Want to remote work? Don’t listen to the old me! Do it!
To wake up and see a bluebird sky. To rise and complete a trip to the summit before my first conference call. It’s a dream I first contemplated over a year ago. The chance to live in the French Alps whilst continuing to work as a remote consultant.
For years I commuted into London pushing past the thousands of commuters to sit at a desk in a soulless corporate office. Like so many others I sat on my morning train and tube wondering how with all this technology we’ve found ourselves in a world where we are still commuting en masse between the hours of 7am-9am and 17:30–19:00.
I often attended meetings in far flung parts of the world only to arrive and find myself speaking to a spider phone all alone whilst every other attendee spoke from their homes in Copenhagen or San Francisco.
I launched my own consultancy 2 years ago and worked flat out 7 days per week. I kept my rates low and worked incredibly hard to please clients. I found myself approaching the point of exhaustion. I was often being told by clients that it might be time I took a holiday. I was even given the idea that holidays can happen without my laptop or my trusted Turbobridge conference call line.
My decision to try remote working was easy in that my partner had the chance to take a sabbatical. I spent weeks thinking of all the reasons why it couldn’t work for me. What about Wi-Fi? What about my desire to ski everyday rather than write PowerPoint or deliver a WebEx? I tried everything to talk myself out of it.
Thankfully it was one argument with myself that I lost. I’m now sitting in a bar in Tignes in the Rhone-Alpes looking out at the snow continuing to fall. I’ve just finished some important work for a corporate client and will reward myself tomorrow with an exhausting climb up the Grande Motte with my new touring skis.
After a long day’s work I’ll listen for that click sound as my boots fit into my bindings. I’ll switch off my laptop, my Apple watch and I’ll escape notifications. I’ll head for the mountains and some real remoteness. In a world of constant emails, calls, meetings, stand-ups and notifications it’s amazing how beautiful loneliness can be.
It’s the change I needed but I’m not sure it can last forever. I just wanted to share my story with others in case they’re looking for an escape.
If you’re wondering about doing something similar. Just remember it is possible, it is wonderful and it will make you a better person on your return to reality.
Sometimes a dream is worth pursuing no matter what your sensible head tells you.