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"Even though it might be obvious, during my travels I found out the hard way that creative, meaningful work, requires some routine. Changing your location once a week, working from benches, hammocks, cafes, bars and hostel floors is a cool way to fund your vacation, but it certainly doesn’t help you when tackling hard programming problems."

And this is what I've also found. In order to be able to do anything of any significance you need to make the rest of your life as routine as possible in order to minimise distractions. Continually moving around requires you to do a lot of extraneous work merely to reproduce your labour.




The way I see it, one doesn't need to actively travel constantly to be traveling. When I was dealing with a difficult project, I just stayed at one particular hostel for two months, and settled into a routine. It was an odd one, of course, but it still became a routine, and I could finish the project.


The successful travel/work people I know do it in that style, moving between cities on a monthly or bimonthly basis, not daily. They'll typically spend 1-3 months in a city, renting a place on AirBnB or a local rental site, then move to another city.

That removes a lot of the problems discussed in this blog post, like not knowing if you'll have internet access tomorrow, and not being able to guarantee you can spend 8 hours tomorrow on a project.

It's also how I personally prefer traveling, even just purely for vacation purposes: have a relatively stable temporary base where you can leave your stuff, and then explore the local area for a while (both the city you're in, and day trips to nearby places). When I spend only a few days in a city I never feel like I really see it or understand it, so I don't like doing the whirlwind backpacker-style trips where you're moving to a new place every day or two.


The most cost effective way I've managed to pull off the expat existence is to find the equivalent of Craigslist in the country you'd like to visit; then arrange a 3 month rental (the usual visa limit, on an American passport at any rate), sorting out high-speed internet in advance (i.e. if no connection in place already, contact local ISP and get technician visit/installation for day after you arrive).

Next, get a local SIM card with pay-as-you-go plan and use the invoice with your apartment address as "proof" of residency (for the next step).

Finally, hit an ATM and draw equivalent of a couple grand USD in local currency and create a bank account using your pay-as-you-go invoice and passport as proof of identity.

Have bank accounts in Canada, France, Brazil, and the States, only one of which charges a monthly fee.

In SW France now, the 2-bedroom apartment I'm renting is 5 minutes walk from the beach, and runs me about $750/month, high speed internet included.

SE Asia may be cheaper, have yet to venture that far from EST where my clients are based. Might check out Sri Lanka though this winter, have heard there's decent (enough) surf and not super pricey.

Cheers to fellow code warriors ;-)


There needs to be a service where you can just buy/rent a packet with all the essentials. Sim cards are just one of the many things that could come in such a package to save you a lot of time. My GF when she travels has often sought out exchanging used pre-paid SIM cards for the countries she goes to as a way to avoid all the bureaucracy that often surrounds their acquisition. It would be great if you could do this with bank accounts too by simply handing it over to another person. Just withdraw all the money and hand the debit cards and other account information to another person. So long as the bank rules don't allow accounts to go negative, there is no reason to tie identity to bank accounts.

TBH, I've really come to the conclusion that borders are bullshit and I can't wait until they are increasingly viewed as an anachronism like they have come to be viewed within the EU. They create a number of inefficiencies in many many systems and the truth is that the only necessary system that really needs them to function under the current model is taxation to support public infrastructure within a region. However, even that can be solved by only taxing everything that is immobile, such as land, buildings, businesses that need to exist in a certain physical location for prosperity, such that both those that live in a place and those that visit a place, pay directly for the use of all the public services in that place via the infrastructure that accommodates them (places to sleep, eat, work and be entertained).


Yes. When I last left the UK I remarked to the teller as I withdrew the last of my money that it was about 100 up on what I expected. Suddenly all the money was grabbed back. I was quizzed at length on what I had bought recently. It transpired that a recent purchase (it may even have been an ATM withdrawal) hadn't registered at the back yet, and I was made to leave all my money behind to cover the pending charge. Given the BS involved in opening accounts and the larger issue of te impossibility of closing them (10 years later I still have the bank and a tax authority writing to me regarding about 10 quid in the account), handing them on is a great idea. Makes me wonder if I could get paid to some other system - a non bank affiliated credit card or similar. Dare I suggest a Paypal equivalent (obviously not Paypal though).


I'm curious, where are you exactly in the South West of France?


Capbreton, in the Landes region, best waves in Europe ;-)


My home region! I'm from Pau, 100 km in the southeast direction :-)

Don't stay there in the winter though, the lack of people and activity can be a bit depressing.


Spent a winter here once, not easy, but quiet, and the waves keep coming despite the brrrrrrrr, cold water.

I tend to come here in the autumn and spring now, weather is beautiful and the living is nice.


Do a lot of people continue to surf during the winter there, in wetsuits?


This place is a zoo year round, surf-wise.

Dead of winter, if the waves are pumping, it will be packed all day (surprising how everyone manages to be unemployed when the waves come).

January/February the vast majority are in a 4/3 wetsuit with booties (to protect the feets), but really it's not _that_ cold, nothing compared to northern Europe (where the poor bastards rub vaseline on their faces) or northern Cali in the winter, which is not only colder, but has a much larger issue, the man in the gray suit.


I've been "homeless" for nearly 2 years now, and this is how I do it. Stay somewhere for 1-3 months in an AirBnB or with a friend/relative, and keep the sightseeing/carousing about to weekends and half-week vacations.


I'm doing this in similar way. Find place on AirBnB for month or two(much cheaper than weekly rentals), check that place has good internet, located in nice neighborhood etc. Than find some gym, favorite cafe etc and live life like regular local for that period.


Yup. I'm currently relatively stable in Berlin, but I've been doing the same thing.

One thing I try to do ASAP, if the city is accommodating, is get a bike. It's one of the best ways to get around and discover new things in the process. Also gives you a lot of freedom to adjust plans on the fly.


This is absolutely true, and I believe why many companies that understand this are averse to remote working. Yes, commute time is a waste, but getting into an environment and mindset to do serious work requires you to get into your "routine groove".


There's a whole layer of difficulty between remote working-from-home and remote working-while-travelling.

A good office provides a suitable environment for almost anyone to work in. This will cover a lot of seemingly minor stuff - a desk, an ergonomic setup, sufficient clean bathrooms, a coffee machine, a place dedicated just to work, a dedicated telephone line, comfortable temperature/atmosphere, a motivational working culture, etc.

If you're working-from-home you need to set all that up yourself and do it properly. It will take some time to set this up and get it right, but you just need to do it once. You might end up with a situation that's better for you and benefits everybody - but if you don't do a thorough job or if you can't motivate yourself to work then you're simply not going to be as productive as you would be in an office. (Worth it? It depends)

If you're working-while-travelling - this is now a whole different level of difficulty - you need to set this up in every place that you stop. A fancy hotel normally has most of this covered for you, but a mate's floor probably has none.

To manage working-while-travelling, you need to learn exactly what is important to your work environment and how to find it - so that you can set it up each time that you move. (Worth it? It depends but it's hard)


Group projects at university are an interesting learning lab for this problem. Did you prefer to work in a conference room/lab/unused classroom, or were you the guy who preferred to sit on the lawn? Aside from personal preference, how did it feel when the other group members "forced" you to work somewhere uncomfortable?

My experience is .edu is not any different than .com. The main problem is in .edu everyone logically works/studies/thinks in complete silence at libraries and study tank rooms, but in .com everyone is supposed to do their best, most important work in open plan offices where its so noisy you can't think.


The people who actually ended up doing the work never wanted to be on the lawn. Those who saw the meeting as another chance to hang out did.




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