Technology has enabled us to work across global borders with a few taps on a keyboard. Today, freelancers and entrepreneurs make up a large percentage of the workforce and this number is only expected to grow in future years. Remote work is becoming increasingly common.
Right now, I’m working on marketing projects from beautiful Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
I chose to come to Spain for a few reasons. The hustle and bustle of New York is amazing but after a few years in the city that never sleeps, I realized I hadn’t slept much either.
Glancing around the subway, I felt a sense of camaraderie with every tired New Yorker sitting on the 6 train. One day, I looked in the mirror and noticed how the city had drained me. The light had gone out of my eyes and I couldn’t shake the dark circles. I longed to go somewhere slower to recharge my batteries and put my head down to focus on work. I love New York, but in a buzzing city – fun distractions can sometimes blindsight you from your goals.
Spain is one of the best places to work for US clients for a few reasons.
- In Spain, you are 6-9 hours ahead of the United States. This means that you can get a full day of work in before the sun rises in Seattle. If you are a late riser, you can start your work day around noon-3pm Spain time to align with PT and ET hours.
- The cost of living in Spain very low when compared with major US cities. Where I’m currently residing, I can rent a room for around $150-$300. Yes, you read that right – dollars! Not only is the dollar strong right now against the Euro, but Spain is also very inexpensive to live. My breakfast today cost me less than $2. In New York the same thing would easily run me $7-10.
Each time I’m about to jet off, people ask me “How can I do this too?”
Pack your bag – but don’t forget these essentials:
One thing you can always count on while traveling is a bad wifi signal in your accommodation. Even when the places lists “wifi”, often times this means “wifi at the pace of a snail.” To ensure that you’re able to work and make client calls, a roaming hotspot is the best investment you can make. My place in Spain has wifi, but in case of any issues I purchased a SkyRoam for $125 to use in case of emergency. While purchasing the device that claims to work “anywhere in Europe”, I was a bit skeptical. The instructions read that you plug it in and go. “Too good to be true..” I thought.
To my surprise, the device is easy to use. It’s pretty remarkable for a mobile hotspot. Now what’s the catch? The device is an initial $125 investment and comes with 5 free day passes. When you run out of day passes, you must purchase more for around $8 per day. This is still much cheaper than Boingo wifi at airports and the sunk time cost of trying to find a European McDonalds with free wifi.
Most places you travel to will have outlets at your disposal. I’ve found it’s always handy to carry a portable battery just in case. Right now, I’m sitting at a coffee shop, writing this article on my mobile hot spot while plugged into a mobile battery. With a mobile device and hotspot, you can literally work anywhere for the day. Pull out your beach chair in Barcelona and get to work!
I’m the queen of accidents – last year I lacerated a tendon in my foot putting me on crutches for three months. How? F̶i̶g̶h̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶f̶f̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶u̶l̶l̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶P̶a̶m̶p̶l̶o̶n̶a̶ ̶ …I tripped over a cup in my bedroom. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s always better to be covered for the worst case scenario. Travel insurance is remarkably affordable. For a plan that will cover me for 3 months, I chose travel World Nomads, which is only a few hundred dollars. Compared with insurance in New York, this is a great deal. Insurance in New York will cost you hundreds PER month WITH a huge deductible AND you’ll probably have to sell your first born child to pay for it.
A few days off the plane, I started to feel ill. My stomach began to feel like it had a tiger inside trying to escape. A WebMD p̶s̶y̶c̶h̶o̶ advocate, I knew I had gastroenteritis or a type of food poisoning. Instead of sitting in misery for almost a week, I wish I had brought activated charcoal. This is the only remedy that I’ve found to consistently help mitigate stomach problems. Activated charcoal helps absorb toxins and gas in the intestine in the unfortunate case of food poisoning. This is harder to find in other countries so pack a bottle and thank me later.
Whenever I go to a new place, I like to pick up some of the language to help me navigate the city. Babbel is one resource I’m using now to help me learn a few different languages. Online language learning has come a long way since Rosetta Stone. Babble works on my computer, my phone and when I don’t have a solid internet connection, I supplement with free flash card apps. Spend an hour a day on these platform and you’ll improve your vocabulary rapidly. Some have claimed to become fluent in just a mere matter of months.
Though jumping on a plane to the unknown may seem scary, the more you do it, the easier it gets. What do you have to lose? Book your ticket today!
Arianna O’Dell is a digital marketer with a passion for coffee, travel, and digital media. Her work has been featured on her mother’s refrigerator and on blogs worldwide.
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