DISCLAIMER: The following post may be considered offensive or triggering to Remote Year...and that's about it.
After eight weeks as part of the seventh iteration of Remote Year, I've come to the conclusion that only one part of this program is a guarantee: people will complain. Remotes, staff, locals, the cat that lives in my bungalow, everyone complains. We have to. Our complaints are grievances are legitimate. We want more transparency and less PR talk. We want the people around us to be different than they are. We want efficiency. The cat wants all of us to get our shit together, because she hasn't eaten in two hours and life is a tragedy.
I'd say seventy percent of my day to day conversation revolves around someone complaining, which sounds high until you remember that we're paying a lot of money to be here, so we're going to be damn sure it's worth it. It's not that it's all bad — parts of the program are wonderful — but there are institutional issues that can't be ignored. Talking through those feelings are the only way to figure out if continuing with the program is the right move for each person, but it's also a constant circle jerk. At the end of this month, six people — nearly 10% — will have dropped out because of concerns they have with the program, and that number will grow.
It's easy to get lost in all of this complaining and lose sight of all the things I've done or changed in the past eight weeks. It doesn't really matter if the program itself had anything to do with these accomplishments beyond putting me in a situation that allowed for these things to happen. I mean, Remote Year certainly doesn't get credit for turning me into a cat person. I began my journey toward a full blown crazy cat lady all by myself. Remote Year simply put me in cities were I attract cats like fruit flies to an overripe banana.
So, I've decided to compile a list of all of the important things that have happened each month. I need to remind myself that the talking and complaining part of this experience isn't the entire experience. Things are moving in spite of all the fuckery. So, Kuala Lumpur, what did you do for me?
- Confirmed that I never want to live in an apartment complex, ever again, because I've had enough nose to armpit elevator rides home.
- Accidentally learned that cotton headbands are flushable. ProTip: At 3am, turn on the bathroom light.
- Adopted the mentality of "a few great months is better than 12 shitty months." All the side trips!
- Discovered a whole new set of PTSD triggers. Who wants to help me smelt all of the jackhammers, chainsaws, and metal cutters in Southeast Asia?
- Flew to Bali on a whim.
- Quit a job that was bad for me from a beach in Bali, which is the optimal location to say "Fuck it! I quit!"
- Didn't go into immediate financial panic as a result of quitting said job.
- Realized that if I'm not working a job that let's me be myself, then it's just never going to work. Someone please pay me to be awesome.
- Exorcised a ghost in my apartment. You don't have to believe me, but this happened and it's real.
- Rode a pennyfarthing on a rice paddy. Learned what a pennyfarthing is.
- Received a $7000 dry bag and t-shirt.
- Got adopted by two Malaysian grandmothers.
- Became too much space.
- Used my boobs to hold a tiny kitten and began my journey towards a crazy cat lady.
- Went to a shanty restaurant in the middle of nowhere and received a box of kittens along side the actual best coffee of my entire life.
- Learned to look left before crossing the street. I'm ashamed of how long it took me to finally get left all right.
- Two words to save yourself in a third world bathroom: flip flops
- Started writing. Kept writing.