#FuckTheWageGap. Ladies Get Paid.

I posted this on Instagram in response to Lauren Hom's call for stories of professional women working for less than they're worth. I'm posting it here for longevity and more info on the contest Lauren is running right now.

Here's my wage gap story.

Before I found Tortuga, I interviewed with an "up and coming" startup (lol) who wanted to hire me because they were having cash flow problems and needed a marketing professional to help with revenue. They sent me an offer for a salary that was $15k below market rate. To make up for the lower salary, I was promised a quarterly "reassessment" based on profit growth.

Here's the thing- I'd done my due diligence. I knew their revenue numbers. If they indeed had cash flow problems, their profits were either nonexistent or minuscule. "Reassessment" was their way of tricking me into accepting less money. I pushed back, of course, and asked for just below market rate (citing sources of what marketing professionals make elsewhere). This group of men (and make no mistake, there were no women at this company) was gobsmacked at my audacity. How dare I negotiate? As soon as I counteroffered, they rescinded. I asked why.

They told me, "negotiating your salary is an aggressive move and shows me you aren't a team player."

Fuck that. Fuck the wage gap. Ladies get paid.

Lauren is collaborating (as in actual collaboration, not using that word to cover up for shitty business practices) with @ladiesgetpaid. They're hosting an Instagram contest that seeks to truly empower women. Here are the deets, straight from Lauren's blog:

I’ve partnered with Ladies Get Paid to run our OWN Instagram contest that truly empowers women. The winner will receive a$500 USD scholarship to get her creative idea/project off the ground, a 1 hour creative consultation with me, and a 1 hour strategy & marketing consultation with Ladies Get Paid founder Claire Wasserman. Here are the details:
1) Post a photo of yourself (because YOU’RE inspiring) holding up a sign with something that someone has said that was offensive and questioned your creative value, like the photos above.
2) Share the story in the caption and then tell us why you value your work and yourself as a creative woman.
3) Use the hashtags: #FollowHerLead #LadiesGetPaid & #fuckthewagegap
4) Tag @ladiesgetpaid @homsweethom and @fabfitfun in the photo

This is what fighting looks like. We will not be silent.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Some follow-up thoughts to my election piece

I just had a great discussion with my dad (a 2-hour phone call - when was the last time I talked to my dad on the phone for 2 hours?) about politics and my last post, and I have some follow-up thoughts.

Some context.

I grew up Christian. I am no longer Christian. To top it off, I have some distaste for religion... which is not an easy sentence for my family to read. To be fair, my genre of distaste is not as broad or as strong as that of friends, but the distaste is there nonetheless.

I am a humanist* (among other things). I do not rely on religion for a set of ethical standards, but instead base my morals on doing good for the wellbeing of others. Humanism also fits with my tendencies to question everything (ahem, remote work and nomadism) so there's that.

* Wikipedia's definition of humanism for the curious: "Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and affirms their ability to improve their lives through the use of reason and ingenuity as opposed to submitting blindly to tradition and authority or sinking into cruelty and brutality."

My ethical landscape is, obviously, at odds with a traditional Christian approach. I am the only one in my family who does not have a Christian approach, traditional or otherwise. On my dad's side, I'm 99% sure I'm the only Democrat.

I'm the black sheep. I've been the black sheep for nearly a decade, ever since I formed opinions in my own right. This is not a phase. This is who I am. I am wholly okay with who I am, and also okay with the fact that my family thinks differently than I do.... on most things. I'm not okay with disagreeing on equality. I'm not okay with anyone defending Trump's hateful words. I'm not okay with the acts of hate happening around the country, and I'm not okay with people ignoring that they're happening. But I'm okay with disagreeing elsewhere - I think it's important to put people before opinion in the vast majority of cases.

Trump has dredged up those exceptions to the "vast majority of cases" and caused people like myself to use our voices instead of staying silent in the name of getting along. For years, I've stayed silent at family gatherings when people talk about abortion and religion and [insert topic here]. I've learned to do so, after I tried to discuss Mohammed at age 15 and evolution at age 22 and ended up in tears on both occasions. I kept my mouth shut after that.

No more. Trump is the last straw. I am no longer silent. And by doing so, I am rocking the boat. I'm making people uncomfortable and "sad for me" and wondering how I've strayed this far, who I really am. I'm the same person - I'm just using my voice. 

And yet I forget my blog, my Twitter feed, etc are a manifestation of the echo chamber.

Liberals are talking a lot about fractured / bruised / uncomfortable / strained family relationships right now. I'm hardly the only one having a hard time. For many of us, having family members who champion Trump (not just conservative family members - there's a difference - I'll get into that below) is a painful experience. Here's a concise view that sums it up nicely:

We're not just sad Hillary lost. We're heartbroken because people we love have told us that the marginalized should stay marginalized. 

I really enjoyed this thread, entitled "a thread for white people considering how to talk to their relatives." Bailey gives a quick refresher on rhetoric (as in the art of persuasion) and how to incorporate pathos, logos, and ethos into a dinner table discussion on, say, gay rights. The entire thread is worth a read if you no longer feel okay about keeping quiet. This is my favorite excerpt:

I'm in it for the long haul. I'm not just an activist now - I will continue the fight for human rights and the discussions that lead toward progress. I will use my voice and I will do my best to cull the emotions that arise with crossed morals and be effective with my rhetoric. Per my last post, that's fucking difficult.

Anyway, the "echo chamber" piece of this:

I didn't realize that only liberals were talking about strained family relationships. I've seen so many tweets, read Medium posts, read the comments on the NYT's post, had countless one-on-one chats about it. In my world, everyone's talking about it. Everyone's throwing in an anecdote.

And yet it legitimately didn't occur to me that the discussion was only happening on the left. Of course, it should have occurred to me, because obviously it should have, but it didn't - because I was still just talking to liberals. Some more moderate lefties, some extremely liberal, but... all socially blue as they come.

Until my (conservative, but non-Trump-voting) Dad and I had a very good discussion about it.

The point of my last piece was to say to fellow liberals, let's slow down and take a different approach to progress. Per Bailey's point (again, see linked thread, it's really good), we cannot just throw facts and stand on our morals and expect to be understood or agreed with. We have to cool it on the outrage, stop taking the Ann Coulter bait (deep breaths, I know, guys), if we want to continue progressing as a society. I wrote that post to show the struggle between wanting to slow down and listen and not knowing how to stop being furious. It's hard. It's really hard. I tried to show the warring sides in my own mind via the language of my previous post.

That's exactly how fellow lefties read my post.

I got lots of messages, emails, and texts from readers who related to what I said. I'm glad I could be an inspiration for others to broaden the information we consume (other than just ultra liberal, highbrow think pieces #guilty) and seek to understand, to engage, without compromising our morals.

If you've consumed similar information and read the same thinkpieces and Twitter threads and have the same media context, you'll read my words as I intended. Overwhelmingly, the responses to my post showed that most of my readers think like I do. Not a surprise there. Echo. Echo. Echo.

If you're a conservative, though?

Yeah - that's not at all how my last post will come across.

I was seen as self-indulgent for writing about my IUD. To many, that's a subject only discussed behind closed doors. To talk about it in a public form is a cry for attention. Of course that's not what I'm after - I pretty much despise being the center of attention. I talk about IUDs because access to reproductive health is important to me. I won't stop fighting for access to birth control, while simultaneously recognizing that I am privileged enough to access it no matter what laws this administration passes. I won't stop talking about reproductive health, either, because I believe in normalizing the conversation and stopping the taboo. In fact, I don't feel ethically okay with not talking about it.

I was seen as childish for writing about strained family relationships. I didn't do it lightly - it's a moment of honesty, and one that I think needs to be told. I believe in the power of the personal narrative and raw, honest, emotional moments. Not the entire context, because there is a line, but I will talk about familial pain in a public forum when that pain relates to public issues. I believe that it's important and that the personal impact of political rhetoric is not sacred.

Here's the thing - I'm not just airing dirty laundry online. I'm not sure that some right-wing people understand how deeply our morals are shaken by Trump's election. We are deeply disturbed, fearful, and heartbroken.

Truth be told, I know that the vast majority of my family members voted for Trump. I also know (and when I don't know, I believe) that many did so begrudgingly, without making excuses for Trump's misogyny. They voted for other reasons. I know, fellow liberals, it's nearly impossible for us to get past our morals to see how someone who is not a horrible human could vote for Trump.

But that's my point from my last piece. We see Trump as a moral problem, and so did some of his voters. But not all voters see the act of voting as a moral act. I'm not sure I worded that well. Does that make sense? Am I super-off base here, Dad? Is that what you were getting at?

I also know that some voters glossed over Trump's hate-mongering, deciding it was a trivial matter. There's a difference between those two voters. Both bring me pain - but the former is the bouncing-off point for discussion, like the one I had with my dad tonight. We disagree on so many things (almost everything political, really) but we can still have a fascinating, enjoyable discussion. All I need is to hear that a conservative is disgusted by Trump's words. That's all I need. If we agree that his misogyny and racism are unacceptable, we're good. Let's talk about the economy.

However. When a person decides that Trump is someone worth cheering for, rather than voting for with a fair amount of disgust, that feels like a betrayal as a woman and as a champion for the marginalized (at least I hope I'm a champion for the marginalized - that's what I want to be). As soon as a conservative makes excuses for "grab them by the pussy," or fails to acknowledge the problematic vernacular, etc, we have a major problem.

When I wrote my previous post, that "major problem" manifested as pain and heartbreak.

Tonight, it's fury. Still pain, though, because isn't anger just corrupted pain?


There are probably typos in this piece because I'm sleepy. Typos do not diminish my intelligence. I'll fix them tomorrow with fresh eyes.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Now, some thoughts about the election


Okay. So that happened. Trump is President-Elect. The nausea and sadness and anxiety have abated enough to think rationally. Here are some of those rational thoughts... even if they're a bit disjointed.

"Stay and fight" or GTFO?

