The people who pay to leave home

Meet the digital nomads paying hefty fees to be part of an organised tribe of remote, travelling workers

Kate Smith had been working nine-to-five at an advertising agency for three years when it dawned on her one day: "Is this the next 50 years of my life?"

While she enjoyed her work, the 28-year-old Canadian wanted to see the world.

So, she set her sights on quitting her project manager job in the Toronto area to travel, while she planned her next steps.

It was then that she came across Remote Year, which puts together groups of 75 professionals to hop across three continents for an entire year, one city at a time, all while working remotely as digital nomads.

The programme of long-term travel comes without the need to take time away from work or lose out on pay.

For Smith, the idea of travelling with a group of likeminded professionals who were also keen to learn about new cultures and ideas was appealing-particularly since someone else would take care of the logistics.

Of course, having someone else handle the details of a nomadic work life comes at a pretty steep price. Smith was one of 25,000 people who applied to be a part of Remote Year's inaugural in 2015.

When she was accepted, she flew to Prague (the first of 12 pre-arranged destinations) and found a remote job as a digital marketing consultant.

She says the pay was on par with her previous work, but Remote Year's fee was a hefty $27,000.

"It's a hefty price to pay," she acknowledges. "But what made the programme worth it for me - and what I miss the most now that I'm on my own - was the community."

A 2014 study from MBO Partners, a consultancy, found that 22 per cent of all independent workers they surveyed reported less than 10 per cent of their revenue came from their local area.

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