I’ve been on a bit of a musical kick lately, including Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. There’s a particular song that I’ve found parallels a lot of my thought processes lately.

You see, I’m currently in month 10 of a 12 month adventure with Remote Year. Which means I only have two months and some change left before this big, scary, wonderful adventure crashes to the ground. Two months left of exploring new cities and countries. Two months to figure out what I’m going to do with my life and where I’m going to do it.

Into the Woods is all about different fairytales weaving together. One of them is Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack procures some magical beans and they grow into a giant beanstalk, which Jack climbs to find the sky-land of the giants. Before this, all he’s ever known is the small cottage he lives in at the edge of the wood.

Just like Jack, I’ve never lived anywhere but the city that I grew up in (Minneapolis, MN). To me, Remote Year was a chance to see the sky.

When you’re way up high
And you look below
At the world you’ve left
And the things you know,
Little more than a glance
Is enough to show
You just how small you are.
When you’re way up high
and you’re on your own
In a world like non
That you’ve ever known,
Where the sky is lead
And the earth is stone,
You’re free,to do
Whatever pleases you,
Exploring things you’d never dare

And you know things now
That you never knew before,
Not till the sky.

Remote Year has been a year of exploration, discovery, and firsts for me. It’s been a year of excitement and adrenaline and fear.


  • Booking a one way ticket
  • Living somewhere other than MN (and not living anywhere at all)
  • Cliff jumping
  • Living on a boat/sailing
  • Rappelling down a waterfall
  • Painting a mural
  • Hiking up a full blown mountain (MN is pretty flat, okay?)
  • Literally losing my breath from the view in front of me
  • Using tinder haha
  • Seeing a pangolin in real life!
  • Dancing until sunrise
  • Etc.

The amount of firsts in the last year have been staggering. I’ve taken baby steps out into the great wild world and found myself more fearless than I thought I would be. The support I’ve gotten from my tramily has certainly helped, but I’ve even surprised myself.

Early today I repelled down a waterfall in Colombia. I’ve belay repelled before in a rock climbing gym, but never done a self-controlled repel, and certainly not through a waterfall.

And at the top of this cliff, looking down, I was surprised to feel… excited. Challenged. Adrenaline, for sure.

But fear was …curiously absent.

It’s a stark contrast to the knot of fear deep in my core I felt before jumping off an 8 meter (26ft) cliff. (For some perspective, this is about the same as jumping from a 3 story building or so… and I picked the lowest level jumping point). Granted, the two are a little different, but at the same time I think it spells out a lot of the changes I’ve felt in myself throughout this last year.

And you scramble down
And you look below,
And the world you know
Begins to grow:
The roof, the house and your
Mother at the door.
The roof, the house and the world
You never thought to explore.
And you think of all the things
You’ve seen,
And you wish you could in
And you’re back again,
Only different than before.
After the sky.

Just like Jack, I’m going to have to climb down from my sky.
And just like Jack, I’m different than before.
And I want to live in between the sky and the ground.

I’m not quite sure what that means yet, but I’m excited to figure it out.