Author Topic: Telecommute and Travel?  (Read 6737 times)

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Telecommute and Travel?
« on: August 18, 2013, 06:39:59 AM »
Just wondering if anyone has managed to do telecommuting while traveling, what your experiences are, and is there a way to best balance the two pursuits? Or, even if you haven't done it, if it is something that interests you, I would like to hear your thoughts as well, and your aspirations. :)

This is something I've started to ponder, as there is a real possibility it could happen. I am thinking the most comfortable scenarios would probably be: a) telecommute part-time + slow travel, or b) do whatever kind of travel I like + telecommute on my own terms (i.e. I am able to negotiate my hours and tasks).

For me, b) would be pretty awesome, though it seems like it could be too much to ask, though I guess it couldn't hurt to try. Might stand a better chance with a), as I know of colleagues who do something similar (minus the travel - they're living overseas, but not really moving around).

Of course, I could also be completely dreaming. It seems that I know employees who telecommute for their companies while staying put in a far-away location, and I also know freelancers who do extensive travel. But I don't think I know anyone that is my hopeful mix of the two, i.e. a telecommuting employee who travels around. Still, if anyone has positive stories, or an optimism gun, bring it here! :D

KMMK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1472
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    • Meena Kestirke Insurance
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 07:07:54 AM »
Yes, it's an interesting idea. I'd love to work my current job (currently at home except for 2 days a week) while living in an RV travelling around. But there are too many problems. I don't see my company or myself going for it in reality. One problem is I need constant good internet to do my job, as I'm working off of their servers. It'd be easier if it was work that I just uploaded occasionally. Also, I'd be living with my husband and I think it'd be hard to balance him wanting to do things with me in whatever nice place we're in, vs my needing to work. And there's the security issue for the company. They are worried about their data, and a bit about their PC, though that's easier to replace.

Just a pipe dream. I think I'll have to be retired before I travel that much.

You might be interested in this blog: http://www.tosimplify.net/
He lives in his van or small RV while still working as a musician for Hollywood stuff. Go back to the beginning - that's the most interesting part, as he starts out on his nomadic lifestyle.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 10:22:17 AM »
Thanks Kestra! Yes, a strong and steady internet connection will be crucial for me, too, as I'll be working off the company's servers as well. I'll just have to carefully pick and choose the places I visit. I've also thought about the "wanting to do things" vs "needing to work" thing, which I think can be alleviated if working part-time. My boyfriend will probably try to do something similar, he's a freelancer which will likely make things even more unpredictable. But neither of us plan on being too busy with work, so I think we'll both have enough free time to see and do things, hopefully together for the most part.

I think there's a chance my company could go for it, though I can't be 100% certain. But I'm in sort of the "eh, I can take it or leave it" mode when it comes to my job, so if any negotiations don't work out, I will probably just try to save a bit more for awhile and then quit and do the traveling thing anyway. I hope you find a way to get towards your dream, too.

Thanks for the link, I've started reading it from the beginning and then jumping around a bit, it's pretty interesting!

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 12:23:18 PM »
Depends on what you mean by travelling.  I have done it (and in a sense still do) while working from more-or-less fixed bases a long way from home or clients.  E.g. I lived in Switzerland for a year while working on-site for one client, while keeping up ongoing work for other clients back in the US, then finished up the Swiss job from back in the US. 

But I've never been able to get much done while actually in the process of travelling, or setting up a work environment at my new spot.  (I suppose I've just been spoiled by large displays, full-size keyboards, and a lack of distraction.)

shadowmoss

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1106
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 02:42:43 AM »
For me there is a huge difference between cable modem speeds and WIFI speeds.  When I was in Honduras (came back to the States in February) I had a cable modem in my apartment with a desktop computer that was as good or better a setup than I have had anyplace in the States.  However, I also had a 'TIGO stick' which is the USB stick wireless data with the primary provider there.  It was about like USB stick data here, which was a pain to use when I was used to cable modem speeds.  This could be one reason why you know folks who stay put in one place and telecomute vs. traveling around while doing it. 

savingtofreedom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 247
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 09:47:12 AM »
I have done this both at the beach in the US and in Hawaii - but only at about a week max.   Both times I had good internet connections.  I think alot of it depends on your job and how much you have to be online the same hours as your coworkers.

If you only have to complete deliverable within a specified time frame then I think travel while telecommuting can be totally feasible.  If you need to be online and hold conference calls that can be more difficult.

Obviously having a good internet connection is key as other folks have stated.  Honestly my preference will be to hopefully work harder for the next 7 or so years and then take some time off and not work at all.  Traveling while telecommuting is never as enjoyable as traveling just to travel - at least for me.  I have gotten better at it over time though.




NumberCruncher

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 10:18:57 AM »
This couple http://www.incredipede.com/credits.html became travelling indie game developers. :)  Ever since hearing their story, I've fantasized about doing something similar.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 07:06:33 AM »
Depends on what you mean by travelling.  I have done it (and in a sense still do) while working from more-or-less fixed bases a long way from home or clients.  E.g. I lived in Switzerland for a year while working on-site for one client, while keeping up ongoing work for other clients back in the US, then finished up the Swiss job from back in the US. 

But I've never been able to get much done while actually in the process of travelling, or setting up a work environment at my new spot.  (I suppose I've just been spoiled by large displays, full-size keyboards, and a lack of distraction.)