Nomads are talking about staying abroad until Trump is out. Wannabe nomads have a final reason to pack up and leave, come January. Okay look. I'm in so many minds about this.

On the one hand, traveling more often sounds great right now. I get it. I remember living in London and feeling closer to Brexit than to the insane nastiness happening in my home state's politics. How refreshing it would be to care more about, I dunno, Sweden's politics, than Trump. 

But then again... it's been nice to feel proud to be an American abroad. To speak about the Obamas with a grin, feel good about my country. The world hates Donald Trump. Europe is laughing at us, and behind their laughter, they're grossed out by the smarminess. Wherever I go, I'll now be apologizing for the antics of my peers. My pride will vanish every time I'm mocked for representing things I despise, just because of my accent. I don't want to apologize. I want to be proud.

And, life in America is about to get a whole lot harder for a whole lot of people.

Not for me, perhaps. I'm respected and successful in my career. Our CEO, my boss, is as feminist as they come. I don't have to worry about 77 cents to the dollar or my voice being heard at Tortuga, no matter who is president.

Feminist CEO in his natural habitat. #HeforShe. It matters. Thank you, Fred, and every other man who fights with women.

Feminist CEO in his natural habitat. #HeforShe. It matters. Thank you, Fred, and every other man who fights with women.

Societally, too. Jeff and I are a white, heterosexual, cisgender, affluent couple. If anything, our taxes may go down during Trump's administration. Neither of us will lose our health insurance. My IUD may no longer be covered, but I can afford it out-of-pocket without feeling the financial sting. If that IUD fails, I can afford to fly to Canada and pay for an abortion. We aren't planning to have kids, so we won't fear for their future and climate change therefore impacts our family less. So, my day-to-day life probably won't change much.

But others' will. And that matters to me.

So stay and fight? Stay in NYC and, what... talk to fellow liberals? In the echo chamber? Because goodness knows I'm not moving to Ohio or Iowa or Michigan or any other Midwestern swing state.

I'm not saying I have no voice and that I can be of no help in NYC. Of course I can. But then again....

The urban & rural divide contributed to this

Trump's win is sobering to city people like me. I've been in the urban, liberal bubble my entire life. I've never lived in a rural place, and likely never will. 

And, here's an honesty moment: city people, myself included, think our way of life is superior. We hardly hide it.

We are more educated, so we think our opinions count for more. We go to fancy schools and eat artisan foods we can't pronounce and travel to exotic places and truly believe it makes us better quality people. We scoff at those who vacation in their home state (the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page) and eat processed food. We dislike religion and question tradition. We're snobs, and we aren't shy about it.

The snobbery comes to head in micromoments, not just elections. My mom belongs to the other side, and my mom thinks I'm aloof. We got in a big fight about it over the summer. I am kind of aloof, I guess. We all are, as city people, where social conservatism is concerned. My mother thinks it's a sign of selfishness and something to be ashamed of. 

Here's the part that I don't love admitting: 90% of the time, I'm okay with being aloof. I don't mind being seen as a snob. I'd rather feel superior and act dismissive than validate an alt-right argument with a response, because I don't think that argument deserves a response. I don't love admitting my aloofness, but I'm not exactly ashamed, either. My feelings of superiority are rooted in deep morals, as strange as that may sound to someone who disagrees. Like my mother.

Which brings me to another holier-than-thou aspect. Rural conservatives look at us cheering at pride parades and tweeting #BlackLivesMatter and calling out slut shamers and think we have no ethical standards.

My friend and I at London Pride. I love Pride parades. They feel like the epitome of freedom and progress.

My friend and I at London Pride. I love Pride parades. They feel like the epitome of freedom and progress.

They couldn't be more wrong. Ethics and morals are dear to us. We fight for them - HARD. In fact, we think our morals more correct than those of the rural Christian right. 

That last part is important.

We think we're more correct, so we dismiss and we ridicule instead of engaging in a constructive way.

I don't engage in a constructive way. Us liberals don't, as a whole. (Yeah, conservatives don't either, but they aren't the ones signing up for therapy because their candidate lost. Like me. I'm doing that.)

We believe that our ethics are indisputable facts and that challengers do not deserve to be acknowledged. We believe that positions against gay marriage or the right to choose or women's equality are sins against humanity committed by heartless, selfish, vitriolic animals.

Of course I still believe I'm more correct, that my morals are better than those of a conservative Southern Baptist, but... 

Trump's win shows that we have to stop dismissing the other side.

Dismissiveness hinders our agenda. If we want progress, we have to stop treating the other argument as animalistic.

I don't know how. My heart breaks for the marginalized when the alt-right starts to speak and when moderate conservatives make excuses for their words. I don't want to acknowledge a racist point of view. I can't quell the fury when someone argues against feminism, when someone calls a sexually liberated woman a slut, when internet trolls rally around "grab them by the pussy" and force badass women to defend their basic humanity. 

But... there's more to the story than our moral outrage.

Cracked has covered this really well. Go read the below article. Please. It's very good.

Equal parts sobering and fascinating, right?

There's also this:


Yes. They should be. And probably a lot of them won't. Just like a lot of liberals won't deign to listen to someone who makes fun of feminists. But we won't get this started playing a game of "I'm not listening" chicken.

The best way to be heard is to listen first, right?


I mean, I'm really asking at this point. Because I'm so upset that racist and misogynistic vernacular are 'okay' enough to be used by a President.

How can we be heard? How can we change what is seen as okay to really absolutely not okay? How can I explain to my mother that her vote for Trump tells me that she thinks my sexual assault is invalid because the dude always wins, that my voice as a woman matters less than any man's, that when I married a Muslim her peers think I consorted with the enemy? That none of that is okay? That the extent of the SONOTOKAY means that I can't bring myself to talk to her, can't look her in the face right now, because her vote feels like a deep and painful betrayal? Because her morals are so contradictory to my own?

Which brings me to some thoughts I have about religious teachings. Specifically rural Christian schools of thought.

Mommy issues and religion - we're getting real-real here, huh.

Religious teachings about right & wrong need better explanations than "because god said so."

Hey so here's a problem I don't know how to fix.

Take Joe. He's from rural Trump country. All his life, he's been taught that all of the below are seen as equally terrible sins:

  • Sexual assault
  • Adultery
  • Homosexuality
  • Atheism

They're all sins. God said so. Joe knows that atheists make god cry. So do adulterers. This is not a matter of opinion; to Joe, it's indisputable fact.

And on the other side you have Alan, married to Mike. Alan is a liberal, homosexual, polyamorous atheist. Not exactly unheard of in a place like Manhattan. To liberals, "homosexual, polyamorous atheist" are just descriptors. They're things that fall under our umbrella of "freedom" and that we will fight like hell to protect.

In Joe's mind, Alan has committed three indisputable moral transgressions and society celebrates him for it.

So, Joe wonders, why does society condemn sexual assault? Isn't it the same?

Of course it isn't the fucking same you horrible moron, we think. But saying it out loud doesn't change Joe's mind. It only confirms his idea that we're sinners.

So how do we educate? How do we shape the conversation? How do we show that sexual assault is wrong because it harms another human without consent and polyamory isn't because it's a choice between consenting adults

I don't have a source to link to here, other than my own experience. I truthfully don't have much optimism, either. I'm so frustrated with religion and with teachings that harm individuals and pollute society. I don't know what to do. But it's a problem, and dismissing Joe et al doesn't solve it.


That's all I got for now. 

A sad sign-off.

A sad sign-off.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

This is not a think piece about the election

Because I'm not ready to fight yet. I'm still anxious, nauseated, sad, hurt, betrayed, scared, and in shock. Anger comes next. When I get angry, when I find fire after the pain, I'll fight with words.

For now, this is a list of gratitudes on a horrible day.

Fall Colors

NYC is in full form. It's beautiful. I've strolled through Riverside Park (which is on the street where I live) almost every day to admire the view. Today, I walked through Central Park to a brand new coworking space on the UES. Everywhere I look, there's yellow and orange and a few burgundies, shifting to brown. It's centering.


I'm sitting next to the radiator in my coworking space. The heat is slowly permeating my body, relaxing my tense shoulders and scrunched forehead. It's comforting and peaceful.

Remote Work

I can go anywhere, at any time. I couldn't stand to be alone this morning, so I decided to forgo the home office for a coworking space. Later this afternoon, I'll go back home and wallow. Maybe I'll get my nails done, or go to yoga - something for self care. I'll finish my to do list this evening. I've never been more grateful for freedom and flexibility.

Psychological Safety

I have psychological safety in love and in work and in friendship and it's beautiful. Never again will I sacrifice psychological safety in the pillars of my life, when I can help it. 


I'm grateful that I can make beautiful tapestries with my hands. I'm glad to have a catharsis to ease my anxiety and an outlet in which to channel my creativity. I'm grateful to feel like I'm good at something other than my job.

Great Food

Tomorrow, I'm meeting one of Tortuga's co-founders at the new Russ & Daughters Cafe. This weekend, Jeff and I will inevitably stumble upon another one of NYC's gems. Living in one of the best food cities in the world is such a pleasure. I'm grateful to have a world of cuisine just outside my door.



Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Things that I bought that I love

Note: title is hardly original. It's an ode to Mindy Kaling's former blog, circa the mid-aughts. RIP, Mindy's former blog.

I've purchased a few all-star things lately that deserve a little internet love, so that's what I'm doing. Giving them internet love. Most of these are clothes because, as previously mentioned, using a capsule wardrobe was the bane of my existence.


Girlfriend Collective leggings

These are the softest leggings that have ever been on my person and I never want to take them off. Right now they're giving these away for the cost of shipping. Take advantage of Girlfriend Collective's marketing strategy. They're wonderful.

Denman Hair brush

It's not Mason Pearson. It's also not a gajillion dollars. I can't tell the difference between how my hair looks after brushing it with my $15 Denman versus my fairy godsister's fancy Mason Pearson. This brush gives me Veronica Lake hair and I'm into it. 

