Ever since she was 19, Tallahassee, Florida, native Libryia Jones had the desire to live outside the country. When things didn’t work in her favor to study abroad as a college student at Florida A&M University, she pushed her luck at living abroad again as a working professional. Striving to get a job in Abu Dhabi, Jones admits she faced a roadblock when looking for career opportunities in the country, outside of teaching and nursing.
Now, as a single mother and IT professional, Jones is taking matters into her own hands while sticking to the promise she made her daughter years ago about the duo living abroad before she entered high school.
In June 2015, she sat down and mapped out her plan to launch the traveling program, My Wander Year, where Jones, along with a group of other professionals, will treat themselves to a year of discovery around the world. Taking their first trip in August 2016, Jones and nearly 50 other participants will split their time working, living and playing in Prague, Czech Republic; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Cape Town, South Africa; and Panama City, Panama.
Opening up the traveling experience to not only individual professionals, but their spouses and children as well, participants of the program will also gain assistance with finding remote work and educational resources for their children. In an interview with BlackEnterprise.com, Jones breaks down the process of making My Wander Year a reality and her plans for expanding the program in the future.
How will My Wander Year help participants to find work and schooling for their child?
I’m my own customer as well and what we are doing is building a network of recruiters who focus on remote work, and every participant who needs it will be partnered with a recruiter to help them identify work. We also have a life coach to help these people think outside of the box. We have people with entrepreneurial plans and this will be their opportunity to push through and think about how they can do more than just work for someone else.
We also have some educators that are traveling with us that will home school the children. Parents will have six full months to evaluate what their child needs and the requirements for the county they live in so that they are up to par when they come back.
Moving forward, do you have plans to keep the program as a one-year traveling experience for families?
I’m interested in expanding it to something much bigger from a standpoint of having multiple trips going on at once. One for families and one for single folks. Additionally, I would love to pursue shorter trips for folks who can’t go away for a year but will like to go away for one summer or quarter. The good thing is that people are really taking traveling serious these days, as it’s a part of our mental health and self discovery.
How much will the program cost for participants?
Monthly fees for a single participant is $2,000 per month and $750 for first add-on and any person added on after is $500 per month. There is an initial fee of 1 ½ times whatever your monthly fee is.
What qualities do you look for when selecting participants for the program?
You have to have at least one passport stamp and be at least 21. If you’re bringing your kid, they have to be at least 8. We also ask, ‘How do you plan on building the community?’ Because we are going to be away from our families so you have to be able to contribute to the trip. We ask why do you want to go on this trip, and we do personality tests because we want to have a balanced group. We also do background checks.
To learn more about My Wander Year and how you can apply for a future program, be sure to check out their website at www.MyWanderYear.com.