Less than two months into living a digital nomadic lifestyle, and I was able to shatter any remnants of my previous routine. Considering that’s what I came onto Remote Year to do, I’d say it’s pretty effective.
The largest shake up to my routine is that I used to live alone, while now I have 52 co-travelers. While you only live with 1-3 others at a time, you’re basically around each other 24/7. You exercise together, you work near each other, you share meals together, you party and pickup Europeans together, you laugh together, and you get homesick together. You develop crushes on each other and gossipy on who has a crush on who together. You lament about past loves and excitedly plan future side trips together. You even make bets as to how this will all feel at the end of 12 months of doing all this together, together.
As poetic as that all sounds, for someone who lived alone for 3 years and describes herself as an extroverted introvert (short breakdown of what that means here), it can slowly chip away your energy source having so many things happening with so many people.
Being in Amsterdam alone for four days was the perfect reprieve to reset and recharge – my first solo time after 6 weeks on the road with my crazy new “tramily” (travel + family).
The other biggest difference from my life prior to Remote Year and now is a lack of over-dependence in technology. I have a local SIM in my old iPhone 4, but my iPhone 6 is what I primarily use, so if I want access to data, I have to tether the two phones together or be somewhere that provides free wifi. A lot of the time, that’s just too much of a hassle and the company is good. I’m no longer constantly staring at my phone during dinner or on a train, instead I’m engaging in conversation or actually viewing my surroundings. I’m not responding to or even reading emails when I’m at a bar (I was that guilty workaholic in LA), but instead engaged in what I’m actually doing. I imagine this is what life was like in the 50s. It’s nice, you know, actually living.
While Amsterdam was the perfect “reset” button that I needed – having time to be able to reflect and get away from everything – be alone – I was more than ready and excited for my weekend in Berlin with one of my fast friends on the trip, Lisa. Berlin was the chaotic, crazy (claustrophobic at times) contrast to the mellow week prior, and I was ready to dive in head first.
We had a few Berlin native tour guides (friends of friends) who showed us around the city and provided a pretty tailored itinerary that made us feel like natives ourselves – we had a hand-picked guidebook of where to have brunch (go to Café Anna Blume and order the breakfast étagère for 2 people), enjoy an afternoon walk (Museums Island and walk “Unter den Linden” to Brandenburger Gate) and where to party (Watergate, Katerholzig). Between going to clubs and being rejected from clubs (looking at you, Berghain) with some shopping and museum hopping in-between, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much.
Our favorite saying from the weekend came from one of our new German friends, “look and think.” While said in a humorous manner, it really is true that it can apply to anything – if you just look and think about what a facial expression can convey, what a street sign says, what a monument stands for, the world becomes a bit clearer.
After the weekend, we were both exhausted, but richer; richer in experiences, laughter and friendship. Ready to face on the next 10 months of this crazy journey together that wouldn’t be anything like the lives we used to lead.