Thanks for making my hair look perfect in pictures, Denman hair brush, xoxo

Thanks for making my hair look perfect in pictures, Denman hair brush, xoxo



Vince tee

I'm starting to like the Vince / Everlane style more and more these days. But with punchy lipsticks. The goal is to add a little vibrance to the modernized 90's tomboy aesthetic, you know? I'd say half of my current looks are Vince-y, half Free People. 

That's on the days where I leave the house, to be clear. Because my Vince tee is a super-soft long-sleeve that I shamelessly wear with the aforementioned leggings and cashmere socks. At 10am on a Tuesday. Oh, sorry, you don't think that's appropriate workwear? I'm so sorry for you.

JCrew Merino Cardigans

My coworkers have convinced me that Merino is a magical fabric that somehow keeps you warm and also keeps you cool and doesn't stink and holds up forever and ever. I bought this JCrew cardigan in two colors (black and golden yellow) as part of my daily "uniform" and... I get the hype. Merino is amazing. Also these cardigans have gold buttons and make me feel very East Coast Cool Girl. See, sometimes I dress like a fully functioning human.

Milk Makeup Highlighter

This highlighter makes me look awake and glow-y, even when I'm most assuredly not. 

I love that it's a solid stick (travel-friendly!) that you just smear directly on your skin. It barely needs blending (lazy-girl-friendly!). In fact it's so blendable that I'm considering getting their bronzer, too. Contour is hard and I need something less intimidating than Lauren's scary Smashbox sticks. I do not have your makeup prowess, Lo. 

Tortuga Outbreaker

Okay. I didn't buy this. I got a production sample (#workperks). And I'm admittedly biased... but damn, this bag is great. We've worked on the Outbreaker for a long time and I'm so happy it's out in the real world.


Sometimes stuff is suffocating. On the other hand, having talismans tied to your taste and identity is helpful. My life doesn't have to fit in a backpack anymore. And for me... acquiring a few extra things feels awesome right now. 

It's just a collection of stuff... but that stuff makes me feel like me again. 

Note: none of these are affiliate links primarily because I'm too lazy to set up an affiliate account but probably will at some point and none of that impacts my recommendations and yes this run-on sentence is laughably long.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Salt in an open wound

 You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire* for a little while. She'll be at the funeral.


My emotions are buffering, unsure of whether to manifest as full-blown heartbreak or peaceful closure or something in between.


I'm really sorry if that hurts you in any way. I have an inkling of how it might feel.


K. Done buffering. It's somewhere in between. 


I can't decide if knowing- even liking- the girl he chose after me makes it easier or harder. I guess it's both.


You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire...


Easier because I understand why he chose her. I get why they're a good match. I can picture them, happy, in my mind. I can see why she's a better fit than I ever was. Easier because I fit with Jeff in the same way. Easier because I feel at peace, knowing we're both happy.


You should know that I've been in a relationship...


Easier because I know that she's a good person. She was always kind to me, and I doubt that'll change. And, as sheepish as I feel admitting it, easier because she's a known entity. No dramatic surprises.


You should know that I've been in a relationship...


Harder because I always felt a touch inadequate next to Claire. She's cool - when I knew her, I thought she was cooler than me, prettier than me, more likeable. He chose her, and that exacerbates the inadequacy. Harder because I like her. Harder because we were friendly. Harder because she knew him almost as well as I did when we were married. 


Harder because I always wondered if part of him left me for her.


You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire for a little while.


He says he didn't. I believe that he didn't, not directly, not consciously. 


And anyway, that doesn't matter.


You should know that...


I didn't WANT to know. I didn't want to know if he chose anyone at all, much less who.


You should know that I've been in a relationship...


I especially didn't want to feel like a martyr to divorce while burying our friend. I want to be a supportive person for Dustin's people, not the pathetic washed up ex-wife who can only think about herself at her friend's funeral.


You should know...


Of course, that's not really true. Dustin's smile pops into my head far more often than thoughts of my ex's new love.


I'm not that selfish. But I do need to acknowledge this pain. 


You should know that I've been in a relationship...


And I'm not washed up. As my best friend says, I'm winning life. I just want to feel that way.


You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire for a little while.


I wonder why he said "a little while." I guess to downplay it, to assure me that he didn't cheat.


You should know that I've been in a relationship...


I'm remembering a night in downtown Raleigh, the first time I saw Claire dressed to the nines. I remember being taken aback by how beautiful she was.


You should know...


I'm remembering the cabin trip in the blue ridge mountains. He made me apologize to Claire, because I was raucous the night before. He thought it was undignified, inappropriate. I thought I was feeding on the energy of the group. He scolded me, stole my fire, and looked on with a stern expression as I apologized to her. She's never raucous. Claire was very confused by my apology. You were funny, she assured me, not inappropriate.  My ex didn't agree.


You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire for a little while.


I remember a snapchat she posted after a haircut. Why do I remember that?


I remember her voice, her smile, her quiet energy. 


They really are a good match.


But I don't want to remember. I want to look forward. I want the past to stay in the past.


It never really does, does it?


Distance, total separation- those help with building a new life. They helped me sprint towards happiness without looking back.


Until a greater tragedy forces me back and I'm hit with demons I refused to face while I was running.


The pain of you should know that I've been in a relationship... would sting at the best of times.


Today, as I'm flying to Charlotte to bury a dear friend, it's salt in an ugly, open wound.


You should know that I've been in a relationship with Claire...


A constant earworm, in wakefulness and in restless sleep.


If my thoughts aren't flooded with an image of Dustin's smile, they're interrupted by my ex-husband's words.


You should know...




I shouldn't know.


But I do, and here we are. 


 * name changed for anonymity.


In moments of trauma, I'm struck by how normalcy just... keeps happening.

I'm sitting in shock.

My whole world has changed in a single moment.

I don't know what to do with my hands. I don't know what to do, period. I open Twitter, because my brain is scrambling and.. I don't know why I open Twitter, maybe I need to feel normal. Messing with my phone feels normal.

My timeline hasn't changed. Everyone's talking about the same things that encapsule this morning's zeitgeist. Life is happening, all around me. Everything is normal.

But it isn't.

Of course it isn't.

One of my best friends from college is dead.

I have to remind myself to use the past tense. He was. Not is. 

Dustin was like family. He was dear to me... but this isn't about me. He was a genuine, hilarious, loving person. He was one of my favorite people to cook for, to spend an afternoon with, to laugh with on a tennis court, to meet at our favorite Salvadorian restaurant.

I can hear his chuckle in my head. I can see his smile.

He's gone. I can't believe he's gone.

Of course death begets nostalgia. Here are a few of my favorite Dustin memories. Moments of joy. 

The Ventriloquist

First, the funny anecdote. Dustin created music. He was great at it. One day, in 2013 I think, we sat in my living room talking about his music. Dustin mentioned that he wanted a sort of persona for his music - and he landed on "ventriloquist." You know, he said, like the puppets on strings. We asked if he meant "marionette." He did. We laughed about it for hours. I'll never forget the look on his face when he realized his mistake. 


When my ex left, Dustin didn't take sides. He was family to both of us. Dustin made a point to text me - often. He'd invite me over for a game of tennis. That was our thing. We were both horrible at tennis, but damn if we didn't have fun. Those afternoons meant the world to me. 

"I just want you to know: if I were a lot better at tennis, I'd be whooping you right know." -- Dustin

"I just want you to know: if I were a lot better at tennis, I'd be whooping you right know." -- Dustin


Dustin lived with me on two separate occasions - once when he needed a free place to stay during an unpaid internship, once while job hunting after college. During the second occaion, Bioshock infinite was released. My ex-husband bought it, left it on the table, and went to work. We got home to find Dustin playing my ex's brand new Bioshock. When he heard the door, he frantically turned it off and looked at us, sheepishly, like a teenage boy caught watching porn. It was hilarious. Of course my ex didn't care that Dustin played his video game. 


Dustin had a distinctive laugh. A quiet chuckle, but so emotive in his face. Dustin loved playing footsie with my dog. She'd pounce on his feet and gnaw on his toes. Dustin's face was pure delight, that silent laugh evident in his features. That's how I want to remember him.


Love you, Dusty. You were sunshine in my life. I miss you already.

Career soulmates

We watched the sunset in Lisbon from a secret bar on top of a parking garage.

I sipped an Aperol spritz, my go-to drink when I'm in Europe. Jenn clinked her cider with my glass- "it was two fifty! And this is the expensive bar!" Garrett appeared out of nowhere and asked "a-which-a-porto" (in an accent meant to be Portuguese, but more Italian in execution) he should order, seco or tawny? 

The view was incredible, and our whole team was in good spirits. I was on cloud nine.

Lauren snapped a picture of Patrick and me. 

Immediately before, I was dancing like a goofball, trying to make him laugh. I love messing with people - particularly Patrick. 

Warning: I'm about to sound a bit vain.

Lauren posted the pictures, and I couldn't help but look at my face in wonder. I look so happy. My laugh is real. My smile exudes joy - it isn't a contrived, "photography" smile. It's real. It's what I look like when I'm too happy to care about anything else.

Happy enough to dance like an idiot in a bar full of polished people, even.

Attractiveness is irrelevant. That's not my "good side." But who cares - these shots capture a moment of friendship and shared laughter. They aren't a show of beauty. They're a snapshot of joy, on my face, and on Patrick's. Lauren's, too, behind the camera.

I can't remember the last time I looked this happy. The last time I WAS this happy. I'm not sure I ever have been.

Wow, does that feel good. 

There's a reason for that. My life has been nothing but turbulence for years. Only saved from being defined by pain because stubborn optimism won.

But now... everything has fallen into place. The dust has settled, and left something beautiful.

  • Jeff - a loving, healthy, sustainable partnership.
  • Friendship - plentiful and invaluable.
  • NYC - a pleasant surprise.
  • Career - more fulfilling than I could imagine.

I've always been a career girl.

I'm also a partnership person, in love and in friendship. I live for deep, real, human connection. I don't do shallow - I don't think I CAN do shallow.

Those two realities - driven in career and only concerned with genuine connection - can butt heads.

