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Working full-time while traveling full-time is easily the biggest challenge I’ve faced in the past year.
At first glance, I have nothing to worry about. I’m earning far more money this year than last year. I’m taking part in interesting campaigns and trying out new ideas. I’ve never had more readers.
But my most publicly visible work, my blog posts, have slowed down considerably. I haven’t launched a fraction of the new projects I’ve wanted to launch this year, and I’ve put far too many of my priorities on the list for later.
That’s not all. The ugly truth, the part that is hidden from most of the world, is that full-time work on top of full-time travel has made me stressed out, irritable, antisocial, and it has adversely affected my health.
I sought out some fellow online workers and asked for their thoughts on combining full-time work and full-time travel. Here’s what I found.
The Truth About Working Online
Most digital nomads who work full-time and travel full-time aren’t on the move constantly. They either travel at a slow pace, have a base somewhere and travel from there, or alternate weeks or months of constant travel with weeks or months of staying put.
“My best advice to anyone considering running a business while traveling is that if work is just as important as travel, rather than just working enough to pay for your travels, you have to really change the way you approach travel,” says freelance writer, researcher and travel blogger Frankie Bird. “Traveling while working is not a holiday, nor is it something you can give yourself 100% to when you work full-time.”
For Jessica Benford, a Marine Mammal Scientist whose work takes her around the world, she’s always been focused on alternating blocks of time devoted to her travel-filled job and her independent travel. “Throughout the year, I work and travel full-time, usually split eight months work and four months travel,” she says. “As soon as I hit land, I maximize every minute traveling full-time again for several weeks.”
For others who work a more regular schedule, it’s necessary to travel slowly, spending months in each destination.
“[My husband] Michael and I gave up on the idea of working and traveling full time because it left us exhausted and unable to really enjoy most of the places we went,” reveals freelance writer and travel blogger Stephanie Yoder. “Now we tend to stick in one place for three to six months or more and only take side trips and we get so much more done.”
As a result, Stephanie and Michael cut their trip across South America short and headed to Buenos Aires for three months. Their latest stint abroad is a six-month stay in Sayulita, Mexico.
When Traveling Fast, The Work Suffers
How do you define fast travel – or just travel, period? Most of the time, I stay in places for about a week; sometimes, it’s just a few days. I get used to my destination, then I get up, move on, and do it all over again.
Even after 26 days on Koh Lanta, a long stay that I did over the holidays, I didn’t emerge from that time feeling rested, caught up on work, and ready to hit the road again. Quite the opposite, actually.
Still, I wasn’t in as bad shape as freelance writer and travel blogger Lauren Juliff, who traveled nonstop for two months in New Zealand, a country notorious for its poor internet quality. “I survived work-wise but only just. My time online was spent frantically writing articles that weren’t particularly great. I pretty much ignored my site for two months. While I managed to get all my work done and see all I wanted, I nearly had a nervous breakdown while doing so.”
Balancing Work and Travel
Finding a quality work environment is my first challenge whenever I arrive in a new destination. It quickly becomes a game of trying out various coffee shops, restaurants, and guesthouses until I find a place that has good wifi, a few places to plug in, seating that won’t kill my back, and (if I’m lucky) decent coffee.
It’s even more dire for Frankie Bird, who traveled long-term with her entrepreneur boyfriend before settling in Amsterdam. “Because my boyfriend’s business is all online we always have to be connected to an internet connection in case his servers have issues or there are urgent problems…when I have deadlines they take precedence over sightseeing, sun-downers and everything else.”
(A note: If your biggest priority is quality internet, head to Hong Kong, South Korea, or Japan. Alternatively, consider Eastern Europe – Romania’s incredibly fast internet speed has been a long-kept secret.)
Beyond finding an appropriate place to work, it’s challenging to balance work with exploring and enjoying the act of travel.
“When I first started working while on the road, I had to adjust to the reality that I was no longer on vacation, and that work had to come first even if it meant missing out on things that I wanted to do while traveling,” says freelance writer and consultant Julie Falconer. “It also meant late nights and early mornings in my hotel getting work done so that I could free up time during the day to do the sightseeing and activities that the places I was in had to offer.”
For me, the balance usually tips back in favor of the work, which is why I was on Boracay for eight full days and only spent two of them on the beach.
Even days that look like they’re short travel days can be impossible to get work done. Take this past Sunday, when I was traveling from Boracay to Manila. With just an hourlong flight, the day looked like it had plenty of time to get work done.
