We all know about remote jobs and how productive you can still be outside of an office setting. But what about working remotely? And I mean really remotely.
I have been traveling the world for the past 6 months, working remotely as a Software Engineer. Currently I have been in New Zealand for the past couple months, traveling the islands, taking tons of pictures, and working remotely - all from the comfort of my campervan. Striving for that ultimate work/life balance, optimizing any free time to go exploring, and to enjoy my passion of photography.
I get asked quite often how I'm able to work on the road, and how I deal with keeping connected. I figured I'd share my experience so far and what's unique to coding remotely! I won't bore you with the details of utilizing slack for communication, and how to deal with timezones as I'm sure every digital nomad article out there touches on that. Instead, I'll share the quirks and challenges that I deal with on the road - from finding places to work at to searching for the next place to spend the night.
When you're on the road...the road is your workplace! I find a balance between coffee shops, libraries, or even just out of the campervan very flexible.
And you get to work out of some pretty awesome places:
(ok this is actually in Melbourne, Australia, but it'd definitely one of the coolest libraries I've been to).
But it's not all picturesque. I've definitely had some late nights in airports, buses, and hostels trying to hotfix some bugs.
or when it's rainy outside and you're confined to the campervan...
This is a TOUGH one. When you're mobile, you're relying on public wifi (cringe 😬. Don't worry, I practice safe public wifi usage.) and tethering off of your mobile phone if you have signal.
For security concerns and speed, I tried to always tether off my phone. In New Zealand, pay-as-you go phone plans average about $70-80NZD (~$50USD) for 40-50GB. However once you run out, additional data becomes astronomical. I've seen $20NZD for every GB extra!
Needless to say, rationing of data became very real and I have a new appreciation towards the movement of towards Progressive Web Applications and keeping things RAIL - that is to make the web smaller, faster, and more efficient.
I ended up hopping network providers every time I ran out of data. Also have my US sim card (Google Fi) for emergency data.
New Zealand is one of the easiest places to live in a campervan - Freedom Camping.
All over the country are designated camping spaces where you can freely park, camp, and sleep from! These spaces most often have amenities such as toilets, dump stations (for your van), and sometimes have free wifi!
I found these sites the best to hunker down and get some long hours of work done without any distractions.
There are also a number of paid campgrounds with showers, kitchens, secured wifi (sometimes unlimited), and common lounging areas. I do recommend these for when you want a little bit of "luxury".
This may seem like a lot of effort, just to travel - and you're right it is. In fact, I'm quite exhausted just typing all of this out! While coding and Software Engineering are my professional passions, photography and hiking are my personal passions. Traveling to the ends of the earth, waking up at 2am to hike to the top of the mountain just to catch the sunrise. It's what keeps my mind fresh and helps to bring new ideas to my life and career.
Quick plug for my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixelsight/
It's a journey not for everyone, but hopefully I've inspired some of you to try and find that work-life balance, no matter how extreme it is! Thanks for reading!