August 24, 2020 by Patricio del Boca
Traveling Datopians is a series of photo essays and journals documenting the adventures of Datopian colleagues, many of whom have used the freedom that comes with our remote-first culture to take their work on the road. In this edition, Patricio, a Datopian software developer from Córdoba, Argentina, reflects on digital nomadism as he sets sail for Europe.
I started working at Datopian on April 1st 2019. One motivation behind this career move was to gain more autonomy over my working hours and I was attracted by the flexible, remote environment at Datopian. I liked the idea of not being tied to one place and was curious to try out work and travel. Having said that, when my new colleagues did then encourage me to take my work on the road, it wasn’t actually an easy decision to make. I experienced lots of insecurity around whether I would be able to manage my time, avoid distractions or maintain my everyday routine. After some long nights talking to my pillow, I made up my mind and bought a plane ticket.
My main motivation was not to travel to a lot of different places, but rather to visit friends and experience the local lifestyle in other cities and countries. I wanted to balance enjoying spending time with old friends with waking up early in the morning, taking the bus or the train to a coworking space, having lunch in a local bar or restaurant, doing the grocery shopping, cooking dinner, doing some after-office hours in the local bars and generally getting a feel for each city’s vibes. I wanted to experience how it felt to go about my normal routine in a city that wasn’t my own.
Given that my goal wasn’t to check out cool places from a travel guide, once my trip was underway it wasn’t at all difficult to achieve a good balance between work and travel. This was largely down to the fact that I tried to stay realistic about how much I would be able to see, which removed a lot of the anxiety around managing expectations and feeling like I had to visit certain attractions just because they were nearby. Actually, this mindset allowed me to explore more non-traditional things, like the Tolkien: Voyage en Terre du Milieu exposition in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, an exposition that – as a fan of Tolkien – I would never forget.
Given my working hours are flexible, I suppose I could have used the afternoons walking around the city, making the most of the daylight hours and then finishing my work in the evening (after all, that’s arguably the most productive way to work, travel and visit places at the same time), but my trip was quite the opposite! 90% of the time I just kept my normal routine of working during the day and enjoying evenings with my friends just chatting, relaxing in the living room or going out to a bar.
I also learned a lot about Europe. The countryside in France is gorgeous. It’s too easy to spend hours just walking around and buying stuff in Decathlon. Catalan doesn’t make sense, even to a Spanish speaker. London’s weather is just horrible. French wine is overrated.
While combining travel and work may be sold as the cool, new way of life, as a matter of fact it can also be hard. I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to do the trip, nor have felt as relaxed as I did, had it not been for the support of my friend in Barcelona and a safe place to return to if I needed it.
Remote working, digital nomadism and digital nomad visas are going to be trending after the Coronavirus crisis, however it’s OK if you feel that the digital nomad life is not for you. It should also be said that remote working does not necessarily imply a digital nomad style of life. There are many more ways to take advantage of only needing your laptop and an internet connection to do your work.
Want to work with Datopian? We are experts in data management and work with organizations of all sizes to design, develop and scale solutions to unlock their data’s potential. Check our website for more information or contact us.
P.S. Are you a senior developer and want to work remotely like Patricio? We’re hiring! Reach out for more information.
© Datopian (CC Attribution-Sharealike (by-sa)).