The door-to-door journey actually took seven and a half hours and was almost entirely without internet access. Earlier in the day, the café where I had the most reliable wifi access slowed to a crawl. I wrote a bit offline when I could, but otherwise, the day was a complete waste.
Travel like that once or twice per week and your productivity will slow to a crawl. It’s best to keep those days to a minimum.
Should you work full-time and travel full-time?
Frankly, the bigger question is whether you can manage working online in the first place. Working independently requires a tremendous amount of dedication and discipline and should be practiced long before you add in the travel factor.
If you are starting a business so you can have location independence – the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want – the irony is that you are best off rooting yourself in one place for the time being while you get it off the ground.
For many people, that place is Chiang Mai, Thailand. The northern Thai city has dirt-cheap prices, good internet, excellent food, a robust expat community, and it’s an exceedingly pleasant place to live. Berlin is another popular digital nomad hub, as is Playa del Carmen, Mexico, but it’s tough to top Chiang Mai in terms of sheer value for money.
Anthony Middleton chose to hunker down in Chiang Mai while launching his businesses. He spent five months living on the cheap and “working more than Obama and the Queen put together,” he says, then once his sites started gaining traction, he headed to Borneo for an adventure.
These days, his businesses earn him passive income, which ensures a better work/life balance – though it hasn’t always been easy. “I remember being around so much beauty in Borneo but being stressed to bits and thinking, ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this,'” he confesses. “You can’t be lukewarm with travel, or business. They both need your complete focus and energy. Travel and working is a bad idea. I really think that.”
Is it possible to work full-time and travel full-time?
I’ll conclude with my interviewees’ thoughts:
“I’ve tried everything and I realized I really can’t work full-time while traveling full-time (as in being on the road 365 days of the year). It is possible but the quality of my work is always compromised,” says DJ Yabis.
“It is possible to work full-time and travel full-time, but it requires a very different style of both working and traveling,” says Julie Falconer.
“I think it is possible to do both but there is a really high risk of burnout, particularly if you are moving every few days or even every week,” Stephanie Yoder points out.
“I’ve found it to be possible to work full-time and travel full-time but I think one or the other is often sacrificed,” adds Lauren Juliff.
Anything is possible. Go and try it for yourself. But don’t expect it to be smooth sailing.
85 thoughts on “Full-Time Travel, Full-Time Work — Is It Even Possible?”
I think Lauren makes the best point in that it’s POSSIBLE–but one will suffer. I found that I was feeling guilty when I was working and traveling full-time: I either needed to stay in and write, but then I felt guilty that I wasn’t enjoying the new place that I was (and what was the point of being halfway across the world on a beach in winter if I was inside on a computer?). Or else I’d go out and spend the day enjoying the place–museums, beaches, walking around, whathever–and feel guilty about the work that I hadn’t done.
That said, I think that it’s possible to shun the traditional 9-5 schedule and be able to get the best of both worlds (for a limited time). I used to wake up and write for a couple of hours, go out and enjoy the day, and then spend my evenings inside writing–this was the same schedule even on the weekends, which gave me more working hours.
Best scenario, in my opinion: expat life, and setting up somewhere new for 3-6 months. Preferably with good internet!
I’m totally with Christine on this- I’m especially guilty of feeling guilty no matter what I do when I’m trying to do both full time.
I haven’t tested it yet, but my solution will be to stay in one place for most of my upcoming trip to Guatemala. You’re so right, Kate, in that travel days are lost working days, no matter how “short” they are. Over the summer, I moved around so much that I was too mentally and physically exhausted to churn out quality work. I’m a slow, methodical worker anyway… pumping out something in between cities wasn’t going to happen.
I’m going to try not to take on too many freelance clients during my trip (won’t be that difficult, as I’m just starting and only have one right now, but it’s the thought that counts ;-]) Thankfully, I have the financial luxury of being able to do that – it’s a much harder choice for others who want to travel full time, but also need to work full time. It’s definitely possible, but not for the faint of heart.
Having a home base is super important. I was able to do freelance work for clients while situated in Kobe, and used that as a home base for travelling to Nagoya, Tokyo, etc. I don’t think I could have travelled around Japan the whole time I was there while also working.
I don’t think I”ll ever try to travel FULL time and work full time, right now I like that I have a base in India & can come and go as I please, and continue to be a nomad. Before my blog, I could travel maybe 3-4 months before I would be ready to just chill for a couple months. I become an angry nut when I’m on the road too long!
