Why I Can’t Constantly Travel And Own A Business

I can’t travel like I use to. On my first year of traveling around the world, Art of Backpacking wasn’t nearly as big and I had no other projects. I traveled and didn’t care about finding wifi. I’d stay in each city for just a few days and keep on moving to the next. I was hitting a new country every month. It was nice because I got to see a little bit of everything and now I know where I’d be comfortable staying for awhile if I decided to go back. In the end though, I was tired of moving around so quickly.

Now I have several websites and making money from several different directions online. It came at a good time too because I had run out of money at the time from what I had initially saved from my first year of traveling. I’m almost on year three of traveling and there’s no way I could travel like I used to.

I’m forced to stay at each location for at least a week in order to catch up with everything. Sometimes at least a month or more in apartments. There’s just no way I could work while being on buses, trains, finding hostels, and sightseeing.

Laptop Mess

My gear mess.

I’m now preferring to stay in destinations longer. We’re now in Buenos Aires for 3 months and trying to decide where to stay after this for a few months more. Lately the routine has been to stay in a city for a few months, make day trips, and after the lease is over – we travel for a month or so to a few different cities.

I feel less stressed about where to go next or finding working wifi. It was hell when there was scheduled conference calls and the internet could hardly load Google. A few times I had to run out of the hostel and find the nearest internet cafe minutes before the call. On our last Spreecast on teaching english abroad, I had to run around the city to try to get a decent wifi hotspot thirty minutes before it started because the wifi crapped out on me at the hostel.

I know I promote it often here to travel the world and many find it inspirational to become an entrepreneur themselves but sometimes it’s not as glamorous as you may think. I’m definitely not working on a beach (I want sand to be nowhere near this MacBook Pro). My best articles are written when I close myself shut in my room or at a cafe. It’s definitely better than the cubicle life but it DOES still mean I have to work a lot (more than I did in corporate America).

montanita

I thought I could productive here. That was a mistake.

For anyone planning to start a business and travel the world, my recommendation is to start it before you travel and have a whole lot saved up. Always have a backup plan!

It’s difficult sometimes to balance out travel and work. I feel like I’ve finally found that balance though and I like it.

Want to start a travel a travel blog? Check out Art of Travel Blogging.

39 Comments

  1. Miruna Corneanu on February 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing. 

  2. Miruna Corneanu on February 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing. 

  3. Lois on February 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Great article! and nice tip about starting a business prior to the BIG trip. Can’t wait to start.

  4. Lois on February 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Great article! and nice tip about starting a business prior to the BIG trip. Can’t wait to start.

  5. Guest on February 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Great post. I think there can be this misconception that being location independent is really easy. I don’t have any experience with it, but I’ve learned from others that it isn’t any better or any worse. It’s just different, with pros and cons like the rest of life. 

  6. Guest on February 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Great post. I think there can be this misconception that being location independent is really easy. I don’t have any experience with it, but I’ve learned from others that it isn’t any better or any worse. It’s just different, with pros and cons like the rest of life. 

  7. ottsworld on February 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Absolutely true – it’s a wonderful life – but it’s not necessarily glamorous and it’s certainly not easy.  I’m pulled every direction and probably more stressed sometimes than I ever was when I was a cube dweller.  But it’s better being stressed in Madrid than my cube.  🙂  Thanks for the article – loved it!

  8. ottsworld on February 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Absolutely true – it’s a wonderful life – but it’s not necessarily glamorous and it’s certainly not easy.  I’m pulled every direction and probably more stressed sometimes than I ever was when I was a cube dweller.  But it’s better being stressed in Madrid than my cube.  🙂  Thanks for the article – loved it!

  9. Nomadic Samuel on February 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Hey Michael, I find this to be a fascinating read.  As you know, I’m a long-term overseas traveler, but being new to blogging I’ve yet to hit the road with my blog and all of the side projects I’m now involved with.  I know that it will change the way I do things as well.  I’m wondering how I’ll react to that and whether or not I’ll enjoy it or be longing for the good old days when I was living spontaneously with my bank account being depleted day by day 😛

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

      It’ll definitely be a different type of trip the next time you leave.

