Today, we are blessed with opportunities that allow us to work remotely. We just need our trusty laptops and Internet connection and we are good to go.
It’s either you work-from-home for more time for your family. Or choose what I chose, work-from-anywhere as a Digital Nomad!
Traveling While Working, the Dream Life?
If you knew me back then, I’m just a workaholic kid wanting to hustle my way to success. But it took its toll and I grew frustrated and tired from everything. (Full story here.)
I started my wanderlust when I had my first purely for a leisure trip to Japan. I liked the culture, the people, the food! I vowed that day onwards that I will travel the world as long as I can. Long story short, I found Remote Working as the solution for me to get to my dream life now. I mean just look at this video for a glimpse of their lifestyle:
But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies after. Here are 6 problems you might encounter while building a freelancing career and traveling (and how to overcome it).
Sticking to a Work Schedule
When you go to a new country, aren’t you in awe with the cultural sites, the new friends, or even just munching on new food.
Yes, we can all experience this. But it’s too tempting to just be in vacation mode and not work at all. Remember, you have the privilege to be working while traveling. But Spiderman said it best, with great power comes great responsibility.
You need to have the self-discipline to follow a strict blocked out timeframe for your work. You are not in vacation mode. You have work to do.
Schedule your playtime around your non-negotiable work schedule. Because if you can’t deliver your output, you will be stripped off this wonderful traveling privilege very soon. Check out this nifty article to balance work and travel as a digital nomad.
Getting the Most Out of Your Destination
When we travel while working, we might experience FOMO from all the places we should visit but we can’t because of our work responsibilities. Remember, this is not a vacation, right?
But what’s the point of going elsewhere when you can’t immerse yourself in the culture.
For me, I suggest staying in a particular place for a longer period of time. Make it a point to utilize your schedule after work and weekends to catch up on adventures in your chosen place.
Yes, it’s a compromise. But you have to it’s a compromise that I’m willing to take to enjoy traveling now in my younger years.
Faulty Internet Connection
The Internet is like the lifeblood of our freelancing business. And most accommodation may say that they have “Internet”. But then, you are not sure if the speed is even useable. (I had this experience! They have Internet. 2G Internet!!)
It’s better to ask about the speed of your accommodation’s Internet. Or you can check the reviews for anything related to their online connection.
Worst case, it’s safe to have a backup source when the Wifi isn’t useable. For me, I always buy a local sim card just in case.
Loneliness from Being Alone
As a solo digital nomad, I get to travel but there are times when you feel lonely. Sometimes, you don’t have people to talk to. Or have “office mates” to have lunch with.
For me, I make it a point to meet new people especially the ones in my hostel or the ones in my chosen “workplace” (coffee shops, coworking space, etc).
Yes, it may be daunting at first but you’ll be surprised as to how people are so accommodating. Worst case, they don’t talk to you back. But in my experience, that rarely happens. Cheers to new friends!
If you can’t do this, you can try catching up with your friends online by video call. But just try though to meet new ones. I tell you, it’s interesting to meet new people from different walks of life.
Keeping Friends You Meet Along the Way
The problem with meeting new people while traveling is that you might never meet your newfound friend again. It’s difficult to maintain the friendship especially if you don’t have the same itineraries.
Some of these people, you will never meet again. For me, I try to reconnect by adding each other on Facebook or Instagram. If not, just be thankful for the short while that you had a friend by your side. And hope to meet new lasting ones soon.
Different Time Zones
It’s inevitable to have different time zones with your clients and team members when you travel. This may cause certain queries to be left unanswered until it’s the start of their workday. The problem is the answer might be vital for the next step of your tasks.
It’s best to manage each other’s expectation. Let them know your waking hours. Or as much as possible, you can sync and adjust your time to their time zone. Yes, you might work at 4 AM to match with your client’s 8 AM Sydney time.
But it’s a small sacrifice I’m willing to take for the sake of traveling.
Building a freelancing career while traveling definitely poses unique problems and challenges. Well, nothing worth it comes easy. If you manage to solve these ones, there’s only fulfillment left from living your dream life. Enjoy!