This is so, so refreshing. I went at an incredibly slow pace while travelling (due to my work) and always felt I was not as capable as others. So glad to know I’m not alone!
Lela, try not to compare yourself to other travelers (it’s hard, I know!). Instead, remember the people at home who always talk about wanting to see the world but never do it. It has nothing to do with being capable and everything to do with fulfilling a dream of traveling. There’s no shame in doing it at a slow pace! Plus, I think you get to know a place more intimately when you settle in for a bit.
I currently work full-time online for myself, and just being at home is a lot of work. Traveling while working would be possible, but I’m sure one or the other would slightly suffer.
I think I prefer quality over quantity. Not everything needs to be so fast paced and immediate. I think readers prefer a really great written story about a city than five quick ones.
Firstly, thank you for being so candid amd personal, Kate. I’m new to the road and travel blogging (since October) and I’ve found it very hard to do both. Recently, I settled in Taiwan to really get my blog in order and it’s been the smartest decision. Staying in one place allows me to work each day and do mini side trips to explore and take breaks. Transporting around is half of the exhaustion!
It’s comforting to know I’m not the only struggling with it!
I love the SOTM you used for this, wise words indeed (both the SOTM and your article)!
Haha. I came across it, typed it into Google Translate (who knew Google could translate idioms?!) and knew it would be a good one.
I work mostly Monday through Friday, although I like to take a long lunch hour and walk around, then work into the evening to make up the time. Often I’ll take a weekday to explore a tourist attraction when the crowds are low, or take advantage of great weather for a hike, and then make it up by working on Sunday. I travel full-time, so it’s not a vacation, it’s my life! But I’ve been self-employed for years, so I’m used to juggling a full work/life balance.
Agreed, Lauren – I do it the same way! And even though I don’t get to see everywhere on my ever-growing list (but really, who does?), I consider myself incredibly lucky to have this lifestyle 🙂
Great post Kate. My “work” is writing for the sheer love of history. I found even that hard to do during my last two months traveling. You really but things into perspective and took away some of my guilt over being away from my writing for so long.
I’ve been in Spain for almost a month, and haven’t seen much of it yet. Instead I’ve been on my computer all the time. For me, a couple months of full-time work followed by a couple months of travel (and less work) seems to be best.
Even then, I can see myself getting sick of always stopping to work in a new place. Eventually having 1 or 2 home-bases that I return to for a few months each year would be nice.
Ahh Kate I think this is my favorite post of your’s ever. The way you’ve put the quotes together really tells the story of what attempting to work plus travel is like!
I am amazed by people who can do it. My solution is also having my own home base. Finally after 5 years of traveling and moving around the world we have our own apartment that we’re decorating and furnishing. Who knew it could be so fun? I can’t wait to host dinners and Sunday brunches in our place.
It’s also good to have a home where you can rest after all the travels. It helped me cope with the travel burnout that I started feeling after awhile. Now I try to minimize my trips to once or twice a month.
I also look forward to hosting dinners and parties at our place in London, DJ!
I needed to read this and know it’s not just me. I’ve been (slow) travelling and working “full time” for over 5 months now, and days without internet (or fast enough internet) are days of panic. I long for a week of travel without needing internet, but when I think of stopping and basing myself out of somewhere, panic mode comes on too 😉 Oh the contradictions.
But thanks for penning this Kate, it really helps to get perspective from others who are doing it, or choosing not to do it.
My husband and I started a small travel blog this year and at first, we thought it would be the most amazing way to work: travel the world and tell about it on the way. Making enough money to sustain that would be hard though, and we decided to work on the blog slowly, but to keep our travels just vacations that we later wrote about. We are lucky to have jobs that we can leave for a few weeks at a time if we want, but even so, that puts a strain on us. It’s good to hear such an earnest view of being a full-time travel writer. I had honestly considered it, but I really want to enjoy the places we go, and not worry about remembering everything to write about it later. Your candidness is appreciated!
It’s possible. I do it … the tricky part is finding a balance between making money and living the dream … harder than it sounds!
I feel stressed out when I travel for two or three weeks straight and come home to a pile of work to catch up on. I think it takes me about three weeks to catch up after a week of travel. I’m so thankful to have a home base I love with the flexibility of traveling whenever I want. I really don’t know how you travel full-time and manage all the work!
