At Behere, we’re constantly inspired by the amazing women in our community. We’re thrilled to feature some of their stories and share how they’ve made traveling while working possible. From unconventional roles, to starting businesses abroad, these women have made exploring new places a priority. They share their biggest learnings, favorite memories and advice for someone thinking about living in a new city for a month.
Today’s Behere community feature, Christi Rice, is a grants manager from Florida. She convinced her boss to let her work remotely from Europe this summer and used Behere to book three months in Lisbon, Split and Barcelona. There she focused on her work and meeting others abroad. Read her story below.
We love that you convinced your boss to let you work remotely, what is it exactly that you do?
“I’m the grants manager for the Broward Performing Arts Foundation. I work to secure private and public funding to support operations, capital projects and mission-driven programming at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and four affiliated cultural venues throughout South Florida. Current focus areas are sustaining and enhancing the largest free arts-in-education program in the country, and expanding access to the arts for individuals with disabilities.”
What would you say is the most important thing you learned while in Europe?
“Being so removed from my normal routine, social/professional obligations and network really helped me reflect on and evaluate things. Things like which relationships and activities are actually important and/or positive influences in my life, compared to those that are out of habit, or a feeling of obligation.”
How was Behere helpful in your journey?
“Behere took all the stress out of planning my summer, which let me focus on planning the fun things and making the most of my experience. I met many fellow travelers and expats along the way, who shared struggles of finding clean/safe places to stay, dealing with shady landlords, etc.. I always felt very fortunate I didn’t have to worry about those issues.
What I like the most is that Behere is flexible, and their team always worked to accommodate my personal needs and preferences. The city hosts were also invaluable in providing local recommendations – not just where to go but when, how, what to wear, etc.. They also helped answer any questions, no matter how random, that came up during my stay.”
We love hearing highlights from our communities adventures, what was one of yours?
“It’s difficult to choose just one… being in Europe, Croatia in particular, for the World Cup was an unforgettable experience. It was really cool to see locals and travelers alike, from all different countries, coming together to watch the games. Also, my birthday fell during the last week of my 3-month stint abroad. I organized a very informal happy hour in Barcelona, where I was living at the time, to celebrate. It was both surprising and touching to see so many new friends come out (including my Behere city host, Sam) and made me realize how much I had accomplished in just one month there.”
How did living in new cities affect your work?
“I felt I was more productive than ever. Initially, I thought the time difference (+6 hours) would present a challenge. It actually turned out to be a positive – I was ahead of every deadline or request from my team back in the US. Plus, I was able to maintain better focus on writing projects because I wasn’t distracted with emails and phone calls in real-time. Working remotely forced me to go above and beyond to use effective communication skills with colleagues and clients.
When I had phone/ video calls with funders or prospective funders back in the US, they were fascinated I was working from Spain, Croatia and Portugal. They loved that my company had placed such trust in me to allow me to do so. I think this helped me stand out in their minds and will ultimately lead to stronger, more long-lasting partnerships.
Additionally, I definitely felt more motivated and inspired by the people I met at the workspaces. I believe being surrounded by individuals with creative, entrepreneurial mindsets – from a wide variety of industries – helped me think outside the box when it came to my own work.
Being exposed to others from around the world also motivated me to finally get serious about another personal goal of mine – becoming fluent in Spanish. I had 30 hours with a private tutor while in Barcelona, and since returning to Florida, have already booked another tutor via Skype. I’m not sure what, if any, impact this will have on my work, but you never know!”
Finally, what’s your #1 piece of advice for someone who’s thinking about living in a new city for a month?
“It doesn’t have to be as difficult, expensive or scary as most people think. I met many people with different backgrounds, careers, ages, marital status, who identified living abroad as a personal goal for various reasons. They were all able to step out of their comfort zones and achieve it.”
If you want to convince your boss to let you work remotely too, we’ve created some great resources to help here.
Now, when you’re ready to explore a new city, get prepared to do a lot of research. Or head to Behere to book your apartment, plus a workspace and fitness studio, in one easy-to-use platform. Check out our locations!
Images and words courtesy of Christi Rice.