May 01

Well our stay in Córdoba is officially in the books and we’re now rounding the final turn into Buenos Aires for our last month of Remote Year. Here´s my video recap for the past month:

And here is the month told in photos:

Overall I’ve had a really productive month in Córdoba. Last month was previously my all-time best sales month for Pagely and I just beat it this month. Córdoba is a college town with not a ton of cultural stuff but an active nightlife scene. Highlights of stuff we did this month included:

  • Getting to see my brother
  • Getting to see my Dad win a prestigious award in Phoenix and to have home-cooked meals while home.
  • Getting to speak at PressNomics 5. My talk on remote work below and slides and links here:
  • Learning how to grow miniature aromatic herb gardens in an urban setting then incorporate those in making exotic cocktails.
  • Learning how to make empanadas from scratch at a house in the countryside.
  • Visiting the Umepay commune in the countryside outside of Córdoba and learning how to make vegan beet ice cream (amongst other culinary creations).
  • Leading a “Start With Why” workshop at the Junction event and getting awesome insights from 14 of my fellow Remotes.
  • And my favorite, visiting the Proyecto Caraya monkey sanctuary to gather content before our Charity Makeover event for them last weekend. They had no site prior to last Saturday and 14 of us volunteered an entire day to work together to build them a crowdfunding site and remake their digital presence from scratch. We were also able to implement some basic accounting processes and a CRM system for them to streamline how they recruit volunteers and manage communications with donors and on-premise visitors. Read about how we changed the game for them in a day and watch the video Eddie made for them that tells their story in 1min below:

Work update

Work-wise as I mentioned our small sales & marketing team at Pagely killed it this month. We’re firing on all cylinders with Rod ramping up lead flow, Chad doing qualifying and appointment setting, myself conducting sales calls with prospects and Kirill taking the handoff on new customers to ensure successful onboarding. The big news is that I have approval to recruit someone to replace me in the capacity of sales person so I can move up stack into a VP of Sales role and focus on growing and supporting our sales force while placing more emphasis on refining and expanding the Leviathan automated sales followup AI I created. The prerequisite to this change is me reworking our comp plan to account for everything we’ve learned in v1 and make it support our revenue objective for this year.

Gear recs

As far as gear I’m liking this month, I’ve gotten exceptional value from these items:

  • These in-ear noise-cancelling headphones are awesome. The workspace this month was nice but it was particularly noisey. With these headphones though I’m able to switch from my normal Apple earbuds and it’s like having ear plugs in that also play music.The bass output on these is just fantastic and at $24 for a pair they’re an incredibly good value. It’s nice to know you always have the capability to zone out and work effectively wherever you are despite a noisy environment.
  • This multi tool has come in handy a few times this month. It’s basically a half-sized Leatherman and has everything you might need with a screwdriver, a blade, can opener, leather punch, etc.
  • Simple zip ties actually make great ad hoc luggage locks. I consolidated down to just my hiking pack earlier this month when I was back home in Phoenix but unfortuantely left my luggage lock on the bag I shed. I had brought large zip ties though and these are arguably just as good as a deterrent for keeping would-be thieves from rummaging through your bags while in transit (especially now that all TSA-friendly locks are compromised now that someone uploaded the CAD file to 3D-print the master key).

Music-wise these are some of the songs that will forever remind me of this month:

I don’t know that I’d want to live in Córdoba for an extended period but the visit was entirely worth it just to meet Mayu and be able to run a Charity Makeover to help their monkey sanctuary. When you have a minute hop over to their new site we built and check out the monkeys. For just $5 you can sponsor one of these little guys and feed him/her for a week!

True to the Charity Makeover mission of “teach a person to fish vs. give a person a fish,” part of the goal in this project is to test the concept of a “revolving door Charity Makeover” wherein we leverage the RY flow of talented knowledge workers and pass the baton on what we started to the next Remote Year group. We’ve already intro’d the Meraki’s (group who is following us entering into Córdoba today) program leader to Mayu. We’ve tee’d up an amazing roadmap for them, documented processes and vision and used collaborative tools like Trello, Slack and Google Drive to make it possible to more easily advance the vision we set and build on the foundation we laid. I’m hopeful they will fall in love with Mayu and the project as much as we did and this will become a tradition amongst future RY groups in Córdoba. There are 10 in all coming over the next year – given what we’ve queued up I’m optimistic this could change the game for them in the long-term. If our revolving pilot program with Caraya goes well, Charity Makeover is something I’d be keen to throw myself into full-force once my work for Pagely is done.

