So many professions require an employee to sit in a cubicle and work on a computer. There is the occasional meeting and collaboration session that requires you to be in the office (or so your boss says), but by and large it’s you and the computer 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. The truth is that many industries will probably begin to let employees work from home in just a few short years because it is possible, but for now there is really only one profession where working from home is the norm—writing. This is not the case for all writers, but many are lucky enough to have earned the opportunity to make it happen.
The moral of the story: I have been able to work remotely for over six months now, and there is more to learn than just the importance of organization and discipline. It’s interesting to see what other writers or other remote workers have done with the opportunity to work remotely. Flexible hours? Working outside? Working in bed? While these are all great and usually a first priority (as anyone who has worked from home knows), it’s traveling that really helped me love my job and excel as a writer far beyond what I could have accomplished in an office.
Tips and Tricks to Making Sure the Work Gets Done
To give you a little insight into my situation: I have worked while living in a campervan for five weeks and have worked in six different countries (little islands count!) over the last four months. I have gathered so many tips for the writer on the go, and I have figured out a way to meet all of my goals and then some. Below are a few of my secrets:
- Outlets aren’t readily available in every country, and neither is WiFi.
Assuming that you can walk into a coffee shop and work all day isn’t the right assumption in some places. Finding a place to charge my laptop was the biggest issue, and I learned quickly that buying an Internet stick and setting it to automatically top-up (or automatically put more money on the account when it ran out) was crucial.
Side Note** Make sure your credit card company knows you’re traveling. If you set up your Internet on a card that gets blocked, you’re without the web. Don’t make this mistake—I have been there, and it’s not fun (especially when your phone also runs out of minutes and then you have no Internet and no phone to even top anything up…but I digress).
- Understand that you’re going to have to miss out on some traveling experiences.
You want to think of “traveling” more as “living.” You’ve moved to this place. You live there, and the weekends are your time to see the sites. You’re not on vacation, but rather just going about your day as you would at home, except your weekends are going to be way cooler.
- You have to take the time difference into account, and for some this means no traveling.
If your business requires you to be talking with clients all day long, the time difference is going to kill you. This is one reason that writers can often excel overseas. They write for people overseas, and nothing is ever incredibly urgent. Nonetheless, you have to be mindful of the fact that you’re far away. For example, remember not to meet your deadlines according to your timetable.
You have to be passionate about your job, and as I said above, you have to be disciplined and organized. If you don’t love your job it will be incredibly difficult to write efficiently, which is key when you’re working remotely. You can read more about some of the tips I learned while traveling and working in this post I wrote back when I was driving the East Coast of Australia.
Lessons You Learn about Yourself and Your Job That You Never Expected
Traveling while working and working from home differ in many ways, but once you get settled and establish a place to live and work, the lessons you learn are often incredibly similar—and surprising. A few things that I have learned while traveling and working include:
- You’re more independent than you realize. Being stuck in an office all day doesn’t give you any freedom to explore your limits. You might never have thought you’d be able to write a great article in less than one hour, but when you’re motivated, it can happen. Aside from just work lessons, you’ll find that traveling alone is easy. You have your writing and that’s really all you need—people will just follow, and when they don’t; write.
- You will want to go to work every single day if it’s in a place that excites you and keeps your mind going. This is something that I never quite thought possible, but it seems possible when you’re traveling. You’re happy to be where you are, and that makes all the difference. Working at home can get old, but if where you’re living gets old and you’re a traveling worker, then just move (honestly).
- You are probably addicted to the Internet…and coffee. Who knew? If you find yourself in a place without WiFi and you don’t have your own connection, you will find that you’re in a panic searching the town. You want to do your absolute best when you’re abroad because you often have more motivation than if you’re at home, so you’ll start to realize just how badly you really want to work.
- Work becomes the distraction in your day, not the other way around. When you’re working from home or in an office, your day is full of distractions. Kids coming home from school, co-workers coming to talk, your refrigerator, etc. While distractions are good in moderation, you’ll find that you’re more focused when you’re traveling. It’s working that distracts you from everything else (usually it’s because you want to be there).
- Your job thrives on understanding different cultures. I truthfully had no idea I would gain inspiration from talking with people from so many different backgrounds. As a writer, this is crucial to your creativity. Even if you write about SEO or business like I do, you’ll find that there are heaps (that one’s for the Australians out there) of topics that build off knowledge of different cultures—social media for different cultures, how to optimize websites for different countries, etc.
My Rant: Why It’s Not For Everyone, and Why It’s Essential for Some
If you’re a writer or in a position to travel and work, I think you should count your blessings and run with the chance. It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do—pick up and leave your family, friends and your apartment to live out of a backpack—but for some this is the answer to a more fulfilling and successful career.
However, working remotely isn’t for everyone. If working from home means spending more time with your kids or your family, that’s as good a motivation as any to get your work done and be able to keep that job. Traveling isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a writer free of responsibilities and are teetering with the idea, then stop reading this article and go book a trip to New Zealand.
Have you ever worked remotely as a writer or for any other profession? What was your experience and what lessons did you learn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
P.S. If you’re interested in some of the places I’ve gone and some of the working and traveling stories I’ve experienced, feel free to send me an email at Amanda.DiSilvestro@gmail.com. I love to talking about it.
Photo Credit: wildaboutwriting.blogspot.com
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers Ecommerce SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country.