Finding balance is probably the hardest thing to do and I think everyone wants to do a better job at it, traveling or not. Keeping a strict schedule is key, but also not beating yourself up too much when it doesn’t work out on a certain day or week is important too.
Nice post Kate. It requires a fair bit of managment to keep on top of things when on the road. When we were on a road trip in New Zealand we were stopping at libraries as the wifi was shocking in the hostels! It takes a bit of working out but I prefer to spend a few months in each place or use a VA
Great, honest post Kate. I think it’s true that working full-time and traveling full-time is very difficult. Anytime I’ve tried it, my work has also suffered. Let’s not forget that traveling is very tiresome, so the last thing you want to do after a day’s sightseeing is sit down to work.
For me, I don’t WANT to travel full-time and work full-time at the same time! I would rather work work work, then travel travel travel! That way is more enjoyable for me and it keeps them separate. Who really wants to be moving 365 days of the year anyway? I would suspect very few people. Slow travel is the way forward, and just because you’re not moving around from country to country, doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing the culture on a more in-depth basis.
I Like that idea a lot.. work work work then travel travel.
What do you do for work and how do you usually travel after that? How long do you work and how long do you travel?
This was a much needed read for me. I’m not a terrible freelancer after all! I spent 10 weeks travelling last summer through Italy, Greece, Spain and Germany and it nearly killed me. I didn’t enjoy my work OR my travel and I felt guilty all the time about not doing one or the other. It really hit me when I had been stuck in a hotel room all day working on Santorini and hit the beach just in time to watch them pack away the umbrellas and sun loungers. The sunset was great but I really missed a lot on that trip and was totally exhausted when I returned to a base city.
Now I know that I must stay longer in different places, arrive on Friday and spend the weekend settling in, and schedule work days and days off better. Freelancing is SUCH a juggling act – where to be when and how to pay for everything, and keep doing what you need to do to make sure the cash keeps flowing.
great article – thank so much!
I am contemplating a life of subletting my furnished apt. in NYC every few months to fund my travel. There is never a shortage of business people who come to this city and need a short-term place to stay. I would typically make a $1000-$1500/mo profit. What are people’s opinions on this? Have they known anyone who has tried this?
Hi Audrey, I have been hosting on Airbnb for about 6 weeks now and really enjoy it. If you haven’t seen it, also check out (Google) this guy: I Bought an Apartment Just to Rent Out on Airbnb ( HT
My Money Blog ([email protected]) He has some really good pointers.
It sounds like you’re in a good position, Audrey. I recommend you start connecting with people who have done the same thing (there are undoubtedly tons of them!). Good luck!
We stayed at two separate Airbnb places in NYC. Both are basically booked up all the time – both are rooms in an apartment, one where the host lives there and one where all three rooms are rented out separately to visitors.
I have a question…
If it’s difficult to travel and work full time then what would you suggest for full time travelers to have an income?
I want to be a full time traveler but before I head out on my own i’m doing as much research as i can so that i dont jump into it blind. you know?
how can I travel and make money then?
I’m not sure it’s possible to travel full time (ie constantly moving) and make an income unless you have some sort of passive-income business already built up, or you are independently wealthy. The only person I know who does a good job of it is Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and even he keeps saying he wants to slow down to get more work done.
My suggestion is that if you want to travel well without working for a couple of years to save up as much money as you can beforehand and then just enjoy yourself. If you want to make it into a permanent situation you will probably have to slow down eventually or get jobs as you go.
If you do want to travel and be on the move constantly, while hardly working at all, I suggest you look into passive income. SmartPassiveIncome.com is a great resource for that. It takes a LOT of work to get started, but once you’re in a good earning position, you can automate lots of things and reduce your workload massively.
I decided to make a big change to my work life to be able to travel more – I quit a comfortable, prestigious job in what many consider a silly move, but it’s afforded my three-day weekends and more time for other projects. I get the best of four things I love doing while still making a salary.
