If you've been reading our blogs since the beginning of this adventure, you'll know that both James and I effectively gave up our jobs to take on our Motorhome ski trip.
I've been a 'freelance worker' for over 10 years now and that has looked pretty different at various stages of my life - sometimes that's meant working on site with clients at their base or on events, and sometimes from my home office. More recently, that's meant working from wherever I feel like or wherever's convenient. I think the popularised name for this style of working is 'digital nomad'. I personally don't like it very much as it somewhat implies that my work life is about sitting at a computer and it's more likely you'll find me surrounded by notebooks than tapping on a keyboard!
When we set off in December, I had planned to continue working with a few regular clients and this has been great - it's not only given me a purpose outside of the 'Motorhome ski' environment, it's also provided a little structure to our days as I allocate specific 'work time' to ensure I can meet deadlines and client expectations.
Part of this adventure has also been about transitioning to a new work life - having spent most of my career to date in professional motorsport, I have been keen to look into something entirely different and James, a lifelong plumber, has wanted to add strings to his bow too. We couldn't have imagined that just a few months in, both of us would be taking on new challenges and integrating that into a life on the road!
A twist of fate has seen me take up an editorial role in a media company that covers skiing in the winter and outdoor adventure in the summer - all my Christmases came at once! James has also been providing digital content for a number of projects, so it seems that timing really is everything.
Work life on the road
It's all about Wi-Fi. I said I spend more time scribbling in notebooks but eventually that all goes somewhere up into the ether. After Maslow's basic needs of food, water, warmth and rest, Wi-Fi is critical for us. Getting back to nature and living a simpler life is not sustainable in this day and age without awesome Wi-Fi (not the way we do it anyway)!
We were prepared - MotorhomeWifi installed (absolute synch for anyone considering it), Wi-Fi iBoost as a backup and lots of data on various SIM cards. We see people discussing this endlessly on various Facebook groups and there seem to be two types of people - those on holidays and wanting the check in with Facebook periodically, and people who live for extended periods on the road or need to do some work whilst they're away. We fall into the second category so when we arrive in a new aire, before setting up, we have to check the 4G signal. This may sound utterly ridiculous but it's critical. It's my job and my clients really don't give a hoot if I'm struggling to upload from my idyllic mountain location!
Many people who work from the road hunt down coffee shops with free Wi-Fi and lurk around laundrettes and hotel lobbies. This isn't for us - firstly, you'll end up spending a small fortune on coffee in the mountains where a cappuccino will regularly set you back €4! We also need a bit of creative space - for me that's no distractions and for James that means being able to spread his kit out - memory cards, cameras, various accessories - not things you want to be laying out on sticky cafe tables!
So, we are fully 'off-grid' when it comes to internet which makes life easier for work.
This Motorhome isn't designed with a desk, but 4 months of testing various set ups means we now have it sorted - where kit goes, how everything gets charged, where I work and where James works - it's a well-oiled machine and somewhat more comfortable than my home arrangement!
A particular highlight of this trip has been a work trip we were invited on to Galtur in Austria. Not renowned for its hospitality towards people who prefer aires to campsites, we were so fortunate - just by the lifts in this picturesque valley, there's a car park where Motorhomes are welcomed with day time access to water and toilets. Result.
Testing our fitness - we joined a team of eight of my new colleagues with the task of testing the 2018/19 skis, boots, bindings, optics and clothing... tough job but somebody's got to do it! Actually, it was a lot of hard work, but we skied more that week, and harder, than we'd done the entire trip to that point. I think it took a week for our legs to recover!
Another thing that we have come to realise working on the road is that you are somewhat motivated to be more efficient than you might be at home! With the mountains calling, it's easy to bounce out of bed early and plug away as the sun comes up, coffee in paw. Winter days are short so there's plenty of opportunity to work in the evenings and with James being the chef, this works really well for us.
As we draw to the end of our 2017/18 season motorhome ski adventure, we're readjusting to the idea of more static working environments for a bit, but it won't be for long. With the right set of skills and a bit of practice at remote working (you don't need to clock up 10 years!), many more people could experience life on the road and we'd wholeheartedly encourage you to try!