3. Fortunately, there’s actually a realistic way to live the dream. The key is to take your job on the road and work remotely — so you can travel AND fund your travels at the same time.
4. And thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to make your “location independent” lifestyle happen. Here’s exactly how to do it.
5. First, choose a job that you can do remotely.
Of course, not everyone has a job that’s remote-friendly. Basically, anything you can do from a computer without having to be an in-person person is what works. Think freelance writers, graphic designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, etc. Also, some companies let you work remotely and still stay on staff if you have a valid case, so check with your HR department to see if you qualify.
For inspiration, check out the people at the end of this post who all worked remotely!
6. Next, examine your options. For starters, you can set up shop at a co-working space on the road.
These days, there are lots of co-working spaces around the world that are like WeWork — except they’re geared specifically toward travelers, so you meet other “digital nomads” during your stay.
Some are houses where your accommodation is included; others are simply shared office spaces. But all of them are a great way to ~expand~ both your network and your horizons.
15. If you don’t want to go to a co-working space on your own, you can apply to be part of the new startup Remote Year.
The company’s founders lead a group of digital nomads around the world for an entire year, stopping to work in a different place each month (so twelve locations total). Find more information here.
16. Or you can create your own wireless office by simply traveling solo, and working from wherever you are.
You can rent an Airbnb, stay in hotels, hostels, or wherever else you want. Pro tip: Consider Airbnb-ing your place back home while you’re on the road. You can use the money you earn to pay for your travels — and if you go somewhere relatively affordable, you may end up making money on the difference.
18. Melissa Erb, 27, an Account Director at the marketing company Revelry Agency, got permission from her bosses to leave their Portland, Oregon office and work from Honolulu, HI.
“I’m lucky that my agency trusts me and allows me that flexibility,” she says. “I work PST hours, which means I start working at 6AM in Hawaii, and I am on the phone with my coworkers in our Oregon and Connecticut offices all of the time.”
“I can say for sure that working from a hammock increases my productivity. No joke. Working from home, without any distractions, makes me much more productive than I am when working from an office. I do miss my coworkers though, because they are hilarious and amazing.”
19. Amanda Williams, 28, is doing customer outreach for a social media startup called Edgar while she travels the world.
In the past year, she’s worked from New Zealand, Spain, Norway, and from all over the U.S. “If you’re looking for a remote job, start first with skills you already have that you can take on the road,” she advises (for her, it was social media and blogging skills).
Then, start scoping out companies with remote teams that you’d love to join. “Follow them on social media and get to know their company culture, so that when they have openings, you’ll be a step ahead.”
20. Chris Collins, 29, is traveling with Remote Year and running his Brooklyn-based startup CaterCow overseas.
In just the past month alone, all six of CaterCow’s employees have worked remotely — and he attributes lots of their success to Slack, Google Hangouts, and Viber. “We have weekly video hangouts where we catch up on each other’s social life, and we try to be physically together at least once per quarter,” he says.
He also says it helps to travel with other other productive people — and beware of too much FOMO. “There are tons of new things to do, but if you dwell on everything you’re missing out on, you’ll become overwhelmed, and your remote work experiment will fail.”
21. Lindsay Daniels, 27, is a Corporate Communications Specialist at Polycom and got permission to work from the road for the year with Remote Year.
Daniels got permission to spend a year overseas while working for her San Jose-based company. “Figure out your most productive hours, and build them into your schedule and incorporate the needs of your colleagues so that you overlap with their schedule. Most importantly, be clear about what your schedule is so your team knows when and how they can reach you.”
And always create a backup plan. “No matter how well prepared you are, there will be occasional road blocks that throw you for a loop, like loss of internet. Have a ‘crisis plan’ in place and always make sure you have a way to communicate to your team when these things happen!”
22. Alex Milligan, 34, a wine importer at David Milligan Selections, also conducts most of his work from the road.
“My biggest tip is to make sure your room has good Wi-Fi and a desk,” he says. “I’ve ended up in places where one or both are missing, and it’s very challenging.”
“Also, don’t be afraid to do non-work things during the work day if you’re able to shift your schedule and do them at night. And remember that no matter what you’re doing, you can usually work off your cell phone — the cloud means I can always access my files whether I have my computer or not,” he continues.
23. Matt Gibson, 36, runs his own consulting business, XPat Media, from the road.
“The key is to be persistent, be prepared to take meetings at crazy hours with people on the other side of the planet, and take advantage of of the organization, communication, and productivity tools that are constantly being developed, like Google Drive, Rescue Time, Alfred, Asana, and Skype,” he says.
Other advice: Have a plan with Boingo, a premium global Wi-Fi provider, and carry an unlocked smartphone with a sim card with credit for 3G in it. “If all else fails, you can create a hotspot that way,” he says. Finally, work in the cloud as much as possible — and get a Skype phone number and a plan or credit. “Telephone is still the most reliable way to reach people, which is crucial for keeping things moving smoothly.”
25. If you’re working remotely for a large company, try to get yourself into a steady routine.
“Have a set time to talk to your boss in order to maintain contact and ensure you’re on track with your projects,” advises New York-based career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman. “Also, make sure you and your boss are on the same page regarding deliverables, duties, and responsibilites,” she continues.
26. If you’re an entrepreneur, Brown-Volkman still advises getting up and “reporting to work.”
Even if your morning routine involves doing yoga on the beach during sunrise while drinking delicious fresh coffee and then “reporting” to your laptop on the deck, it’s still a routine, she says. And it will still help you get into the work mentality and get your sh*t done.
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