Remote Year Adventure–Month Three in Lima, Peru

My Latin American adventure continues; the third month on Remote Year ended on a high note after a long slog through difficult group dynamics throughout the month. With a first month of fun onboarding and getting to know each other in Santiago, Chile, and a second month of the group playing well together in Medellin, Colombia, the reality of group travel set in while we lived in Peru, Lima.

In Lima, we lived in the upper middle-class neighborhood of Miraflores. Many apartments overlooked the Pacific, and we could all easily access watery views and sunsetted evenings. Everywhere we went, tourists from around the world interspersed with locals. We could hear many languages everywhere we went.

The Non-Work Work Space

As part of our package with Remote Year, we also had access to a communal work space. Usually, the work space is where the group generally catches up with each other and spontaneously makes plans for impromptu lunches, happy hours, and spikeball games. Sadly, this month’s work space was poorly located and sorely inspiring; the group split into individuals and camped in cafes or their own apartments to work their hours. This is where the group split apart and individuals sought others to join small working clutches. The overall group dynamic took a backseat.

It was a tough month.

Group Dynamics Versus the Individual

Despite Lima’s abundance of things to do and delicious foods which would invite fun adventures, the month felt very individualized. People started realizing that the program would end in two months and perhaps being besties with everyone wasn’t a good long-term goal.

I found that my post from last month about the group’s characteristics isolated me from some yet also garnered cheers from others. I had difficult conversations with a few folks about my characterizations; I once again found myself very impressed by several folk’s ability to articulate professionally on difficult subjects.

Generational Splits

I learned a few more things, too:  generationally, there are certainly different norms regarding the needs and behaviors of belonging. Whereas we all have a need to belong, “youngers” are more willing to accept unique personalities within the group, embracing a “you be you” attitude. Even though “olders” have a better sense of self, they are less forgiving of individualism.

I am learning a lot about ageism and generations while trying hard not to stereotype.

From Gun Rights to Drag Queens

I continue to be surprised by the diversity of the group as well. I’ve had deep conversations with both stern gun-rights advocates and glitter-decorated, drag queen lovers. At the same time, I’ve participated in knowledge shares on privacy and security, motivational planning, and digital marketing. Everyone is willing to share and engage; making this the best benefit of Remote Year.

In addition, where as last month Remote Year, as a company, struggled with managing inappropriate behavior, this month they stepped in and ejected a customer.

For good reason.

I am more positive about the company than ever before.

The Hardest Part of Remote Year

Certainly the hardest part about Remote Year is not the constant travel and change, rather it’s the group dynamics. I find I must balance between information and gossip, group approval and individual happiness. It’s a never-ending teeter-totter of popularity and acceptance on one end and personal gratitude and graciousness on the other.

Who Is Growing?

Remote Year pitches “growth” in its marketing and onboarding, and there is a stereotype that people who “do Remote Year” are running away and trying to find themselves.

Somewhat.

Certainly there are a few folks in the group who are on “finding themselves” journeys. It’s a natural process when you’ve just graduated, been fired, or left a relationship. I have found, though, that the people in my group are seeking growth–not running away–and are finding it through the day-to-day challenges of existing, relying on strangers, and moving from surviving to thriving.

The growth theme didn’t resonate with me while I made the decision to join for a four-month adventure. I had three goals; to become fluent in Spanish, to rebrand my two websites, and to connect with the international walking communities. Yes, of course, these are growth items in relation to my business and personal skill sets. Yet, I didn’t feel a personal growth calling.

After all, my relationship with my husband is fantastic, and my kid’s is super, too. I’m pretty solid in who I am.

I project myself as an independent woman who leads a positive life as a strong role model for her daughter and husband. Yet on my journey, I have learned that the purpose of travel and adventure is to share the experience with someone. Sharing is not a sign of weakness, it’s a characteristic of joy.

And being joyful is about as strong as you can be.

How Will It All End?

As we come into our fourth and final month together, we will taco, tequila and Teotihuacan in Mexico City. While I believe we are all realizing that the 46 of us will not keep in contact with each other forever, there are certainly individuals within the group whom we want to befriend for the long-term. It will be fun in Mexico City to see how this all comes together.

See you in the world.
~Chris