It’s nine in the morning in Nicaragua as Julia greets me over skype with a refreshed ‘Hello’. As soon as the picture from her webcam charges I can see her happy grin, long braided hair, tanned skin, in a hammock. She quickly turns her phone around and shows me that she is indeed sitting in
Michael and his team at unsettled want to make this lifestyle more accessible and more seamless with our daily lives. Beunsettled – 30 days of co-working retreats with exceptional people in beautiful locations all around the world.
What can we learn from other freelancers? Often times when sitting at home or in a coffee shop working I wonder how other people are doing it? How do they organize their work days? Do they stick to a certain routine? Are there special places they go to concentrate? Are there any tools they use to be more productive? Do they sometimes feel lonely and seek the companionship of other freelancers as the rise of the co-working spaces in most cities might suggest?
John is sitting at home, in a bright and open kitchen. It is early in the morning and the sun is shining through the big windows. He has a headset on and is speaking on Skype using his laptop computer on the kitchen table in front of him while in the background kids are playing around with in the yard. He observes them through the window but is mostly focusing on the screen, switching between different tabs and programs. Now his screen shows an open email and a just sent smiley face through the company’s chat channel. Receiving the chat, is a woman, also sitting in front of her computer, but instead of morning coffee it is a late afternoon tea for her. Due to a different time zone it is getting late, the sun has already set and it is only the bright neon light illuminating her working space. She is about to close the computer, turn off the light of the office and lock the door for the day. But their conference is not yet over. The third person on the line is still talking and sending over more proposals and ideas. He is in a similar time zone as the man at home, yet sitting in a completely different environment: In a coffee shop in a busy district, surrounded by people standing in line to order or reading the newspaper at the table next door.
Today I get to speak to Line Tiller. Line is from Trondheim, Norway and currently living in Barcelona. It is early morning as we speak on this Thursday and the coffee is brewing on the stove.
As a journalist – now for almost 18 years – her work has brought her to more than 45 countries and countless of her stories have been published in magazines and newspapers in her home country Norway. And as a freelancer, she tells me, she is never at work yet always at work. When she travels, sometimes she can’t just not to do something about the place. “There are just a few chances you get to be there” – other times though, she purposely leaves her notebook at home to not be in that work mode. Even when she was part of a newspaper – with her name before the @newspaper as she elaborates – she felt like a freelancer, pitching her own stories. After having worked in this way from New York for 5 years she arrived in Barcelona, Spain in the summer. Today she takes some time to speak to me about the beginning of her work, her current routines and ways in which she collaborates.
Today I get to speak to Stephanie. We met in the beginning of 2014 as part of the same batch of Startup Chile participants and today she is sitting in this same office in Santiago again. My first impression and association with Steph was one of a travel writer – I had read her blog and been really in awe by her photography and vivid descriptions of places she had travelled in South America but most of all by her lifestyle, traveling and financing it through freelance work.
Nowadays Steph is still writing but in a different position: She is an account manager at themidgame, a technology startup connecting influencers online with brands who want to work with them.
It has been a year since I wrote about working independently and remotely, for different startups all the while travelling. In October 2014 I was in Santiago, Chile’s capital, and packed my bag containing my photo camera, a computer, a green notebook and some clothes to start a road through Latin America that I had dreamed about for many, many years.
Since then I have seen fifteen countries, had countless impactful encounters with fellow travellers and locals and grew professionally from working with various startups, different problems and facing new communicative challenges. I set up a company and reached out to other startups in order to offer my services of online marketing. My work was as interesting as it had been before, when focussing on growing Camaloon, but now a new layer of adventure was added. I got up early at dawn, worked a few hours and then spent the day outside, exploring my new surroundings, hiking in the Andes, surfing in the Pacific or taking a nap and reading in a hammock and when the sun set I found a new spot to open my computer and connect to my professional work. I lived in hostels, sharing dorm and shower and stayed from two days up to two months in one place. Whenever I felt like moving, I closed the zipper of my bag and hopped on the next bus.
A new journey begins for me as I will be travelling all through Latin America from the far south of Patagonia to the beautiful, white sand beaches on the Caribbean all the while experimenting with a new life style: being a digital nomad. If you ask around, you’ll get diverse definitions but the one I