Anyways, adios Cordoba, hello Buenos Aires! Can’t believe this crazy year-long adventure is in its final stretch.

Mar 31

It’s that time again as we say goodbye to our current city… here’s my video for Lima:

And here’s the month told in photos:

Some random thoughts on Lima:

  • As I said in the video this wasn’t one of my top cities. It has amazing food and our workspace was probably the best one we’ve had in our ten months on the road but I never felt at home in Lima.
  • Machu Picchu is worth the trip alone however. This is one of (if not the) most magical places I’ve ever been. Eleven of the guys in our group hiked 4 days along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and then some of us climbed to the top of Huayna Picchu. Bucket list item #367- check!
  • The honking in Lima is relentless. It’s funny that some people in our group who were originally from big cities seemed to like it. I guess it’s what you grew up on but it’s what I would call a “vindictive horn culture.” People just lay on their horns out of spite and it really grinds your nerves after awhile.
  • If you do go to Machu Picchu be sure to spend at least 2 days acclimating in Cusco. We came from sea level to 11,550ft and the altitude kicked my ass. I had even lived in Quito, Ecuador previously at 9k’ but the abrupt change was too much. Very humbling.
  • If you don’t do well in humidity you’ll want to make sure you have a fan if you visit. Fortunately our apartments all had fans (none had AC and AC is very rare in Lima). Unfortunately my first apartment had mold and I’m still now kicking the cough I acquired after we moved in.

I was lucky to interviewed and featured this last week on the Remote Year site. In it we talk about the backstory that led me to this program, how it’s worked out with doing my job from the road, gear recommendations, travel hacks and more.

No new gear recs this month. Hard to believe our tribe will be disbanding two months from now… Get fired up for the first Charity Makeover in awhile in Cordoba on Apr 22nd. More details coming soon.

Lastly, here are a handful of songs that will remind me of Lima:

Mar 07

Here’s my video recap of Medellin:

And here is the month told in photographs:

Some random thoughts from this month:

  • Medellin is a fantastic city and is on a short list of places I could/may live after Remote Year.
  • Starting this month I’m no longer trying to dissect what I like/dislike about the places we go. I explain the rationale a bit more in the video but it’s basically for the same reasons Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink argues that it’s actually counterproductive when you seek to analyze vs. go with gut, “thin slicing” on instinctual decisions.
  • Leviathan is a reality for Pagely at last. That was definitely my single biggest work accomplishment this month and in spite of having the worst sales numbers in over a year and a half for Pagely, this will be an incredibly valuable contribution to the company. The video explains more.
  • Starting this month and every remaining month of RY hereafter I’m going to focus on sharing a look at some of the other incredible human beings I’m traveling with. Up this month Nick Fico and Jess S. Strongly encourage you to read both their blogs- incredible people in their own way.

We’re now in Lima, Peru for the month of March and I’m looking forward to ceviche, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu and focusing on getting back into a running routine. I fly back to AZ end of this month for an awards ceremony for my Dad, to speak at Pressnomics and to attend one of my good friend’s weddings. I’ll rejoin the group the 2nd week of April down in Cordoba, Argentina.

Finally, here are a few of the songs from this month that will forever remind me of our time in Medellin. Adios Colombia, I’ll definitely be back.


Jan 28

Here’s my monthly update video as we say goodbye to Bogota, Colombia and make our way to Medellin:

And here is the month told in photographs:

Things that stand out:

