Sevan’s project manager shares Remote Year experience

Brian Hennesy, a project manager for Sevan, has been exploring South America for the past four months—while also continuing his full-time role and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Hennesy’s trip was planned with a company called Remote Year, a program that encourages people to travel while still building a career. People don’t have to choose between work and travel—they can do both. This gives professionals opportunities to explore various cities around the world while not missing a beat at work.

The Remote Year program is currently operating in 18 cities, 16 countries and five continents. The program’s community is referred to as Remote Nation, and people from every walk of life who share a desire to expand their professional, cultural and social horizons can participate.

Remote Year offers four or 12-month programs, with each program featuring multiple destinations. Some of these destinations include Cape Town, Hanoi, Lisbon, Mexico City and Valencia.

Hennesy decided to explore the Remote Year program while he was at the Sevan leadership class in 2017.

“In order to become an effective leader, I need to embody and grow all four components of my being – physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual,” he said. “I thought that the program would be a great way to grow those four components of being.”

Hennesy’s global route

The first stop was Lima, Peru. Despite the gloomy weather, Hennesy enjoyed several adventures including sandboarding, which he describes as being like boogie boarding, but with sand dunes instead of waves.

Hennesy hiked the infamous Inca trail to Machu Picchu. He unfortunately sprained his ankle on this trip. He was distracted by the beautiful views but despite his injury, he still managed to capture stunning photos.

Hennesy’s favorite food instantly became ceviche, a Peruvian delicacy consisting of marinated raw seafood. Hennesy loved it so much, he even learned how to make it.

His next stop was Medellin, Colombia, also known as The City of Eternal Spring. Hennesy described Medellin as his favorite place on Earth so far, depicting it as a paradise brimming with adventures and beautiful landscapes.

Toward the end of Hennesy’s trip, he had a unique experience with a hat. He bought it simply because of the way it looked, but after further researching the company that made it, Neuva Life, he discovered that they donate 10 percent of their profits to organizations that provide water and power facilities to underserved communities around the world.

After reaching out to Nueva Life, Hennesy was invited to meet with the founder and president. He even learned of an immersion trip to Colombia in 2019 and noted that opportunities are often discovered in very unexpected places.

Home sweet home

Hennesy is back on U.S. soil and officially returned in November. He humbly and happily brings with him valuable lessons that can be applied to life at work and outside of work. One beneficial skill he learned was speaking Spanish, which is something he’s still working on improving and is a language he would like to apply to benefit Sevan.

A more unexpected lesson Hennesy learned was the difference in the development between countries and the unique problems that each face.

“This has given me the ability to help Sevan offer services in those areas,” he said. “South America is behind on retail development by a decade, and the need for multiple sites for business growth is necessary.”

Hennesy is confident his experience is a valuable resource for Sevan moving forward, especially as Sevan expands globally.

He said the most critical skill he learned was the “figure it out” process, and he now as the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

To anyone considering participating in the Remote Year program, Hennesy’s advice is to expect emotional higher highs and lower lows than compared to everyday life in the U.S.

“It has been an amazing experience full of learning and exploration,” he said, “but has not been without its challenges.”

If you are interested in an experience similar to Hennesy’s, you can find more information about Year Abroad and their programs at, and discuss your options with your manager.

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