I had actually had doubts about whether having my own passive income business would ruin travelling for me. I have a full-time writer and a number of my sites have suddenly decided to rank just before we left home so I decided to buy a 10″ emachine netbook and keep an eye on rankings and progress while on the road.
I was worried about the practicalities though. I know quite a number of people who do this successfully – for example Kirsty from Nerdy Nomad, Matt from NomadicMatt, and Dave from GoBackpacking – but they all have a common characteristic – they are all single and travelling solo.
I’m not single – I have a partner, who having just done 10 months of contracting was definitely in holiday mode. So how is it working out – do I resent that I get up early to login while he sleeps on, that I hide out in the aircon room while he scouts out the local town? In a word – no – its working quite well. Just as I’d read that people with kids are more efficient online when they can’t be online 24/7 – I think I’ve become more efficient too. We are travelling more flashpacking style than cheapo backpackers so my need for WIFI seems to match his strong preference for aircon.
The main difference though is that I’ve lost that dreadful “tick-tok” of the count down to go back to work – the feeling that you have just used all your vacation time for the next 2 year, 8 months and 25 days. More I am thinking along the lines of – we could afford to come here for each November and still have change from what we spend at home…
Some tricks for being connected to your business on the road:
Nebooks are the go – the smartphone has proven useless really – but the netbook is easy to connect and much easier to use. Although I think its now impossible to buy a netbook that isn’t auto-sensing for voltage – you will need a plug adapter. I found finding a single plug adapter rather than one for Europe, one for the UK, one for Asia etc quite hard (but your mileage may vary) – finally getting one in duty free on the way out. My little 10″ only has a battery life of 3 hours – ideally I’d want something with twice that and a non-glossy screen (really doesn’t work well anywhere you can see the sea – the glare makes the screen unusable).
Warn banks and paypal that you will logging in from strange IP addresses. In the process of booking this trip I had several calls from credit card providers checking out if I had really been booking flights online to and from countries I didn’t live in. That got me thinking and emailed paypal – saying I was going to be travelling and please don’t freeze my account. They said it may still freeze with their automatic systems – but the would file my email and unfreeze the account if required.
Remember you may loose the netbook – it may get stolen, more likely it may go swimming on a speed boat transfer or be bounced from the roof of a tuk-tuk. Losing the netbook would be inconvenient – loosing my work, my passwords, my photos is what would be the really tragedy. I am using SugarSync to backup my files and I am using the portable version of RoboForm on a USB stick for my passwords – so that if I do need to use another computer I have those as well. (They also have an online copy for customers which is a second line of defence).