Lost in translation

When you think your Spanish is proficient enough to master the friendly chat with your doorman or the casual conversation with your Uber driver and figure out in the end that they are just too polite to tell you that what you meant to say is not what you actually said… I’m in Medellín for a little bit over a week now and I’m still lost when it comes to speaking Spanish, not to speak about the Colombian Spanish. But the good thing is that I’m confident that all of this will change soon. Spanish lessons are in full swing and I do make it a habit to have these little conversations on a daily basis, no matter how bad they might me. They are always good for a hearty laugh.

Love at first sight

Other than that, Medellín already stole my heart. It was love at first sight. And I cannot even tell what it is – is it the landscape with its incredible views, the life loving and welcoming attitude of the people here, the somewhat Caribbean vibe on the streets or even the admittedly dark history? Anyways, Medellin is definitely a place I’d like to explore further and even more so Colombia. Next week I’ll have the chance to learn about the coffee culture, get some exercise while practicing Bachata and Salsa, take a day trip to Bogota and Guatapé and hopefully dive even further into Colombia’s past, present and future.

Digitale Nomadin – Traum oder verrücktes Wagnis

Screenshot von der ohfamoos Webseite.

Sonja Ohly und ohfamoos – Voll das gute Leben haben mich zum Thema Remote Work interviewt. Hier der Link zum Interview. (https://www.ohfamoos.com/2019/11/digitale-nomadin-traum-oder-verruecktes-wagnis/)

Digitale Nomaden, New Work, Work-Life Balance. Alles Schlagworte, die in letzter Zeit immer häufiger auftauchen. Aber was steckt wirklich dahinter, was bedeutet es ortsunabhängig zu arbeiten und warum macht man das? Wir haben jemanden getroffen, der genau das ausprobieren möchte. Marion Englert bereitet sich auf ein Leben als Digitaler Nomade oder so genannter Remote Worker vor. Seit ein paar Tagen ist sie in Südamerika. Gemeinsam mit einer Gruppe Berufstätiger wird sie nicht nur die Region erkunden, sondern auch ihrem Beruf nachgehen. Traum oder verrücktes Wagnis?

Trouble in Paradise

Precious moments at Pedra do Arpoador.

What can I say… after South America greeted me with some amazing impressions and a fabulous time in Rio de Janeiro I had an email in my inbox that quite upset me. My trip to Santiago has to be postponed due to the unrest there and my first Remote Year stop will be Medellín in Colombia. While I understand the reasons for the change, it still got me. I was so much looking forward to my stay in Chile. But it is what it is, and Santiago has to wait just a little bit longer.

Anyways, my first impression of South America is a fabulous one. Rio de Janeiro is definitely a must visit spot – and not just for the Carnival. It’s a city of contrast with a beautiful landscape and greenery beyond belief for a place with a population close to seven million (almost 13,5 million including the region). The versatility and the life loving attitude of the people really won my heart.

And hey, despite not speaking a word of Portuguese, I got along. With my basic Spanish and a lot of hand and feet talking it was even fun to navigate my way around the city. I spent hours strolling up and down Rio’s famous beaches Copacabana and Ipanema, enjoyed marvelous views from the mountain tops and of course gazing open mouthed at the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado. Fascinating street art, live bands, bohemian neighborhoods and the general optimistic and somehow carefree vibe of Rio made my stay.

To be continued. I’m already in love with South America.

Altitude issues

Work less, explore more. My work will stay home while I explore Machu Picchu. Image by Adrian Dascal on Unsplash

Did you know that your laptop can get altitude sickness as well? While my treasured computer might not get symptoms that include headaches, vomiting, tiredness, trouble sleeping, and dizziness, it might suffer from the low oxygen supply too.

As I was doing some last-minute preparations ahead of my trip to South America on Monday, I meticulously checked my gear – mainly my portable office, to make sure everything is working just fine. And to my surprise I figured that the maximum operating altitude is 10,000 feet (3048 meters). Being the fussy self that I am, I had to get to the bottom of it and I kept the people at Cupertino busy with my questions what might happen if. They were even grateful that I raised the topic as they were also not aware about it J. But in the end, they could not really tell me what if… Just that they will not guarantee 100% functionality.

Anyways, the wellbeing of my iOS operated travel companion might be a good excuse for me to work less and explore more ;).

Point of no return

Image by Deanna Ritchie

Slowly but surely reality sinks in. Where is the panic button? Only one more week to go and I will officially be “homeless”. Or should I rather say the world will be my home? Anyways, I would lie if I say that everything is fine and that I cannot wait to board the plane. Truth is, that I do feel a bit uneasy. Leaving the comfort zone behind and taking a leap of faith is tough – even for the most adventurous person. I usually do not overthink things, but right now my mind is in shambles. Is this really what I want? Is this the right thing to do? Will this damage my career or will it be a boost? Too many questions. I’m a human being after all. But I believe in faith and destination. And if you know what you want, you have to go on out and get it!

When you plan to go to Chile and end up in Brazil

Airplane
Image by Nils Nedel

Don’t ever leave me in front of a computer to book a flight without supervision. As I was trying to sort my (direct) flight from Dubai to Santiago de Chile – the first stop of my Remote Year adventure – I happened to notice that there is a “technical stop” during the 20-hour long flight. In Rio de Janeiro!

