Getting Work Done While Traveling
I expected that once I started traveling, it would be exceptionally difficult to get any work done whatsoever.
Surrounded by new environments, new people, and next experiences, I was fairly positive that my productivity would flatline. (That is, without immense, painstaking effort to remain focused.)
It turns out that I was partially right in the short run, but entirely wrong in the long run. Here’s why.
When you first reach a new destination, everything is new. You don’t feel at home. You’re very disoriented. It takes nearly all of your concentration simply to explore the area during the day and find a place to sleep for the night.
Getting work done is nearly impossible. With all the stimulation, the thought of opening your laptop to send cold emails never even passes between your ears.
Whenever you reach a new location you get this same feeling for a couple of days. If you travel to a new city every week, you will hardly be able to focus on business or work specific goals.
All of this changes, however, once you decide to spend longer periods of time in the locations you travel to.
Currently, I am based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I plan on getting a large quantity of productive work done while I am here. I arrived roughly 3 days ago.
How much work did I get done on my first two days in the city? None… at all. I didn’t even answer email.
Fresh off the train, I was staying in a hostel and I needed to find longer-term lodging. The WiFi was shotty and I was in a terrible environment for productivity.
In addition to this, I felt like I had no idea of my surroundings. I wanted to get to know the city a little better. After two days of exploring the local markets as well as other key areas of town I felt like I had a much better understanding of where I was and how to get around.
I then rented my apartment ($140 per month) and settled in. It was only then that I started to get into a ‘work’ mode.
I love getting work done in a setting like this.
Knowing that I will be here a long time I know that I am not ‘missing out’ on any experiences by working long hours. I have one month (two, if I want to pay another $140 in rent) to explore this city and what it has to offer.
I even have time to take long weekend treks into the mountains. Because of this, I’m totally cool staying in for one day to pound out a large volume of work that needs to be done.
The rewards and motivation for working hard are always close at hand. All I need to do to have a new experience is walk out my door and pick a direction to walk.
Tonight for example, I took a trek along the entire wall of the old city of Chiang Mai. I stopped by at a couple food vendors along the way, saw a few (beautiful) ancient temples, and built a mental map of a large portion of the city. It was an experience in-and-of itself, and all I had to do was start walking to be able to enjoy it.
Another aspect of traveling that is always new is eating. At home, eating is often just eating. You buy the same food you bought yesterday and you munch without thinking too much about it.
In Chiang Mai, however, eating is always an adventure! Street vendors sell a massive variety of foods, each of which is a real treat to enjoy.
Did I mention the prices? One of my favorite food items is a massive sausage that is one of the most delicious, succulent treats I have ever tasted. If you want to get full (I wish I could eat this stuff forever, actually) it would take about 2 to fill you up.
One of these suckers costs me 13 Baht. That’s 41 cents.
I’m fairly convinced that working while you travel is much easier than working while staying in one location. (So long as you get over the initial 2-3 day shock of being in a new location.)
I assume that once you stay in one place for two long it begins to lose it’s appeal pretty quickly. Maybe that’s why so many people come home and turn on the TV or log on to YouTube. The world around them just isn’t that exciting after being there for years on years on years. (Can you blame them??)
It’s Sunday night, and I’m genuinely looking forward to getting some solid work done tomorrow. I have about 7 key activities I want to achieve.
I know that if I need to take a break I can grab some great $1 noodles down the street or hit the gym (a day pass also costs $1) in order to blow off some steam.
(By the way, check out this janky, sketchy, gym… I’m probably just as likely to get tetanus as I am to get a ‘pump’) Whatevah… 😉
Maybe if I work hard this week I’ll treat myself to a camping trip this weekend. It’ll be three days long, have food provided, and go deep into the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. It costs about 1,500 Baht. (About $50… just saying…)
I’m paying way less than I would in the USA, having awesome experiences, and am hyper motivated to get work done. So far, I love this. I get to spend all day just enjoying being in a new environment, listening to awesome audio books, and working on my biggest goals.
One of the best parts is that I feel 100% secure. If I ran out of money entirely I’d need to come up with just about $150 to pay for another month’s rent. Add to that $5 a day for food and I’m content and getting fat. In the USA running out of money probably means moving back in with the parents.
Another side note about costs… I got shots for Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies today. They cost me a total of about $70. I got two similar shots in the US and they cost me nearly $300! I also checked at a local dentist and a cleaning without insurance costs about $20.
Anyways, back to the point. I am definitely able to get high levels of work done while traveling and I am finding it much easier and rewarding than in the states.
Every dollar I’m able to earn here can also be earned from nearly anywhere else. I can simply pick myself up and go to China, Australia, Brazil, Chile, or even home to the good ole’ USA without missing a step.
Of course, there will be setbacks, delays, and unseen roadblocks. I’ve been taught for 20 years how to earn an income from one location and have had just a few months of ‘location independent’ job training.
Luckily, a lot of the skills are transferable.
Does this worry me? Not really.
Okay, I’ve got all my thoughts down for today. I know… most of you in the United States haven’t woken up yet, but goodnight from Chiang Mai.