Zoe Goodman’s Remote Work Adventure through Latin America
By Elliott Williams
When I hopped onto Zoom to chat with Zoe Goodman, Fellowship Class of 2013, she was wearing a tie-dye shirt and calling from a remote workspace in her hostel in Costa Rica. I called from the basement of 10 Lake and wore my button-up collared shirt.
“I can’t wait until you graduate to the tie-dye life!” she joked.
For the past six months, Zoe has been traveling through Central and South America while working remotely as Director of Sales and Client Experience for LifeLabs Learning. Her unique experience working remotely while traveling outside the U.S. inspired me to reach out as I explore my own adventures combining career and travel.
LifeLabs supports organizations by “equipping leaders and all employees with life’s most useful skills.” At work, that means she supports organizations in building a feedback culture, amplifying inclusion efforts, developing high-performing teams, and optimizing remote employee dynamics.” Zoe supports manager training and employee development for companies like Google, Slack,GoPro and even El Pomar!
“It never feels like sales because I believe in the work,” she told me. “I get to come alongside managers and offer solutions and resources to support their teams.”
While directing a 35-person sales team, Zoe hiked four volcanoes in the last year, an adventure that began in September 2022. With a passion for meeting new people and experiencing new things, a goal to become fluent in Spanish and a penchant for scuba diving in pristine reefs, she hopped on a plane to Lima, Peru. Since then, she’s spent her weekdays working from Central and South American hostels with good-enough Internet (she recommends Selina) and weekends zip-lining, hiking, scuba diving, trying new food and meeting new people.
Zoe spent the first four months of her travels with a cohort of other remote-working professionals through Remote Year, which offers “group work, travel, and wellness programs for remote workers in more than 80 destinations across the world.” The program introduced her to kindred spirits and lifelong friends, a few of whom she’s already reunited with for subsequent adventures. She’s spent time in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica thus far and will continue on to Belize, Argentina and Brazil before coming back to the US in April.
When I asked if it was hard to fit all the adventure in with a typically 50-hour work week, she said having both is the best of both worlds.
“Without work, I’d get bored too quickly. You can only wake up so many days and say, ‘I’m going to hike Machu Picchu. Work gives me the structure I need to continue moving forward in my career.” Recently, Zoe has made great progress towards her goal of Spanish fluency. After ordering breakfast in Spanish, she began talking to her German friend in English. The bartender looked up, surprised, and asked in Spanish why she spoke such good English.
“He assumed I was a native Spanish speaker!” She glowed as she told me.
Later that evening, after work, she headed to a local hot spring to read her book. Amidst the hard work and play, Zoe’s biggest takeaway thus far is: “People are good, and there are good people everywhere.” I am so grateful to Zoe for sharing her stories and lessons with me and look forward to pursuing a similar path after the Fellowship!