What if you could go on a trip and just keep going, never needing to return home? Sound like a fairy tale?
Guest blogger, Amelia Lynch, from The Everyday Journey, is here to share how her family has made it work for them.
How to Get Things Done from Remote: Work, School and Life In General
If you’ve been talking about moving overseas and haven’t been asked at least a dozen times 1) how you’ll make money, or 2) what your kids will be doing, you must know a lot of really polite people. Our friends and family are pretty outspoken so we’ve had to answer these questions for years, even before we sold everything back in Iowa to prepare for life as full time travelers.
As we’ve wandered around Mexico and Guatemala for the past 2.5 years we’ve also met a lot of other people who are living a nomadic life, many of them with children. Everyone has a different answer to the questions above, but here’s a look at what works for us.
There are basically two options here: keep your current job and do it from remote, or find a new job. My husband, Jason, and I did it both ways.
Keep Your Job
Jason works in IT and has a specialized skill set so we decided to present the idea of working from remote to his employer as an alternative to losing him. We spent weeks crafting the proposal, creating a power point and showing how it could be done. A key thing was to predict what questions they might have and answer them before they could be asked, which really impressed them and showed we had thought it through.
We investigated not only internet in our location but backup options, showed them how he could still be part of the daily interactions (virtually of course,) and even suggested a trial month working from home before we moved to prove that it could be done. Our goal was to leave them with no logical reason why he couldn’t do his job from remote.
All of our hard work paid off and they agreed (and I’m still amazed!) This means Jason earns a steady paycheck, but in dollars instead of pesos so our money goes a lot further here in Mexico. The down side is that he still has to be at his computer during office hours so he sometimes misses activities or sightseeing we do during the day.
Changing to a Remote Career
I was an RN in Iowa, a skill that doesn’t transfer as well to Mexico. I could have looked into telecommuting and kept nursing over the phone, but I really love being at the bedside, so I opted to go another way and leave my medical skills as a volunteer option.
A voracious reader, I’ve also written stories my whole life and started my own family travel blog, The Everyday Journey. I decided that this was the perfect time to take it a step further and give writing a serious try. Now I write articles and blogs, and I’m currently working on a book about our travels that will be out on kindle in a few months.
It’s become a popular thing to do as an entry-level remote job because it’s an easy place to start, but it can be hard to make enough money to live on. Jason’s regular income is still our main source of funds, so I can write part time and contribute while still having time to manage our travels and homeschool our kids (more info on that to come.)
If you choose to start a completely new remote job of any kind, do it before you start traveling. It takes time to establish clients, to build your portfolio of work, and to get enough assignments to support yourself. We’ve met people who teach online, writers, copywriters, graphic designers, web developers, these days the possibilities are endless for remote workers. Doing more than one is a good idea too, but they all take time to learn and get established in.
What About the Kids?
There are a lot of different options for schooling that can be part of your travel experience. If you are traveling slowly, enrolling your kids into a local school is a very immersive experience, helping them to make friends and learn the language (and they’ll do it faster than you will!)
We tried a local bilingual school but found it wasn’t a good fit for our girls, so we decided to homeschool, but there’s more to it than that. If you haven’t heard of the term “worldschooling” yet, it basically means learning about the world first-hand through experience. You learn from the world around you, and not only is it surprisingly effective, our girls don’t stop learning when we take a trip or go someplace new. There are no missed days when the world is your classroom.
This doesn’t mean we don’t do any traditional learning at all, but if I cringe at the thought of sitting at a desk every day myself, I sure don’t want to force my kids to do it. Instead, we take a laid back approach and look for learning opportunities in our daily lives. We do math in the grocery store, when we pay for dinner, or measure ingredients when we cook. We read about Mayan ruins and then we go see them. We take along notebooks to write down the things that we find interesting or to draw a picture of a something we see.
It can be more work than handing your kids over to a school, and every family does it differently, but the experience of learning along with them and spending extra time with them has been invaluable to us.
Finding Your Way
When we originally started talking about selling everything, giving up our house and cars and traveling full time, I admit I felt like a crazy person. What changed my mind was finding blogs like this, people who were already out there doing it, showing that it can be done. There are a lot of us, and we’re a friendly bunch, so ask questions and make connections. Find your way and get going!
Thank-you so much to Amelia for sharing the ways in which she and her husband have been able to put together a remote life! I like what she said at the end, “Find your way and get going”. That’s what Traveling Outside-the-Box and specifically the How to Make Travel Affordable series is all about! Travel is not one-size-fits-all; travel is very personal, and it’s all about finding what works for you, your family, and your life.
Everyone has skills, the key is figuring out how to monetize them. In the comments below, tell me what is something that you do well and how could you monetize it? If you’re drawing a blank, look around. Chances are that someone else has already figured out how. Don’t wait any longer. Do your research, make a plan, and get started!
Amelia Lynch is a writer, travel planner, and worldschooling mom to two girls. She succeeded in convincing her husband, Jason, to sell everything they owned and become a full-time traveling family in 2015 and is now a guacamole addict living in Mexico. Keep up with their travel adventures at The Everyday Journey.