I know many of you are downsizing to be able to travel more, which Maria and I do too.
So now that you don’t need to put in all these crazy hours at work – how do you get to a place where you can work from anywhere in the world?
“I don’t work online, so I cannot work while I travel and do all these crazy things”.
This is a valid argument and let’s take a look at the pros and cons of changing all that. But first, let me tell you where I come from.
I used to be a musician, which is very hard to do online!
People normally pay to see you perform live.
I actually tried once to do a concert online. We tried setting up live streaming and performed in front of the camera with quite ok sound quality and all, but it is very hard to get people excited about that — trust me!
Once in a while, I got a gig abroad, but I wanted to be able to decide where and when I could travel – So I decided to change career.
I chose to start an online business. I started an online Print-On-Demand shop, with in-house printing. Long story short I ended up putting in (much) more hours for less money, and it didn’t really give me the freedom I dreamt about.
When other people enjoyed their weekend or holidays, I had to stay at work and keep the printers running and make sure all orders were shipped on time.
After 4-5 years it was still the same, and I decided it was time to change career again. I had learned something new. This time I was looking for something I could do completely online – without employees and no customer management.
I wanted a simple life without all the hassle of being a daily leader and with more geographical independence.
Today I do online marketing as a consultant. I work from home (or on the road), and this is something I have been very explicit about from the first meeting with all my clients. I work much more efficiently from home because it’s quieter.
My customers measure my work entirely on results, which is something most bosses can understand.
“But I don’t know anything about making money online”
Let me share a quote with you from Stephen Covey:
“If you are walking in the wrong direction, the most efficient thing to do is to walk backward for a while”.
(I’m not sure I quoted that correctly, but the meaning is still there I guess :)
You need to decide what is most important for you:
1) Your current career
2) Being able to work from anywhere and when you want during the day.
If you love your current job and you love the routine and work environment — by all means: Stay there! But if you find yourself dreaming about being able to travel more, work from home when the kids are at school etc. (or anywhere in the world) then you should consider the next quote from my old pastor:
“People overestimate what they can do in 3 weeks, and under-estimate what they can accomplish in 3 years.”
If you really find your niche – something you would love to work with, and probably write about, then you will be amazed about how far you can get within a few years online.
After 2-3 years I had learned a great deal about online marketing, how to build websites and much more.
This is something you can start doing in your spare time.
All statistics show that more and more people shop online, even during the crisis online retail has grown exponentially. Imagine how many of us will be employed online by 2020. New niches are moving online every day, and new online solutions solve problems in new creative ways. Valid needs are being met. This is great news for us who wants to travel and work from different parts of the world!
Why not start building an awesome career online, that will enable you to design work around your life, instead of the other way around?
If you could earn just $500/month on the side within a year or two ($6.000 per year) – how many days would that allow you to travel the world – or do something else that you dream about?
Internet speed and prices
Depending on what type of work you do, you might just need stable Internet at a reasonable price to work. In Europe, you will find high-speed free/cheap internet in almost every larger city.
Depending on the extent of your stay (and your data usage) you should consider buying a temporary sim card / number for your phone, and use it as Internet hotspot for your computer.
This might be the cheapest solution, and this way you also get a local cell phone number, to use during your stay. The 3G network is strong in Northern Europe, England, Italy, France etc. if you stick to the capitals or larger towns.
Check this world map to see Internet speed pr. country:
Click on each country to check the Internet speed in Mb:
Map found at Netkablet.dk
I wouldn’t recommend using the phone network in the Baltic countries though.
We did so in September, and it was quite expensive. I think we ended up spending 200 dollars for three weeks! I would recommend working from a cafe instead, or rent an apartment with Internet included.
A lot of cafes has free (super fast) internet, and a cup of coffee is much cheaper than mobile data!
Generally, we just start out working from a cafe. This way we don’t have to check prices and connections. The inner-city cafes always has great connections.
Meet likeminded people
If you google a little you will easily find work hubs and other entrepreneurial environments, where you can pop in and work for a week or two.
This is also a great opportunity to meet some likeminded people on location! Maybe you will even find a travel buddy – who knows?
Where do they speak English?
Generally, people in Europe speak very good English. Not only the native speakers in England but all the countries in northern Europe, as well as big parts of southern Europe (The Italians and French might be a little hesitant though).
The only place you can’t expect people to speak fluent English is the “deep” eastern Countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania etc.
They had strong connections to Russia back in the days, and some of them still learn Russian in school instead of English.
We found great differences even in neighboring countries. In Riga (Latvia) we had no problems, but in Vilnius (Lithuania) it was harder.
On the road in Europe – where to stay?
When you plan a short-term stay or you are traveling on a budget, you should check out HostelWorld.
You can use it as a starting point, and then find a room or an apartment within the first few days. We normally book (at least) the first couple of days in advance, and then find something locally.
Make sure to check out the prices in advance, which brings us to the last tip:
How expensive is it to travel in Europe?
We normally use Numbeo to see the price differences.
Numbeo is a great site. You just type in your home country/city and your destination, and you can instantly see the price differences on everything from groceries, restaurants, and rooms to public transportation and local salaries.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.