Travelling and working is not a new thing, we used to have travelling salesmen, prospectors or people that would rather jump ship than work for the man, but the idea of remote working is becoming a reality for people that want to maintain a cosy lifestyle wherever they Choose to be on the planet. For me this means getting away from the English winters to warmer climes and the chance to have more freedom of movement around the UK when summer is actually here.
I can go where the wind blows me and still earn my keep, but everything has it’s ups and downs and the down side is that I can feel a little isolated from people unless I make the effort to search them out and people can be a little prejudiced if you are not towing the line. I have to create a plausible character for people or risk being typecast as a vagrant. You might think I’m joking, but rather a severe case I read of recently was of a woman that decided to work remotely from a Chevy van in the US, she edited for a newspaper and wanted to spend a year on the hoof enjoying some freedom. She soon found that people’s prejudice against anyone that didn’t subscribe to the norm of a house owning nine to five worker, meant she quickly changed from being a writer on the move, to a homeless bag lady. I’m not saying this will happen to you, just that you might be leaving more than you bargain for when you pack up that laptop and cut your moorings.
There are the practical things. In London it’s OK as you have wifi dongles that cost little and can be used anywhere. The data rate on mine is a little low as I am with Three UK so I’m not so happy about that, but it’s possible to keep up. There are pubs and coffee houses with wifi but you tend to feel a bit off after an hour or so of piggy backing the connection and supping on one coffee so you give up after a while. it’s nice to be able to get out of the house though so that’s good.
The rest of the UK can be patchy so freedom can be a matter of driving to the nearest hot spot.
S.East Asia was surprisingly good for Internet connections in guest houses etc so working wasn’t a problem, the countryside of course would be a different matter although connecting through mobile networks is getting more common – for instance in Malaysia I used someones mobile dongle whilst on Tioman island and got a great connection.
Australia was awful for Internet connections but I hear that’s changing – it was easier to get online in Cambodia, but Oz has a large landmass to content with so they are playing catchup. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive record of remote working around the world, just that you have to research where you are going to make sure you aren’t leaving the network that keeps you employed.
This winter I would like to go to Nepal and take a paragliding course. I have no idea if this is a place where Internet is good or not, I’ll have to find out beforehand or risk losing clients.
Another issue is that you can lose touch with people. I make sure I go and work at a clients place a few times a month just to find out what people to at work all day, I go out and have a few beers after and join in with the gossip. But a few times a month is enough and I’m back working for me where my time is my own.
Remote working is not for anyone, but it suits me and I can’t believe we live in a time when freedom is available to so many people. But as someone once said to me ‘the big problem they had in one zoo when they left the cage doors open was that the animals were nervous until the zoo keepers closed them again’. We don’t really know what to do with our freedom because it’s new to us, so let’s make this blog a discussion about how to enjoy that time, and your freedom.