Working & Travelling the world — just do it!

My job as an interaction designer allows me to work from anywhere. I just need a proper internet connection (which can be a challenge on the go) and my laptop. Well, from time to time a power outlet is needed too.

I often get asked on twitter and other social platforms wether I am on a constant vacation and therefore never work. First of all, I’m running a web company — so yes, I do work actually quite a lot. I integrated my work and hobbies seamlessly into my life and from an outside perspective it might seem that I am always having fun. Well that’s actually true.

In the end it all comes down to just doing it, because if you feel you can provide a benefit to your life and to the results you deliver, there is only yourself hindering your progress.

Nike famously put it into words: Just do it!

Be open for the adventures in life

Taxi in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

People tend to set strict boundaries for themselves, mostly we are over-concerned and therefore limit our own experience throughout life. I am no extraordinary being and this happens to me too, all the time. Once you breakthrough this negativity and the fear that limits your experience, you can finally go travel freely while delivering the best work your clients could imagine.

As an example from my experience: Clients often hire me to work on-site as leader or part of their web-team. As you can imagine, this interferes with my urge to travel. Nevertheless, whenever I am planning a new trip, wether it’s a conference I’d like to attend or a retreat with the people from my remote company, I’ll tell my clients that I am not available for on-site work, yet continue to work for them while travelling. The choice of course lies with the client. So far none of them opted-out of working with me, when I wasn’t available physically, but it was my greatest fear at first.

“Being reliable and responsive brings trust in your client relationship”

The recipe for this, is to build a great relationship with your client, one that is based on open communication and mutual trust. Of course your work has to be rock-solid and you have to be reliable and most important responsive. This is especially true when you decide to travel to a different timezone while working for a client back home.

Get inspired

Salesman with his kiosk in Lima, Peru

I keep getting inspired when I am working somewhere else. I truly believe that it makes me a better designer and a more sensible human being, as I tend to see and appreciate the creative solutions people come up with, even though many tend to have far more constraints than we have at home.

The challenge

Travelling while working for your clients can be quite exhausting and there are certain drawbacks and challenges you face, compared to a regular office job or staying at home. You have to accept that the nomadic lifestyle is by far more unstructured and presents you with challenges you haven’t thought about while staying in your comfort zone known as your home base.

  1. Stay open to work from almost any place you can imagine and at anytime an opportunity to get something done presents itself.
  2. Be aware that you have to be quite disciplined and can’t party like backpackers or new acquaintances you may meet on your journey.
  3. Looking for a place with a decent internet connection or where you will have lunch will take time, you maybe wouldn’t have to spend when staying in your known environment.

When you are aware of these challenges you can get most out of it while escaping your boring environment back home.

Here is what I am up to now

Cusco, Peru

I just started a long-term work-travel trip to South America, Australia and Thailand. I’m writing this from almost 3500 meters above sea level in Cusco, Peru. I won’t be home for at least the next four months and my trip includes a three week vacation where I setup an auto responder in my email for the first time since I started my own business. This still scares me and I am sure it will be challenging, but I am going to do it and I’ll let you know how it goes.

To sum it all up, be less scared and go ahead with what you feel will help you create your best work, while having a life and some fun of course.