What skills do you need to work and travel?

work, travel, skills, habits, personality, traits, nomad, digital, global, remote work, s.e. asia

Most people still see travel as an escape from work. Taking 3 weeks break during the summer period to travel to a destination of your choice and spend time relaxing and visiting beaches and maybe some galeries and museums. It is a time away from home spent on doing things you don’t typically do at home.

It is all about enjoying yourself with good food and creating good moments.

What if you can do that all the time every day and all year long?

We, writers at Floating Coconut live a long time vacation. We found a great balance between work and travel. But like any lifestyle it does not come on the wind. You need certain skills to make it on the road as a freelancer and non-stop traveler.

What skills do you need to work and travel?

1. Adaptability

While working and traveling you need to be able to adapt. And most of the time that means a lot of flexibility on your part. Internet might be failing or sluggish. There may be travel delays or hotel cancelations. You can encounter noisy neighbours in your workspace or hotel room. And because you travel and move around a lot it’s hotel room after hotel room and house after new house. And when you travel fast, country after country. Which in turn means culture after culture.

A static mind working from routine has a hard time adapating to new situations, and in this fast moving, always on the go lifestyle you need to be able to shift from plan A to plan B fast.

2. Self Discipline

When working on the road, you need a certain amount of self discipline. It is so tempting to spent the night out, partying after a long day at the beach or roaming around. I found it very hard to work after 8 hours on the bike during our road trip and I really needed to discipline myself to either get up earlier or stay up later to get some blogs online and edit the footage to keep our followers up-to-date.

When you have customers you need to be able to meet deadlines and that takes self-discipline. The magic is when you can find the right balance between work and play.

3. Creativity

Are you able to create images in your head picturing you in the future? Imagine goals you need to reach? Products you want to invent to keep the money flowing in?

Can you come up with fresh, ideas and bring them into reality? You need that skill. If not, you may run out of luck in finding work, finding locations to visit and being safe on the road. A lack of creativity may even kill your career, simply because you run out of ideas. You do not need to be involved in anything, so you just live… But in order to survive you need creative thinking and the ability to put your visuals into reality.

We need to think outside the box and not be afraid to do so. You will notice that the more people you meet, the more countries you visit the more ideas come to live in your imagination. The trick is to learn to grasp them and act on them for your benefit.

4. Time Management

Traveling is very time consuming. You need to be able to work from anywhere, waiting in airports can be used for online research or video calls with friends and family, or even updating your Facebook and Twitter and such. Riding a bus can be used to catch up on sleep.

If you cannot manage time, you will eventually fall behind. Your time in a foreign country is influenced by many factors. For example, when you feel like working and there is a brownout. Is your laptop fully charged or do you have a back up power source and can you work offline?

What to do when a deadline is prompting you and there is no internet?

And you can plan only so far ahead, you need to schedule your travelling, work time and waiting time. You need to be able to break up bigger projects into smaller bits and work from there.

Being disorganised and having bad planning can ruin any travel plan or career.

5. Stress Management

Life is stress, no matter how much yoga you do per day, there will always be stressful encounters. Leading a nomadic life is stress. A lot of stress is unhealthy, so you have to find ways to deal with or even get rid of stress.

Things that cause stress are, delayed flights or transportation, overbooked hotels, lack of internet or electricity or adapting to a new culture (again). Another source of stress is leaving people behind, anything that gives you the feeling that your personal or social resources fall short.

It is how you deal with it and how you release the stress that makes you a good global nomad. You need to find ways to relieve stress. For some that is a walk on the beach at night, for others it is yoga in the morning.

For me it is to escape to a quiet place all by myself and listen to nature.

You often explore the borders of your comfort zone

6. Organization and Planning

Organisation and planning differs from time management. While time management deals with the smaller details of projects and how you use time. Organisation and planning is about the frame in which you place your time management. Long term travel takes planning and budgeting, working online takes acquisition and research, followed by sales and administration.

At home a lack of planning and organisation may cost you your job, combine it with travel or nomadism it can cost you a lot more. You need to consider packing you stuff, about minimalistic life, you cannot afford absentmindedness.

You need to take care of basic things like:

  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Internet
  • Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Money
  • Safety
  • Paper work
  • And more…

The list goes on. Work and travel does not mean your life is going to be worry free. Quite the opposite. However, if you organise it well, work and travel also means you probably have the best time of your life.

7. Decision Making

Every day you have to make so many decisions. From simple ones like ‘where to eat tonight’ to more complex ones like ‘do I want to continue doing this’.
Making smarter decisions for your career and life dedicate yourself to those decisions is almost a leadership skill. And you are your own teamleader when you work and travel.

Good decision making skills involve:

  • Identifying your goals
  • Come up with information about goals
  • Search for alternatives for goals
  • Overseeing cause and effect
  • Be aware of possible damage control
  • Planning on how to carry out a choice

Traveling involves all those things, you do them constantly. Sometimes even without realising it. If you have a hard time making a decision and doubt a lot, you might get overwhelmed with the unexpected and that can create an unsafe or unhealthy situation for you.

8. Problem Solving

When the unexpected comes along you need to be able to solve your problems. Sometimes all by yourself, in a country you hardly speak the language of. Often you you can’t consult with anyone. However, it does not always get that bad.
Problem solving, like decision making, is a thing you constantly do when traveling and working on the road. Problem solving goes hand in hand with creative thinking and is closely followed by adaptability.

People with good problem solving skills will be able to foresee the bump in the road, and come up with possible solutions before things go bad. Your attitude towards problems defines your stress level and learning abilities.

9. People Skills

Your social and communication skills are invaluable in every situation and can make the difference between failure and success. It is all about your ability to relate to others and communicate with them. When traveling you will encounter people from very different social and cultural backgrounds then your own. Everyone from the vendors, hotel staff, housekeeping and people that want to talk to you. Work smart when you deal with prospects, clients and maybe even colleagues.

Being able to involve yourself in other cultures will give you a better chance of enjoying yourself and a better change to get to know new people on your travels. You might even run into a project that can be done in a team of freelancers in your co-working hub. It is about selling yourself and about getting to know the other person. About showing interest and tolerance.

These skills are important to help you grow, to get to know yourself better and they will make you a wiser, better person.

10. Self Management

Self management is about taking care of you. Making sure you are healthy and safe and that you know what you need to enjoy life. It is about setting goals that are manageable, about defining your future step by step and about admitting that you need to change in order to be happy.

Some of the ares for self management are:

  • Not compromising yourself
  • Knowing your values and living by them
  • Self discipline
  • Keeping promisses
  • Good work ethics
  • Taking responsibility
  • Being authentic

Self management is about developing good habits. Self management is about having a plan to grow and becoming more mature. Creating a better you.

Questions? Need help?

If you need help getting started and are looking for someone to talk to about your skills and how to develop them. Take a look at JC’s online coaching.

Online coaching starting at $2.00 USD/month.
Personal coaching for $25.00 USD/month.
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