So you fancy working and travelling? I did too, so did a bit of a test run to Bali. It’s not as easy as you’d think, I thought I’d share my experience and what I’d do differently next time.
So I thought by doing my research and finding an airbnb that had good internet, as well as finding cafes and restaurants with solid internet, that I’d be grand! I was…sometimes. You have to remember where you are. I was in Ubud, Bali and our airbnb did have pretty good internet – for Bali. So you must learn patience. There are also business hubs available to work from. I did investigate this in Bali and it was expensive for what I needed at the time, however, looking back I really do wish I’d utilised it. I would have structured my work and play time differently and worked a few days a week and then taken a few days off. I trusted the internet and that was a big mistake – it would often cut during meetings or when I desperately needed to get some work done. The best internet I had was while we stayed on Gili T – our villas were quiet, so we were the only people using the internet!
So be warned, the internet might be classed as good, you need to put that in context of the area you are staying. We had the odd power outage to deal with too. So prioritise work when you have internet.
It is incredibly hard to stay motivated while you travel. Between the heat being exhausting and the need to go out and have an adventure, it’s easy to put work on a back burner. I tried to work in batches, so for a few hours every day – looking back, as mentioned I wish I had work days and play days – which I gradually did towards the very end of our trip. I also started using a basic version of a bullet journal so I could prioritise my work. I would also check in with my clients to confirm what they needed from me. My main motivation – I applied pressure to myself, which helped. You don’t work, you don’t get paid. Just give yourself treats after work – like going for a swim in that wonderfully cool pool.
Work & Play
You can still have lots of adventures while you travel and work. You just need to put in some extra planning. I ended up arranging to do a few things each week we were there – then I could plan my work time in around it. I also checked the opening times of tourist spots as well as consider travel time etc. For example – when we went the Gili Islands, I knew we’d lose a day on travel and there was on way I would want to do work once we got there. Or when we went to Kuta to learn to surf, I had to do all of my work at night and then get up early before our surfing lessons and do some work then. I got the work done and I got to have fun learning how to surf – mostly falling in to be honest.
If you want to do it, you can, you just had to consider what you need to do. You should also really consider how much work you want to do while you’re travelling! Do you only want to work 15 hours a week? Discuss it with your clients and see what arrangement you can come to. I was able to work closely with my clients and they were flexible enough to allow me the opportunity to do minimal work, so I got to have epic experiences.
One of the best investments I made was buying my own external battery*. Seriously. I was able to charge my mac twice, as well as my phone. So I could happily work away on the beach – ignore nay sayers that tell you that you can’t work on the beach. I was often a sun lounger or at a table made from driftwood, often with a mojito on hand, getting work done. I’d also recommend an anti-glare screen protector for when you do want to work outside. I have worked beside infinity pools overlooking the jungle, on balconies taking in the view, on beaches enjoying the lapping of the ocean. If you want to do it, you can! Just bring some power and put a screen on, you’ll be grand. In one case, the internet reached all the way out to the edge of the beach – I got to video chat with my parents via video. That made me happy!
Would I Work & Travel Again?
Yes. I would just make sure I factor in the cost of working from a business hub. I would structure my time so I had work days and play days. Those are the only things I would change – I think they’d make a world of difference. If I was travelling to a country with decent data connections, I’d also get a sim to use. You can travel and work, it just requires more thought.