Tired of spending your workday sitting in an office? Or maybe you've just come back from a trip, and you've got a serious case of wanderlust? If you're like me, then you know that the more places you travel, the more you want to see and explore. The drawback is that long-term travel typically means giving up your income back home and spending a lot of money - two things that don't really work so well together.
However today thanks to technology, you don't have to give up your career to travel the world. You can do both at the same time. Instead of taking a vacation, you can take a worcation (or as the Brits sometimes call it, a working gap year).
Just like ZIP codes revolutionized the way we send mail internationally, and international dial codes now allow us to call anywhere on the planet at the touch of a button, the combination of fast wi-fi, weightless laptops, uber-smart phones and incredible co-working spots have changed the traditional workplace. Anywhere with a good internet connection can be transformed into your office, whether it be a cafe in Buenos Aires or a villa in Bali - the possibilities for your next worcation are endless.
I've been fortunate to have lived and worked remotely from 4 different continents, and have traveled to more than 40 countries. Based on that experience, I've found these three tips to be the best way to make the most out of your worcation.
1. Find a co-working space and try to avoid hostels.
Hostels are great if you're traveling alone and wanting to meet new people, but you need to be very careful when choosing where to stay. While some hostels can be quiet, many have a reputation of being "party" hostels.
The people that I met while staying in hostels typically were not entrepreneurs. They had a completely different mind-set than I did. In addition to this, it was hard for me to get a good night's sleep in a 8-bed dormitory. In fact, it was difficult to get anything done, much less sleep, while being on the move and surrounded by people who were either looking to party, or to see and do as much as they could in one place before moving to the next.
I've discussed the issue with hostels with several friends and we've all found that the best option to a hostel is to look into staying at an AirBnB that you can rent for long-term and work from. Many places on AirBnB will offer discounts for longer stays, which will help save money.
Another option, if you're looking to meet other fellow digital nomads and network, is to find a good co-working space. When working remotely, environment is more powerful than willpower. You need to put yourself in an environment that allows you to be productive. By finding a good co-working space or an AirBnB that's quiet with reliable internet, you'll be able to get your work done and have time to see the best of what your new home offers.
2. Pick a home base and stay there for a few months.
No matter how well you plan a trip, or how little sleep you can function on, traveling constantly will burn you out. I like to setup a home base -- somewhere unknown but still connected -- and then use that for exploring neighboring countries via shorter trips weekend trips.
For instance, let's say you were planning a worcation in Southeast Asia. In my experience, Hong Kong makes a terrific home base. It's filled with entrepreneurs, and there is great infrastructure for travelers. It's easy to get to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and many other places in a few hours, and the airport is world-class.
Having a base and traveling outward from there gives you the best of both worlds. You have an exotic locale with even more adventures close-by, a reliable, productive place to get work done, and no need to drag around your luggage everywhere you go.
Staying put also lets you get into healthy routines, develop friendships with locals and other digital nomads, and experience more of the culture. Weekly sports leagues, regular yoga, dance or language classes, and other activities are possible because you're building a home away from home and not just passing through for a few days.
3. Network with people like you.
The term digital nomad has become a buzzword recently, and for good reason - as technology has afforded us the ability to work from anywhere and some employers allow people to be entirely remote, millenials are flocking to do so.
Two groups I'm part of bring together high-quality digital nomads all over the world, the Brotherhood and Roam. In the case of the Brotherhood, it's curated network of worldwide business owners. Getting into the group is by referral only, which means it's a bit like getting into the Masons - to be one, you have to know one. And in the case of Roam, the concept of co-living is so foreign to many people that it self-selects by attracting only a certain type of person.
Though you'll meet new people wherever you travel, save yourself a lot of hassle and get involved in worldwide communities that share your values. One way to do this is to join a local co-working space. It is the quickest way to build your network and make like-minded friends in a new city.
If you haven't found a co-working spot yet you can also join an online digital nomad group, which allows you to network even before you get to your new destination. There are communities of digital nomads around the world, and you can reach out to meet others for coffee upon arrival or ask questions if you have any doubts about moving to a location.
The best way to have the ideal worcation is to pick a home base that excites you, find a co-working space or some other digital nomads online, start networking and having adventures.