I’m glad I’m not alone on this subject. When I try to work full-time and travel full-time (like I’m doing right now), I end up feeling like a failure at both. I made resolutions to try and get a better balance this year but I don’t think I’ve cracked it yet. The problem is that I write better when I travel but not necessarily as often. And I travel less well when I write. Still learning every day! If someone does come up with the formula with the right balance, please write an eBook and sell it to the rest of us 🙂
Interesting topic, Kate. It’s one of the things that scares me the most as I’m pursuing this life of working and traveling simultaneously. What scares me even more, is the fact that there’s no recipe or blueprint to master this fine balance people talk about. I never want to be that guy that works all the time as adventure passes by, I also don’t want my blog to suffer because I’m out there adventuring while I should work. Damn, what have i gotten myself into 🙂
You’re right — there is no blueprint, and I feel like I’m feeling along in the dark much of the time. Which is why it’s important to connect with similar individuals. I have a group of freelance writers with whom I discuss things privately and it’s really great to have that as a resource.
I couldn’t even think where to start when you asked for opinions on work and travel. My first reaction was ‘it’s bullshit’ and other negativity. Amen to what your respondees have said, especially the line from Anthony about commitment. A business requires 100% of your attention, and travel deserves 100% of your attention too. Thinking that location independence means full-time travel is a misnomer. You have to have already achieved your remote income goals to have a chance of continuing them while you are permanently on the road as well. Trying to achieve both at once from a standing start is not the easy way about it, and it’s easy to end up spoiling both your agendas. Being based somewhere with a good working setup is actually all I ever wanted when I thought about the ever-generic idea of ‘travel’ – I’d prefer to spend longer in one place than skimming the surface of lots. Good advice for people thinking about it anyway, great post McCulley! 🙂
Thanks, PP! As soon as I started traveling long-term and met digital nomads who were doing it themselves, that’s all I wanted myself — just a place with a good working setup. I just wanted to make enough money to live full-time in Southeast Asia.
Great article and excellent insight into the ‘work’ of a full time travel blogger and writer!
“Traveling while working is not a holiday, nor is it something you can give yourself 100% to when you work full-time.” – I agree with this most of all. A lot of people I meet have this weird perception that we have no stress and don’t need to put any effort into our passion. Of course, we all know it’s not true! We probably all work longer hours than the standard office hours.
Great article. I never considered how stressful working while traveling could be.
I also never thought about this fact that you pointed out “Most digital nomads who work full-time and travel full-time aren’t on the move constantly. They either travel at a slow pace, have a base somewhere and travel from there, or alternate weeks or months of constant travel with weeks or months of staying put.” – this gave me great insight into my (hopefully) future part-time job of traveling and writing on the road.
I admire people who can do it. I mean, I’d be so drained thus can’t enjoy my trip and my work quality would be compromised.
It’s a great post, Kate 🙂
Great article. My husband and I also travel and work online. We have found renting apartments with wifi the only way that works for us. We like being in one place for at least a few weeks if not a few months. With private rental apartments we can work in the morning or at night, whenever we want, so we are not pressed to find places to work. We also have a sense of “home” wherever we are, that helps the stress factor. Slowing travel down is also highly recommended, but it depends on your own goals. If you have saved up to travel, then you would travel more quickly, but if travel and work is your lifestyle it must be done at a slower pace to achieve both goals of having time to work, time to sightsee and time to relax. Also, I would add Costa Rica to the good bases. It is very safe, has md cons, good wifi etc. Only thing is the roads… But that is the only downside. It’s a great base for Central America. The Nicoya peninsula in particular is a great place, lots of great beach towns, cheap rent, super friendly people, and lots of nature.
Great article Kate.
Yes, it’s possible to work and travel but I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only would you feel exhausted, slightly de-motivated, but also enormously guilty that you’re not putting your all into your work, and believe me, you wouldn’t be enjoying yourself either!
I’ve always been a fast worker and a believer of burning the candle at both ends, but it’s not healthy and one day, you’ll just burn out!
That hasn’t happened rather, common sense kicked in.
P.S. I live in Berlin that other popular digital nomad hub!
Hi,i am indenpendent traveller who would like to travel alot, being a women your blog inspire me to travel alot. alone
Ah! i can’t imagine traveling AND working full-time. It;s just too much. Plus, the packing, moving, and constant switching of scenery just gets to be too much after a while. I like to chill and see things around a city that I spend a few months in. I go back to familiar places where I know the wifi is good or there is a cheap guesthouse. Then I take off a month or two, or work sparingly, and enjoy my time off. I much prefer it this way. Plus, renting an apartment gives me more for my money so I can enjoy a “home” for a few months and it feels nice. My holidays off are enjoyed that much more and I’m not stressing too much. Good post Kate! I think most people think we are on holiday all the time anyway… So hopefully this points out the fact that we DO actually work hard! It’s not beaches and beers all day 🙂
I’ve noticed in your posts that you’ve had a bit of a negative vibe coming through and you must have got a load off when you wrote this post. Keeping my own blog in London is really difficult and when I went to dublin for the weekend I didn’t get one thing done because I wanted to enjoy myself. I figured when I go on my year long trip I would have more time because my career wouldn’t be a disturbing factor, but then again enjoying my trip will be a full time job getting in the way too. It seems Turner from Around the world in 80 jobs has the right idea. Working in each destination and gaining a bit of a base and money to hop to the next place. I can’t even comprehend relying on a wage from freelance writing with deadlines and travel blogging. I think my head would explode.
