Travelling and working remotely, it’s a pipe dream for many. With the craziness of lockdown and many business now opening their eyes up to the benefits of remote working, can you travel and work remotely? I’ve been giving it a whirl…
My work story
Okay, so as many know I sacked off the 9-5 to give me more freedom for this blog and build up my online presence, but I’m not in a position to solely do that, I need to work to pay the bills. I’ve become a freelancer with a steady freelance job. That hasn’t been a quick thing, this has taken years to find and now I have it I don’t want to lose it. The issue with steady work is the inflexibility it can bring, could I still travel? Short answer, yes and here is how.
I was honest with my boss. I said I am a travel and adventure blogger who needed the opportunity to be on the road and work. Ready for the, no sorry we need you in the UK at all times, was delightful greeted with a yes – they didn’t mind as long as my work was done. Winner! So we booked a trip to Chamonix with the idea I’d work whilst there, admittedly I did want a bit of a break so dropped a day to allow me to actually enjoy the time there.
Our first trip away whilst working
We first planned our days around my calls. I have Zoom calls every week at set times, pretty much over the course of a week. That’s fine, I just needed to plan my Chamonix activities around that. For example, I had an hour call on a Monday at lunchtime, so we did a morning swim, followed by an afternoon hike, then finished off by being at the tent in the evening both of us working. By the 2nd week we were both into a great rhythm with some days spending our time working at a local coffee shop 5 minutes walk away. Getting that view of the mountains and working? Sign me up.
The key in all this is to be organised. If you plan your days around your work you can still explore an area, and don’t forget you have weekends, if obviously you don’t need to work those. I loved my weekends because I could have the freedom to do as much or as little as I wanted. We did actually do more at the weekends, but we were on holiday and not just travelling. So what advice can I give you?
Be honest with your boss
There is nothing worse if you skirt around the idea of travel within your work. Being honest releases any anxiety about being on the go. If they say categorically no, then that’s something to consider moving forward, is it a deal breaker to travel and work? You might also be able to come to some kind of arrangement too, so don’t write it off until you’ve had a conversation
We should manage our time efficiently anyway as it means we work better. I’m a big fan of calendar blocking because it means I’m super focused on the needed tasks. Work comes first even when you’re travelling, because without it, can you travel? Exactly, so prioritise your work first, and slot in your other activities around it. I’d suggest tools like Asana or Trello to keep you on track, and another great app I use is Toggl. As I’m a bit of a bugger for doing too much, Toggl helps you track time spent on certain tasks. Something I realised on my previous trip was my overtime, I was basically doing the same amount of days as I would normally without realising.
Wifi wifi wifi
I got a pay as you go wifi dongle from Argos prior to the trip. FYI activate your bloody sim before leaving the UK or else it won’t work – something we learnt and had to get my Dad to send us another activated SIM. Such a rookie error! However, that comfort blanket that you have your very own wifi hotspot if you can’t get decent wifi to work is a must.
Plan your locations
If you need to take calls find somewhere quiet with strong wifi. I had a few points where both my wifi was wobbly (prior to getting our wifi dongle – thanks Dad), and places where it was either windy or you could hear music. I felt really unprofessional at this point, so I’d advice if you know you have a call, seriously find a quiet spot somewhere. Have a search on Google to find some internet cafes or places with wifi.
It will work if you work around it
It’s not common news I plan ongoing back to Chamonix next summer in our camper van once we finish doing it up. As this isn’t a ‘holiday’, and this time not in a tent(!), we’ll be treating it just like being at home and working, but with amazing views. The beauty of our camper van is I can invest in super strong wifi too, meaning we can move wherever and both still work efficiently. So it can be done, you just need to perceiver and find an employer who understands… it’s taken me awhile but I’ve now got there and you can too.
But I’m office based
This is an extremely tricky thing to navigate around hence why I changed my work to accommodate travel. However, I still managed to go on trips away. Once again, I was honest with my boss at the time, and they were happy for me to take unpaid leave if a trip came up. I needed to give as much notice as possible, and I didn’t take the mickey, I was selective. But being honest was great for me to know where I stood. It didn’t matter if I’d rinsed my holiday, I could take unpaid leave.
Don’t give up on being able to work remotely and travel
You can get there, it’s taken me years to find the balance but honestly with perseverance you can be where I am. Freelance has been key in all this, but I have to work hard to balance it all, but to be able to work remotely and travel is all I’ve ever wanted.