Remote working, which is an ever more viable option in many industries, can result in huge personal freedom. Could working from home can transform your life? Guest Holly Ashby discusses.
Plenty of us have a job that wouldn’t have existed in the pre-Internet age. The Internet and Wi-Fi have fundamentally changed the way we work and the idea of “working from home” is something that many of us have become accustomed to over recent years. The rose-tinted idea of working from home involves enviable lazy mornings and the classic “shirt on top, pyjamas on bottom” combo – the fabled uniform of every home worker. However as with most things in life, nothing stands still.
The next evolution of the modern working environment is the digital nomad, individuals who not only work from home, but also work while travelling the world and exploring the far-flung reaches of the globe. When working remotely, especially if you’re a freelance, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a beach in Bali or in an apartment in Rome. As long as the quality of work is high and you are consistent, the world’s your oyster.
If this is a lifestyle that appeals to you, here are a few tips to help you get going:
Travelling as you work doesn’t have to be as drastic as it sounds…
If you don’t fancy jetting off to the other side of the world with nothing but your laptop and a change of underwear, you can enjoy the location-independent nature of remote working just as much with some smaller adventures.
Visiting a family member in another part of the country, staying in a B&B in the countryside, going on working city break and enjoying your evenings somewhere new are all exciting possibilities. With the money you’ll be saving from no longer commuting, you may have some pennies spare and with any luck they’ll be pretty affordable too.
… but if you really do want to see the world while earning a living there’s plenty of inspiration
It’s a way of life that’s going to have its challenges, but for committed travellers the rewards are so satisfying that it makes any minor inconveniences seem worthwhile. Pioneers of this lifestyle have helpfully gone ahead and blogged about their experiences, like Nomadic Matt and Making It Anywhere. Resources such as Become Nomad, who provide support and advice, are also great places to start if the idea of perpetual working travel has caught your imagination.
There’s an option for every budget
For those on a very tight budget, couch surfing and house sitting are ways to find accommodation that’s completely free (although using regulated channels to facilitate this is a must), while booking websites like HostelWorld will let you find last-minute cheap accommodation easily. If you plan to stay in one place for a while, you can rent locally, and there’s even digital nomad hubs that will help you find a home.
If you’re earning plenty, you could happily take advantage of the convenience (and Wi-Fi connection, which is going to be vital) and comfort of hotels, and at the top end of the market companies like The Hideaways Club provide casual access to luxury holiday homes all over the world.
Setting your own schedule will be a challenge
Working abroad will involve time differences, warm afternoons that beg to spent out in the sunshine and the necessity of taking client calls at times that are convenient for them. All this means that you’ll have to set an idiosyncratic schedule. Just make sure it suits you, and that you aren’t working around the clock.
And you’ll have to pack light
You could find yourself settling down in different countries for weeks or months at a time (especially if you head to nomad-friendly areas where you can find like-minded communities), but unless you can afford to travel in great style and comfort, your life will be a lot easier if you aren’t carrying half your worldly possession around with you. If it’s not essential, or you can buy it there, then you can simply leave it at home.
Mostly, life as a digital nomad will involve lots of careful planning before you go, and it’s certainly not a lifestyle for everyone. But for others, months and years of perpetual travel funded by the income you earn as you go may well be the key to happiness and fulfilment.
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