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freelancing woman on grand canyon

Freelancer on the Road

Emily Schmidt
Emily Schmidt

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I love to travel and have adventures. To get outside and challenge myself in new ways, see new things, and meet new people. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of what we're able to do and what is possible, so given the restrictions that are in place, I was able to plan a trip to keep me safe, allow me to get into nature, set myself up for awe, and be able to get my work done.

Right now, I'm working less than 20 hours a week as a freelancer and am taking multiple courses to add coach to my list of services. Not working a full-time schedule allows for a lot more freedom and the ability to get work done and still be able to make time to play!

In this article, I want to share the different considerations for travel if you're on a budget, in need of an adventure, and have no idea where to start!

About the trip

Over the next two months, I'll be road-tripping through Laguna Beach, Yellowstone, and Tetons, Glacier National Park, and spend time working from a cabin in Montana and Oregon, before heading down through Yosemite and then back to Vegas to find a new house. I have no doubt that many things will change both before I leave and while I'm on the road. All I can do is pivot gracefully, problem solve only when necessary, and prioritize what's most important. 

This trip focuses a lot in nature with time both off and on the grid to ensure that I am keeping myself and others safe. Social distancing will be maintained while camping and while renting Airbnbs, and I structured the trip in this way to respect the guidelines and restrictions in place. 

Today I want to share my top tips for manifesting this for yourself while working:

1. Manage expectations with your client

When are you going to be online, when are you going to be offline? What work will you get done and when are the deadlines for this work? Set yourself up to be successful. You don't want to become unreliable and you don't want your clients to notice a difference between when you're traveling vs working in one place.

2. If you're on a budget, get creative

There are many ways to manifest a trip even if you're on a tight budget. Believe it or not, there are actually a decent amount of campgrounds that offer wifi, bathrooms, showers, and an outdoor kitchen. Going to places like these will have a significantly lower cost, and the essentials to get done what you need to get done. I wouldn't recommend this if you're in meetings all day, but if you need basic internet to deliver what you're working on, and put together decks, blogs, newsletters, etc, you're likely to succeed.

If that's not an option, find some other freelancer friends to rent an Airbnb with. This will lower the cost and also provide company for your trip. (Make sure that you’re making safe choices for yourself and those around you when choosing quarantine buddies.)

3. Research your connectivity 

It's important to understand what your connectivity will be like when you're on the road. Sometimes this is more possible than others. While I was choosing Airbnb's I would send a message asking the host of the home if they knew their wifi speed. As I'll be taking several days of courses, I wanted to ensure that I could be on video chat all day without any problems. 

You'll be surprised what kind of information you're able to get from people even if they don't know their wifi speed. Some people are much more tech-savvy than others, and I wanted to prioritize tech-savvy airbnb hosts to set myself up for success.

Another tip is to look up a cell phone service map from your provider. For Google Fi, my cell phone carrier, I could enter and address or city and determine what type of cell service there is, if any. This helps me know I have a reliable backup if the wifi is no good, and know in advance if I'll have LTE.

4. Set yourself up for mental and emotional stability 

Traveling so much can be wearing. Understand what keeps you mentally and emotionally stable. For me, I've noticed during all my traveling I am much more prone to loneliness. So, during this time, I worked hard to find companions to come with me on this trip. I'll be meeting up with a couple of friends throughout the adventure to be able to keep myself stable and share in this journey with others. 

If you're a person that needs downtime like me, schedule it in. Don't try and see everything, especially if you're working. Allow time to get bored, get productive, and rest. This is a marathon and not a sprint, so plan the trip accordingly.

5. Prioritize flexibility

A lot can change over a couple of months - try and allow your plans to have room for flexibility, especially during COVID. We don't know what will change with the pandemic, regulations, work stability, and so try to avoid locking yourself into anything that can't be canceled. All of my reservations have generous cancellation policies, and since I'll be driving, I know I can change course if needed. 

Freelancing can have a lot of ebb and flows. If you're in the search for new clients, consider taking advantage of the down time and resetting yourself with remote work and travel.

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