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Summary:

Chance are, if you are a web worker, you occasionally have to travel for your job. That means taking your work on the road, possibly using different tools than usual, and very likely using different connectivity, depending on where you are. If you’re a frequent traveler, […]

Chance are, if you are a web worker, you occasionally have to travel for your job. That means taking your work on the road, possibly using different tools than usual, and very likely using different connectivity, depending on where you are.

If you’re a frequent traveler, i.e. a global nomad, you’ve likely got a set of tools–both hardware and software–that you use when you travel. If you’re relatively new to the whole travel game (you do it infrequently, or you just want an occasional change-of-pace from working at home or your office) try to practice working remotely–without the expensive plane trip.

What does it mean to “practice?” Go someplace local you don’t normally go and attempt to work as if you were hundreds or thousands of miles away. Depending on whether or not you have a mobile broadband solution, you might need to scout the area first to ensure that there are adequate connectivity options.

To give a personal example, I’ve spent a couple of days a week doing my work at the local YMCA. I had combined a trip with my workouts and my son’s sports clinics, which gave me about an hour and a half of time to attempt to work. While the local YMCA has an open WiFi access point, it is very erratic, working some days, and not others. One day, I worked around this by tethering to one of my mobile phones. Another day, I used an EVDO card that I discovered did not work inside the Y all that well. To get better reception, I’ve gone so far as to work in my car where the EVDO signal was much better.

While all of this trying different ways of working seems like a waste of time, it’s actually very important if you truly want to work anywhere. You never know what ways of working are going to work in a given location until you get there and find out for yourself. Being able to practice your nomadic skills close to your main work location is a low-risk way to ensure you’ll be able to do it for real, when going home is not an option.

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By Dameon Welch-Abernathy

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  1. Jeb Brilliant Monday, July 21, 2008

    Dameon,

    I have actually been doing this kind of thing more and more recently. Lately I have been spending some time at my local Starbucks and sometimes I don’t use their wifi so I tether my MacBook to my Nokia. I also have an EVDO usb key coming my way sometime soon.

  2. Phillip McGregor Monday, July 21, 2008

    I tethered my V3 through GSM and have had acceptable results while traveling emailing PDF’s and graphic files. 12mbps is the max speed I’ve encountered with AT&T’s GSM. For the minimalist traveler http://www.onebag.com has a wealth of information and tips.

  3. Dameon Welch-Abernathy Monday, July 21, 2008

    The only reason I try not to tether my phone is battery life using 3G for prolonged periods :) However, it’s nice to know that I can do it if necessary.

    I like the OneBag site, lots of good tips. I already try to reduce the amount of stuff I take with me on trips, this has got some others.

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