When Greg Caplan got the itch to travel the world, he started by asking friends to go with him.
“Unfortunately, their schedules didn’t line up,” remembers 26-year-old Caplan, who had just wrapped up a stint working at Groupon and was ready for something different.
So, uninterested in travelling alone, he started a project that would help him live out his dream of travelling and working with friends: Remote Year.
Remote Year is a fascinating concept. It will facilitate 12 months of travel for 100 remote workers and freelancers, who must apply to be included in the program.
Both workers who already have jobs and workers who want jobs that will allow them to work on the road will be considered — Remote Year has connected with over 300 companies who might be interested in employing participants.
Caplan, who is creating Remote Year with the help of two friends building the website and will employ a team of six to guide workers on the trip, explains that people in any occupation will be considered. “I’ve talked to entrepreneurs, lawyers, journalists, even a doctor,” he says.
There will, however, be some age limitations. Caplan aims for all participants to be a little past college, no younger than age 23 (although he says he’ll make exceptions if needed). “This isn’t a study abroad program,” he explains. “These are adults. If they don’t want to do something, they don’t have to.”
The group will leave on June 1, 2015, and visit 12 different locations for one month each, including Dubrovnik, Croatia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Osaka, Japan; Hanoi, Vietnam; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mendoza, Argentina.
The application process begins on December 15, 2014. Caplan says that over 50,000 people have signed up to be notified when the application is live.
While the idea is to earn income while you travel, the program isn’t free. Caplan plans for an as-yet-undetermined down payment of a few thousand dollars, plus $US1,000-$US2,000 a month to cover transportation, accommodations, and some meals.
Caplan believes the long-term structure of the experience will facilitate lasting relationships.
“These people in Remote Year will be selected to be interesting and exciting and people you probably identify with — they understand the lifestyle and are willing to take the same risks as you are,” he says. “There’s a lot of commonality in that.”
Now working in marketing consulting, Caplan has spent the last few months getting accustomed to the remote work he dreamed of. Recently, he’s been in Argentina, Austin, London, New York City, and at home in Chicago coordinating the launch of Remote Year.
“Literally any job that can be done at a desk can be done remotely, and there’s no reason people shouldn’t, because it’s such a better lifestyle,” he says.
“It’s really about this cataclysmic change in culture,” Caplan explains. “Remote Year is saying you don’t have to have a home base. You can live a lifestyle working and travelling your whole life. Three to six months feels like a little time off or an extended break — Remote Year is trying to prove that you could make this a lifestyle.”
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