Last year, I published a blog about being a digital nomad, and the advantages of working remotely.
Suffice it to say, it has been quite a year. In the past twelve months, we have visited a host of different countries: England, France, Belgium, Spain, Gibraltar, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. We are now island hopping in Greece, and will soon be taking a month to drive back from Greece to England, before flying back to North America.
Our cat, who hates to travel but doesn’t get a vote, is accompanying my wife and me on this epic adventure. Whenever we are looking for a house or apartment to rent, our filters are permanently set to “Pet Friendly” and “Wifi”.
All of this is only possible because working for O3 means that my location is almost irrelevant. I am still able to meet all the demands of my role, and the various needs of our clients, as long as I have an internet connection. Some places we have stayed have certainly challenged the lower bandwidth limit, but European cell phone packages provide an excellent backup in case of wifi issues.
The other key aspect is that the O3 software itself is web-based, so I can access it from anywhere. All I need is my username and password. I am not tied down to an office, or even particular times of the day. I can just log in and get my work done.
My “working day” is a very odd concept. This isn’t nine-to-five work, mostly because I am often nine or ten hours ahead of our head office in Alabama and our clients in the US. But it works really well for working with companies in Europe, Asia, and Australia. I often have meetings that start late in the evening but can balance that with having free time in the mornings to explore each new location. It truly is a “ROWE” – a results-oriented work environment.
I keep my colleagues apprised of my location by updating my Slack status with the flag of whatever country we are in. The braver ones amongst them have occasionally messaged to ask what country that flag is.
It’s not all sunshine and lollipops. We have had to replace the front brakes on our car in Hungary (I am ETERNALLY grateful to whoever invented Google Translate). Packing up our lives and moving on every week or so gets tedious at times, but we are getting very practiced at it. And the most peculiar irritation is having to keep updating my email signature with the time zone that I’m in.
But on the flip side, I get to trade those minor grievances with wine tasting in Tuscany, visiting amazing ancient ruins on the west coast of Turkey, watching football (soccer) at Camp Nou in Barcelona, and meeting many wonderful people, the vast majority of whom welcome you with open arms.
We will be back in America in May for O3’s AWP xChange, so I get to visit old friends from my time in Houston, and put faces to the names of people I have been digital “meeting” with for the last year.
And then it’s back to Europe for the rest of the year. Early summer in England with family, August in Scandinavia, September/October in France for the Rugby World Cup, and then hoping to pop over to Morocco and/or Egypt for some late Autumn sunshine. After that, I have no idea what the plan is. But I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fun to find out.
If any of you have a desire to really experience what “work/life balance” properly means, O3 is a great company to work for. We are constantly expanding and looking for talented people to join our worldwide team.
The Digital Nomad – Samos Island, Greece