The workplace isn't where you break down into tears about your divorce. It isn't where you share intimate details of personal lives. It isn't where you talk politics or swap financial advice. It isn't a place of psychological safety.

It's a place where your facade is carefully crafted and your skin is required to be thick.

Unless that workplace is like Tortuga.

We call those workplaces "on your terms" companies. Of course we do - it's our tagline, our mission. 

I knew that our team shared a philosophy. I knew that Fred, our CEO, makes psychological safety an intentional priority.

I should have extrapolated the obvious - that our team wouldn't just be a group of coworkers. That we'd grow into a certain genre of soulmates.

And we are. We make each other better. I work hard - for them. Not for me. For my career soulmates, my partners in the "on your terms" mission. My tribe. 

When Angela talks about why customer service IS marketing, I'm reminded of why I can trust her with anything. She gets it - and she's fired up about our mission.

When Lauren writes about each of us, showing her unique level of kindness, I ugly-cry with gratitude. I don't know anyone who loves as hard as Lauren.

When you smile, Lo, the world smiles with you.

When you smile, Lo, the world smiles with you.

When Patrick laughs at my antics, I breathe easy - the biggest shame I could imagine would be to see disappointment in his (or any Tortuganaut's) face. I never want to let him down.

When Garrett and I debate about "being the best" - my soul lights on fire. He is the best. I'm constantly motivated to match his level of excellency. 

Garrett also don't give a fuuuuuu-

Garrett also don't give a fuuuuuu-

When Jenn's words cascade so easily and with unparalleled poignancy on a Skype call, I am reminded of wisdom itself.

When Fred calmly explains his vision for world domination, I am humbled. I came to work for Tortuga because I wanted to learn from brilliant people. Fred reminds me of that with his quiet authority, every time he speaks. He doesn't ask for authority - he earns it.

"Everything the light touches..."

"Everything the light touches..."

When Jeremy comes in to poke holes in everything, I sit back and listen. He always sees a project through a different lens, and usually catches something that I don't. 

When Giulia laughs about having to shout at people in 6 (or 10, or something absurd, I've lost count) languages, I can only admire her flawless execution of no-bullshit. I don't have that skill. Hers is formidable. 

Damn, did I win the career lottery. 

Is this bond scalable? I don't know. But it's here now. Today, deep human connection and career drive are synonymous.

I work with soulmates. I don't want to work another way. Not anymore.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

On coming home

This year, home has been a fluid concept.

I wasn't always convinced that "home" existed for me. I didn't own furniture. My art wasn't lovingly hung on any walls, there were no touches of Taylor in a space, and I didn't have that blissful pang of nostalgia for any place or any room. My parents divorced when I was a teen, so goodness knows neither of their houses feel like home. 

Each space I inhabited abroad, whether it was our pretty studio in Buenos Aires or our eensie weensie flat with the great view in London, was temporary. I'd unpack my capsule wardrobe (that I grew to despise on a visceral level) and try to add my own little touches to the place I didn't choose.

It was never mine. It was never home.

Gorgeous. Loved it. Still not home.

Gorgeous. Loved it. Still not home.

And yet, I never pined for Durham. I felt homesick for familiarity and for health, but never for place.

I didn't miss Durham because I needed to leave, I think. I needed to find myself, fully knowing how vomit-inducing that sounds. I needed that insufferable millennial eat-pray-love shit. And so, even through the hard, I didn't miss my home.

In fact, I didn't realize how strong the power of "home" is.

Because I've always thought of "home" as a specific building.

In childhood, it was the cute little ranch on Ridgefield Road. Dean Smith's first house in Chapel Hill, and also mine. Last time I drove past it, two years ago, the mailbox hadn't changed. My mom painted that mailbox in the style of Mary Englebright in 1999. Mom's purple flowers, framing the carefully painted street number, reign on.

Later, after my parents divorced, it was the crappy run-down glorified shack that Dad and I shared on Carol St. Man, that was a completely terrible house, and man, I loved living there with my pops. 

After college, it was the pretty townhouse on Grapevine Trail, covered in vines. I'd always wanted to live in a house covered in vines. My then-husband and I put our hearts into the townhouse on Grapevine and made it ours. It was full of love and full of memories. Walking into the front door would fill me with a huge sense of belonging, of comfort. Until he left, and the building's spell was broken.

That's when home stopped being a building.

That's when I started floundering.

That's when it was clear that I had to leave Durham.

When deep roots are unceremoniously hacked apart, what else can you do? I tried to stay, to rebuild in the same place. And then I found I couldn't, and I left in the biggest way possible. I tried to rebuild around the world.

Neither worked.

Both taught me a lot.

First: that home isn't fluid, not really, not for me. I can't feel at home everywhere. I'm not sure I can feel at home anywhere that isn't Durham, actually. 

"Not sure" being the operative phrase. Perhaps I haven't stayed in a place long enough to try. Granted, I haven't liked a place enough to stay and give it a real shot. I'm trying with New York. I'm giving New York a real shot.

I kind of hate New York. I also might kind of like New York. Shit, I don't know. But I'm giving it a real shot. 

I have no idea if it'll work. Right now, I project that I'll grow to enjoy living in New York, but that Manhattan will never be part of my identity. It won't feel like home. 

Second: home isn't a building. It's not an apartment with my carefully curated art. It's not the smells of my go-to dishes, pouring from the stove. It's not the bedroom with layered textures or the reading corner with a yellow chair and paper lantern. 

It's an entire city.

It's the touch of grit that comes with a city built from tobacco warehouses. It's the slight hint of a southern accent that might be rare, but doesn't catch you off guard. It's the smiles that are given easily, to stranger or friend. It's the open highway and the mountains and the ocean and even the girls in their Lily Pulitzer and Wayfarers and Jack Rogers, sporting looks you couldn't pay me to wear. 

It's the damn forest that is our entire region, evident to all who fly into RDU. There are so many trees here, visitors say. Yes, we say proudly, yes there are.

Maybe it's familiarity. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's "roots." 

Whatever it is, it's home. Durham is home. That, perhaps, should be obvious, but it took flying around the world for me to realize the significance.

I love Durham more than I can say.

But I can't live in Durham. It's like a breakup that I'm not quite over. For my sanity, for my own personal growth, I can't live here. Not right now.

Remote Year is problematic, but I signed up for a reason.

I didn't sign up for easy, and I didn't sign up for my comfort zone. I just graduated out of that specific challenge... but it doesn't mean I'm ready to go back.

Part of me wants to say "screw it" and come back home. That would feel great.. for a year. And then I'd get itchy feet again.

When I come back to Durham, I don't want it to be because I'm exhausted. I don't want to come home out of need, looking for sanity in the place that brings me comfort. I don't want to greet it as a desperate ex, sobbing and begging for the city to take me back.

I want to come back to Durham as an old friend, with a hug and a grin and a satisfied nod. Knowing we've both grown, both ready for a new iteration of something with each other.

That's when I'll move back home. 

God knows I'm not there yet.

Images of home.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

What I think will happen to Remote Year

When I talk about the issues with Remote Year, there's a question that inevitably pops up:

"So what do you think will happen to them?"

Current and former participants have varying views on the matter. Some are staunchly convinced that RY will figure it out and get there eventually. They're ride or die participants, and they trust that everything will come together. We didn't sign up for easy!

Others give RY a year, max, before they go out of business. They've experienced the rampant issues firsthand and so they'll scoff, incredulous that RY has managed to stay afloat this long. They're completely incompetent!

I think both views are myopic. Getting out of your comfort zone doesn't need to mean handing your daily life over to a company that makes decisions averse to your wellbeing. Changing your reality and disassociating yourself with a company you don't respect and don't trust is a perfectly adult thing to do. At the same time, a company that screws up - a lot - still can do enough things well to keep going for a while.

I don't think Remote Year will figure it out, but I also don't think they'll crash and burn anytime soon.

I think they'll die a slow death.

Here's what will happen before they call it quits.


Remote Year will raise VC.

I've mentioned before that RY's actions show that they care about growth before all else. It's more important than creating a good program, and way more important than lowering attrition.

I think it's because they're trying to raise.

In Q2 of 2015, they had one active program. In Q3, they started recruitment for the second (mine). In Q4, before the second program had launched, they started recruitment for the third.

Today, in early Q4 of 2016, they have:

  • One completed program
  • Four active programs
  • One program starting later this year
  • Several slated for 2017.

Issues aside, that's impressive growth. And their revenue numbers aren't shabby, either. I put together a quick back-of-the-envelope to show where they make their money, and the approximate value:

Click on the chart to make it bigger.

This is a hugely mega rough guess and the revenue numbers are certainly off. Changing the assumed values, for which I took a wild guess (like number of applications who make it to the essay round, which requires a $50 fee, or average number of months that participants who don't complete the program stay on the program) changes the revenue numbers significantly.

Some important things to note:

  • The initial deposit isn't a deposit, because you never get it back. It's actually a fee.
  • Starting with RY4, the initial deposit changed to $5,000. The 12th month is included in the deposit. RY did this to account for their high attrition rate. If you leave halfway through the program, RY still gets a chunk of money from you. When I say that RY has accounted for their high attrition rate in their financials, this is the kind of decision that I'm referencing.
  • RY used to have exit fees if you left the program early. They did away with exit fees because too many of us refused to pay and some threatened legal action. Now, they wrap the exit fee into the initial deposit, so you pay before you're pissed. Smart.
  • I used RY-cited numbers when I could. E.g.: they've publicly said that RY1 got 25,000 applications. I have no idea if that number has gone up or down, so I kept it constant.
  • The # participants to completion is a guess based on what I know about RY1 and what I'm seeing with RY2. Same with avg months on the program. These numbers are shaky, but not THAT shaky.

Even with high attrition, RY's revenue is pretty damn good. $9Mish from 2015-2016 will keep them going for a while, and is probably enough (paired with their quick growth) to attract VC.

Their overhead is very high, which I'm not going to even attempt to calculate, so I don't know how they're doing profit-wise. But if they want to prove to an investor that high revenue is happening? Done.

