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Sprinting photo

The majority of people believe it is too difficult, or even impossible, to actually “work” while embarking on long-term world travel. “How could you possibly accomplish anything productive and bring in income while constantly on the move?”

If you are part of this group of naysayers, I’ve got news for you: A growing number of people (including myself) are hitting the road and seeing the world, WHILE working.

“But HOW?” might ask.

In terms of jobs- they vary, but usually revolve around a computer and the internet (I’m not talking about bar tending from place to place here).
In terms of tools- there are a few that help: DropBox, Grasshopper, and Evernote make my working life much easier on the road.
But what is the real secret? What is the trick to balancing an endless bucket of brand new experiences and adventure with actual work?

Working in Sprints!

In athletics, anaerobic sprinting is known to naturally release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in your body, which increases athletic performance and slows down the effects of aging.

Just like in athletics, working in sprints actually increases your work performance.  Working in sprints, means going an extended period of time not working, and then taking a period of time to work very hard (and smart).

The reason this is beneficial while traveling is because your time away from work is filled with new and mind opening experiences.  New experiences have been scientifically shown to make you happy.  They also boost creativity.  I mean think about it, do you think you are more likely to have fresh new ideas when you are stuck in the same routine everyday?  OR, do you think it is more likely to happen while you are constantly being exposed to new encounters and new perspectives?

Aside from creativity, your time away from work (while traveling) really allows you to prioritize, so that when you do work, you know exactly what needs to be done.  This “step outside the box”, if you will, allows you to differentiate between minutia and the real actions that will get you closer to accomplishing your important tasks.

I have personally never been more productive than on my working sprints while I am traveling.  If there is something important that I need to do, I will find a quiet work environment with good internet, and go at it until I’ve accomplished what I need to accomplish.  When I’m done, I go back to traveling, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures.

Below I’ve listed some of my favorite places to work in South and Central America.  My criteria for good places for working in sprints were that they have, one, a good internet connection, and two, a quiet enough work environment for the occasional Skype call.  Each of these places were the hubs where I got significant work done during my Central and South American work sprints:

  • Barrio Cafe  -  San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
  • Mamallena Backpackers -  Panama City, Panama
  • Palermo Suites  -  Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Hostel Empedrado  -  Mendoza, Argentina
  • Bonita Hostel (Ipanema Beach)  -  Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Andes Hostel  -  Santiago, Chile
  • McDonalds (I know, I know, but it was quiet and had great WiFi)  -  Medellin, Colombia
  • Juan Valdez Coffee  -  Bogota, Colombia

Photo Credit:  larry&flo