Intrigued by the thought of stopping in Brazil’s famous seaside city – home of the Christ The Redeemer statue, the Copacabana and the Sugar Loaf Mountain – my mind started wandering. I already pictured myself taking images of the famous coastline from atop Mount Corcovado, strolling along Ipanema Beach and checking out Rio’s Lapa and Santa Teresa districts.

Rio de Janeiro
Image by Raphael Nogueira

Usually my favorite airline Emirates offers free stopovers, so I paused the booking process and gave them a call. To my dismay the lady on the other end told me that a stopover in Rio is not possible – we’re not even supposed to leave the plane.

Can you imagine how I felt, imagining sitting on the tarmac in Rio de Janeiro and not having the possibility to explore the world’s second largest city? So, I’ve spent the afternoon searching several flight portals and bingo – with a few twists and turns I was able to get my stopover and are now fortunate enough to spend three days in South America’s Samba capital. Imagine the grin on my face ;).

Samba, Bossa Nova, breathtaking landscape, here I come!

Simplify your life – with a twist

Container
Image by Guillaume Bolduc

I enjoy traveling and I enjoy my work. Now I can combine both, I can live like a local in various countries while working. But and that is new – I do not have a home base anymore. No place to leave precious knick-knacks, books, records and all the other stuff that you deem necessary. Not to speak about the overflowing closet with clothes I never wear or have not worn for months or years.

Having made the decision to work & travel for the next few months (or even longer) there is a point where you have to assess your belongings and make a decision – simplify your life. Believe it or not, for me this was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life so far. To look at every little thing of your possessions and decide to “keep or toss”. For me it was mostly toss or donate. And I cannot recommend this highly enough. It takes so much weight of you – literally and psychologically. First of all, the realization that one tends to collect unnecessary stuff that just takes up space and collects dust and second, the knowledge that what you actually need in life is very little.

My “little” sums up to overall six cardboard boxes safely stored away at my godchild’s place (I might need it one day – or maybe not), a suitcase packed with some of my favorite clothing, toiletries and personal items and a backpack which contains my remote office.

I could not part with my motorcycle

To be completely honest: I also kept my beloved motorcycle – I just could not give it away.  And more importantly, I found some loving temporary home for my two cats.

That by the way was the hardest part of becoming a Digital Nomad or Remote Worker traveling globally. These two monkeys are part of my life for more than a decade and so far, they joined me on my trips. But now that they are seniors, strenuous travel to another continent and a change of place every four weeks is just not fair on them or their wellbeing. Therefore, I’m grateful beyond words that my godchild Sabrina and Franziska, a good friend of mine, are taking on the duty as adoptive mums for my two boys until I’m reunited with them and all of us find a place, we’d like to stay a bit longer.

My boys: Meet Pauli and Barney

If your desire to explore the world is stronger than your roots

Globe
The world is my home. Image by Kyle Glenn

Do you know the feeling when home does not feel like home anymore? After returning back to Germany after 12 years abroad, I just did not feel at ease and comfortable anymore in an environment which should be close to my heart. I felt like a stranger in my own country.

Ironically enough, returning home was what I truly wanted. For two years I was looking for ways to leave my home in Dubai and return to my birthplace, to my family, friends and all the things I thought that I missed while I was abroad… A Leberkäse Semmel for instance 😉

I was wrong.

For someone who has never tasted life outside the comfortable borders of the village, city or country where one grew up this might sound odd. But I’m telling you – it is difficult to return to a place you once knew.

No surprise that I started contemplating to return to my desert home. But a voice deep inside me kept telling me that this might also not feed the yearning I was experiencing ever since I stepped off the plane in my native Bavaria. To make matters worse, from the time I was little, the best thing in life for me was traveling. And IMHO Germany is not the best geographic location to explore the world.

Dubai Skyline
Dubai, my desert home. Image by Nathan John

And this is how the journey started. After a three months coaching session to figure out what I really want in life – professionally and personally – I came to the conclusion that I’m an adventurer by heart and exploring this globe is what I really want. I want to see everything this beautiful planet has to offer and dive into various cultures and learn what makes them tick.

Nice thought – but as I’m not fortunate enough to have endless funds on my bank account the rude awakening came soon. Being an optimist by nature I started digging. There must be a way to make this possible and make a living while on the go! Triggered by a lecture about Digital Nomad life at my local co-working space I soon knew where I’m headed: Remote Work it is.

But wait a minute… isn’t remote work what I’ve done all along in the past few years – as a freelancer, working in my home office or at racetracks around the globe away from my clients? So, the solution for my despair was right in front of me all this time, I just could not put a finger on it.

Crazy, isn’t it? Therefore, I’m taking Remote Work up a notch and work from places I always wanted to explore.

Hello!

This website and blog are based on my latest project. Currently I´m a participant of Remote Year, a group of professionals working remotely while traveling the globe. For the next few months I will be 1 of 26 participants of RY’s community Bolivar.

While working remotely, I will reside in four different cities and travel throughout Latin America. I will get to experience life in Santiago de Chile, Lima/Peru, Medellín/Colombia and Mexico City. Join me on my remote work experience and enjoy exploring!

My home for the next few months.