How to Work Well Whilst Traveling

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Ever thought about working while you travel?

I’m not talking about volunteering overseas or finding a job abroad – I’m talking about bringing your work with you.

In this digital age where the internet is accessible almost everywhere, working from remote locations has become a viable option for those who dream of escaping the office cubicle and seeing the world.

That being said, undertaking something so monumental and life altering can feel a little daunting and scary for those who have never worked remotely before.

There are a lot of natural fears and worries that’ll come up for most people, such as “Where will I do my work if I no-longer have an office?”, “How will I stay focused on my work?” and “Will I be able to produce good work?”

Taj Mahal at sunset

Jake Cook from The 99 Percent talked to three of the world’s top experts in this field (travel writer Rolf Potts, blogger and author Chris Guillebeau, and writer/programmer Alex MacCaw) and asked them how they managed to travel and still produce great work.

Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

Have you found it tough to stay focused and regimented? Any tips on managing yourself Vs creative output Vs travel schedule?

Rolf: For me it’s always been a challenge to stay focused and regimented. But if you can’t, it’s impossible to be creative and productive when you travel. My best strategy is to maintain a daily discipline, where I am writing every single day — even if it’s just one sentence.

Often I’ll find that that first sentence is the most difficult task, and once you’ve created a sentence, it’s easier to create a paragraph, a page, a chapter of writing. Without that discipline and compulsion to create at least one sentence a day, I wouldn’t be nearly as productive as I have been.”

Staying regimented while on the road is can be very tough as all your old routines go out the window. It seems you’ll need to create a new set of habits/routines or adapt the ones you had back home (i.e. in Rolf’s case ‘writing one sentence a day’).

Paris at sunset with the_Eiffel Tower

Where do you create on the road?

Rolf: I’ve done some of my best work in tiny, dumpy hotel rooms. The important part isn’t the comfort so much as the isolation and the ability to focus entirely on the task at hand. Sometimes dumpy hotels are better than nice ones, since I work faster and more efficiently when my goal is to get outside and experience something nicer by the end of the day.”

This is a question that I hear a lot of people ask when they hear about people working on the road. Although I often recommend travelers staying in hostels (for the camaraderie and interaction with other travelers), if you plan on working you’re going to need a quiet place free from distractions, which is why staying in hotel rooms is a better idea.

Any advice for someone nervous about doing something like this?
Alex: I would start by rationalizing your fears and put them into context. Then work out what you’ll regret more in the future when looking back — not taking that incredible adventure while you could, or living the rat race you were stuck in? Often fears seem trivial with that perspective.”

This is good advice for anyone thinking about going traveling (regardless of whether you plan to work at the same time or not).

Read the full story at The 99 Percent.


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  4. How to Work Full-Time in Your Gap Year (Without Damaging Your Career Prospects)
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