Note: this is a follow-up post to my earlier announcement about our itinerary change.
I get it. Change is hard. Especially when you get really excited about a destination (Istanbul) only to have it ripped away from you and replaced with a band-aid. A tea-scented band-aid that comes with a high cost of living.
But here's the thing, Remote Year friends, we got into this program partly because we can see the happy and the positive when everything is up in the air. We got in because when something changes, we see it as "different" rather than "worse."
I've heard a fair few gripes about London as a new destination. I'm going to address them here and talk about why I disagree. For the most part.
But I was just living in London.
Okay, that's fair. I have no arguments against your viewpoint. If I had come from London to join Remote Year, I'd spend June elsewhere, too. Carry on. Have fun in wherever you go.
But London is so expensive.
Sure, there are pricey things about London. But the worst cost-of-living pieces are the rent and the commute. We don't have to worry about rent costs - they're covered in our Remote Year fee. We don't have to worry about the commute, at least not every day, because our workspace is in the same building as our apartments (I think). They're at least walkable.
So take those factors out of the equation and you're left with grocery and restaurant costs. Numbeo says that London restaurants are 44% more expensive than my home city of Durham, NC. Yeah - pricey - but doable for a month. Every other city we'll visit has a low cost of living. You'll make it up in other months.
IMO, this is one of the cheapest ways to live in London for a month. We're living in a pricey place for a highly reasonable rate. If anything, our RY fee now goes a lot further.
We have the unique opportunity to live affordably in an expensive place.
But it's like NYC and the food sucks.
These 65 michelin-starred restaurants disagree with you. Sure, you might not find stellar food in every pub, but just do a little research before you buy a meal. Like you did in Montevideo. Like you already do in every destination.
If you lived in NYC before, you must like something about that genre of city.
But it's not a different culture.
Sure. The UK is a step away from our own cultures. But the museums! The history! The sights! The commerce, the economy, the chance to network in our native tongues, but not in our native country! (again, Brits excluded from that, sorry Brits)
But Istanbul isn't that dangerous.
I love the point my friend Aaron makes in his Medium article:
"Terrorism is scary; that’s why we call it terrorism. But to give in to that fear and cave to those who would seek to intimidate us is to deliver the perpetrators of this and other attacks exactly what they seek. If you are thinking of changing your upcoming trip to Turkey, you should. Double it."
I love it. I'll high-five you later, Bartnick. But your argument isn't quite applicable to Remote Year.
When you travel to Turkey, you are responsible for your own risk. You know there may be danger and you know that you can be nimble, if need be. If something happens, it's on you.
But you aren't responsible for 75 people + staff. You didn't assure a group of customers (because we as RY participants are customers) that you would make all reasonable efforts to keep them safe.
Deciding to avoid Istanbul is the responsible choice in Remote Year's case.
In the end, it comes down to positivity.
Look, y'all, I know that I'm a stubborn optimist and I know that's annoying when you're already frustrated. I know that it's tough to not let disappointment turn into bitterness. We haven't turned bitter, but I can see the seeds planted.
And bitterness is contagious. It's toxic. It's irresponsible in a group of our size. Please, let's not let frustration turn into a larger sentiment of negativity. Please let's see the bright side, embrace the different experiences we'll have this June.
We said we'd say "yes." We said we'd roll with it. So let's roll with it.
Do we want to be a "fuck this" group? Or do we want to maintain our chill, anything-goes demeanors and starry-eyed love of exploration, even when things change?
Find the bright side. There are so many bright sides to London.