Remote Year Adventure-Month Four in Mexico City

Mexico City welcomed the 46 of us digital nomads to our fourth and final month of our Remote Year adventure. We were thrilled to arrive to another new city, but I think we were all most happy about two things.

We were closer to home and back in North America.

Tacos.

If you’ve been following along, you know the first month in Santiago involved new friends and hopeful futures, our second month in Colombia we settled into our new normals, our third month in Lima brought out the true sides of our personalities, and the fourth month in Mexico City….well…

Coming Together

I’ll start with the workspace. In Lima, we had all scattered to the four corners of Miraflores. In Mexico City, our workspace brought us back together mostly. On the sixth floor of a hip building, we found the outdoor spaces welcoming and engaging. But then the smoggy air and high temperatures set in, sending us out to coveted coffee shops or within our own apartments.

Thankfully, the local Mexico City Experience teams brought forward some fabulous group activities that made folks laugh and hug once again. We worked out with the Lucha Libre team, we sweated in temezcal lodges, we journeyed through markets, we raised a ton of money through a taco-eating challenge, and we came together for a fabulous farewell dinner. Yet despite the camaraderie of the group events, every one of us at some point in the month at least once, if not more, stated, “I’m over it.”

Patience…and Friends

I’ve mentioned all along that the hardest part of this remote traveling adventure has been the group and its dynamics. By the time we finished in Mexico City, we were all clearly aware of who we’d be friends with in the long term and who we wouldn’t. Folks stopped trying to forge new friendships, and they focused strictly on sealing their existing ones. Patience ran short, tempers and misunderstandings ran high.

On the other hand, true friendships solidified. Many Pachamamas, as we were called, made future plans with each other. Some even continued to travel together, others swapped house stays, and even more promised to visit each other around the world. Just because the program was ending, many friendships and a few relationships will continue.

Growing…

Reflecting back on my four months, I grew. I didn’t expect to, and I did. Here’s what I learned.

  • My relationship with my husband is more important than ever. I found that my purpose to travel is to share the experiences. It’s just another sunset, hike, monument, natural wonder–and why do them–until I share. I was feeling very jaded and ungrateful about my opportunity until my husband met me in Panama City halfway through the trip. There, while scrolling through my myriad of photos, I discover the reason and pleasure of travel is to share it with people I love. This sharing has enriched our relationship and festooned us into a new commitment to each other.
  • I picked up some wisdom. Surrounded by folks much younger than me who were experiencing many things for the first time turned me into a listener. I quickly learned that spilling out everything I knew about the things they were enjoying for the first time is off-putting and condescending. So I waited until they asked and carefully let info flow at the pace they wanted to receive it. If I wasn’t asked, I didn’t offer. This was super hard for me.
  • Making friends in gyms is fun. I’ve always been so intimidated in gyms and held ridiculous attitude about people who are fitter or dressed nicer than me. Bouncing around to four different workout scenarios and being completely forced out of my front-row, Zumba dance class comfort zone made me meet and greet others in the gyms. I also think Crossfit Diva and Friendliest Person Ever, Margaret, for being a role model in the gym.
  • I had almost zero control over my life for four months. I didn’t pick my housing. I barely picked my roommates. I never knew where I was going to work. I was always unsure about my internet. I couldn’t find the food I love at home. I didn’t understand most menus despite my Spanish fluency. I got lost everywhere I went. I helplessly had to rely way too much on Google and my phone. I constantly feared getting robbed on the street. I missed my dog. I didn’t know where to buy good shoes or reliable t-shirts. I was the oldest in a group of 46. I had to frequently ask for help from strangers. I never knew where I could pee next.
  • Despite this ongoing lack of control, I didn’t die, get hurt, gain weight, nor miss a flight.
  • I was absolutely privileged and luckier beyond belief to: white water raft the Andes, drink Chilean wine in a vineyard, hike Patagonia, see penguins, touch the largest Virgin Mary statue, eat chocolate ice cream with dried orange rind, hike the jungles of Colombia, climb El Peñol, grind coffee on a plantation, learn the Pablo Escobar story in country, touch a sloth, surf, learn to make arepas and patacones, visit several natural wonders of the world, swat mosquitos, be stretched by luchadores, mediate in a temezcal, see ships in the Panama Canal, and make friends from around the world.

Would I do it again?

Yes…but…I wouldn’t go 5 months (remember, I started off on a month-long cruise before Remote Year started) without my husband. Not because I don’t want to solo travel, which I do, but because I like him too much.

Would I do it with Remote Year?

Yes…but…while in Mexico City, we co-habitated with another Remote Year group on a year’s adventure. Mexico City was their last month, too. I talked with them often about the length and rhythm of their year-long journey. They scoffed at how my group was “ready to leave” at the end of four months–their’s was just getting its beat. They had a larger variety of ages, and they had more men than women.

I learned that each group has its own vibe. You can jump between groups (with some advanced notice). You make your Remote Year. You make your fun. You have to be in charge of your own destiny, and you have to  make changes that fit your needs. Remote Year won’t do it for you.

So, yes, I’d recommend Remote Year. But read all my posts. Send me a note to ask. Being a digital nomad in a group takes a special attitude and willingness to be patient, grow, and accept so many things out of your control. If you can go along to get along, lead your own adventure, have a thick skin, and laugh at the small stuff, this is the trip for you.

Have fun. Post pics. Laugh.

For quick reference:

Remote Year Adventure–Month One Santiago

Remote Year Adventure–Month Two Medellin

Remote Year Adventure–Month Three Lima

Remote Year Adventure–Month Four Mexico City

Living a Month Santiago

Living a Month Medellin

Living a Month Lima

Living a Month Mexico City

~See you in the world

Chris