Living La Vida
Now you can work anywhere
By Erika Hernandez
Challenging times? Indeed. COVID-19? Yeah, still here. War in Ukraine? No question. But has
everything been so daunting and catastrophic? Not so much. Technology has helped us to
significantly cut down time and increase productivity levels. More importantly, it has also
improved our human connections through different means like Zoom and WhatsApp. We can
more easily multi-task now. Today, teleworking from the beach, the countryside, or even from
as high as the Swiss Alps is possible! Many are now buying experiences as the pandemic has
proven that life’s too short to be wasted.
For me, teleworking has allowed me to travel to countries like Hungary, Italy, Belgium, and
beach towns like Tulum and Split, as well as to be close to my family when my father died in
February. Many, have found a sense of purpose in this. Others, have been able to create long-
lasting friendships and even romantic partnerships that would have rather been difficult to
nourish prior to the pandemic.
“5 years ago, I was sitting in a cubicle, listening to my coworkers about binge-watching Netflix…
Things that were mundane. My day to day was so boring. I had been in a corporate setting and
you would think this was the American dream... But for me, I thought ‘there has to be more to
life,’” said Matt Young, a 32-year-old successful digital marketing entrepreneur. He is currently
helping others go viral on social media and creates profitable digital campaigns that assist
businesses attract clients.
“I met this guy. He flew to Thailand with $1.78 cents in his pocket. Imagine flying to a different
country, not knowing anybody, not knowing the language?! And turning that $1.78 into a
business that four or five months after turned into half a billion dollars?! He did that from the
comfort of his laptop,” said Matt. “My inspiration stems from that life. There’s so much to learn
in life. And there is so much to learn in the world when you travel. Someone said that ‘Travel is
something that you buy, that makes you richer.’”
Matt has been to about 30 different cities in 10 different countries since last year. He has
teleworked from countries like Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and
Costa Rica. Next year, he plans to telework from Europe. The year after that, who knows?
“When I was in Puebla (Mexico), I decided to go skydiving and ended up meeting a great guy –
he’s an Uber driver. I invited him to do so as well. I was his first trip and he ended up taking me
on it. Both of us had an experience of a lifetime,” he said.
Based in in San Diego, Tim Reese is a senior manager of informatics at a healthcare insurance
company. His employer allowed him to telework since the pandemic and he’s gone to
Colombia, Ecuador, Galapagos, Cancun and Hawaii.
“It’s so nice to be able to wake up at home, start teleworking right away, not having to get into
the car and drive, save that time, money and energy for the environment… As long as you get
the work done, as long as you’ve proven that you can be a reliable resource and employee, and
have the confidence of your supervisors… The best for me is that I love to travel. If I can go to
another country, I don’t want to be there for only one week... Stay in one city, get to know the
lifestyle there, and work 4-5 days remotely as long as you’re not too far off time-zone wise,” he
While for some traveling to a different country can be an uneasy experience, there are more
benefits to it than drawbacks. Both Matt and Tim have learned Spanish through their travels. I
personally learned some Italian while teleworking. Like Matt, I have been able to learn to relax
and enjoy life.
“The experiences that you gain when you travel are priceless. It recalibrates and reconditions
the brain to challenge your own believes. When you don’t travel, you get confirmation bias.
Then, you find justifications of what you believe. Traveling opens up your mind,” stated Matt.
For Sara Delgado, a public affairs consultant, “Teleworking has helped my productivity as I have
found a greater life-work balance. I am spending more time with my boyfriend, Jon, and
temporarily moved with him to the Swiss Alps. I have been more physically active, combining
work and leisure. I learned to ski. I’m now cycling in Mallorca. I have also been able to meet
people from different trades and backgrounds, experiences that have nourished me.”
Some of the disadvantages of teleworking can be Wi-Fi connection and speed, time zone
differences, forms of payment such as predominantly using cash, cultural differences, among a
few others. “Make room for obstacles because they are going to happen when you travel, like a
flight being delayed, Uber may cancel on you to an important meeting, and a variety of things.
If you don’t speak the language, try to immerse yourself in it. There are language courses that
you can take online. I am currently learning Portuguese, French and Arabic,” Matt mentioned.
If you are thinking about teleworking from abroad frequently, I recommend buying a mini-VPN
& Wi-Fi travel router. I use this mini-VPN & Wi-Fi router whenever there is Internet outage. It
also protects me from online hackers that can be abundant abroad as well as to access apps like
Netflix where I can watch US-based series. Using a VPN is important as hackers have been able
to take money out of a friend’s bank account in Mexico using while she was paying her bills
online. In addressing language barriers, I once used Google translate while in Korea and played
the translated phrase on my phone to strangers to figure out where to go in Seoul’s subway.
Today, purpose matters. During the pandemic, several of us have experienced the loss of loved
ones that we see life so precious as opposed to material attachments. If you have the
opportunity to telework, take advantage of it and travel. Before dying, my auntie would say
that she wanted to travel all over the world. A few months later she was gone and all her
valuable clothes were suddenly given away to strangers. While I can’t take my collection of
scarfs with me when I die, I will be able to take those memories with me.