Remote work and traveling in 6 questions: Why, How, When, Who, What and Where?

Every employer today talks abut remote work and flexible options, but few of them understand what it means to work completely remotely, on a different continent, for more than a year. This is how I work and live, and further in the text you can read some advice for my fellow travelers.

Why? – This is certainly the most important question and when we have the answer, we are ready to go. Everyone should find their own answer, but I think most could (and should) find themselves in the answer – because of the experience. Of course, I don’t mean business experience here, but the more relevant one – life experience, for which travel is the most beautiful aphrodisiac. I believe that all of us who are reading this have already traveled somewhere, fulfilled some youthful wish and that the feeling is familiar to everyone, and the spirit is irreversibly enriched. And that we all have the desire to maintain that continuous addiction to the aphrodisiac.

How? – Very simple, assuming you work in IT. And while before Covid, for most IT companies, fully remote work was still more of a no, than a yes, the pandemic changed all that and now there is a large number of companies that have fully embraced the idea. As the idea itself is, I would say, still relatively new, companies (and I am primarily referring to my current employer) are still trying to define the status of an employee who works “fully remotely”. I would say that the most important (and still unclear) question is “Remote work – right or benefit”. But, right or benefit, for our story the most important thing is that the employer allows “permanent remote work”. If not, at least in our profession it is relatively easy to find a new job and turn over a new page.

When? – I would dare to say as soon as possible because life seems too short to wait for retirement and enjoy the fruits of your decades of work. Indeed, as soon as possible! I can think of several reasons to be dramatic in this case, but the first and foremost is that we are not getting any younger. The world is such a big and beautiful place, and with every wait and delay, we irretrievably waste the time we have to explore it. When we count in the working days (Monday-Friday), it turns out that we have only 140 non-working days in the year when all weekends, holidays and vacation days are added. Generally, it doesn’t sound bad, but given that these days are scattered, for most people it usually means only 16 to 23 days at a stretch. That is the system, and if you can’t change it, bypass it.

The question Who? – will serve to put things in context. I am 36 years old, with almost 10 years of experience in IT in various positions, but Pontis is the first employer that allowed me “permanent remote work” (this was also my only “non-negotiable” condition at the interview). I have no mortgages, but also no assets. I don’t have a life partner and children. My English is average, my Spanish below average. My physical fitness is good, but not like it was 10 or even 4, 5 years ago. So, quite an average person who travels and works around the world. From my perspective, there is no reason why everyone couldn’t do it. However, two ideal scenarios for people who should travel come to my mind: “young people in their early twenties” and “couples of all ages”.

The question What? will serve more as an answer to the question – Why exactly them? Well, people in their early twenties because that’s exactly the advice I would have given myself 15 years ago, if I could. But since I can’t advise myself, if 1-2 people who will read this would listen to me, my quota of good deeds for this year would be filled.

The second ideal scenario in my head is made up of couples, for several reasons, but I will single out financial savings, support in difficult days, and conversations in your mother tongue. Although the latter sounds unimportant, for a solo traveler from our small nation, speaking in Croatian (Or any Balkan language similar to ours) with someone is almost mission impossible. For example, in these 5 months, I have managed to speak Croatian for only 2 weeks, in Thailand, talking to people who spoke a mixture of Croatian and Serbian. The rest of the time, more often Spanish than Croatian 😀
A small digression for those going to Latin America – make sure you learn at least the basics of Spanish!

Where? Wherever you want — an open mind and stable Wi-Fi are enough. I have chosen SE Asia where I will be for a period of 2-3 years (from Thailand to the Philippines). I have been here for over 5 months and I have only visited Thailand/Laos/Vietnam. It sounds like not much, but these are big countries, and only weekends are free. In fact, I don’t know when I had a “real” free weekend in this period – weekends here are worth twice as much because there is always something new to see and experience. After all, that’s why I’m here.

To conclude, there are hard days, but there are much more happy ones. I am convinced that these happy days exist for future nomads. And new perspectives also. In case someone wants to ask something, feel free. You can follow me on IG/FB: @pleasurediscoverer to see my journey and exploration.

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