I'm talking about moving around a bit more and being able to do more things to enjoy the local scene. But your situation sounds like something else I've thought about, i.e. living in another country for a year or so, where you can really get to know the place, as long as you're not working too hard.

For me there is a huge difference between cable modem speeds and WIFI speeds.  When I was in Honduras (came back to the States in February) I had a cable modem in my apartment with a desktop computer that was as good or better a setup than I have had anyplace in the States.  However, I also had a 'TIGO stick' which is the USB stick wireless data with the primary provider there.  It was about like USB stick data here, which was a pain to use when I was used to cable modem speeds.  This could be one reason why you know folks who stay put in one place and telecomute vs. traveling around while doing it.

Yeah, the ability to source good internet while overseas will definitely be important!

I have done this both at the beach in the US and in Hawaii - but only at about a week max.   Both times I had good internet connections.  I think alot of it depends on your job and how much you have to be online the same hours as your coworkers.

If you only have to complete deliverable within a specified time frame then I think travel while telecommuting can be totally feasible.  If you need to be online and hold conference calls that can be more difficult.

Obviously having a good internet connection is key as other folks have stated.  Honestly my preference will be to hopefully work harder for the next 7 or so years and then take some time off and not work at all.  Traveling while telecommuting is never as enjoyable as traveling just to travel - at least for me.  I have gotten better at it over time though.

Yep, completing deliverables within specified timeframes is what I do. I'm thinking while I continue to work, I'll stick to places where good internet connection is widespread, and stay in one place for longer. Your preference sounds nice too, but I just can't imagine working full-time for another 7 years or so.

This couple http://www.incredipede.com/credits.html became travelling indie game developers. :)  Ever since hearing their story, I've fantasized about doing something similar.

Thanks for the link, that does sound very awesome!

mm31

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 11:03:52 PM »
I travel and work frequently. I like to stay in one place for longer time spans anyway. I try my best to finish my workday in the early afternoon so I can get out and go do fun stuff. This means that I can set my own hours and that I'm usually up early. This is a pretty good arrangement, but it means that I have to pick places that have good internet access (cities, etc) and that I can't go anywhere in the morning, unless I take a day off.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9905
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 04:55:47 AM »
Sometimes you can use the time difference to your advantage, especially if you are either an early bird or a night owl.  I am typically up at 4:00-4:30 in the morning (catch the bus at 5:30 to be in the office by 7:00am).  The past month I have been in charge of our office and am getting ready to officially take over, at least short term.  I have found it useful to pop on email when I first get up so that I can catch people in our home offices before they go home.  I am actually considering proposing something of a split shift, where I am on line for email/Skype calls from 4:00-6:00 am, then get my kids ready for school, take them to the bus, work out, and then head to the office to start around 10:00-10:30.  I could still leave at 4:00-4:30 and be home by around 6:00 with that schedule.  If I didn't have the kid piece or the office to run, I'd just propose working 4:00-12:00 -- those would be ideal hours for me.  Then you'd have the whole afternoon/evening to do your own thing.  I could see a night owl doing exactly the opposite -- say working from 6pm to 2 am.  Then you'd have the day for your own stuff.  People wouldn't be inconvenienced by it, unless they are used to having you turn things around overnight their time.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 07:28:44 AM »
I travel and work frequently. I like to stay in one place for longer time spans anyway. I try my best to finish my workday in the early afternoon so I can get out and go do fun stuff. This means that I can set my own hours and that I'm usually up early. This is a pretty good arrangement, but it means that I have to pick places that have good internet access (cities, etc) and that I can't go anywhere in the morning, unless I take a day off.

That does sound like a cool arrangement! I've thought along the lines of something similar too... doing part-time work from morning to lunchtime, then going out and having fun.

Sometimes you can use the time difference to your advantage, especially if you are either an early bird or a night owl.  I am typically up at 4:00-4:30 in the morning (catch the bus at 5:30 to be in the office by 7:00am).  The past month I have been in charge of our office and am getting ready to officially take over, at least short term.  I have found it useful to pop on email when I first get up so that I can catch people in our home offices before they go home.  I am actually considering proposing something of a split shift, where I am on line for email/Skype calls from 4:00-6:00 am, then get my kids ready for school, take them to the bus, work out, and then head to the office to start around 10:00-10:30.  I could still leave at 4:00-4:30 and be home by around 6:00 with that schedule.  If I didn't have the kid piece or the office to run, I'd just propose working 4:00-12:00 -- those would be ideal hours for me.  Then you'd have the whole afternoon/evening to do your own thing.  I could see a night owl doing exactly the opposite -- say working from 6pm to 2 am.  Then you'd have the day for your own stuff.  People wouldn't be inconvenienced by it, unless they are used to having you turn things around overnight their time.

We have offices in Australia, UK and Japan, so I think time difference won't be too much of a problem. We've had people working remotely for us from Asia and Europe. It would actually be pretty awesome if I could just set my own hours as long as I get the work done. By the way, your split shift idea sounds great - you should try suggesting it. Getting some flexibility and work-life balance is always nice. :)

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Telecommute and Travel?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 12:46:52 PM »
I do the split-shift thing too, adjusting for seasons.  In the summer, I'll usually work outside in the cool early morning, then eat breakfast & start working about 9:30 or so.  I'll work through the heat of the day, with occasional breaks, then go for a hike or bike ride in the evening, and perhaps work a bit more after that.  Winters, the pattern reverses.

For me, internet connectivity is not a big issue.  I work on fairly long-term development stuff, so all that's required is email and occasional large file up/downloads.