  • We had two awesome city managers, Luis and Cata. Can’t say thanks enough for all they did to make us feel welcome in Bogotá.
  • There are so many perros in the city. We lived right next to Parque Virrey and it’s bustling every day with all kinds of dogs. So cool.
  • The altitude is definitely noticeable at 8,600+ feet. I’m sitting now in a taco joint in Medellin which is a substantially lower altitude and I feel like I can breathe again.
  • Colombia is a huge country. I spent the first two weeks of Bogotá traveling all over the country and we only scratched the surface- didn’t realize how huge this country is.
  • I don’t know why they don’t believe in toilet seats. It’s just weird.
  • 8 cities down, 4 more to go… can’t believe we’re 2/3rds the way through this adventure. The regular conversation now is “what are you doing after RY?” and I feel like most of us don’t know the answer at this point. Will be an interesting next few months as plans start to crystalize.
  • I know a couple people this month who were a bit depressed (the term “altitude sadness” was coined by one). While I didn’t personally hit those same blues in Bogotá (Valencia was that way for me) I can certainly respect that some people are starting to hit a wall in month 8. Medellin is a welcome change and I think will inject some literal fresh air in our lungs and reinvigorate some.

Gear shout outs

Three pieces of gear this month merit a shoutout:

  1. I picked up a Michael Kors down puffy jacket at Macy’s in a Christmas sale for $100 and it’s probably my single favorite purchase this past year. It compresses down to about the size of a tennis ball can and is super warm. I treated it with Scotchgard as well as Permetherin before leaving the States so now it’s both waterproof and mosquito proof. Highly recommend it. They have it for the same price on Amazon here.
  2. The Amazon Firestick has been a gem on this trip. It performs the same function of an Apple TV giving you apps like Netflix and Spotify on any TV that supports HDMI but it’s 1/4 the size of an Apple TV and just plugs into the back of the TV. There’s a mobile app you can use as a remote. It’s so nice to be able to throw on background music when you’re working at home or to veg out and watch a Netflix when you’re feeling like a hermit. The voice remote feature is really cool too- you can say “play Miles Davis” and it’ll immediately start playing Miles Davis jazz tunes via Amazon Music… pretty incredible.
  3. TRX. This is a resistance training apparatus that let’s you use your own body weight to perform a number of exercises. It’s been my preferred way to stay in shape this past eight months and while we’ve been doing it all along I came to really appreciate it Bogotá. I normally do it outside but there was quite a bit of rain this month so I started using the attachment that comes with it that allows you to hang it off a door inside. It’s about the size of a softball when stored so it travels really well and is more convenient than finding a gym in each city. The basic kit runs $150 on Amazon.

Tunes

Lastly, the songs below will forever remind me of our time in Bogotá.

Jan 01

This last month flew by. Here’s my monthly update video showing a bit of our living and working arrangement in Mexico City with my commentary:

Here is the month told in photographs:

And here are a few of the songs that will forever remind me of this time period:

We’re now in Bogota, Colombia. Happy New Year and thanks for following along with my travels. If you want to get periodic update emails from me that serve as a recap of the highlights, add yourself below:

Dec 05

Well we just broke the halfway mark of Remote Year having left Valencia, Spain and rounded out month six. Here’s my normal video recap that shows where we lived and worked there:

I was fortunate to get outside of Valencia too this past month and travel around Ireland and to Barcelona. Here is the month told in photos:


Salient things that stand out about this past month:

  • Spain spanish is very different from latin-american spanish. I learned my español in Ecuador so it was a bit of an adjustment to get the Valencian Spanish. They speak very fast and with the “theta” accent.
  • Ham, ham and more ham. Spain must do 5x average pig consumption per capita as we do in the States. Jamon was on every menu (we even went to a restaurant called “Jamon Jamon.”). If you get a chance to try Iberic ham, do it. It’s delicious. Paella too, but be prepared to take a nap after.
  • Valencia was a beautiful, quiet, walkable city with clean streets and nice parks. It was a great R&R stop after Rabat and before diving into the 2nd leg of our journey in Mexico and S. America.
  • Our Ireland trip was the highpoint of the month for me. The Cliffs of Moher were stunning and just driving the countryside was super relaxing. Driving on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right is a mental curveball but such a great experience.
  • Strong month for sales at Pagely and I’m engaged in two efforts now setting up our business intelligence and implementing a marketing automation framework for improved nurture and conversion.

Anyways, I’m headed back to Phoenix to see friends and family over the Christmas break. If you’re in Phoenix the evening after Christmas we’re doing a happy hour. Hit me up if you want to join and I’ll add you to the FB event. Here are some of the songs that will remind me of this month:

cliffs-of-moher

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