This is a guest blog post from my dear friend Thom Marin, originally from France, now globetrotter, on the benefits of travelling and working remotely.
MATT AND I
I met Matt three years ago through our mutual and very good friend Valentina. Matt was visiting her in Paris. Since then we kept meeting all over the world: Madrid, Berlin, London, New York, Guadalajara! Mainly to meet with Valentina, or just happening to be at the same place at the same time!
And today I consider Matt to be one of my really good friends. It is not that often that you meet someone with the same love of long-term travel. Matt is also one of the most positive and sociable people I know and his social skills inspire me a lot.
So, like Matt, I love travelling! And he asked me to tell you about my recent work and travel lifestyle…
MY JOB IN PARIS
For three years, I worked in Paris as an environmental management consultant in a very small company (just my boss and I). It is a computer job kind of. I mainly send emails, write reports and presentations.
Although Paris is a really beautiful and dynamic city, I felt that I really needed to travel again, and I wanted to apply for a working holiday visa in New Zealand, the land of the Lord of the Rings! So I told my boss that I was going to quit in a year or so to travel in NZ and he ended up offering me the opportunity to keep working part-time for him from NZ! I know, my boss is the best!
MY WORLD TOUR
So because I can now work from anywhere, what was a one-year trip in NZ became a trip around the world! I left my room, gave up most of my stuff and all I have now is packed in my big backpack (well and two or three boxes at my parents’ house).So I am literally a snail now.
I did end up going to NZ, but also to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Mexico and Australia. The idea is to visit my friends and experience WWOOFing in NZ (working on farms in exchange for food and accommodation).
So how does it work? Either I am visiting friends, traveling by myself, have my own room or work in farms or hostels – basically anywhere where there is an internet connection. So in a house, at the hostel, at the library (I love libraries) or in a cafe. I focus 3-5 hours of my day working.
And because my friends are also studying or working, it is easy to find time not to be distracted. Of course, some days I work less than others, but my job is pretty flexible and my boss does not check my working hours as long the work gets done!
I am travelling and moving a lot, but that does not mean that I am on holidays! I cannot go everywhere I want to because I always need an internet connection and, because of the time difference with Paris, I sometimes have to work late or very early to be at least one hour available for my colleagues.
Sometimes I envy the other travelers that do not have to work and are completely free and feel really lazy, but then I think for a second and remember how lucky I am, and it motivates me even more to make my boss happy so that he keeps our deal going.
Sometimes I also miss my friends and feel a bit lonely at the end of my day. It is tiring to change environments all the time, and always introduce yourself to new people and feel that you always say the same things, but it is part of the game! You cannot have it all. So I am trying to find this balance between moving every two to three weeks and a longer stays of two to three months in one place.
It has been almost 18 months since I left Paris and I have seen so many amazing places and landscapes and done plenty of new things – hitchhiking, four-day hikes, yoga, growing pumpkins, cooking tortillas.
I have met so many amazing people from all over the world and made new friends for life! I have learned so much about life, culture, food and myself. My English has gotten a lot better.
Travelling really is an amazing learning tool and an extraordinary life experience.
My budget can be summed up in three things: food (and alcohol haha), accommodation and transport. My part-time job gives me enough money for the first two, but if I want to keep flying, I need to work for food and accommodation.
The really good thing about working in a farm is that you do not spend any money! You do not go out, so a month in a farm would be like saving almost all my salary so I can visit Matt in Austin!
ONE LAST THING
My main advice is: if you want to travel, do not find excuses not to! Jump! Quit your job or ask your boss to work from Iceland! Work in farms or hostels, you will always find a way to make a bit of money (you do not need much), and, with a bit of enthusiasm, organisation and Matt’s advice, you will not regret the adventure!
N.B. I work in the environmental sector, but fly a lot, so to be able to sleep at night, I offset my carbon footprint with the same reforestation carbon credits I usually sell to my clients. This makes me carbon-neutral!