Month #7 was the most different on Remote Year thus far. Why? I went home to Canada. Initially, that plane ticket was supposed to be my return home. However, after I chose to extend my Remote Year experience, I knew I would have to make a trip back during Belgrade to be home for some special moments. Two of my best friends, Elana and May, were getting married, and I wanted to ensure I was a part of their important milestones. The need to go home was a perfect excuse to see all my friends and colleagues and set up some in-person meetings.
It was so wonderful getting to see so many familiar faces. Visiting Winnipeg felt normal. Having left over 7 years ago, arriving in the Winnipeg airport to huge hugs from my parents felt like part of the life I’ve known. However, arriving in Toronto as a visitor felt ridiculous. Toronto has (realistically at this point, had) been my home for 3 years. The place I built my life independently. My friends. My job. My apartment. Everything there was mine. I had a routine I knew well and appreciated, yet, arriving in the city and staying in an Airbnb felt so strange. A part of me started to question my decision to continue on Remote Year as it felt so easy to just go back to the life I knew so well. That said, I knew that I couldn’t stay. My personal and professional growth journey through this year abroad are far from over.
During Month 4 of Remote Year, I talked about my changes in perception on goals and success, especially professionally. I know that over the next 5 months I want to spend more time on personal growth and acceptance, learning to better engage with diverse personalities and situations to improve my resilience. I think there is such a unique opportunity to work on me as an individual in the context of Remote Year because the way I operate is truly up to me. What I choose to do or not do is very self-driven, in a way that doesn’t happen in a life where you go to an office every day.
Although the majority of my time during August was spent in Canada, I did have a week in Belgrade, Serbia. The overview below goes to show that although a week may not seem like a long time, there is still the opportunity to make the most of it. Here is a slightly shorter-than-usual month in review, giving you my key highlights.
When a month becomes a week: For the first time on my Remote Year journey, I looked up the must-do’s of a city upon arrival. I learned that I had to see the Belgrade Fortress, spend some time at the restaurants by the river and take a boat around the river, see the Church of St. Sava (the big white church) and explore the local art that is hidden throughout the city. As well, I was asked to present on business ideation strategies at a start-up event alongside the CEO of CarGo (Serbian Uber) which was a really cool opportunity.
The Belgrade Fortress: at the intersection of the Sava and Danube rivers, the fortress provides some incredible views of the city as well as… archery!
Boat tour: consisting of a near 3-hour tour around both the Sava and Danube rivers, our group boarded around 7pm and had the chance to watch a beautiful sunset from the boat.
Church of St. Sava: incredibly beautiful architecture on the outside and an astounding gold-painted crypt inside. The crypt is generally booked for weddings or events but luckily it was open to explore on the one Sunday I had in Belgrade. The rest of the church is under reconstruction through, so we were unable to see it.
Local art: there are so many hidden paintings, sculptures and interesting structures around the city. Here are a two of the coolest ones I saw.
AmCham + StartIT event: I had the chance to present alongside the CEO of CarGo (Serbian Uber) on business ideation strategies based on my experiences at MD as well as some side projects I have been working on while on Remote Year.
Workspace: I spent most of my week (when I wasn’t exploring) hidden in this attic. As I took 3 weeks off work to go to Canada, I had a lot to catch up on.
Adieu for now!
For those that are reading this, whether you are family, friends, colleagues or someone that stumbled upon this post, I hope my blogging is interesting to you. There is more to come, so if there is anything you want to know more (or less) about, please feel free to comment below!