Combining work and travel isn’t something new. Long before remote work became possible, people from all walks of life were ditching office cubicles for working models that allowed more freedom. They would venture from one new city to the following foreign country, pursuing knowledge, connection, and understanding of untried cultures. Still, bills – the perpetuity of adulthood responsibilities – were always there, but so were the possibilities of earning a living in a freshly discovered environment. After all, the idea of waiting a whole year for a limited vacation period to explore the world seemed quite conservative for some. And when you want a different life, it is upon you to build it.
Back when in-office work was the standard model of earning a living, you would need to make a hard choice: fulfilling travel desires or showing up to work responsibilities, an extended vacation, or a successful career. Now, with the advancement of technology, the alternatives aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, opting for a successful career doesn’t eliminate the chances of exploring the world since you can put on your A-game from anywhere on the globe, granted you have a reliable internet connection.
As covered in the article “The Great Resignation: What Employers Must Do To Retain Talent”(if you haven’t read it, click here) when the globe was forced into lockdowns, people began to contemplate other alternatives for life and work. For instance, before the pandemic, only 6% of all employed people in the United States worked primarily from home, while about three-quarters never did. As of May 2020, 48.7 million people, 35% of the workforce, confirmed they had worked from home because of COVID-19 restrictions. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, “workers say they are working from home by choice than by necessity.”
That is to say, people had a taste of what life could be outside office constraints. The mind wondered what else was possible. If you could work from home, you would probably do well from virtually anywhere in the world. And why not?
- All trends come with an amount of appeal. However, before considering combining work and travel, make sure it fits your style. The nomadic life isn’t for everyone.
- Cover your bases. Remember, you will be juggling work responsibilities and traveling. Having an appropriate place to work remotely, with reliable equipment and connection, is crucial to meeting employers’ and clients’ expectations.
- Diligently research your new locale. Although you may be excited about exploring an off-grid village, it will probably make your work life harder. Plan accordingly to the responsibilities you have at hand. You may want to postpone that trip for your off days.
- Keep the time zone in mind. Though remote work has become popular recently, most companies still expect some commitment during local business hours. Make sure your new locale overlaps with where the work is based.
- Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Traveling miles to find yourself in the same headspace doesn’t make sense.
The benefits of a flexible life
When the pandemic hit, Thalita Simon, a Brazilian English teacher and founder of Verbalize Now, had been working at an international school in Thailand. Like many employees around the globe, she had to adjust to online classes during lockdown to keep things going. However, Simon, like hundreds of thousands of workers, didn’t want to return to the strict work routine when economies began to reopen. “When we returned to in-person teaching, I realized I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted the freedom to work from wherever I wanted,” says Simon.
She has been combining work and travel or living a nomadic life for over a year now. Amongst the motivation for leaving home, or creating new habitats, was the possibility of exploring the world while investing in what matters most to her. For Thalita Simon, combining work and travel isn’t a trend but a reflection of a more profound change in how people perceive life.
“I believe that the pandemic has changed the way we view work. As a consequence, people are doing more of what makes them happy because they have realized over the pandemic that most of us can work from anywhere and still be productive. And on top of that, we can spend more time with our families and friends. So, hopefully, more and more companies will normalize different ways of working”, reflected Simon.
The challenges of combining work and travel
Combining work and travel isn’t impossible but comes with challenges, as expected with anything worth in life. So before jumping into a digital nomadic journey, unless you’re filthy rich, it is always better to plan and organize yourself financially.
According to Thalita Simon, one of the significant challenges at the beginning of her journey was creating a reliable source of income. Although she is a strong advocate for remote work, having helped professionals across the globe land their dream jobs at international companies, Simon wants people to have a realistic perception of the nomadic lifestyle. It isn’t all excitement and sightseeing; you must do the work and make concessions. “For me, the hardest part is being able to have a steady income from a new business and travel at the same time. We had to do much planning and have money saved to be able to do this”.
Moving from one country to the following will also demand great adaptability. Part of the challenge of living and working abroad is handling unexpected situations that surely will emerge. Living on your terms may sound like a dream, however, to succeed, you will have to work sometimes harder until things fall into place.
How to get started
Though every person will encounter different realities, there are some basic steps you can take to avoid unnecessary risks and make your journey combining work and travel more accessible. So straight from the horse’s mouth, here are the tips Simon would give to newbies:
✔️ First, have a job that allows you to work remotely and a salary that will enable you to adapt to the cost of living where you want to go.
✔️ Plan it and plan it again. It doesn’t matter how much you have planned; things can still go wrong, so being flexible is extremely important.
✔️ Also, do extensive research on the country or city you will be visiting, including visas, culture, how to withdraw money, transportation, and bureaucracies in general.
You don’t need to be an expert to understand that the employment market is changing. It is premature to predict where it is headed, but one thing is sure, employees had a taste of life with more flexibility and likely won’t give way. It will be up to companies and recruitment firms to adapt their working models to the demands of the workforce. Otherwise, they will probably lose talent in the long run as the competition for high-skilled professionals increases.
Thalita Simon is now in Argentina. With her remote-friendly English school, she is helping professionals worldwide improve language proficiency and land their dream job at top-tier companies. She probably won’t stay longer in the country. There is always more to explore. But for now, she has found a place that doesn’t limit her and in which she can live on her terms. “Specific workplaces limit you. I’ve worked for many schools that wouldn’t allow me to be creative or bring anything extra to the class. I wanted the chance to do things my way and be able to create new ways to help students”, concludes Simon.
Need help finding your dream job? Combine will help you. Click here to join our Talent Network.