I have now for more than a month worked remotely while traveling to multiple locations around the world and have through this experience learned a thing or two of how to adapt to this sort of situation. I, therefore, thought it was time to give an update of my travels and experiences. Hopefully, that will show friends and colleagues that I am still alive and doing well in the challenging environment of a remote worker.
To make a long story short. I am a software developer who has given the opportunity to travel together with my girlfriend and work remotely at the same time. An opportunity which I can not understate how important is to me. However, working remotely also means a lot of responsibilities in terms of delivering a good service and keeping the communication up. Something which is also crucial when working locally, but the time zone difference and changing environment will sometimes make these responsibilities more challenging.
The first stop on the journey was the city of Zilina in Slovakia. Zilina is the fourth largest city in Slovakia. Therefore, we were able to find all the westerns goods and services, which we were familiar with. However, the large quantities of low-priced beer and the stereotypical farmer standing ON the highway with his goats, still surprised us. (pretty sure this was unusual, even for the locals)
While in Slovakia, I had to set up my first remote workstation. Given the right equipment and connectivity, it was not a problem performing my work and communicating with my coworkers. Noting that it still required some mental adjustment to accept working from our Airbnb wood cabin.
During our stay in Slovakia, we spend our weekends traveling to nearby capitals and historical sites. Throughout our three weeks stay in Slovakia, we managed to visit Auschwitz in Poland, Budapest in Hungary, Prag in Czech Republic and Vienna in Austria. Honestly, as you may be able to imagine, these weekend trips sometimes had a pressed time schedule. We therefore had to prioritize what we wanted to see at each destination. However, as you will be able to see from the pictures below, we managed to see a few noteworthy places.
After nearly a month of working remote from Europe, I had actually become quite comfortable with my work situation. However, I could forget all about my newly developed rhythms and workflow, as the journey was now going to India.
Already on the way from the airport to the hotel, I realized how different the culture was. This enviroment change had both an effect on my tasks working remotely, as well as our day to day life. In Slovakia, it had been easy to get around with our own car, cook food and avoid traffic jams. Things are a bit different here in India.
I can honestly say that neither my girlfriend nor I would be able to survive five minutes in the traffic. It is chaotic and noisy, as people use the horn much more frequently then we do in Europe. The traffic was quite intimidating for the first few days, but I have the feeling that we by the end of the trip will have become used to it. Maybe we will even be able to interpret an “Out of my way!”-honk from a “Can I pass?”-honk.
In terms of food, it was positively surprising for me to see how easy it was to get meals containing meat. (primary chicken) Luckily, I was able to find that at nearly all major food chains. I have even been so fortuned to find two places which served steaks (New Delhi and Pondicherry). It should be noted, the only reason why I am so obsessed about meat is that I actually do not eat that many meals containing meat. Calling me a “flexitarian” might not even be a stretch, but I cannot promise it won’t change back in Denmark. Then again…who knows?
Lastly, it has also taken some adjustment to get used to all the animals around the city… and on the roads. This might also be part of what makes the traffic so chaotic. Sometimes we will be driving down the IT Expressway, with international companies such as Capgemini, Accenture, Hewlett Packard, Maersk, Vestas and Grundfos along both sides, and then suddenly traffic is stopped because one cow decided to cross a three-lane inner-city road. It is shocking to see how the cows are more relaxed than me when crossing. Personally, I am begging “please do not drive me over!” every time I cross the exact same road as the cow.
All in all, I can say that every day brings some sort of a challenge. Even during the work hours, I struggle with 1-3 power shutdowns on a daily basis. Luckily these shutdowns are only of short duration (10-30 seconds) and my laptop runs on battery. So, the only cost is the loss of train of thought, which at some points can become frustrating enough.
I do not know what the coming months will bring in terms of challenges or opportunities, but so far, my girlfriend and I have enjoyed our travel adventure, and we hope this will continue. If you ever have the chance of working remotely over a longer period of time, I recommend you grab it.
PS. The Drinkdaptive project is still ongoing, but my contribution frequency has been drastically lowered. This is primarily due to the changing environment. However, I hope to get back up to speed sometime soon.
My name is Daniel H. Jacobsen and I’m a dedicated and highly motivated software developer with a masters engineering degree within the field of ICT.
I have through many years of constantly learning and adapting to new challenges, gained a well-rounded understanding of what it takes to stay up to date with new technologies, tools and utilities.
The purpose of this blog is to share both my learnings and knowledge with other likeminded developers as well as illustrating how these topics can be taught in a different and alternative manner.
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