Sometimes life comes at you fast, and you have to react just as quickly. Not all of our stories highlight how prepared we were to go remote, because a lot of times, it’s off impulse! Quit your job, sell everything and book a one-way ticket, it’s the only way to live (just kidding). But a nice chunk of our tribe all started out with semi-impulsive movements to make the remote life work. And with so many more companies being open and all for employing remote workers, it’s amazing to see so many people living out their dreams the way they see them, passport in hand.
We caught up with Christa, a member from the Tribe since the very beginning and picked her genius brain on how things have been working in her favour, no matter the timezone.
I do marketing strategy for a US-based tech startup. Specifically, I’m focused on
content, social media and influencer marketing. I work 100% remotely, even though I
actually “telecommute,” which means I work the same hours as my colleagues in the
US, even if I’m 7 hours ahead. It’s an adjustment to work from big time differences but
always worth it!
How long have you been a remote worker/How did you get started?//
I’ve been working remotely since October 2015, but “nomadding” around the world since the following January. I started off working from home as a contractor for this company, and I traveling in Costa Rica for New Years 2016 when I was offered a full time salaried position. I asked if it was ok if I got started on the work before I got home, and my boss said “I don’t care where you are as long as you do your job and are available when I need you.” So, I accepted the offer, cancelled my return ticket home, and started my nomad-life right then and there in Costa Rica. It wasn’t for another six months afterwards that I finally went home to visit!
Top Essentials while travelling //
Bose Waterproof Portable Speaker – I have really benefitted from friends who have had this awesome, compact and high powered speaker. There’s a strap on the back so you can strap it to almost anything– such as a car mirror (awesome when you’re in a place with no radio) or a motorbike, to the strap of your shirt when you’re going on a run with friends, or even to the branch of a tree if you find yourself camping one weekend. I’ve found that music quickly helps make a place feel like home, and it also helps attract new friends! I’m definitely planning on investing in one of these things as soon as I find one.
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo – For the ladies… don’t underestimate the power of wearing high-end makeup to make you feel good/confident/beautiful on a special night out, even if you’re wearing the same boring clothes you’ve been wearing every time you’ve gone out for the past 6 months. I am slightly obsessed with bright red MAC matte lipsticks because they make such an impact. They’re are super small and light weight, last forever, and are not a huge splurge.
Huawei-E5770s – A portable unlocked MiFi device can really be a total lifesaver for digital nomads who move around frequently and want to keep a US (or wherever they’re from) phone number/plan active while they travel. The Huawei-E5770s lets you put in a sim card from anywhere in the world so you can have the best possible quality data wherever you go without having to take out your own sim card. You can tether the WiFi from it to both your laptop and your phone, plus it acts as a portable charger for your phone. (Different brands can work well too, but make sure they’re unlocked before buying).
Uniqlo down jacket – I think that this packable ultra lightweight jacket has been the best item ever! It’s easy to layer under other jackets (which helped me wear my jean and thin leather jackets outside even when it was pretty cold), is great for hiking or outdoor activities when it’s cool out, plus it’s super comfy and practical on an airplane. The first time I went traveling I was surprised at how often I was freezing cold, even though I was traveling exclusively in the tropics! This jacket is super small so no excuse not to take it, wherever you’re going. The collar-less black one in my opinion is the most practical because it looks sleek enough that it can be worn when you’re on a night out.
Why Wifi Tribe //
I chose Wifi Tribe originally because they were 1) going to a location I wanted to be in, 2) let me do a month at a time, and 3) had some of the most competitive prices. The better question is why I have travelled with the Wifi Tribe four times with plans to do more!
And the answer to that is 1) because the founders are such good and cool people that really foster an awesome, passionate, and tight knit community wherever they go. They’re involved as leaders while giving members ultimate independence and freedom. 2) I am not particularly fond of planned trips or group tours, but I value having a community when I’m simultaneously traveling and working, so the Wifi Tribe is the perfect mix. Finally, 3) I think they do a great job at vetting members during their interviews. Of course I haven’t become BEST friends with every single person I’ve lived with, but I’ve honestly really liked and have been easily able to find common ground with just about everyone. 4) They’re awesome!
What pushed you to finally go remote? //
Before I worked remotely I lived as an expat in Bangkok, Thailand for two years. That was really the moment when I “left it all behind.” I had been living in NYC, working 9-5 in a dark office, paying too much rent for a dark apartment, and spending my free hours underground in the subway or at unnecessarily expensive restaurants and gyms. It just didn’t feel like I was having a great quality of life. I knew that traveling made me happy—so did warm weather. When my lease was up at the same time as a contract job I had, the decision to get out of there was obvious. As far as moving to Thailand, the quote “leap and the net will appear” has always resonated with me.
What has the Remote Worker Life taught you so far? //
A surprising thing I’ve realized since traveling solo, but especially since joining the Wifi Tribe, is that traveling people travel. They’re like pin-balls bouncing all over the world. Sometimes they just miss each other, but way more often than you’d expect, they collide. I run into people I know all the time, almost everywhere I go. And when it’s not accidental, there’s someone looking to make plans to travel together. The longer I travel, the less lonely I feel. That might be just me though (I have been described as aggressively social), which leads me to offer just one piece of advice: posting on social media lets people know where you are which makes it easier to meet up!
#1 Productivity Aid? //
The Chase Sapphire Card gives awesome, awesome, awesome travel rewards including the Priority Pass. Lounge access at airports has seriously given me so much more flexibility in the way I now book travel. Flying at 5pm on a Friday is no problem now that I can just get to the airport during my lunch break and work from the lounge up until the time of the flight. No more taking off hours to fly. Can’t recommend it enough.
Last Advice //
My best advice is, even though you’re going to be excited at first and want to go everywhere, resist moving too quickly and always try to stay in a place for at least two weeks. There are so many benefits to this advice: 1) it will help you to avoid getting burnt out too quickly 2) you need time to let your clothes become unwrinkled 3) it will give you at least one full weekend to enjoy either the place you’re in without having to travel, or will let you escape the city and get to a more remote place without having to worry about wifi. 4) it is just enough time to get to know a place well when you’re often busy working. 5) It’s hard to get your work done when you’re always planning your next move so give yourself time to enjoy where you are.
Check out Christa’s Instagram feed for some UH-MAZING pictures of her adventures the last few years; she’s always getting into something new and exciting!