytelling. So, I love to tell my own stories, which are true, completely legitimate, and then, you know, any emotion that’s there is, is very real and authentic. And I like the idea of, you know, using a, a fiction platform to help teach some of these concepts. Um, I’m a big fan of like Patrick Lencioni. He does a really nice job, I think, with teaching executives and leaders and teams about how they can function in a new and different way than how they’ve been doing it and he uses storytelling and I think it’s really, really cool. So, I see, I see myself writing something like that. So, some kind of fiction book that, um, I expect and hope will be entertaining as well as really informative. I think, I hope to tell the stories in a way that, um, people can really like identify with the characters. They can see themselves.
Kayla: [36:18] Within them.
Laura: Many of you have expressed interest and excitement with, like, living vicariously and wanting to follow along the journey and I’m gonna do everything that I can, um, through sharing my own experience and my own stories to help you know what it’s like for me. But that’s my experience of the world. That’s my lens. And, of course, you’ll share your experience and your lens.
Laura: Um, and you know, we’ll see. Maybe it will inspire some of you who choose to listen to do something similar, whether it’s Remote Year specifically or your own, just, travelling. I will also say that since I started telling people about this, um, many people have told me about similar things that they have done in the past when I didn’t even know. Um, I didn’t necessarily know that people had done these really exciting adventures and, um, had these experiences that were very intentional with getting to know and learn other cultures and “We did this” and they talk about how it was, you know, life changing for them on a regular basis and so I’m like, “Yeah. That’s, that sounds great. Sign me up.” Actually I’m already signed up.
Kayla: [38:23] I’m signed up already–
Laura: It’s happening.
Laura: Oh my god. That’s one of those words that we all say weird now.
Laura: I don’t even think I know how to say “happening” like normal. Happening
Kayla: It’s happening.
Laura: It’s happening.
Laura: See, this is why I really want you to be next to me.
Kayla: It’s why she keeps me around.
Laura: Um, what else? I’m trying to think.
Kayla: She’s thinking.
Laura: She’s thinking. Tell that story.
Kayla: Whenever Laura just stops talking completely, all of her facial expressions just drop and everyone just kind of looks at her like “Mmm. What are you– what are you doing? Like, what’s going on?” I just like to whisper, “She’s thinking. She’s thinking. She’s thinking.”
Kayla: She’s thinking. She needs one moment.
Laura: Oh my god. It’s so funny ’cause we talk about–
Kayla: Thinking moment.
Laura: –we talk about, um, openness, right, and that dotted orange line – the nonverbals: the body language, the tone, and how, in those moments, people are going to be making up their own story about what’s going on for somebody. And so sometimes I’ll do that. I’ll just–
Kayla: Shut off.
Laura: –stop and I go up in my head and so, yeah, the tendency, the natural human tendency, is for people to be like, they start making up their own story about what’s going on for me, what I’m thinking about. And so I love that you do that, “She’s thinking.”
Laura: Because it’s that cue to me to be like, “Oh. Maybe I can think out loud.”
Kayla: Maybe I should tell people.
Laura: Maybe I can do that and maybe that would be effective.
Laura: So, I’d love to give a shout out to Mag Boron. And I’m so sorry Mag. I’m not actually sure if I’m saying your last name right. Um, and her company Pangian, um, which we will link to, we’ll absolutely link to. Um, if you look up Pangian, you can find it so, part of what they do is help individuals find remote work. So they’re a big believer in this whole experience of, um, you know traveling around the world and work is something you do not a place you go, which I love so much. So if anybody’s like curious and interested but they don’t know that they could work remotely with their current position, that’s an option so keep that in mind.
Kayla: That’s really cool.
Laura: Yeah. Check out the blog post and/or the show notes if you wanna find the link to that.
Laura: Oh, yes. Um, am I coming back?
Kayla: Very true.
Laura: This is a question that I am asked a lot.
Kayla: Me too.
Kayla: Like, we decided 8 days ago. Let me just–
Kayla: –let me think it through.
