One backpack and a suitcase – that’s what will hold my entire professional and personal life for the next 12 months.
On Saturday, July 30, I board a plane to Lisbon, Portugal with a one-way ticket in my hand. This will be the start of an amazing journey of living, working and connecting with the home improvement industry across the world in 10 countries and 12 cities over the course of a year.
Like most people who hear of this for the first time, you’re probably thinking, “What?!” Let me explain.
Several months ago, I saw an online advertisement from a company called Remote Year. As a company, Remote Year “brings together a community of 75 digital nomads from across the globe to spend a year working, traveling, and exploring 12 cities around the world.” I was immediately intrigued by the idea, and I sent in my application.
Several months later, I was accepted into the program. And like me, the leadership team at the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and Hardware Retailing were excited about the opportunity to explore what’s going on in home improvement retailing in other parts of the world.
With careful consideration and lots of planning, we created a strategy that would allow me to participate in Remote Year starting in August 2016 and continuing through July 2017.
So what, exactly, is your role with NRHA?
For just over two years now, I’ve been employed with the association as member services and communications coordinator. I’m heavily involved in the membership retention and recruitment process, I aid in association marketing efforts and contribute a variety of content to Hardware Retailing magazine and online platforms. I’ve also previously been very hands on with events surrounding NRHA’s Retail Management Certification Program, however my physical absence will limit my involvement for the next year.
During Remote Year I will be continue to fulfill my “typical” job duties mentioned above, but I will also be spending a portion of my time absorbing the world of retailing in new places. In addition to visiting international home improvement retailers and stores, I hope to connect with associations, manufacturers and/or attend events in the countries I visit.
Where are you going?
Among handling logistical details such as living accommodations, work space, travel and activities, Remote Year also sets the itinerary. Here’s where I’m going and when:
- August: Lisbon, Portugal
- September: Rabat, Morocco
- October: Sofia, Bulgaria
- November: Split, Croatia
- December: Prague, Czech Republic
- January: Valencia, Spain
- February: Mexico City, Mexico
- March: Bogotá, Colombia
- April: Medellín, Colombia
- May: Lima, Peru
- June: Córdoba, Argentina
- July: Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you know of any retailing contacts in or near these cities, I’m open to suggestions on where to go and who to see. Shoot me an email.
How can I follow your journey?
I’ll also be blogging personally about working remotely and my unique experiences in each country beyond the retail sphere. Watch for a link in a future blog post!
Ta-ta for now! Stay tuned for retailing lessons from Lisbon, Portugal, in the coming weeks.