The Big Step for the traveling coworker
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For many people, not least Ernest Hemingway himself, upping sticks travelling in Europe is a huge step which, and let’s be clear, is a life-changing decision. It used to be that travellers would seek out seasonal work; picking grapes in the French countryside, harvesting strawberries in the South of England; poetic it may be, but it’s hard work for minimal pay.
Now things have changed. Every man and his dog knows that you can work remotely, keep your day job, stay in touch with your colleagues through the countless apps from Skype to Fleep, and not only get your job but also visit places and grow…spiritually. In other words, becoming the traveling coworker.
Being the traveling coworker and working online, you have all of the benefits of a fixed contract, steady pay, and all of your work can be done on the go. It makes for a more rounded journey abroad:
- You experience the real life of the country, not staying in hotels but living in the neighbourhoods of the cities.
- You live in cities such as Barcelona and Berlin, learn new languages and really get to grip with, what is, in reality, an alien culture.
- You will almost certainly be earning enough to enjoy yourself, it’s cheap in Europe!
So for those people who want to see the world and visit Europe to get a real understanding of the continent, remote work has given us the chance to keep our careers burning bright and travel, too. Become the traveling coworker!
Prepping to be the traveling coworker
There are things to take into consideration. Things can go wrong while you’re on the move, so you have to roll with the punches and be agile and calm in the face of the inevitable issues.
The first piece of advice we give to anyone is, have a return flight paid for, open-ended. This does two things. It gives you the peace of mind that should all else fail you can make it home safely. And also, and we’ve heard this a lot, it acts as a motivator; you might be facing something insurmountable, but do you really want to give up and go home? Sometimes you’ll find you need something to spur you on in the face of audacity.
Travel docs and insurance
Each country in Europe has its own peculiar and convoluted way of making things, if not explicitly difficult; technical. Always have your passport to hand when visiting local authorities for temporary residence documents, and always have a bit of cash in the bank as you’ll invariably have to pay some kind of administration fee, but don’t forget this isn’t the third world, they aren’t bribes, just admin.
The bearable lightness of being
Travel light. Make sure you can fit your life into a suitcase and a backpack for when you move from place to place. Any more than this and you’ll find it a hassle. You are facing the world with money in your pocket and the clothes on your back. It’s a liberating experience, use it.
The language barrier is always an issue, but we have some pretty smart apps to get around this, the three key apps to have at the ready are:
- Waygo. A great innovation which seems to have been overtaken by enormous time investment in the Google Translate app. But what these guys did was to use the camera to make direct translations through your screen of printed text such as menus, timetables, and signage. It’s very, almost magical.
- Linguee. These guys publish professional translations to show how dedicated human translators would translate a given phrase. You will put your foot in it with words such as “preservativo”*, and this app is excellent at giving you natural translations for longer phrases.
- Word reference. The problem with the Google Translate app is that you get one word in the translation. But this could be ambiguous from English, for example saying “get on” has various different translations depending on the context. Word Reference is a huge forum of language enthusiasts that things up and make sure you won’t make too many mistakes. It’s also a very friendly and welcoming community.
Take advantage of remote work - be a globetrotter
In the past, to get around the world and see sights like this, meant taking a gap year. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, companies urge their staff to get out and see the world, meet new people and possibly open up new business.
There are many caveats and lots of information but overall, plan well, get advice and most of all, enjoy your trip!
*LPT: It doesn’t mean “preservative”