Laura: So, yeah. So, my short answer is I don’t know. I don’t know. Um, it’s weird. I, I used to be such a planner. Um, I used to feel very uncomfortable and fearful with having things being uncertain and open-ended. But right now, I’ve actually never in my life been so excited to have things be uncertain and open-ended. I don’t, I don’t know what this experience is gonna do for me. I don’t know where I’m gonna wanna go, where I’m gonna wanna be. I may feel like this is awesome, I’m gonna keep traveling around ’cause Remote Year offers opportunities to keep doing it. Um, maybe I’ll be like, “This was awesome. Sydney is still my favorite. I wanna go live there for a year or two.” Uh, maybe I’m gonna be like, “You know what? That totally scratched my itch. This is awesome. I miss the United States. I wanna come back.” Maybe I’ll be like, “You know what? Orlando rocks. All these people here are great. I cannot wait to get back to it.” Maybe I’ll be like, “You know what? I’ve loved Central Florida but Tampa’s always appealed to me because it’s right on the water and that’s awesome.” Maybe I’ll be like, “You know what? I really wanna go be in Phoenix, Arizona. My family’s there and, um, I wanna live close to them again.” Maybe I’ll be like, “You know what? I’m all about California right now. Like, let’s check out Southern California.” Austin I like. I don’t know!
Laura: Like, I don’t know what I want to do, where I’m gonna want to be. Um, I will say that I’m really, I’m a warm weather person so there’s probably a certain line that I would draw across the United States and it’s like I will not live North of this line.
Kayla: I will not–
Laura: And that’s kind of maybe true for me. Although, even that, I don’t like to be rigid. I don’t want to be rigid.
Kayla: I agree with you there, though. Even when I was looking for, like, if I did want to move like where I would move, I’m not going anywhere cold. I like it warm.
Laura: I like it warm.
Kayla: I get really like…
Laura: I mean, you know me and my space heaters. It’ll be like 68 degrees–
Kayla: And your 8,000 blankets.
Laura: –and I’m like, “Where’s my space heater? Where’s my hot water?”
Kayla: Hi, I’m from the desert. Can I get some hot water please?
Laura: I’m used to being 110 degrees.
Laura: Um, so yeah. So I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m gonna come back. But I, I plan to prove to myself and to my clients and to anybody else that cares that I, I can do this kind of work from anywhere. And clearly I’m willing to travel, so–
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: That’s something I was already doing with the business, traveling to work with amazing clients in different parts of the country, I could see that expanding to be, you know, traveling for the business to work with amazing clients in various parts of the world. Um, so I don’t know. I don’t know. But I, I’m so grateful that we live in an era where it is as easy as it is to stay connected, legitimately. So lots of ways that you can stay connected with me.
Obviously the podcast is gonna continue. I’m gonna continue to do blog posts. I’ve mentioned the vlog. Um, can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter. My handle is @drlauragallaher. Can follow along with anything on the website . You can sign up for the distribution list. You can always get notified of things we have going on. Um, and then, of course, there’s good old-fashioned things like I hear WhatsApp is fantastic. That’s not old fashioned. As I say that I’m like, “That’s not really old fashioned.” I was gonna say like a phone call and then I went to WhatsApp because I hear that’s kind of for international calls. “You know that old fashioned tool of “WhatsApp??”
Laura: Um, yeah, so like WhatsApp and email. I mean, just there’s so many ways to stay connected. FaceTime maybe.
Kayla: FaceTime. Skype.
Laura: Google Hangouts, like Skype, whatever. Um, and so I’m a big believer in we will stay connected if we want to.
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: If we want to we’ll make it happen.
Kayla: And if you want us to.
Laura: If you want us to, yeah, absolutely.
Kayla: We’ll be there.
Laura: So, um, so please do stay connected with me. The last thing I want to do is lose touch with people that are really meaningful, so I’m, I’m pretty determined to make things happen the way that I want them to or the way that I’d like them too. So, if I wanna stay in touch I will make it happen. If you wanna stay in touch, please make it happen. Um, be open about your intention and we’ll make it work.
Kayla: Hell yeah.
Laura: Yeah. I’m not, I’m not too worried about it. I am gonna miss people here in Orlando.
Kayla: Yeah, definitely.
Laura: Anybody that listens to the show, and I think probably at this point most of our listeners are here in the Orlando area, have heard me talk about a lot of things that are here. Um, even, like, right now we’re recording in the Melrose Center at the downtown Orlando Orange County Library. It’s awesome. It’s been great. It’s an amazing resource.
Kayla: Oh yeah.
Laura: I didn’t know about it. Um, I–
Kayla: The space is beautiful.
Laura: I knew about it but I didn’t know what all was here.
