Get to know Mac Kelly, one of our Account Executives based in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Towards the end of 2020, after nearly a year of working from home throughout lockdowns and travel restrictions, Mac and his wife Erica set off to travel the western United States.
“Our lease was up on our place, and we no longer had any reason to remain in Denver because we didn’t have to go into the office,” Mac says.
“So we decided to take some time to travel.”
The couple initially booked three stays over three months, thinking it was already a long time away from home.
But as their scheduled trip came to an end, they realized how much they enjoyed the lifestyle.
“While traveling slowly meant we got to really learn about each new location and live like locals, we didn’t get to see as many locations as we would have liked,” Mac says.
“When you think of a three-month trip, you think it’ll be more than enough time to see everything, but it flies by.”
So, Mac and Erica kept extending their nomadic lifestyle, eventually moving around for a total of two years.
“We had the best time seeing places intimately that we never thought we would,” Mac says. “It allowed us to hike to places we’d never otherwise be able to, eat food from restaurants we’d never [have] known existed, and have conversations with people who had widely different opinions and histories than we did.”
Exploring the U.S. While Working Remotely
Over two years, Mac and Erica saw most of the western U.S. and even had a stint in Mexico, living in a total of 11 cities and small towns.
“Living in Cedar City, Utah was particularly special,” Mac says. “The town, which we would have never considered spending as much time in before being remote, is located 45 minutes from both Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. Since we lived so close, we got to see these otherworldly locations multiple times, during off hours while avoiding the crowds.”
This was one of the benefits for Mac and Erica, as they both love the outdoors and chose each new location based on the surrounding nature.
“We started in Mount Hood, Oregon, where we had amazing trails, rivers, lakes, and backpacking. Next, we went to southern Idaho, where we lived right next to the Snake River,” Mac says.
The pair then spent some extended time in Utah over ski season, Nevada and Arizona in the spring, New Mexico and Hawaii in the summer, and finally Oaxaca, Mexico, toward the end of 2021 before eventually settling in their current hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.
By staying four to six weeks in each location, Mac and Erica were able to enjoy living like locals and maintain their regular routines, such as going to the grocery store and finding new coffee joints.
It wasn’t disruptive to their overall life like quicker vacations can be, and bringing their work with them meant they could maintain that sense of familiarity even while on the road.
“Working for Velocity Global, I was able to pick up my office and sit down wherever I felt comfortable.”
Flexible Work Means a Flexible Life
Mac doesn’t think he’d ever have chosen to move somewhere like Arkansas without the opportunity to try out all these new cities.
“If I didn’t have this remote job, I never would have been able to find a place like this. To really understand what the town is like, what the vibe is like, and take your time and explore it,” he says.
“It’s a place I never really thought I’d see myself, and now it’s a place I’m happy to call home.”
Bentonville has a great art scene and access to many of the outdoor activities Mac and Erica love. They regularly incorporate hiking, mountain biking, and spending time in the Ozarks into their routine—all things they loved about their time on the road.
Since settling in Bentonville, Mac describes their life as “infinitely more flexible.”
“I’m able to start the day on my own time. I’m able to brew my own coffee, work from my own space—a space that I built for myself,” he says. “We got a new puppy, so I’m able to take him for walks whenever I’d like, which is something I wasn’t able to do before working remotely.”
Switching up where he works has also been something Mac’s enjoyed.
“If there are days where I don’t have many meetings, I am able to go work from a coffee shop and change up my surroundings,” Mac says. “I often work from my back porch and enjoy the outdoors as well.”
It’s something he doesn’t ever want to give up.
“While I see the value in spending some time in the office, I don’t think I would take a job that was predominantly office-based,” he says. “The flexibility I have in my schedule as a result of not having to go to an office is very beneficial to me and allows me to lead an even more productive life—both in my work life and my personal life.”