You’re right about the negativity, Kate. I’ve been wondering how many people have picked up on that lately.
I’ve spent the past month living in Seville for a project – which has required a lot more time than I was originally hoping. Not only have I been working full-time in my “day job” (though it’s remote), I’ve been taking 4 hours of Spanish lessons per day (every day) and a separate consulting project which has involved at least a little bit of work every day. It’s been a nightmare to organize, but then when I think about the positives: I’m living in Spain; I’m learning a new skill/language; I’m exploring a new city …. I can’t help but smile.
Definitely will need to take several days after my Spanish class ends, though, to sleep and not stare at my computer screen!
Agreed, Adam – working remotely can be stressful and time consuming at times, but it’s all worth it when I even just look out the window and realize I’m somewhere that most people won’t get to see, and that I haven’t had a single boring moment since I left home.
The question I have really is is it realistic to live in Chiang Mai long term? I know visa runs but seems stressful. Is there a way to live in Chiang Mai long term?
Plenty of people do live in Chiang Mai long-term, and either live through visa runs, or work teaching English and don’t need to do the runs.
What a great article, Kate!
I was always wondering how people can do it – I thought exactly the same – they need to eliminate travelling or blogging.
When I travel I hardly have time to write, as I always enjoy the place as much as I can. I blog when I am back from my travels – in the meantime I post only on social media (I do not have more time), but it is fine.
I enjoy the place, then I write. Sometimes you just have to decide what your priorities are.
My major problem is that I love doing what I do so I often don’t mind working while I’m travelling – however ofcourse this means I don’t fully experience the places I’m visiting. I think my ideal situation would be work two months, travel 1 or perhaps the living somewhere with sidetrips situation. I did the latter while living in Guadalajara and it worked perfectly. But then I’m the type who doesn’t like constant travel as I feel I need that normality & routine everynow and then.
This is a great read. I have always wondered how people balance the two. Do you get most of your income from blogging? Id love to one day be able to work for myself but it seems Super duper hard.
All of my income is wrapped up into blogging somehow. You can read about it on my About page.
Really enjoyed this post and subsequent comments. We’re coming up on our year anniversary on the road and contemplating which direction to take to replenish the coffers. Glad we’re not the only ones feeling the travel burnout symptoms, right now I think situating yourself somewhere for 3-6 months is not only a stable way to earn some income and afford yourself the comforts of familiarity but also immerse yourself in the local community doing the things we all need to do outside of making a living, like going to markets, enjoying local culture, nature and of course,the locals! Keep it up girl, such stellar posts!
Thanks for compiling these interviews and posting this – as I recently made the switch to working solely online, I’m trying to figure out how best to balance all the travelling I want to do. I’m also doing a full-time Master’s degree, so there are nights (last night) and days (today) when I have complete breakdowns and think I’ll never get any of it done.
What I’ve found works best for me is setting tiny deadlines for each day, ones I know that I will accomplish. Once I start working, though, I usually keep going past that deadline. It’s a weird way to motivate myself, but it’s better than saying, “I MUST COMPLETE THIS ENTIRE PROJECT TODAY” and get super stressed before I even start. So far I’m able to balance everything while still travelling a couple of times a month from London, and I’m planning a much longer (but slower) trip this summer. I just hope I get good wifi… know anything about Georgia’s wifi situation? 😉
It’s great, at least in the cities. I picked up free wifi in a park in Tbilisi. 🙂
Great article, Kate! Even if we didn’t work whilst on the road, I still wouldn’t want to move more than we do now. We quite enjoy staying a minimum of three months somewhere, which gives us the opportunity to learn more about the culture and become temporary “citizens” of where we are.