Laura: And I remember even discovering it and being like this is great. Like, I don’t wanna let too many people know and then it might be harder to get the sound booth which is like a terrible, selfish thing, but, hey, I’ll let you know now.
Laura: Stuff is great.
Kayla: So there’s dope sound booths–
Laura: Sound booths. And, you know, just do the general orientation. Like, check it out. There’s, like, it’s a very, very– it’s a cool community. It’s a great city. Um, what else? Starter Studio is something that I’ve referenced quite a bit. I’ve met a lot of people through that. Um that’s Gregg Pollack’s tech accelerator. Um, so we’ve had some really amazing companies come out of that. Fattmerchant. I interviewed Suneera from Fattmerchant. Um, you know, love, love working with them. Such a cool company. Cool vibe, cool culture, cool people. Um, and just so many other people that I’ve gotten to connect with other mentors that have been involved with Starter Studio. I’ve built my network out that way. Dean Caravelis of Blëzoo. Um, I remember at one point, like, describing him as like a saint because he just does so much for other people all the time. Just such connector–
Laura: –you know, always looking to help provide guidance. You know, he’s awesome. He’s a huge influence on me. I couldn’t possibly even go through all the names right now. Those are just a few of the names that popped up. People that I’ve met, you know, through the community that I’m so grateful to know and I know I’m gonna miss them. For sure. I’m gonna miss, I’m gonna miss seeing these people just at community events and all that kind of stuff. So, I know that there will be sadness. For sure. There will be some sadness. Um, anytime there’s change, there’s loss.
Kayla: Yeah. [45:25]
Laura: Um, I, of course, believe in this case that there’s far more to be gained for me on this journey to choose to do this experience. Um, and, yeah, with any change there’s some loss. So, I’ll experience maybe a little bit of pain from that and sadness. But again, I’m pretty determined to stay in touch. You know?
Kayla: I’m not, I’m not worried.
Laura: Not worried about it?
Kayla: Yeah. No.
Laura: That’s all you got to say a lot.
Laura: I’m not worried about it.
Kayla: It’s like, I’m not worried. Not that I, that I don’t care. I’m just, I don’t feel like I need to worry. Like I know it’s gonna be alright.
Laura: Yeah. I, I feel that way too. So, I, I generally do talk about this whole adventure with, like, a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm and I do have that and I want to like bring that back before we, before we end the episode today. But like, yeah, you know, I will miss a lot of people here. I will. I’m sure I’ll cry–
Kayla: Mm hmm.
Laura: –before I go.
Kayla: Maybe once.
Laura: Maybe once or like 10 times. Something like that.
Kayla: Like 10 times.
Laura: You know, I can be– Yeah, I mean, I’m an emotional person. I feel things very deeply. I’m… quite aware of my emotions and so, as it gets more real, I know that that’s gonna definitely sink in. So, the excitement and the anticipation is gonna ramp up and some of the sadness is gonna ramp up and so I, you know, I might be a, an emotional, just, mush of a person–
Laura: –in the month of January.
Kayla: Just a mush. Just a mush of who I used to be.
Laura: I’ll see what it feels like.
Laura: But I’m so excited. I really am. I’ve genuinely never in my life been this excited for my present and my future.
Laura: And that’s just–
Laura: –freaking awesome. Right?
Kayla: Feels awesome.
Laura: High five.
Kayla: Hell yeah.
Laura: Cool. Anything else that you want to say, Kayla, about Remote Year and what our year next year looks like for you?
Kayla: I just, I’m just over-excited about the entire thing. Like I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that I’m doing this, that I’m doing it with you, that I get to go to all these amazing places that I wouldn’t have made it to. Maybe would have but not this easy. Not this back to back, you know? Um, I’m just thrilled. I, I feel like I, I feel like I’m on the right path. I feel like I’m on the right journey and I’m really excited.
Laura: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for hanging out with me in the sound booth and–
Kayla: Oh. Thank you. I hadn’t been in the sound booth, surprisingly.
Laura: It’s cute, right?
Kayla: I like it in here.
Laura: Melrose Center. It’s awesome.
Kayla: Check it out.
Laura: Check it out.
Kayla: It’s free.
Laura: It is free. Unless you’re late.
Laura: And then you pay five dollars. Oops. We were totally on time today, though.
Kayla: Yeah, no, we killed it.
Laura: Killin’ it.
Kayla: We killed it.
Laura: Nailed it.
Kayla: Nailed it.
Laura: Nailed it.
Cut to Outro music