The new rage for travel lovers is finding a way to work remotely from anywhere in the world. While this is becoming more and more possible because of widespread internet availability in even the most remote and developing countries, it’s not as easy as it sounds. First, the point of going on a RTW trip isn’t to work 40 hours a week, which many location independent jobs require. Second, getting a job as a digital nomad can be challenging.
Your best bet is if you already have a set of marketable skills so you can do freelance work. Web design and consulting are fantastic options, while travel writing is a possibility (though you shouldn’t expect to start a blog and begin earning money immediately-it takes lots of time, hard work, and patience). If you are thinking about trying to earn some money while traveling it might be best to think in terms of developing freelancing skills well in advance.
Keep Your Job And Start Working From Home
It is possible to keep your current job and travel at the same time, working remotely while on the road. Start small as you make the transition to location independence. If you don’t have much face time at the office, you may want to propose the idea to your boss to let you try working from home, maybe one or two days per week, then gradually build up to full time as you prove to your boss that you can do just as good of a job from home (and soon, the road) as you do in the office. Of course, the trick here to make sure that you really do continue to be a model employee. If this goes well, you can take the next step and ask to work from another country.
Obviously, if you have not been at your current job long, your boss will probably not respond well if you walk into his or her office and announce that you’d like to work from Southeast Asia for the next six months. But if you have a proven track record at the company, your boss may be open to the idea. People who work from home often work longer hours than those in an office. Plus, the company will save money by not having to provide you with a desk and computer. If you’ll be purchasing travel insurance for your trip, the company will save even more by not having to pay your insurance premiums.
Explore All Options
If your job absolutely requires that you work in a specific location, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a location independent professional. It just means you’ll have to get a new job in order to do so. Start looking for jobs that specify “work from home” or “remote” (just be careful that the job isn’t a scam). Look for jobs that utilize your current skills but that don’t require that you work in a particular location.
You might be more limited in where you are able to go if you plan on working while you are there. You won’t be able to go to very remote places, as you’ll need to make sure you have access to phone or internet services. Plus, you might be more weighed down than you would if you were traveling free and easy. For nearly all remote jobs, you’ll need to bring a laptop.
This could mean that you have to hunker down and stay put for a while at times and not move around as often as you thought. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, you may get to visit few places during your trip, but on the other, by staying longer in each place, you may gain a deeper understanding of life there.
Before you decide to travel as a location independent professional, carefully weigh the pros and cons as they apply to your situation. Is the security of a steady income worth the sacrifice of having to work while you travel? Could you be location independent in your current job or would you need to find another? How much time are you willing to work each day or week while you are on your trip? For some, location independence is a great way to continue working while they see the world, but it’s not for everyone.
After going over all the money and working possibilities, it’s time to get into the meat of planning your RTW trip. Airfare is going to be your biggest expense, so be sure to read all about RTW airfare vs. buy as you go.
Location Independent Professional Checklist
- Do you have any freelance skills you can use to work from the road (writing, web developing, consultation)?
- Is it necessary that you’re in the office every day?
- If so, start looking for something that allows you to work from anywhere.
- If not, consider asking your boss to start working from home a day or two a week.
- Make sure you work extra hard to prove that it’s unnecessary for you to be at the office.
- Ask to go to 3 or 4 days a week from home.
- Ultimately build up to where you’re working from home all the time.
- Try to make the move to full location independence by asking your boss to work from anywhere in the world.
- Make sure you have an airtight case and have thought of any rebuttals your boss may have.
Picture credits: 1.