Remote Year: 3 Month Reflections

Travel blogger Jessica Sturdy in Bogota, Colombia on a morning hike. She's wearing a Yankees hat, black sunglasses, lululemon longsleeve and leggings, and adidas Ultra Boost gym shoes.

On Remote Year, you almost always “transition” (aka: move to the next city) on a Saturday. Per my monthly tradition, I sat down and wrote this post on Friday (11/30), the day before we traveled from Bogota to Mexico City. I’ve noticed this every single month, but it’s crazy how much can change in a day or in a week, and I’m so glad I’ve made the time to reflect back on each month before jumping into a new city.

Wow, what a difference that a month can make! I can’t explain why, but as soon as we arrived in Bogota, our second city in Colombia, I instantly felt at home. Month three has probably been my favorite so far, and I think it’s a combination of things that have me loving this month so much. I touched on it in this post, but I simply got off on the right foot in Bogota and it was pretty much smooth sailing the rest of the month! (Which was a very welcomed change after such a challenging month two.)

Bogota has been the most “liveable” city for me so far, and it was so easy to get into a routine that resembled life before Remote Year. I found a spin studio that I absolutely LOVED (Cyglo!) and going to almost-daily spin classes did wonders for my state of mind. Back when I lived in New York, I used to always joke that I wouldn’t move anywhere without a SoulCycle, and conveniently, my move to Chicago in 2015 lined up with SoulCycle opening up their doors in the Windy City. I’ve said this a million times, but working out is so much more mental than physical for me. And what I realized this month, it’s not just working out, but more so fitness classes. I’ve always known I was a “class person,” but this month made me realize how much more I get out of a class versus going to the gym on my own. I loved my gym in Medellin (Ultra), but I never got the same ‘high’ that I get from a spin class. Give me a dark room, a killer playlist blasting over the speakers, and riding to the beat of the music and I’m a happy girl! It’s essentially a moving meditation for me, and something that instantly sets me up for a great day, turns around any lackluster day, or erases any bad energy that I’m feeling. After two months without a proper sweat sesh that I’m usually accustomed to, Cyglo was definitely my happy place this month!

I also loved our neighborhood, location, and apartment this month! While our apartment maybe wasn’t as updated as my apartment in Medellin, it felt so home-y. Arielle and I both feel like we spent a lot more time at home this month, which maybe isn’t the best realization when you’re trying to explore a new city, but it was a much-needed little breather. Pizza parties, movie nights, watching seven episodes of The OC on a Wednesday evening… It felt good to slow down a bit this month!

With that being said, though, this month was still SO. MUCH. FUN. Spending a week in Cartagena, going (black) water rafting, the Martin Garrix concert, bottomless brunch at the W, new friends, more Kahlo birthday celebrations, bowling, Tejo, a Chiva party bus, fun dinner dates… There was no shortage of good times, belly laughs, and life-long memories!

Jessica Sturdy is currently on Remote Year in Bogota, Colombia. She is wearing a blue Yankees baseball hat, black aviator sunglasses by Le Specs, lululemon leggings, and adidas Ultra Boost sneakers standing on the top of a mountain after a challenging hike overlooking the city.

A monthly recap wouldn’t be complete without mentioning building a house with TECHO. It was, hands down, the most meaningful weekend I’ve yet to experience. (And I’m not just referring to weekends on Remote Year!) It truly was a life-changing weekend that reminded me just how much you can gain by giving back to others. I still tear up watching videos from the weekend, especially seeing the family cut the ribbon to their new home on Sunday evening after we completed the build. Going in to the weekend, I didn’t realize just how much involvement and interaction we would get to have with the family. The family cooked us lunch both days, Stephen (the eleven year old boy) helped us dig holes and hammer in nails, Geraldine (the four year old girl) helped us paint her new house, and it honestly made the weekend what it was! They were the sweetest, most thankful little family and their energy definitely kept us going all weekend long.

The build weekend also made my love for my Kahlo family grow so much, too. I can’t really explain it, but I remember stopping to think about how incredibly grateful I am that I’ve gotten to spend so much time with these people. Everyone worked their asses off all weekend long, no one complained, and everyone at the build brought something to the table. We had a member of RY Staff (the 3rdemployee at the company!) and another RY Citizen (who just recently completed a one-year itinerary) join us for the build weekend and it hit me just how lucky I am to be a part of an even bigger community, the Remote Year Nation as a whole. I know I’m not yet even able to see just how big of a role this new community will play in my life moving forward, but I have a feeling it’s not going to be small.

Remote Year blogger Jessica Sturdy in Bogota, Colombia on the top of a mountain overlooking the city after a morning hike.

I’ve been getting So. Damn. Sappy. as this month has dwindled down. I can’t believe we’re ¾ of the way through our program. I can’t believe I’m headed home in three weeks. And while there are definitely some things that make me excited about going back to Chicago for a little while, I’m nowhere near ready to be done with this chapter. Before embarking on this four-month journey, I had no idea what was ahead of me. I didn’t know I’d be making a few new besties and gaining a group of travel pals for the foreseeable future. In some ways, I didn’t know how easy this whole trip would be. And in other ways, I didn’t know just how hard it would be at times. I had no idea how much fun I would have, even with the most mundane things. As I’ve been reflecting a bit this month, it’s slowly been sinking in… Outside of taking the leap and moving to New York at 22, going on Remote Year is single-handedly the most life-altering decision I’ve made so far.

Our experience manager, Cata, quickly became a friend and is definitely on the list of things (and people) that I’ll miss about (in) Bogota! Our apartment building doorman, Gomez, who made us smile every time we saw him. The lovely Juan Valdez baristas that knew our orders by Week 2. The dozens and dozens of dogs that are always running around Parque El Virrey, right outside our apartment. The gorgeous, sunny mornings and blue skies that you appreciate so much more because you know it will most likely rain in the afternoon.

Bogota, you were an absolute dream of a third month. Can’t wait to see you again sometime soon, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Fashion and travel blogger Jessica Sturdy overlooking Bogota, Colombia after a morning hike.

Be sure to read my One Month Reflections & Two Month Reflections!

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2 Comments

  1. 12.10.18
    Rena commented:

    So wonderful that month 3 was so far the best of your remote year! And I really understand why workout (in classes) is so important for you. You look so beautiful btw!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  2. 12.11.18
    Paola Granados commented:

    Oh wow, it’s a wonderful review from Bogotá. I’m from this beautiful city and I hope you can return very soon to enjoy other things in Bogotá.