Working and Traveling At The Same Time – Our Location Independent Offices

Starbucks in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Working and travelling at the same time is not for everyone. We know this too well. When we first discussed the possibility of “location independence” we were both very scared. Our knowledge of how to work remotely was so limited “location independence” sounded totally unachievable.

And now, three months or so into our travels, we can certainly say we are location independent. Thank goodness for the Internet, podcasts and other people who have wondered how they can escape their 9-5 jobs and did it.  The knowledge we gained through reading, listening, asking questions and learning from our own mistakes has got us to the position we are in today.

Our Office in Langkawi, Malaysia

Our “normal” schedule, I say “normal” as our schedule is “normal” for us, is get up, perhaps a swim in the ocean or a pool, have breakfast, work for two hours, have lunch, perhaps another swim, work another two hours, then have the rest of the afternoon and the evening to do touristy stuff.

Yes, it is still a full day. The difference is that we are in a location of our choosing. We get to see and experience new things when we are not working. If we get bored we can relocate to anywhere else that takes our fancy. Compare this to a regular working day at home. Get up, have breakfast, go to work, sit at the same desk all day, maybe go to the gym after work, come home, watch tv, go to bed, Monday through Friday. And that is a good day, you went to the gym, somewhere other than work or home!

Who could resist looking out at a view like this when working remotely, Koh Phangan, Thailand

Being location independent when travelling certainly isn’t for everyone. It is a hard skill to master and it is something that we are both still working at. We do however have two tips for people considering it:

Have a schedule

We have found that we still need a schedule. Without one we can easily get distracted and miss an entire day of work. You go to a museum in the morning and think “I’ll work this afternoon.” Then some people you met at the guest house are heading to the beach and you think “ok, I’ll work tonight.” Then someone tells you about a bar running some amazing drinks specials, tonight only… Your schedule can be flexible and change with your circumstances but set a schedule then stick to it.

Figure out what helps you concentrate

You’ll notice that Andrew is wearing headphones in many of the photographs in this post. Andrew has always worn some sort of headphones while working, even when working in a quiet office. As well as helping shut out distracting background noise they are a subconscious prompt that now it is time to concentrate. Is there anything from your office that you can bring with you to put you into work mode?

With a sturdy Internet connection, we can work from anywhere in the world. The world is our office.

Working location independently from a couch in Penang, Malaysia

Drinking Beer whilst working location independently in Langkawi, Malaysia

Our Garden Courtyard Office in Penang, Malaysia

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About Tanya

Tanya is a TEFL teaching farmer’s daughter and writes most of the posts. She is also an experienced IT person, a fantastic organiser and an awesome cook. She left a free-beer-providing IT job in a brewery for life on the road. That is commitment!