Another note: in general, customer acquisition is seen as "the hard part" when growing a business. RY is good at customer acquisition. They have no shortage of interested people and don't struggle to fill out their participant numbers.

If you're good at customer acquisition, and if you can prove market viability, traction, and scale, an investor will listen. RY checks all of those boxes, and they can gloss over the high attrition in a pitch deck. Oh, we can fix that with funding. Look how quickly we've grown! Give us money!



They're in the start of the exciting section of the hockey stick. That growth will continue for a while. Their success will make it look like I'm completely wrong, because that graph will keep skyrocketing up, up, up... for now.



If they successfully raise, it'll take even longer. They'll have more of a cushion and (probably) more pressure to focus on retention as well as acquisition.

Acquisition might be the darlingest of KPIs to investors, but high attrition isn't easy to fix. 

I don't think RY will get to the point where retention is strong. Their growth philosophy is to keep running when things are broken, then scramble to patch the worst of the breaks. 

They do not thoughtfully make the program as best as possible, then grow carefully and with intention. They're making the same mistakes, over and over again.

They get the same complaints every month from every program, about iffy wifi and insufficient accommodations. I can't do my job with iffy wifi, which is a deal breaker (obviously). Accommodations that wear on your every nerve (no heating with nights well below freezing, minimal hot water, even running water that stops working) cause participants to wonder where, exactly, their $2,000 / month is going. There are a lot of complicated answers to this, and I honestly see both sides. At the end of the day, poor accommodations means that nobody is happy and that participants start leaving. And there are often poor accommodations. The complaints are the same, and yet nothing changes.

They enacted a new visitor policy, without prior notice or consulting participants, wherein we were required to pay for every night a visitor stays in our RY-provided accommodation. It was clearly a cash grab and it did not go over well. While on RY, our accommodations are our homes. It's not a hotel room to us. It's where we live. And friends visit us - where we live. We own nothing except what's in our suitcases. We change places constantly. We crave stability, sometimes with desperation. But we still have a home, of sorts, in our accommodation for the month, which is where we make our own version of routine. Except that it's regulated by RY and we aren't allowed to treat our space like a home, which yanks away any sense of stability we might create for ourselves. They pulled back on the policy because there was too much uproar.

They did away with exit fees in a panic, because people like me wrote exposés and too many participants complained about feeling like a cog in a wheel. We don't (didn't) feel like important people with livelihoods to RY, we're customers who signed away control and must take whatever happens to us. Yeah, right, no thank you.

RY put on a desperate smile and said "there's no bad blood!" to all of the former participants glaring at them, frustrated from being treated like a bag of money and not a human. 

The examples I cite above are byproducts of a bigger problem: the practice of sprinting toward growth when things are broken, ignoring cracks until they become crises.

If you're seeing attrition because your app has too many bugs, sure, hiring a new development team might help. But they're dealing with people, not software. They can't write new code and turn it around, because the issue is systemic.



A couple of these-won't-happen-but-man-what-if's:

Fire the founders. If I were an investor, I'd attempt to make change in leadership a condition of funding, because I don't think RY will be able to fix their attrition problem. Greg and Sam won't let that happen, because RY is their baby, so this is purely theoretical. A change in leadership could mean a change in philosophy, moving away from the sprint even when things break mentality.

Massive change in philosophy. This also won't happen, because egos, but the leadership could realize that attrition will be their undoing. They could take a step back and focus on creating the best possible program. 

I don't think either of those things will happen. 



A newcomer to the market will do things better. If I'm wrong and RY stays in business, this will be why.

If Wifi Tribe or The Remote Experience or Terminal 3 or another competitor builds a better program and can present a threatening-enough alternative, RY might be forced to get on their level. They'll have to gain market share and offer an obviously superior program at a similar cost. If that happens, RY will have to pay attention and improve their product accordingly. Capitalism at its finest.

RY won't do it on their own. They'll do it because competition forces their hand. They'll do it because they achieved growth early on and have a financial cushion to iterate in the face of competition.

Not because they believe in creating a great program and caring for their participants, but because they'll have to in order to survive.

Just like Time Warner upgraded speeds and lowered prices in Durham, my home, when Google Fiber started rolling through. Time Warner doesn't care about giving you the best service that they can. That's hardly why they're improving.


Who knows, maybe RY will surprise me. Maybe they'll hang on for so long that they'll accidentally get it right. 

I won't hold my breath.


These are my own predictions, based on my experience and nothing else. I was a participant on Remote Year and witnessed the issues firsthand. 

On the professional side, I have several years of experience building growth models for startups and helping founders fill out their investment pitches with data. My forte is strategic analysis and I'm well-versed in growth modeling. That's where I'm coming from in this analysis and forecast. 

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

On traveling alone and why this blog is so damn blue most of the time

So, I left Remote Year. I'm traveling alone. 

I spent a blissful 10 days in Dubrovnik. I spent every meal in solitude. I lounged on the beach, listening to the chatter of several languages around me - conversations in which I didn't have to partake. I climbed the city walls, kayaked in the Adriatic without a partner. I worked my pattotey off, completely out of passion. My passion for my work and the bliss I found in solo travel fed each other, building in a beautiful snowball effect of awesome.

I was on my own schedule, victim to only my whims. I didn't have a checklist of sights to see, adventures to have. It was sorta-kinda-planned serendipity, - serendipity designed by Taylor and no one else.

And it was fucking fantastic. In Dubrovnik, I was on cloud nine all the time. Dubrovnik felt like healing, like a big hug when you're sad or like a hot bath after a chilly day. Croatia is a friend that I can't wait to introduce to everyone.

Toothy grin brought to you by the Dalmatian coast.

Toothy grin brought to you by the Dalmatian coast.

That's the blissful side to solo travel. 

And then there's the other side.

Today, I'm in Vienna. I've wanted to come to Vienna for a long time. It's a Taylor kind of a city - art, architecture, history, etc...

But for some reason, it all feels kinda "meh."

The glittering palaces aren't inspiring a sense of wonder. Nor are the museums or the cafes or the sunny skies, admittedly nice after rainy days in Salzburg. I'm finding myself strolling the beautiful streets, fantasizing about meal planning. Meal planning. I'm strolling Vienna, wishing I were in the fucking produce section of Harris Teeter.

Maybe I'm sick of cities and should have allotted some time in a village or two in the alps. Or, maybe, the honeymoon of solo travel has worn off.

Because here's the truth, something I talked about with Tortuga's cofounders a few weeks ago:

Travel is more fun when you get to come home.

Until I FedEx-ed my newly-signed lease from London to NYC, I didn't know where "home" would be. I left via a one-way ticket to Uruguay without an idea of where I'd live next, or when. "Not Durham" is not exactly enough direction to conceptualize a feeling of home.

But now I know where I'm going. As soon as the option was there, it felt right. 

I'm strolling Vienna dreaming of the mundane because it feels like I'm in purgatory, waiting for the next iteration of life to start. Beautiful, privileged purgatory, yes. But still an in-between, still not where my heart is. Or my mind, clearly.

Hangin' in Hallstatt

Hangin' in Hallstatt

I have a home now. A home I've only seen via Skype, a home that doesn't have furniture yet and won't feel cozy at all. It does contain my Jeffers, though, and it offers stability and routine. God, I want stability again. 

I don't want to fall out of love with travel.

Dubrovnik proved that I hadn't. 

Vienna is proving that it's still a possibility.

Which brings me to another, semi-related thought:

Why do I mostly write about the downsides of digital nomadism?

Because dang, reading through my catalog of posts is downright depressing. No wonder my aunt was worried about me.

I'm fine. Happy, even. 

No, really. Shit's good.

Here's why this blog reads as otherwise:

  1. I wasn't happy in South America
  2. I wrote a lot in South America
  3. I've been mostly (very) happy in Europe
  4. I've written next to nothing in Europe
  5. I write out of passion, nothing else, and that itch to write happens when I feel blue
  6. My best writing comes out of malaise
  7. When I'm happy, I don't want to be in front of my computer.

And, of course, I started writing colloquial.ly as a foil to all of the misleading "work from the beach!!!" digital nomad blogs out there. The downsides aren't covered, not really.

And I don't gush, as a rule. When I'm happy, it's almost a private experience. Shared happiness is really just shared with the people present. I forget that not everyone operates that way. With my friends, it's easier - Brendan and I tell each other the bad, but still understand that the great is there, because we can see it on each other's faces.

You can't see my face. You can't hear my laugh. Jeff and I had tons of happy moments together abroad, but I didn't talk about those - I told you about the hard part. 

Every joy is unique, every tragedy common.

A musing from an ex I adored, one that's stuck with me.

I don't think you need to hear about my unique joy. I don't think you even want to, unless you're my dad or, like, Chloe.

But I do think that someone needs to know that their tragedy is common. Someone reading this will relate, will have strolled an exotic location, wondering why the wonder is so elusive. Someone will have embarked on a grand adventure, just to find their dreams changing to the mundane.

My six months abroad have not been tragedy. I've made lifelong friends, explored the world, laughed and snuggled and danced.

But there have been plenty of hard moments, moments that aren't unique. Moments that I haven't read on other blogs, not in connection to nomadism, no matter how common they might be. I'm offputtingly direct and will tell you the emotional stuff that other people won't talk about.

I'm good at communicating the hard. I think descriptions of the tough moments should exist in a public forum. So I'll state them.

That's why this blog might read as depressing. 

Not because my relationship is doomed (hardly), not because I'm depressed (nope, definitely past the divorce depression).

Because I'm selectively honest, just like the idyllic pictures of nomadic life I critique.

Really, I'm no different. I'm only telling you the downside, and they're only telling you the good. Blend us together and you get a more balanced picture of what it's like to travel the world full-time.


PS: Brendan, I miss your blog posts. You are my favorite writer in the whole world and I want to read more of your stuff. Please. Pleasepleaseplease. In case pleading doesn't work: I'll mail you all the cilantro I can find if you don't send me at least one of your unfinished novels.



Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

When marketing isn't about more-more-more

Aka, that moment when you're the marketing arm of an ecommerce company, but also dislike the "buy now!!!" consumer culture.

I wrote a piece for OnYourTerms.com, Tortuga's Medium publication. It's about consumerism, why I'm happy with linear growth (at a startup?! what?!), and some general businessy shit mixed in with social commentary.

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Why I'm leaving Remote Year

So. I'm leaving Remote Year, and I'm telling you why. 


Why I'm leaving: RY is too hard on my relationship.

This, above all, is the reason Jeff and I are leaving. Apart from this, we likely would have stayed.

Remote Year can be a tough way to exist in day-to-day life. Every single emotion you can possibly imagine is something you'll feel - sometimes daily. It's exhausting and there's a lot of negativity in a lot of genres.

That piece is hard to explain, and I've written about it before. For now, trust me that Remote Year is an emotional roller coaster for absolutely everyone on the program.

That's hard enough as a single person. Now compound those emotions as a couple.

The roller coaster is rarely in sync. When Jeff is on a travel high, I'm cranky and tired and feeling ill. My mood crushes his happy. When I'm feeling blissful, Jeff is cranky and tired and mad at the world. His negativity crushes my happy. We're never aligned, and rarely have moments of simultaneous gratitude for the other person.

I can't count how many times that has happened. Those moments build on each other in a terrible cycle that only ends in contempt. A month of hard goes by, and we realize that we both feel unloved... but simultaneously love the other person dearly. We've just had no emotional energy to show it.

That's not to mention the fact that we don't get a break from each other. We live together, walk to the coworking space together, work in the same room, eat together, travel together. We have very little time apart, even when we schedule solitude. We run the same (tiny) circles and never get a break. That's unique to Remote Year.

And so the cycle continues, quickly snowballing and never really dissipating. 

So many of our problems will be immediately alleviated upon exiting the program. It's worth mentioning that none of Remote Year 1's non-married couples stayed together. I can see why. This program erodes a relationship, and I value Jeff and my partnership way more than I value traveling with this program. That makes our decision simple.

The only responsible choice, for the good of our relationship, is to leave Remote Year. So we're making that choice.

On the plus side, getting through this with so much love still intact means we can probably get through anything. Because yes, it's been hard, but we love each other just as much as when we started. Probably more, because it's not a love based in warm fuzzy feelings. It's based in choice and action. Like damn adults.



Career is hugely important to both me and to Jeff. I certainly know what it's like to leave a job that was a terrible fit and land somewhere that makes you starry-eyed. I'm in my dream job. Jeff wasn't. But now he is. 

That job is in Manhattan. It isn't remote. He doesn't want it to be remote - he likes working in an office. And, so, we made the choice to leave Remote Year in favor of a wholly different adventure: moving to NYC together. Neither of us have ever lived in a big city before. This is all very new and very exciting. 

One of our last days in London before Jeff left for NYC.

One of our last days in London before Jeff left for NYC.


As a single person, I probably wouldn't make the same choice.

That realization took me a while to come to terms with. In many ways, I still see myself as the post-divorce, free, in-control, defiant Taylor. I still am all of those things.

Single Taylor would still be on Remote Year (the next section could make you question my sincerity here, but I do actually feel this way).

But I'm not a single person, and at the end of the day, I'm giving this relationship a fair shot. It matters. I value this partnership and I choose to make it sustainable. That might be controversial, you might think me anti-feminist, but you're wrong.

This isn't Jeff forcing me to leave something I love in order for him to do something he loves. This is a joint decision, a choice made to maximize happiness for both of us. This is on my terms - on our terms.

I am not an N of 1 and I cannot act as though I am. Jeff is a priority.


The secondary reason: RY, as a business, frustrates me.

My biggest professional strength is marketing strategy. Which, often, is just plain business strategy. Good marketing isn't just a perfectly curated Instagram channel- it's about having good business practices to begin with.

I say that to demonstrate that my professional knowledge makes me feel well-versed enough to judge Remote Year on this point.

And they get a low grade. To their credit, that grade is improving. They're starting to actually listen to their current clients (hey, shocker, we have voices and people listen to us) and make changes based on things we're upset about. Previously, the response was essentially "tough shit, this is how it is."

Yeahhh that's not the way to operate a client services company. The companies that win aren't the companies that try to eek every penny out of every client. The companies that win make decisions that cater to existing customers - not piss them off - and recognize when to take the high road (aka a short term loss for a long term gain), and handle attrition with grace.

The companies that win play a long game, not one of short-term revenue optimization. RY plays the short-term revenue optimization game, (probably) in order to maximize cash flow and grow more quickly. Which really frustrates me. You're doing it wrong, RY.

Remote Year was founded by two people with a lot of drive. Drive is always so valued, so revered in our society, but there's a fatal flaw in ambition.

Drive can lead to wanting to grow a business too quickly. To set huge growth goals, talk about those goals openly, and pursue that growth while sacrificing a lot. It's a trap that a lot of entrepreneurs fall into. Don't be Zenefits, Remote Year. 

It's understandable to want to grow quickly, but here's the thing. A technology company desperately working to grow to 10M app users is different than Remote Year's goal of getting 10K participants. Because the responsibility to each set of users (/ clients) is wholly different. Remote Year cannot responsibly set the growth goals they're trying to achieve.

Here's why I think that. Using an app is a small part of a person's livelihood. So, that company scaling quickly to gain more app users can make a ton of mistakes without really changing the lives of their customer. Remote Year is, de facto, every single piece of my life. It's my work (because I rely on them to be able to do my job), it's my home, my leisure time, my calendar, my friends, my livelihood. 

If you screw up at a tech company and treat your clients poorly, it's a problem, yes - but it's a problem that impacts a small moment of that person's daily life. But Remote Year's decisions truly impact the livelihoods of the individuals they serve. Not just their employees - their clients, too. 

I'm not convinced that the founders understand the responsibility they have to us, as their clients. We are not a typical client. The stakes are higher. You can't act like a nimble, fast-growth startup when you have the responsibility that RY shoulders. 

I gave control over to a company whose whose decision-making processes I don't trust. The decisions are made strategically to optimize for growth, not to create an awesome program. Their financials are built to cover the high attrition they've built in to their model, rather than strategically trying to minimize that attrition by improving their product.

I'm biased, yes, but I think they make more wrong decisions than they should. As a marketer, as a businessperson, I cannot endorse Remote Year.

But that doesn't mean I'd refuse to stick it out if I were on my own.


Am I burning a bridge with this post?

Quite possibly. I don't generally believe in burning bridges. But in this case, I think honesty and transparency wins.

You'll read other blogs, hear other voices, talk about the downsides of Remote Year. How accommodations are inconsistent, how new policies are enacted seemingly randomly with no voice from the community, how it's expensive and not worth the money.

Yeah, those are valid concerns, but that's not necessarily the point I'm making.

I bring up a larger, more systemic issue. Remote Year's leadership cares about scaling the company and growing quickly. Period. That comes at the expense of those who are on Remote Year.

I disagree with their business philosophies. I believe in building great products first and foremost, and basing all growth upon a quality service. Remote Year isn't doing that.

I wouldn't have left for that reason alone, because goodness knows I'll miss my friends more than I care about being right, but it's something that makes me feel better about parting ways.


So what now?

I'm traveling on my own for a little while, through Europe, before I meet Jeff in New York. He's already there. We need a little time apart to hit the reset button.

After that, we'll have a home base on the Upper West Side. I'll travel several times per year, often for a month or so at a time. I'm not sacrificing nomadism. I'm just making my own pace.

When I was exhausted, completely at the end of my rope, after bouts of illness in La Paz, Jenn told me to slow down. Slow means something different for everyone - for Jenn, it means staying in one place for months before moving. For me, it means coming home often and traveling for shorter periods. One month instead of six.

I want to travel, I still want to work from anywhere, but I want to come home.

That's tough to do when you don't have a home.


My new itinerary:

  • June: London
  • July: Dubrovnic, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, Amsterdam
  • August: NYC and North Carolina, to see my friends and family
  • September: NYC, Lisbon, Porto, Morocco, Barcelona
  • After that, for the forseeable future: NYC.

Trips that are probably next on the list:

  • A very relaxing beach with Jeff
  • San Fran, with Chloe, in early 2017
  • Japan, with Jeff
  • Scotland, with Chloe, in a few years
  • Rocky mountains, with Jeff
  • Somewhere with Amanda. Where do you want to go, Amanda?

Taylor Coil is a marketing manager who works remotely from around the world.

Answers to your burning questions

Why haven't you written anything in forever?

Because writing Colloquial.ly for me has always been a passion project. I never gave myself rules or deadlines. I write for joy.

I haven't needed to write to find joy in London. I'm too busy finding joy in London.

What are you up to? 

EVERYTHING. Just look at my Instagram

You've written a lot of RY critique lately. What are you doing now?

Well, after London (on June 30th), I'm leaving Remote Year. I'll write about why in the coming week.

I'm traveling on my own in July, then moving to NYC in August. I'll be there for a couple of months, then traveling for another month, then back in NYC. Long-term, I'll still nomad, but I'll have a SWEET home base on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

Where are you traveling?

In July: Dubrovnik, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Amsterdam. Helluva July. 

In Sept / Oct: Lisbon, Porto, Morocco (cities TBD), Barcelona.


Sometimes, sometimes with / meeting up with friends. I have friends all over the world now. It's great.

Can you elaborate?

Later. Right now I'm enjoying my last few days with my RY family. Martin baked bread and we're watching Game of Thrones.

To be continued.

An updated, annotated packing post

A reader asked me today if I had a packing post. Technically I do, but I wrote it before I left and before I knew anything about anything.

So it's basically worthless.

Here's that list, annotated and updated.


