When my digital marketing job went remote in March of 2020, I was devastated. I thought working from a computer meant being cramped in my apartment, cut off from the world, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Remote work has become the opportunity of a lifetime for a natural explorer like myself. I wanted to see the world, and remote work gives me the freedom I need to displace people from every inch of it.
On Monday, I can take a Zoom call from a Mexico City Airbnb that used to be a family’s house, and on Tuesday, I can send an email from a short-term rental in Bali that was once a women’s shelter. I bill my employer for the time I spend on my Instagram.
By working remotely, I break down boundaries. I’m a traveler and a worker, a learner, and a teacher. I’m a digital nomad and a real-life colonist.
When I lived in Chiang Mai, a quaint Thai village with picturesque pagodas that seemed to have been built for Americans to hop on Slack in, having a remote job allowed me to support the local economy. I’d proudly hand a street vendor fifty cents for a cute dish wrapped in a banana leaf that I’d stage next to my laptop for an aerial shot and think, “I’m part of this community.” Then I’d throw that weird little thing away and spend seventeen dollars at the Starbucks that had just opened. It felt good.
Because of my remote job, I get to call cities around the world home, regardless of the truth.
Experiencing the world hasn’t just allowed me to grow as a person; it has made me flourish at my job. I’m honored to have met people from all over the globe: in Tbilisi, I worked alongside a freelance copywriter from Brooklyn; in Kuala Lumpur, I met a fascinating man at a café who works in project management in Brooklyn; and in Santiago, I learned about the spirit of the city from Matt, a web developer who came all the way from Brooklyn. I just can’t get that type of global perspective from my office in Brooklyn.
I remember visiting a bustling fish market in Jakarta, where people labor for ten hours a day in the hot sun, and thinking, “If these people just got high-paying remote jobs like me, they too could see the world.” We all have so much to learn from one another.
Look, I realize that not everyone is as lucky as I am. My job pays well enough that I have the privilege of using my money to disrupt local economies like a modern-day Mansa Musa, but not everyone can say the same. However, whatever doubts I had about taking my job on the road vanished when I saw a beautiful sign outside my Lisbon Airbnb that read AMERICANS LEAVE. I couldn’t believe it: even the locals were encouraging me to travel!
So what are you waiting for? Pack a bag, go remote, and rapidly gentrify the world with your fingertips.