Hi, I'm Wijnand and I'm working and studying on the move because I can and because I love to go places. I have been on the move since September 2016, and will continue to do so for the coming years. My (very young, very new) company is called Travel Life Movement, and it aims to make the travel lifestyle better (read more about it on the website). So what is the best way to have a sustainable travel lifestyle? Of course this is a very broad question, but basically, I am trying to answer the following question right now: How can I still work 8 hours a day while exploring a new city every month? I am exploring ways to save time and money while having more fun.
The problem about travel is that it costs quite some time to organize everything all the time. For every time you go to another place, it takes time to get things right. I find myself thinking things through, booking stuff and planning things for hours and hours. My life the coming years is going to consist of a lot of travel. On average, I plan to travel to a different place once every month. So I need to plan everything time-effectively so that I can still be productive while at work.
I choose a to go to one place one month because it has lots of advantages as opposed to a shorter period and because a longer period becomes boring and you will learn less. The biggest advantage of staying in one place at least one month is financials. It's just way cheaper because co-working, the gym and your rent are often cheaper when you get them at least one month.
Because I want to remain productive, I need to fix everything time-effectively. The best way to do this is fix everything at once and plan well. The best way to know which places to go and what to do is always going to be a combination of your network, your own experience and preferences, and a good search online.
Every time I go to a new place, I need to ask myself these questions. The answers are based on a lot of criteria, so these questions aren't easy questions to answer.
What is the best way to travel? I can choose between buses, trains, airplanes, hitch-hiking, BlaBlaCar, or anything else. Important things are price, the time it costs, the convenience, and the social level.
What is the best place to stay? I can choose between hostels, hotels, Airbnb's couch surfing and short-term rent. Important things are time wasted to organize, cost, atmosphere, a good sleep, social activities, being drawn towards beer, and location.
What is the best place to work from? I can work in my room, I can work from a co-working space or I can work from cafes. Important things are activities, international oriented, good internet, good location, nice atmosphere, good pricing.
What is the best place to socialize? Who am I going to meet? I can socialize at hostels, at co-working spaces, by meeting people in bars and cafes, and when going out. Important things are the time it costs to organize, the time it actually costs, the price, the atmosphere, and probably many more things.
What are the best places to eat? I can cook myself or I can eat outdoors. The most important aspects of eating are the price, the quality, the time it costs and how social it is.
What is the best place to exercise? I can run, I can hike (depending on the location), I can go to the gym, or I may be able to do other nice outdoor sporting activities. Important things are the time it costs, how often I can motivate myself to actually do it and the costs.
What are some nice activities I can do and what are some nice places I should visit? Important things are how social it is, how much fun, how expensive and how much time it costs.
These are questions that take a lot of time to answer. Every month. If you're all doing it by yourself, I found it to cost the most time. If you have some people you can ask, this is often a way better option, because when you just look everything up online you'll probably end up in the tourist trap, which means it's going to be expensive and touristy as hell.
I want to live a healthy, productive, social lifestyle with lots of exploring and adventure. I want to sleep enough, I want to work at least 8 hours per day, I want to meet many new people to grow my global network, I want to eat healthily, I want to exercise to stay fit, I want to explore the places I go and I want it all to be an adventure that is affordable.
On the one extreme, I can just go, book the first room I can find, go to the first co-working space I can find, go to random restaurants, and just do it. On the other side of the coin, I can plan everything to know exactly what I will do. Both are not practical so I need to be somewhere in the middle.
Realization #1: Most things and places are okay. Don't be a perfectionist. Even if I just do everything randomly on the day itself (which I often did in Southeast Asia) it will turn out all right! And if you don't like a place, that doesn't mean you're stuck there.
Realization #2: Only plan things when this will improve price and quality of the result. Often this is the case, but it can also be nice to explore things yourself.
Realization #3: Get one place to stay, one office, and one gym every time you move. This will save money because these things often have a monthly subscription that is cheaper. Also, it saves time because you don't have to pack your stuff all the time.
Realization #4: Minimize commute time. Every day I'm moving. Bed --> Office --> Gym --> Dinner --> Fun. Make sure all these things are close together or can be combined. This will save a lot of time, every day.
Realization #5: Combine things. Run a touristy route from your office back to home. Have lunch at your office. Listen to audiobooks on the metro. Meet people and discuss business over lunch, dinner or a beer or two.
So... Having realized this... What do I do?
What is the best way to travel? This really depends on your location, but in Europe buses or BlaBlaCar are nice and cheap when doing a short distance. When the distance is greater than, say, 600km, I prefer taking the airplane. Traveling without check-in luggage can save a lot of time, so I'm aiming to do this soon. A spontaneous hitch-hike or road-trip once in a while can be awesome!
What is the best place to stay? Couch surfing takes heaps of time to organize and is never longer than a few days. Hotels are too expensive. Hostels can be good for expensive cities and they have a great atmosphere, but big dorms are horrible for sleep quality. Airbnb's are a good option but should be bargained with to get a fair price for a month. Short-term rent can be hard to find for one month, but it can be time-effective and cheap when calling them.
What is the best place to work from? Working from cafes or your room is waaaaay to lonely. Co-working spaces are perfect, especially if you stay at least a month. Get one on a good location that has activities and a nice atmosphere.
What is the best place to socialize? Who am I going to meet? Plan evenings and lunches with people I need to meet, but don't waste time commuting too much. If these planned goal-oriented meetings aren't present, I can always socialize, everywhere I am. But try to stay goal-oriented and always surround yourself with people that inspire you!
What are the best places to eat? Lean towards eating outdoors, but don't get a groovy lunch or dinner alone. It can save lots of time when having some snacks at the co-working space, or a quick simple breakfast in your room. Dinners are most healthy and nice with other people in restaurants and take the least time.
What is the best place to exercise? Run back home or to go to the gym often. Commute time is very important. I can't spend 30 minutes to go to the surf spot every time. I don't want to have to drive to go on a hike. It has to be quick and easy, so make sure the gym is on a good location to save time.
What are some nice activities I can do and what are some nice places I should visit? Since I want to be working at least 8 hours a day I can't waste whole days on exploring. Obviously, always try to combine exploring with networking and socializing. Walking through the city alone is quite boring anyway. Furthermore, work in evenings so that you can explore, do activities and visit places when the sun's out.
I hope that my structural approach on travel planning helped you to make your travel lifestyle more time-effective. I am now making an app that makes all these things even easier. Also, I am already hoping to get together a group of loosely traveling together nomadic entrepreneurs with similar interests to achieve more time-effective organization and collectively save time so that we can all be more productive. And that isn't the only advantage. Have a look at Travel Life Movement.
If there are any other things you found useful to save time and be more productive while traveling, let me know. I am always open to improvement and am conscious of the fact that I'm just starting out and don't know everything.
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