  • 5 short sleeve shirts -- I think I still have 5, but I want different ones because I'm so bored of them
  • 2 tanks -- ditched one, now just have a basic black one
  • 1 long sleeve shirt -- I spilled pasta on this in Bolivia and had to ditch it
  • 1 wool sweater -- I don't think I actually brought this. I SHOULD HAVE.
  • 1 wool cardigan -- SEE ABOVE. I AM COLD.
  • 3 jackets -- I only have two now, a thin floral one for hot weather and a black bomber for chilly
  • 1 skirt -- still have this, but very much want to replace it
  • 1 pair of denim shorts -- ditched. They've never fit right and it's cold in Peru. I'll buy another pair in Europe.
  • 1 pair of jeans -- I want to replace these so badly - they don't fit right at all
  • 1 pair of tights -- also something I didn't pack and TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE
  • 2 jumpsuits -- ditched. They fell apart.
  • 2 sundresses (one that's nice enough for going out) -- Still have, but haven't worn them since it's been cold.
  • Black combat boots -- ditched, but wore them to death first. MVP packing item. They're just falling apart.
  • Bronze oxfords -- reluctantly keeping since I ditched the above
  • Rainbow flip flops -- kept, for beaches
  • Old (but cute) sandals that I'll either ditch or replace during the year when they fall apart -- keeping until they actually break
  • Running shoes -- keeping, duh
  • 1 ultralight rain jacket -- MVP, I wear this all the time
  • 1 packable down jacket (La Paz, Bolivia is at 12,000 feet elevation - brrrrr) -- ditching after Peru
  • 1 zip-up hoodie -- reluctantly keeping because I'm cold
  • 7 pairs of socks (a few no-show, one set of Smartwools, one black pair, and some trusty Balegas) -- keeping all of these.
  • 10 (probably) pairs of underwear -- I almost wish I packed more.
  • 2 sets of PJs (two comfy tees, one pair of PJ pants and one pair of PJ shorts) -- ditched everything except one tee and one pair of PJ pants
  • 1 pair of workout capris -- I packed two, why?? Who knows.
  • 2 Nike dri-fit workout tops (the best) -- Only needed one.
  • 1 sports bra -- keeping.
  • 3 necklaces (one that I'll never take off) -- Only packed two. Keeping both: one casual, one dressy.
  • 1 set of earrings + 1 ear cuff -- keeping, and I wear them every day
  • 2 rings (that I'll never take off) -- see above.


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste -- keeping because I'm not a monster
  • Dr. Bronner's -- MVP. Keeping.
  • Travel sized skincare - cleanser, moisturizer, and maybe a travel sized mask -- I would do terrible things for a face mask right now
  • Makeup (which makeup? TBD) -- I'm almost out of everything. Restocking in London.
  • Chapstick -- SO necessary
  • Travel sized shampoo and conditioner (I'll buy more when we get there) -- Protip: shampoo in South America sucks. Bring a full-sized bottle.
  • Simple wipes -- should have brought more of these. 
  • Nail clippers -- very glad to have them.
  • Tweezers -- see above.
  • Add: tampons


  • 15" Macbook Pro, in a hardshell case -- yep, still have this
  • iPhone 6 -- see above
  • Bose in-ear noise cancelling earbuds (totally worth the splurge - they're an introvert's dream)  -- see above
  • Nikon D3200 + 35 mm lens  -- see above
  • Zoom lens -- want to ditch, but too expensive to ditch
  • Kindle Paperwhite -- use it often!
  • Chargers -- necessary, I have my in a cable organizer pouch and it's great
  • Converters (one universal, one Apple converter set for my computer and phone) -- very useful, but I ditched the universal one and just steal Jeff's
  • Backup battery (for my phone) -- I didn't bring this and haven't needed it
  • External hard drive -- for peace of mind!
  • SIM card ejector tool -- an earring works just fine


  • A portable pharmacy (brand names only if I don't know the active ingredients off the top of my head): ibuprofen, dimenhydrinate (motion sickness), doxylamine succinate (for snoozy woozys), Pepto, Immodium, malaria pills. -- glad to have the advil, sleeping pills, stomach meds, and cold meds. The rest is superfluous.
  • Tortuga packing cubes -- so helpful for organization
  • Pen + travel journal -- it's my thing and I kind of regret that it's my thing
  • My ankle brace (you suck, broken tibia) -- super valuable.
  • Travel towel -- oddly useful - I use this a lot more than I thought I would
  • Neck pillow -- duh, for overnight flights
  • Curling iron (a luxury to make me feel more normal) -- yep, glad I brought this
  • Collapsible tupperware (maybe) -- didn't pack them and I'm glad I didn't
  • My travel spork (hey - it's useful) -- ditched, why the hell did I bring this?

There ya have it. For the stuff I'm going to buy to add to this packing list, see here.

Header image via Unsplash.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.

Creature comforts

Talking to my friends and family occasionally makes me homesick. Pictures of Cape Lookout from the hull of my aunt's boat are pretty effective.

But the one act that has made me the most homesick on Remote Year?

Buying shoes from Nordstrom and shipping them to Amanda. She's going to bring them to me while we're in Ireland.

That little act made me crave creature comforts, crave a life in the United States where those comforts are all around me. Crave the ability to shop at my favorite stores, crave familiar surroundings and comfortable extras that make a huge difference.

Like scented candles, bubble baths, fuzzy blankets. Fashion, of course, which I've already written about. At-home spa days and online shopping. Snuggling up on a comfy sofa to watch a movie, my favorite candy in-hand. Giving myself a pedicure while I watch an indulgent Netflix series. Taking an extra-long hot shower (with a favorite scent of body wash) after a session at the gym. Pulling down the coconut oil from the pantry and giving myself a little foot rub.

I read Emily's post on Cupcakes and Cashmere about how to make your week feel a little bit like a weekend, and found myself getting frustrated. I can do a couple of those things, but not the ones that make me feel recharged. 

Right now, I miss how easy things are in America. I miss feeling like I can fix it when I feel stressed or sick. I miss easily accessible self-care and I miss indulgences.

I hope that doesn't make me shallow.

I don't feel shallow.

I just feel worn out.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.

Iterating on life

Something isn't right. Something isn't working.

I don't need a vacation from work. I don't feel burned out and I'm genuinely happy to log on every weekday. That isn't it (though I am taking a few days off soon to hang out in Ireland with Amanda).

I don't need to be single. My relationship is great, definitely not the problem.

I don't need different (long-term) friends. I have found great people with whom to share my life.

But something isn't right. Something is really, really wrong.

Here's the truth: I'm happy in moments, but not in the aggregate.

The even worse truth is that I felt happier in Durham, in my life right before RY. I loved living with Jeff in a little apartment, going to the gym regularly, cooking all the time and watching food documentaries while we ate. 

That life wasn't quite right, either, because I desperately wanted change. I was antsy and itchy to try another way to live, to be somewhere else, to live somewhere other than Durham.

But needing to be somewhere else and joining a program like Remote Year aren't necessarily congruous. 

Something isn't right. I iterated, and perhaps I made the wrong choice.

It might be South America. Maybe I just need to get the hell out of this continent and get to Europe. I think that's part of it. I have a suspicion that it's not all of it.

It might be traveling with Remote Year. That's likely. I'm not exactly silent on my critique of the program, at least in regards to fit for a person like me.

It might be full-time travel. Maybe nomadism isn't the life I want. Maybe I don't like to work while I travel, at least internationally. Maybe I want to separate the two - work at home, and travel often. I do miss having a home. 

Maybe I needed to live in a different city.

Maybe I just needed a different job (which I now have). That's entirely possible. The happiest I've been, in recent memory, is working for Tortuga from Durham. 

Agile marketing, full of testing and iterating and learning, is what I do. We do something, we watch what happens, and we tweak the strategy (or change it altogether) based on results. Of course I've applied the same concepts to life.

I iterated in a major way, when I felt itchy.

I learned a lot - a hell of a lot.

I learned that remote work is exactly how I want to spend my career. I learned that I felt trapped for reasons that didn't hold weight. I learned what I value in a travel destination. I learned that yes, Jeff and I can actually get through anything (travel, especially like this, really challenges a relationship). I learned that I really love Durham, but I don't want to live there right now. I learned that a city like NYC might be a place that I could find happiness, much to my surprise (I wouldn't have said the same before coming on RY).

But something is not right, not yet, and it's time to iterate again. This test gave me lots of information, but I wouldn't call the results exactly optimal.

Learning from something and getting great results from something are not the same thing. 

So what now?

Iteration number next: change continents. Get to Europe, and see what I learn. And go from there.

Header image: Ales Krivec via Unsplash

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.

Snapshots of life through music

When Jeff and I started dating, we talked a lot about music, as many do in a budding relationship. We'd share artists with each other and talk about what we listen to in different contexts. He sent me Zero7, I introduced him to The Staves. We bonded over a shared respect for each other's taste.

Yeah, I kept screenshots of our swoony conversations. What of it?

Yeah, I kept screenshots of our swoony conversations. What of it?

I didn't mention that my best friend and I were both obsessed with Nicki Minaj. I also didn't tell him about that one month where I couldn't stop listening to Hilary Duff's new album. Seriously - during one week, my ONLY "recently listened to" artist on Spotify was Hilary Duff. 

It was a rough time in my life, okay? 

Right after divorce, I found that every song sounded like a love song. A simple lyric would send me into uncontrollable sobs. It was a problem. I turned to what my friend called 'anthems' - decidedly safe songs that weren't about love or breakups or pain. Or if they were about pain, the lyrics weren't too raw. They were sophomoric glee in music form.

Stuff like Hilary Duff's album, Taylor Swift's 1989, Nicki Minaj's Pinkprint. Mixed with nostalgic tracks from way-pre-married life, songs that are so bad they're enjoyable like Mandy Moore's Candy and Jessica Simpson's With You (I loved that song in middle school). I compiled them all (except the T Swizzle ones, because she's not on Spotify) into a playlist I called "I'm appropriately ashamed of this playlist."

I think we all take a bit of pride in our tastes. Any clout that I could earn with a careful curation of music will be destroyed if you look at that playlist. Just know: it's not what I usually listen to.

