March of Patricia Robichaud
Through thick and thin
After months of preparation, time to leave finally came around. Even though I had planned ahead, I wasn’t quite ready for it. I had been lined up to leave my apartment and sell most of my stuff, but it was just so much more work than I had anticipated. Every single thing I possessed had to be shuffled onto the keep, donate or throw away pile. Every cupboard, every drawer, every box was to be emptied. Never again, did I promise myself, never again would I accumulate as much stuff. By the time I finally sat in the car in which I had jammed my last boxes, I was sobbing in relief. I always trust the process, but this time, I really thought I wouldn’t make it!
That final week after I left my apartment was crazy hectic. Drove 1600 km in 5 days, putting in those last visits to my family and three days of work. Needless to say, making it to the airport was a great relief. Finally, after all this stress and planning, it was really happening. I hadn’t been day-dreaming (again) of changing my life, I was embarking on Remote Year, the biggest and craziest adventure of my life. I was calm and ready when I boarded the plane, there was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I belonged right then and there.
The group’s arrival in Croatia was pretty smooth sailing. Our group leaders and the Split local team were waiting for us and, within an hour, whisked us away on buses and to our accommodations. In the next hours, I met my roommate, moved into my apartment, unpacked everything I owned, attended the meet & greet party, and was introduced to more than half the group. The following day, I discovered our coworking space and started work right then and there to try and build up a new routine.
The first few days were hectic and noisy. A big blur of work, lunching out, discovering the neighbourhood, getting acquainted with over 60 new people and taking part in all kinds of social activities. For the introvert I am, it was a challenge and I constantly felt overwhelmed. I had moments of elation and happiness, feeling secure and satisfied that I belonged there, and moments of distress stemming from being constantly busy and surrounded with people, 24 hours a day. When writing an email becomes an overwhelming task, you can safely assume you’ve challenged your boundaries.
The second week, I tried to adjust better. Every one did. The coworking space quietened down as each settled in a work routine. I took moments to myself to escape for a bike ride or a walk. In the workspace, I simply plugged in my headphones and made no eye contact. Getting work done in a coworking space requires a certain amount of discipline as there is always an opportunity to start a discussion and spend hours making plans for future side trips. Luckily, a lot of people on our group must work on a daily basis, and I am thankful for never feeling alone in that regard.
My stay in Split, Croatia, is soon coming to an end. Looking back on this first month, I cannot believe how much I have lived in this short timeframe. I went hiking on the second highest mountain in Croatia, Biokovo. I visited and hiked the largest National Park in Croatia, Plitviče. I visited Zadar to see and listen to its sea organ. I took in the magnificent sight of the impressive waterfalls in Krka National Park. I experienced Drubovnik’s historical Old Town and saw the sites where Game of Thrones was filmed. There were social activities and shared meals every single day. All the while working at least 5 days a week.
As you read these lines, our group is about to hit the reset button, fly to the city of Prague, settle in new apartments with new roommates, share a new coworking space, discover new neighbourhoods and rearrange its bearings to go about everyday tasks as simple as groceries and laundry.
I am excited. And apprehensive of the change. But I trust the process. This is just the second month of twelve, and I believe that by the end, I will be ready to change city every few weeks!
March: Split, Croatia
April: Prague, Czech Republic
May: Lisbon, Portugal
June: Sofia, Bulgaria
July: Belgrade, Serbia
August: Valencia, Spain
September: Buenos Aires, Argentina
October: Córdoba, Argentina
November: Lima, Peru
December: Medellín, Colombia
January: Bogota, Colombia
February: Mexico City, Mexico
Photo by Patricia Robichaud
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