12 For 12: Ways I Will Cope With Post-Remote Year Depression


Remotely Interesting: 12 For 12 is a series of a dozen articles covering everything I learned during my time in Remote Year. This article covers the controversial topic of “what am I going to do with the rest of my life oh god why.”

“All good things must come to an end” is one of the many soulless platitudes that will do absolutely nothing to comfort me today.

Let’s be real: Remote Year is basically a cult. At the beginning, you have a group of strangers who have agreed to part with a non-trivial amount of money because a CEO insists that he’s “one of the crazy ones.” Many of us joined because we were running from something or we needed a change.

The year goes by in an escalating pattern of intense moments, life-changing trips, and confusing in-jokes.

At the end, you have a group of people who unabashedly call each other family, line up to get tattoos of each other, and joke (but not really) about never letting the year end.

Scientology wishes it had devotees like this.

But after today, my official time with Remote Year Cousteau is over. The common question is, of course: What’s next?

And the common answer is, of course: Crushing depression.

Here’s what I’ve got planned out for that.


1. Dignified Crying

I will allow myself resolute tears, possibly while smiling fondly at a memento or a photo from the group.

2. Dignified Eating

You are what you eat, and my family keeps a tidy diet. I’ll introduce them to some of the recipes I picked up around the world while easing myself into my routine back home.

3. Remembering Anything Ever

Remember ________?

Remember how happy you were in _________?

Don’t you miss _________?

Remote Year 2: This Time It’s Personal

4. Abandoning Dignity

No time for dignity when you’re busy with steps 5 and 6.

5. Ugly Crying

Often at unprompted, and frankly inappropriate, times. Will Smith meets Claire Danes. The world isn’t ready.

6. Ugly Eating

You are what you eat, and I’m fucking sad.

That feeling when you get homesick over a TV station watermark.

7. My Favourite Hobbies

I’m so behind on all of my things! Games, books, shows, movies! And as long as I’m deep inside a fictional world, I don’t have to think about the myriad flaws in the actual world, and how the people I spent every waking moment around for a year are so very far away!

8. Weird New Hobbies

But do they have to be so far away? Not if I painstakingly recreate each month with a LEGO diorama!

And what’s a diorama without an instrumental soundtrack? Finally, an excuse to start playing the vihuela!

Pictured: Me in 3 months.

9. Connecting With My Friends And Family

They’re my heart and soul, and I am less without them. I miss them every day. I truly couldn’t wait to see them again.

10. Alienating My Friends And Family

Have you ever had a friend who got really really into a show you hadn’t seen yet? You want to indulge them in their discussions and excitement, but you can’t really engage with them until you’ve seen it yourself.

I will become that friend. Outside of forcing everyone I love to come on another trip around the world with me to build a new set of memories they can be part of, there’s no way for them to understand what I’m going through.

11. Force Everyone I Love To Come On Another Trip Around The World With Me

[Citation Needed]

I said: Hop. In.

12. Be Better

Once it’s all over, sadness only goes so far. Tears and binge eating only go so far. Well-meaning statements from companies that don’t put real action behind their words only go so far.

The most important part of Remote Year is the people. You can hike to Machu Picchu and take a night bus to Salar de Uyuni, but you won’t be doing it alone. And if you’re freezing on a mountain with people you can’t stand, both parts feel worse.

I lucked out this past year. I travelled with people I love. With people I fell in love with. They inspired me on a daily basis, and I have no intention of losing that spark when I move back home.

Travelling with my tramily has been the most overall positive experience of my life, and I want to pay that forward any way I can. If travelling the world has changed me, it only seems fair that I try to change the world right back.

So I’ll write. I’ll protest. I’ll get involved. I’ll try to be as good as my rowdy international love cult made me feel I could be.

It’s the most Cousteau thing I could do.

This is also the most Cousteau thing I could do.