That's what I listen to when everything hurts.


Tracking my healing through music

I've always found immense power in music. I use it to change my mood, to focus, to celebrate, to destress. It sets the tone of a dinner, it helps me power through a lethargic workday, it makes a commute way more fun.

After my ex left, I drowned my thoughts with Spotify. I listened to music all day, every day. I couldn't stand silence.

At that time, I had a habit of creating monthly or quarterly playlists. I'd sometimes carry over songs, usually all-time favorites like Cosmo Sheldrake's Solar (the lyrics are a William Blake poem) and Evergreen by Broods. Most of the songs and artists, however, would be unique.

Looking back on those playlists is a fascinating replica of my healing process.

December 2014: Broken

This is one of my all-time favorite playlists - it truly feels like a snapshot in time.

I listened to Wolf Gang with sadness - my ex and I discovered them a few years prior and loved their music. We'd sing their songs on road trips. I couldn't let go of those moments. 

The same was true of Ben Howard. I can't listen to Old Pine without crying, even now.

I binge-listened to AM, the 2013 release by the Arctic Monkeys. Snap Out Of It was a song that I'd angrily blare in my little convertible, pissed at my ex and that one Tinder guy. R U Mine? was the same.

Speaking of that one Tinder guy - his influence is all over my December 2014 playlist. He introduced me to Purity Ring, Beats Antique, and Crystal Castles. His taste is impeccable. 

Q1 2015: avoidance

This is quite a small playlist. I curated a few songs that didn't couldn't me of my ex. I knew he'd never heard of these artists and would probably not seek them out on his own.

Some of these turned into all-time favorites. I still love Not Going Home (really anything by Great Good Fine OK) and Uma by Panama Wedding. They'd definitely make the ranks in a "Taylor Loves These" playlist.

Also noticeably absent: any influence of the Tinder guy, peppered in my December tunes. I was pissed at everything. Though a third party could never guess my anger from this little collection of tunes, it's painfully obvious to me.

Q2 2015: Confusion

I'm calling this "confusion" because, today, I legitimately don't like some of the music on this playlist. I think SOHN is meh and I find myself skipping over Banks songs whenever they come on shuffle.

Wolf Gang re-appears here, this time not out of teary nostalgia but because I legitimately love their music. Same with Cosmo Sheldrake, Broods, Arctic Monkeys. I started to re-claim my own tastes and separate them from my ex.

I started adding in new influences in Q2 - Brendan introduced me to ODESZA. Another friend pointed me in the direction of Glass Animals. Those were steps forward... but then I looked at my ex's recent listens and grabbed Best Coast and Electric Guest. That's also where I found SOHN. Two steps forward, one step backward.

Summer 2015: Friends

Let's be honest: most of this playlist was influenced by people I love (though, at the time, Jeff was a crush and not yet a love).

Chloe and I listened to Ryn Weaver on the daily. I kept trying to get her into Tame Impala, but was met with ambivalence.

Jeff pointed me to DJ Shadow and Jamiroquai. Ratatat was suddenly not an association with my ex, but the songs Jeff and I would listen to in his GTI, driving to dinner.

Megan makes an appearance, too - she sent me Dillon Francis' Get Low as a joke. Doubt she thought I'd actually like it. I do. I really do.

August 2015: Bye Felicia

There is no trace of my old life in this playlist. I love Wolf Gang, but it reminds me of old Taylor. The Taylor who had a townhouse and a husband and a puppy and a convertible.

HOLYCHILD, Conner Youngblood, Phantogram and AURORA feel like the more current version of myself. Do yourself a favor and listen to all four immediately.

This playlist feels like independence, defiance, and moving on.

I guess I should admit that Chloe found HOLYCHILD first.

Fall 2015: Modern Taylor

This one feels the most "me." 

I found The 1975 (Love Me is a fave) and DWNTWN. I continued my love for Conner Youngblood. Man, I love that music. This playlist is full of the stuff I listen to today.

Of course, my friends' influences are all over it. Brendan and I listened to Big Grams obsessively for a while. Amanda and I went to a Lord Huron concert together. Chloe wouldn't stop talking about CHVRCHES' new songs.

This one, along with the very first "era" playlist I created, is my favorite. Fitting to begin and end on high notes.

I no longer create playlists based on eras, in part because my emotions don't change as completely as time goes on. I'm no longer in a turbulent process of getting through trauma. In 2014 and early 2015, my entire being was turbulent. The music I listened to reflected that.

Today, music is more circumstantial. I listen to one set of tunes while I work and a completely different playlist when I'm walking home or hanging out in my apartment. If I drove, ever, that'd be when I'd turn to these former eras. I love a bit of nostalgia when I drive.

It feels great to listen to these songs and feel no pain. I remember the pain I felt in December 2014, but it's only a memory.

That's progress.

Header image: Corey Blaz via Unsplash

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email, or read more from the blog.

Illness is defeating right now

I've always been the person who refuses to let illness get in the way, for better or for worse. I won't lose a workday, but I will stay sick for longer. It is not a good thing and not something that should garner accolades. It stemmed from feeling unable to take care of myself if it came at the expense of productivity.

A few years ago, I had an awful bout of laryngitis. I still worked - every day - until my doctor told me point-blank to go home and sleep. That's in part because my sick time and vacation time were one in the same, and I didn't want to let laryngitis in January keep me from taking time off at Christmas to spend time with my family. But that's another story.

The plus side of that: illness has always been something annoying that I had to deal with, but not something that impacted my mental state.

Today, that's not the case.

I get sick a lot on Remote Year. That's mostly because we're in South America, where bouts of food poisoning are frustratingly difficult to avoid. I've gotten a cold or two, but that's bound to happen regardless.

I've now had 4 awful encounters with food poisoning in 3.5 months. That's not counting the many, many days of an upset stomach (but a manageable one). In Argentina, I was throwing up so hard that vomit came out of my nose. The other night, I spiked a high fever in the middle of my nausea-filled misery and had to deal with sweats and intense body aches. It was so bad that I wondered if my typhoid vaccine was a dud.

Feeling like death on a bus while Martin and Jeff were exploring Pisac, Peru.

Feeling like death on a bus while Martin and Jeff were exploring Pisac, Peru.


In the grand scheme of things, it's not that bad. 

But it feels so incredibly defeating, every time.

Every time my stomach turns, I feel as though illness is inevitable. Getting healthy is a shallow joy because I'm just waiting for the next time it'll strike, the next moment that I'll be incapacitated by some environmental factor. The frequency and severity are so, so frustrating. Feeling shitty is my reality, and feeling healthy is a nice (occasional) break. 

I can't remember the last time I got food poisoning in the USA.

In that sense, Europe feels like my saving grace. I know I'll probably get sick in Europe, too, but probably not as often. Hopefully not as severely. 

In just over two weeks I leave for London, where vegetables aren't suspect and water isn't poisonous. Where I can easily find healthy food to boost my immune system.

Two weeks until I feel like I can breathe, literally and figuratively.

I love you, Peru, but I have really hit my South America threshold. My body is done.

Header image: negative space.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.

My capsule wardrobe needs work

I have a goal.

By the time the V3 of the Tortuga comes out (we don't have firm release dates yet, but I have a general time frame), I will be down to a carry-on backpack and a personal item.

Y'all - it's harder than it sounds. Especially for long-term travel.

I've always been a carry-on-only traveler, but I've also never traveled indefinitely. I packed a lot of just-in-case items that have come in handy in South America. Like a wine opener. It was weirdly difficult to find wine openers in Uruguay.

I'll ditch those superfluous things in Europe, where it'll be easier to find ad hoc gear that I need. That part is easy.

My biggest challenge lies in my wardrobe. 

I'm sick of my clothes and I miss the ability to dress fashionably. My go-to aesthetic isn't exactly minimalist and I don't love the look of performance gear. I'll never be the girl who wears head-to-toe Arc'teryx and Merrell and Patagonia. I'd far rather wear Free People and Asos and Halogen - but I have to find packable and layerable options from my favorite brands. I want this in my capsule wardrobe, but try stuffing those sleeves under a jacket.


I'm finding the line between fashion and practicality to be particularly challenging.


What I'm missing altogether:

  • Tights (regular and fleece-lined)
  • A maxi skirt - Lauren Hom has a gorgeous one in an elephant print that I covet on the regular
  • Black cigarette pants, or maybe something more stylish like joggers (but ughh they aren't as practical or versatile)
  • Dressy shoes (that are packable and comfy) like these in black or these, if my size comes back in stock
  • Bodysuit (great for layering under the maxi skirt I don't own)
  • Wool cardigan (planning to purchase this one in Dublin)
  • A flannel shirt (I had one, but I lost it in Montreal)
  • Laptop bag (as a personal item, for more space)

What I have, but want to replace:

  • Mini skirt - mine is a print, which isn't as easy to mix and match. I'd love a black or grey one with interesting textures. 
  • Jeans. I want to switch to high-waisted. You were right about that one, Emily. 
  • A dress or two. I want one that makes me feel like a badass and is nice enough for dressy occasions. My current options fulfill neither requirement.
  • Tops. I need some better layers. But stylish ones, not plain merino v-necks.
  • A warm jacket. Mine is not very warm.

My MVP items:

  • Jeans (even though they don't fit very well)
  • Ankle boots, comfy enough for walking through a city
  • Black bomber jacket
  • Blanket scarf
  • My Marmot Precip rain jacket. I respectfully disagree with my Tortuga colleages who think rain jackets are specialized gear that don't belong in carry-ons. I wear this thing all the time.

Things I need to ditch:

  • Half of my workout gear (I don't need as much as I have)
  • First aid kit 
  • A pair of shoes (or two) and replace them with the ones linked above
  • Tees - why did I bring so many tees?
  • My UNC hoodie (sorry, hoodie)
  • Clothes that make me feel bleh
  • Superfluous toiletries
  • Things that won't fly (get it) through TSA

Oy, this is going to be difficult.

Header image: Hannah Morgan via Unsplash.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.