Today, we’re sharing our interview with Chris Blachut, a “pretired” corporate ladder climber, disgruntled blueberry exporter, failed bug food entrepreneur, and semi-successful former hostel co-owner.
For the past two years, he and his soon-to-be-wife, Kim, have been pushing people off the status quo and towards doing extraordinary things on their blog, The Unconventional Route.
How Does Your Remote Workday Look Like?
It starts with Kim kicking me awake because I’m experimenting with sleeping on the floor.
I then get right to work on one big to-do that needs the most creativity until my brain’s fried, at which point I head to the park or the beach for an outdoor workout.
Back home, I work for another hour or so then eat a big late lunch. For the rest of the afternoon, I work on menial stuff like optimizing the blog, editing photos, or… answering interview questions like these, haha.
What Tools Do You Use to Get Things Done?
I log EVERYTHING I do.
Whenever I move from one activity to the next, I quickly note what time it is and what I just did.
It sounds time-consuming but it’s actually time-saving. It keeps me focused on one task at a time and makes me conscious of how much time I spend on everything, so I don’t waste it.
It’s also memory-saving. I regularly refer back to past notes when I want to remember some detail from the past: people I met, places I went, or whatever.
I use Evernote. A new note every day. I’m 1,316 days in and going strong.
What’s the Biggest Challenge of Remote Work?
Getting really good at anything.
To become world-class, you have to surround yourself—physically!—with others who have similar aspirations so you can exchange ideas and push each other.
But that’s hard to do when you and your peers are following their whims around the world.
I’m struggling with this now. I want to become world-class at blogging—at capturing people’s attention, holding on to it, then directing it where I want—but have a hard time finding people with the same ambitions wherever I go.
I’ll be in Cape Town November through April if anyone out there wants to meet up!
What Are the Advantages of Remote Work?
But this is only an advantage for people like me who are independent (some would say, “semi anti-social”) and for whom self-discipline comes easily.
Experience tells me that most people aren’t like that. They realize remote work doesn’t work for them because they value structure and face-to-face interaction more than flexibility.
What’s the Future of Remote Work?
It’s going to become boring.
Today it’s perceived as cool and exciting to work remotely, but that’s because it’s new to most of the world. Eventually, everyone and their mom will have tried it and realized it’s still work and has real downsides.
Even so, by then millions more people will have realized remote work fits them and a huge supporting infrastructure will have established itself. This will make it easier to find places to live, meet and collaborate with others, and be effective wherever we choose to work.
I wonder, though, what effect those millions more location-independent people will have on homogenizing cultures around the world.
What Made You Consider Remote Work?
Ever since my parents took my siblings and I to Europe on holidays, I knew I wanted to live abroad.
And ever since I got my first job setting tables and filling water glasses at weddings, I knew I didn’t want a boss hovering over me while I worked.
The pieces came together when, inspired by the likes of Mr. Money Mustache, I “pretired” from corporate work and, thanks to having saved up a comfortable financial cushion so I could follow my interests for a few years, I stumbled into blogging.
What Are Your Favorite Destinations in the World?
Cape Town, South Africa.
My conspiracy theory is that local Capetonians send out disproportionately negative PR and keep their mouths shut about all the good stuff to protect their slice of paradise from getting overrun with outsiders.
South African wine is a good example of this. It has a mediocre international reputation, but that’s only because South Africans drink most of their best stuff and export the crap they don’t want.
Cape Town’s a playground for adults with so much to do nearby: mountains, beaches, wineries, restaurants, safaris, events.
And it’s real. Kim and I appreciate our first-world quality of life there even more because we interact daily with less-fortunate people who are fighting to climb up from the second and third-world.
Aside from Cape Town, it depends. Kim and I have favorite destinations for all different types of trip.
What People Who Want to Work with You Need to Have?
I’ll happily give money to anyone who can prove they can turn it into more money (or value) in the future and who’s willing to share the downside risks if not.