  10. Nomadic Samuel on February 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Hey Michael, I find this to be a fascinating read.  As you know, I’m a long-term overseas traveler, but being new to blogging I’ve yet to hit the road with my blog and all of the side projects I’m now involved with.  I know that it will change the way I do things as well.  I’m wondering how I’ll react to that and whether or not I’ll enjoy it or be longing for the good old days when I was living spontaneously with my bank account being depleted day by day 😛

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

      It’ll definitely be a different type of trip the next time you leave.

  11. Sarah Smith on February 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    So true, and well put! We went RTW and roadschooled our kids (now ages 10 and 13). Then we started a business and feel pretty darn tethered to it. It’s worth the trade off, though. Our plan now is to work/travel in cycles — work for many months, then try to take a quality trip for 1 – 2 months where we don’t have to focus on work during it. We had the luxury of not working during our RTW journey so we could focus on experiencing all the destinations, schooling our kids, and blogging. Having kids changes the equation — but in a good way 🙂 Final thought: yes, have a back-up plan, and savings, and even a Plan C! And don’t forget life has many chapters; you can work for a while, maybe start a family, and then hit the road again in the next decade. (since my sign-in doesn’t seem to be working to show my ID, my site is TheRunnersTrip.com if anyone is interested in the combo of trail/ultra running & travel)

  12. Sarah Smith on February 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    So true, and well put! We went RTW and roadschooled our kids (now ages 10 and 13). Then we started a business and feel pretty darn tethered to it. It’s worth the trade off, though. Our plan now is to work/travel in cycles — work for many months, then try to take a quality trip for 1 – 2 months where we don’t have to focus on work during it. We had the luxury of not working during our RTW journey so we could focus on experiencing all the destinations, schooling our kids, and blogging. Having kids changes the equation — but in a good way 🙂 Final thought: yes, have a back-up plan, and savings, and even a Plan C! And don’t forget life has many chapters; you can work for a while, maybe start a family, and then hit the road again in the next decade. (since my sign-in doesn’t seem to be working to show my ID, my site is TheRunnersTrip.com if anyone is interested in the combo of trail/ultra running & travel)

  13. Diana the Traveling Teacher on February 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Great post! I am 4 months into my traveling, and realize that I’m much happier traveling at a slower pace, so I’ve extended my leave of absence for a 2nd year already! 20 more months lie ahead: I haven’t run out of money yet, but have not begun generating any either. A bit scary, but it still feels right. I appreciate reading posts like yours! Thank you. 

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Wow! You extended your one year of leave of absence after only 4 months in. You knew what you wanted and that’s great! You have a quite a big journey ahead of you.

  14. Diana the Traveling Teacher on February 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Great post! I am 4 months into my traveling, and realize that I’m much happier traveling at a slower pace, so I’ve extended my leave of absence for a 2nd year already! 20 more months lie ahead: I haven’t run out of money yet, but have not begun generating any either. A bit scary, but it still feels right. I appreciate reading posts like yours! Thank you. 

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Wow! You extended your one year of leave of absence after only 4 months in. You knew what you wanted and that’s great! You have a quite a big journey ahead of you.

  15. Erin on February 10, 2012 at 4:20 am

    We are in exactly the same position – combining a few months renting an apartment with shorter periods of faster travel in between. We get so much more work done when we stop in one place for a while.

    We started our business at the same time as becoming nomadic and it has been tough figuring out how to balance both. Luckily we have savings to cover us when our income doesn’t cover all our expenses, but starting the business before you leave is a good idea (although we don’t regret our decision at all).

  16. Erin on February 10, 2012 at 5:20 am

    We are in exactly the same position – combining a few months renting an apartment with shorter periods of faster travel in between. We get so much more work done when we stop in one place for a while.

    We started our business at the same time as becoming nomadic and it has been tough figuring out how to balance both. Luckily we have savings to cover us when our income doesn’t cover all our expenses, but starting the business before you leave is a good idea (although we don’t regret our decision at all).

