I am dedicated to encouraging people to look on travel as a way of life, not as a short term escape. Travelling and working are entirely compatible and can be seen as a way of life that is a viable alternative to living in one place. Earth Pilgrim is dedicated to helping people understand how it can be done and explaining its many advantages.
A year ago I left my cottage in the Derbyshire hills in the UK and joined my partner on the road. She had given up her house several years previously and had been travelling ever since. I earn my living as a designer and so I needed to make careful arrangements if this money was to continue. I achieved this and started a new career as a writer, speaker and blogger on travel and men’s issues.
In the past year we have travelled all over the world, several times, and only increased our thirst for, and enjoyment of, travel in all its forms. We have been to Australia 3 times, Fiji, Bali, India, China, Singapore, England, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain. We have attended seminars, house-sat, stayed in hotels and apartments and travelled by plane, train, boat, car, bus and foot.
The important issue is how to do this and keep a business going, maintaining your income and sanity. Here are a few pointers on how:
Let your house or flat go. It doesn’t work if you keep a base, you keep going back there, confusing the issue completely. I did this through 2008 and cost me a lot of money and created a lot of difficulty for me. In the 6 month rental of my cottage I was only there for 6 weeks.
Get a self-storage unit which is convenient to an airport you tend to use a lot. In my case my base was in London so I chose Heathrow. This is a busy airport and one I am likely to use through work and family visits. I put all my ‘stuff’ in here that I don’t want to travel with but don’t want to part with yet, that bit will come later, I assure you.
Arrange for a virtual office address in a convenient location. I use a company called OfficeFront in London, again convenient to Heathrow. I used to have a physical office there but now they look after my office phone number – passing calls to my mobile anywhere in the world or emailing messages, my physical post – scanning and emailing it to me once a week, my banking – banking any cheques that come in. Most important of all they provide me with an address I can use as my home address, something you cannot do without.
Get 2 (and only 2) bags that are tough and not too big, for all your travel ‘stuff’. In today’s increasingly difficult travel worlds baggage has become a dirty word with airlines. The big one, for check-in should be a maximum of 20kgs and the small one 7kgs, although I’m usually around 10kgs. Best to carry it on your back, the attendants tend not to look at it there. I carry a small digital scale with me so I can deal with luggage issues quickly, especially in the airport. You can have some lightweight pack away bags in your luggage to cope with ‘weight’ issues. If your hand luggage is being checked for weight take your laptop out first. It always works and it reduces the weight considerably.
5. Computer & Internet
Take great care to plan your digital and electronic needs, the amount of equipment can spiral out of control. For me a working laptop and gear are essential. I am working as I travel and I need all my software and data. I have a MacBook Pro with Parallels so I can run Windows as well. I have a lovely Apple wireless mouse and only the cables and adapters I need. I carry 3 international power adapters for computer, phones etc. One absolute essential is a portable wifi router. Connecting it to a fixed ethernet point creates a wireless network for me and my partner, although the MacBook creates a great wifi net work as well. I carry 2 phones, my UK 3G phone, mainly for incoming business and family calls, and my unlocked phone for a local PAYG sim card. I use Skype wherever possible for outgoing calls.
6. Other Bits
Your home is where you travel so carry some personal bits to aid your comfort, travelling is not about roughing it. The main I carry item is a CPAP machine to help my Sleep Apnea and my snoring, believe me this is essential when I don’t know where I am going to be sleeping! I have an extension cable drum for this, which is also available for computer use out in the garden. I carry a small amount of essential items such as, salt, pepper, herbs, vegetable stock, extra virgin olive oil; they help my cooking. I have incense to help deal with unexpected smells and stuff for mosquito bites. I carry a small stock of DVD’s and books which I send back to the office when I am finished with them.
Clothes are so personal that it’s not something I want to say too much about. Keep them few and make them washable and crease-proof. Buy cheap clothes as you travel and keep rotating them by throwing old ones away when you buy new ones. I have a set of smart clothes and shoes, I never know when a lucrative deal needs personal negotiation! Colour matching is important and weight is critical. When flying wear small, soft shoes (no metal!) and leave your belt in the luggage (don’t ask me why they focus so much on that!).
Money is essential… But how you access it is fraught with problems. My debit and credit cards keep getting locked in foreign countries. Their automatic systems think they detect fraud. Always thank them for this but keep the number handy to phone them, they should be able to reset it while you wait at an ATM, if not get another bank. I use HSBC who are very good at sorting out problems. I once had a phone call from them while I was standing at an ATM in India cursing, they were checking all was OK and quickly unlocked the account, amazing service. My partner uses HSBC Premier giving her accounts in different counties, this is extremely useful.
What on earth are you doing with a car, you say, I thought you travelled all the time. At the moment I still have it and use it when travelling around Europe, that may well change having calculated that hiring a car when I need it is actually cheaper. When I travel out of Europe I leave the car at an off airport car park near Heathrow. If you book in advance you can get amazing deals for long term storage. At the moment my car is stored for 5 months with Purple Parking for a low cost and it is totally secure.
10. Planning and Spontaneity
We like our travels to be spontaneous having both spent years over organising family holidays. We often move and book on the spur of the moment and have got great deals. Planning is still needed to deal with fixed future events, particularly where work is concerned, and to get even greater deals. A well structured balance between these is necessary for a truly relaxed and stimulating time. I haven’t yet just moved to the single tickets only category yet but I feel that is on the way.