The most frequent question I get asked in regards to our traveling lifestyle is, “How do you work?” The short answer is “from home.” By attaining a job that can be done from virtually anywhere, why stay put? While I think working via the internet is the most feasible way to fuel this style of living, it’s not easy. The stress of getting settled quickly is magnified when you’re flying to a new country on Sunday and you have a crucial conference call on Monday morning. People who are sprinting at full steam in the rat race don’t want to hear, “Sorry, my internet here in Nicaragua is touch and go, and the waves are pretty loud.” They might act interested, but they might take you less seriously.
Unreliable internet is definitely the worst pain of trying to make this manner of traveling work, but there are two other serious annoyances one might not anticipate…
Major Pain #1
Wandering dogs, monkeys, and roosters in the background don’t help you professionally either–but there is one creature far worse than these. A critter that shrieks at any given moment, sneaks its way into your office, and may even find a way into your headset. It’s the untimely, unrelenting, and uncooperative toddler:
While there are many things that can be done to prevent these wild scavengers–like closed doors, offices as far from the crib, and sending your partner off on day-long playdates–they cannot be stopped. They are cunning, as well. They’ll gently pat on your door and beckon, “Dada?” in the sweetest tone–almost as if promising to sit serenely on your lap and watch you work in total silence. Don’t fall for it, fellow online workers–it is a trap! Before you know it, they’ll be getting you to blow raspberries and stream “Gummy Bear” on Youtube.
Even if they do perch on your knee in quiet interest, you won’t be able to resist looking at them–a complete distraction!
Major Pain #2
The next challenge of maintaining an internet-based job while meandering the globe is the ever-changing desk set up. A back pack filled with your computer gear is enough baggage without a portable desk. (Woah, genius idea–patent, here I come!) Without such a lightweight, foldable, preferably non-plastic… without such a desk, you’ll have to take advantage of the materials around you for that next day conference call.
Which may end up looking something like this:
Even though you might have a few silly days before you can find a decent office set up, it’s worth it in the long run (says the wife).
You won’t get to escape total reality, bear in mind. It can still feel like you’re chained to the desk.
The average hours are spent hunkered down in a spare bedroom, hearing your children giggle and run outside. If you have a minute to let your eyes break from the screen, you might catch a colorful bird sweep across your incomparable mountain view, or see monkeys weave through the trees. By putting yourself out into the world, you’ll inevitably do some exploring, regardless of your heavy work week. You’ll end up looking at that laptop in dozens of artistic coffee shops, beautiful hotels and exotic gardens.
Would you like to work remotely and enjoy traveling the world? This is not what such a scheme really looks like on a daily basis, but maybe every once in a while…which we think makes it all worth it.
So, if you end up using an upside down hamper as a work desk for a few nights in [your dream country], who cares? As long as you have an internet connection, you have the key to working remotely and living anywhere. The world can be your office!