Working abroad ain’t easy.
I know, that’s rich coming from my mouth.
It’s a bit ironic, as I’ve always championed how easy it is to work while you travel — I’ve even done talks on it. I’m responsible for encouraging people to get out there and explore the world while they work, but as I get older (possibly wiser and definitely more efficient), I’ve learned that the seamless marriage of work + travel feels a lot more challenging to achieve.
Crappy WiFi seems to follow me everywhere, even when I’m in super developed, connected cities — maybe after all these years of connectivity woes I’m now preempting it. I packed a second phone this trip and purchased a pre-paid SIM to tether from which ended up working just fine. I continue to look for a global wifi hotspot solution regardless of where I am in the world but no luck. All I need is the ability to sync and share files alongside basic internet browsing. I’ve found a couple options online but they don’t seem very robust or come with good reviews. If you know of something better, please let me know.
I’ve learned through years of travel the importance of creating a dedicated ‘space’ within my environment where I can focus, thrive and be efficient in my craft. Posting up in random places doesn’t work for me — I get too distracted and spend more time trying to find a groove vs actually being in it. My creative juices and energy can flourish anywhere as long as I give myself the space and permission to do so.
I’m a morning guy — I often do my best work between 7am and 1pm. When the majority of your clients are based in New York and you’re in South Africa 7-hours ahead, I struggle to find my creative juices at 7/8pm. What I do to conquer this is work super early in the morning, usually before most people rise, and step away around 10/11am. I circle back around 5pm for an hour or two, respond to emails and finish off any last bits for the day. This way my mind stays fresh and I’m not creatively drained.
I’ve been in South Africa now 6-weeks and heading home tomorrow. It took me over a week to battle the above and finally find my groove, but more importantly realise arriving at your destination with a boat-load of work to do, at least from my experience, rarely works. Give yourself a few days to ease in without heavy deliverables or expectations.
For what it’s worth, I hope these little tips help.