The hardest way, on purpose.

I love my job.

I'm not saying that the way that many do, claiming they love a career because they've devoted time and energy into it and need to convince themselves it's worth it.

I legitimately love what I do, why I do it, and who I do it with.

I'm also a driven personality. My fatal flaw in work is that I am prone to burnout because I want to do too much, achieve too quickly. 

My job is very important. I WILL excel at this role. The question is how.

In the United States, I worked five or six hours a day for Tortuga. Those hours were extremely productive and spent (mostly) in solitude. I could accomplish a lot in a very short amount of time. I ended the day feeling refreshed, energized, satisfied. I'd go to the gym and burn off excitement, not stress.

Currently, I work approximately 10 hours a day. Sometimes 8. The number isn't really the point. At the end of those 8 or 10 hours, I am exhausted, mentally and physically. I hurt all over. I'm sometimes at the verge of tears. Stress is a constant reality.

A candid "holy hell I'm drained" selfie.

A candid "holy hell I'm drained" selfie.

I achieve the same amount. My performance is the same. My teammates are not impacted.

Nobody but me feels the strain, which is important to me. But wow, do I feel it.

It's not Tortuga's fault. This is self-imposed pain, self-imposed because I chose a life of travel with 75 people.

I have a suspicion that Remote Year may be the toughest way (of my current choices in consideration, an important caveat) for me to do my job.

Perhaps that sounds incongruous. Don't I pay RY to make it easy?

Yeah, RY takes care of logistics so that we don't have to. They set up a beautiful workspace in Cusco, they upgraded the internet in my apartment, they booked my flight to London. I don't have to worry about those things.

But honestly - I find myself craving a simple stressor like a plane ticket. That's something I can solve. I need to get from A to B with X amount of money. That's what Rome2Rio is for.

Remote Year stressors aren't simple, and I can't find anything to cross off to make them dissipate. They come as a result of a social dynamic for which we are woefully unprepared (how could we prepare for an experience like this?). They come as a result of a unique method of living, one that we have no proxy or similar benchmark to use as reference. 

By biggest stressors, particularly in regards to how my work and my life choices interact:

  1. I am not agile.
  2. I am rarely in solitude.
  3. I am never in solitude in a work context.
  4. I am out of control.
  5. I am overstimulated.
  6. I sleep less.
  7. My mental energy is devoted to navigating constant change.
  8. My emotional energy is spend on social dynamics.
  9. My anxiety rears its ugly head because of said social dynamics.

I want to spend that mental energy on Tortuga projects.

I want to spend that emotional energy on Jeff.

I give everything I have to both loves. But right now, everything I have is not always everything I want to give. 

It's hard to spend all of your emotional energy on a sponge-like empathy shitshow when everyone around you is unhappy. When I get home after a day like that, I have nothing left, no more energy to nurture the person I love the most. And so our relationship is the thing that suffers.

It's frustrating to spend a morning thinking about Remote Year minutia (but minutia that feels significant), and open my computer to find myself scatterbrained. I get through my to-do list, of course I do, but at major cost to my mental state.

This is the hardest way.

The hardest way, of the choices I considered (and the choices I will consider, because I am not trapped) for 2016.

I'm doing it the hardest way, on purpose.

I'm legitimately confused as to how I feel about that.


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.