  17. Natalie @ GoForFun.com.au on February 10, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Thanks Michael, it is so very true. And I was glad to read about it! So I’m not alone in these feelings :)) I’m very glad that you found the balance. It means it’s possible 🙂

  18. Natalie @ GoForFun.com.au on February 10, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Thanks Michael, it is so very true. And I was glad to read about it! So I’m not alone in these feelings :)) I’m very glad that you found the balance. It means it’s possible 🙂

  19. Dave Stewart on February 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I recently got back from a 2 month trip through HK, Aus, NZ and San Fran.  I had planned to work 2 days a week, but it just didn’t happen! I think I managed 2 days in 2 months – pitiful! And that’s beside the issue of not being as productive on my little laptop as I am on my desktop back home.

    The other thing I discovered whilst being away is that you don’t need that (heavy) spare battery! The reality of squeezing 12 hours of work in on that flight as you travel is a misnomer, and there are ample plugs at most airports and often on trains as well.

    So yes, definitely a challenge I think, even though in theory it should be really easy, with just a laptop needed. Next time I go away, I may look into cities which have collaborative working spaces, as most coffee shops I went to were like Piccadilly Circus!

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

      I definitely work better on a desk. It feels more comfortable. Every temporary apartment we look at, we make sure there’s a working area. I know I won’t get anything done on a bed.

  20. Dave Stewart on February 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I recently got back from a 2 month trip through HK, Aus, NZ and San Fran.  I had planned to work 2 days a week, but it just didn’t happen! I think I managed 2 days in 2 months – pitiful! And that’s beside the issue of not being as productive on my little laptop as I am on my desktop back home.

    The other thing I discovered whilst being away is that you don’t need that (heavy) spare battery! The reality of squeezing 12 hours of work in on that flight as you travel is a misnomer, and there are ample plugs at most airports and often on trains as well.

    So yes, definitely a challenge I think, even though in theory it should be really easy, with just a laptop needed. Next time I go away, I may look into cities which have collaborative working spaces, as most coffee shops I went to were like Piccadilly Circus!

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

      I definitely work better on a desk. It feels more comfortable. Every temporary apartment we look at, we make sure there’s a working area. I know I won’t get anything done on a bed.

  21. Andi Perullo on February 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Great advice! It’s so hard to stay connected and constantly travel.

  22. Andi Perullo on February 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Great advice! It’s so hard to stay connected and constantly travel.

  23. Audrey on February 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Our travel schedule and pace has definitely evolved over time. We now take breaks of 2-3 months in places to catch our breath and also just get some work done. While we can get a few things done when we’re in full travel mode, we find the stress of internet connections and missing calls and such brings down the joy of travel. So, we segment our lives more into work time & travel time. But, it’s still hard to find that balance…

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

      It was definitely bringing down the joy of travel for us as well. I’m glad we were able to find some sort of balance because we were going to drive each other nuts otherwise.

  24. Audrey on February 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Our travel schedule and pace has definitely evolved over time. We now take breaks of 2-3 months in places to catch our breath and also just get some work done. While we can get a few things done when we’re in full travel mode, we find the stress of internet connections and missing calls and such brings down the joy of travel. So, we segment our lives more into work time & travel time. But, it’s still hard to find that balance…

    • Michael on February 11, 2012 at 10:49 am

      It was definitely bringing down the joy of travel for us as well. I’m glad we were able to find some sort of balance because we were going to drive each other nuts otherwise.

  25. John on February 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I think it’s absolutely imperative to build in catch up time. In addition to ensuring you get stuff done, it also makes you more excited to go out and travel again – something you can lose if you’re traveling non stop. 

  26. John on February 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I think it’s absolutely imperative to build in catch up time. In addition to ensuring you get stuff done, it also makes you more excited to go out and travel again – something you can lose if you’re traveling non stop. 

  27. suki on February 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Loved getting your insight on this, as it would be a dream come true. 😉 I definitely prefer 100% travel when I’m out and about though, saving my writing for when I get home.

  28. suki on February 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Loved getting your insight on this, as it would be a dream come true. 😉 I definitely prefer 100% travel when I’m out and about though, saving my writing for when I get home.

  29. cottageme.com on March 11, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting information.

  30. cottageme.com on March 11, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting information.

  31. Roaming Cooking on January 25, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Great advice! So two years on, have you still got the life work balance? 🙂

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