We, too, worked our backsides off when we were growing our biz to the point we needed it to be. We still work every day, but we can do the minimum required of us and that’s it. Maybe a few hours. This gives us plenty of time each day to explore, etc., if we want to. Although, there *are* plenty of days that we feel motivated to work more in order to grow our biz or do something more with it.
Even if we had a ‘permanent home,’ we’d still operate in the manner that we do as full-time nomads.
I think the key is to get your work or whatever to the point that it allows you the freedom to do what you want to do. That could be staying in one place for 10 years, or 10 days. We always tell “jealous” people that it’s not about being like us; it’s about creating the freedom to do what you want – whatever that may be.
For us, it’s ¡somos de donde estamos!
I agree with you that the freedom has more importance than the act of travel. It’s why I always celebrate my I-quit-my-jobaversary and not my travel-versary.
I think traveling and working full time is one of those things we all try to convince ourselves is possible but it’s so easy to get burn out. My solution (for now) is to live abroad-one country at a time. Living abroad is great because every day is new 🙂 It’s great too to be based in one place and get to really know one part of the world. 🙂
We’ve been at this for nearly two years, moving around on average probably once a month – although we’ve had spells of as much as six months and as little as a week.
Recently, we’ve established a heuristic for deciding how long to stay in each place: roughly four times as long as someone would typically stay as a tourist. So if Wikitravel recommends a weekend, we’ll go for a week. If people typically spend two weeks there, we’ll spend two months. It works because we’re probably only out and exploring for a quarter of each day, whereas a tourist would do it non-stop.
That’s what works for us, but different patterns will suit different people. For us, travel helps to keep our minds active and generates fresh ideas for our business, but it’s undoubtedly easier to get a day’s work done when you’re not on the move. It’s just a case of finding that elusive balance.
Rob, I love this idea. I love that you actually quantified it! Thanks for sharing.
Great article Kate. I think it’s definately pretty hard to travel and work constantly. Maybe staying somewhere for 6 months at a time, allowing you to really get a feel for it, but also being able to settle down and get some work done is a good comprimise.
You have provided the great insight in travelling and working. I would love to share my story here. I am a full time worker and get 20-25 days off in a year. I am a big foodie and love to travel, however I don’t get much time.
For the last 8 months,I have opted for a job that is more of a freelancing work and need not to show up to work. Now I get to travel for 3-4 months and I love my work more than ever.
Coming to the point of working and travelling full time, I think it is a tedious task and it might ruin your travel experience as well. Better to travel without any burden for few months rather than travelling throughout the year and working along.
Great read. Thanks
I can certainly relate to what you talk about here – I’m a digital nomad, working full time as a translator while on a year-long RTW trip. I may only be six weeks into my trip and therefore a bit naive, but I’ve taken many trips abroad in the past that lasted up to 2-3 months and worked while away, and I love being able to combine work and travel.
I can’t speak for everyone since my industry, the specifics of my trip and my travel goals differ from everyone else’s, but I think a HUGE part of making it work is perspective. For example, I’m writing this from Buenos Aires – and have been stuck inside working ALL 8 of the days I’ve been here. Yet it hasn’t stressed me out a bit because before that I was in Antarctica, and I had the time of my life. So yes, I have to make sacrifices, but do I consider that suffering? Absolutely not.
In short, it’s perspective. I’ve worked a lot this week and seen nothing of Argentina. But I just got done fulfilling a dream, and I’m moving on to checking the next one off the list. And in the meantime, when I take a break from an 18-hour work day, it’s to walk down my warm street in Buenos Aires and get an Argentine steak. How insanely cool is that???
You mention you had 8 days in Boracay and “only” spent 2 on the beach? Your friends back home probably spent their 2 free days of the last week sitting around watching TV or sitting in some bland bar in a cold, dreary climate. Trust me, you’re still living the dream, and don’t let stress from work get in the way of acknowledging that.
Great perspective, I can see it’s a juggling act between experiencing the area, taking notes, then creating the post and sure there are some steps in between that’s unique to each trip. And maybe adding a little down time is important too.
The content creation is actually a very small part of the machine, Jack. Most of my work has nothing to do with blog posts.
This post is really helpful as I’m contemplating ways to travel and work, and I feel like I agree that it needs to be a balance between traveling for a bit then staying put for a bit. That still seems like enough of an adventure – living like a local in a foreign country while making a living online – and still feeling like I’m not stuck in one place for two long.
Thanks so much for the insight!