'I backpacked around South America and took my job with me.'

There’s a holiday. And then there’s a working holiday.

But if you’re a digital nomad, keeping your job and travelling isn’t so much of a holiday as a lifestyle choice. Basically, you work remotely from wherever you are in the world. You might be on a tropical island or trekking the Himalayas, but as far as your boss is concerned, it’s business as usual.

Author Amy Molloy did just that. When her partner said he wanted to backpack across South America before they settled down, she was at the height of her career – so, instead of choosing whether to temporarily lose her partner or her job, she took her responsibilities with her. 

Listen to Amy’s success story on I Don’t Know How She Does It: Travel. Post continues.

After four months living out of a backpack, working across 14 countries, Amy wrote a handy list of the lessons she learned – and the home truths she discovered far from home. 

Create repetition amidst the chaos.

Even if it’s going to the same place for breakfast or reading the same novel every night before bedtime, have some sort of schedule. And submerge yourself in water at every opportunity (even if it’s cold). It will instantly make everything feel better.

Always ask for the hostel room closest to reception.

Chances are it’s where the WiFi router is. If you’re staying somewhere with free desayuno don’t expect to get any bandwidth once breakfast is served, so set your alarm for 5 a.m. (Also, there will always be one guy sitting in a hostel’s communal area streaming an entire movie, whilst you’re struggling to get enough bandwidth to even update your inbox.)

Beats the view from our office... Source: Amy Molloy

Always have two work projects on the go.

One that you need internet to complete and one you can do on your own. Alternate them, depending on your location resources (trying to join a video conference in the middle of Bolivia will not end well!)

Don't go to every 'must-go' place.

Just because people say you have to visit the Salt Flats (or whichever place everyone raves about), you don't have to go there. It doesn’t mean you have to drive seven hours out of your way to do it, if sitting on a deckchair on a white stretch of nothing doesn’t sound appealing to you. Be true to your desires and forget everyone else’s expectations.


Give yourself permission to move on - anytime, to anywhere.

But sleep on it first. Don’t pack your bag at midnight when anxiety strikes. If you still want to move on in the morning then let it be. Let yourself go.

Fake a weekend, even if it’s not the weekend.

Don’t be tricked into working a seven-day week because you’re overcompensating. I started our trip to prove I could work anywhere under any extreme conditions. Tick! But I also learnt that, just because I could log on a hit and deadline, it doesn’t mean that I should.

Freedom takes sacrifice – and it’s not always yours.

My parents gave me the gift of freedom when they’d told me to leave the country when my dad was at his sickest. When I was 20-years-old, they gave me the gift of freedom when they didn’t say ‘stay’ when I told them I couldn’t be around to watch his deterioration any longer.

It’s okay to be a ‘fleer’.

I wouldn’t discourage anyone from leaving a place, if they believed it would help them to heal from a past situation, pain or memory. But I’d also encourage all serial fleers (like me!) to examine what they are fleeing from, and whether they still need to. They might discover the danger they are escaping from doesn’t exist anymore.

Use the lessons you learn on extreme adventures.

In a smaller, slower way in normal, everyday life - even if it’s just taking a lunch break. There is a whole movement of so-called ‘digital settlers’ who use the power of technology to work closer to home. For me, freedom is choice – wherever that leaves you.

Amy Molloy is a journalist, Hay House author and mental health storyteller who produces uplifting content for the biggest names in global publishing. Her book, The World is a Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity Joyfully sold out in twelve weeks of being published. It’s follow-up, Peace, Instead of This is free to read on Instagram. Her Storytelling for Healing Online Writing Courses helps people share their stories in a way that raises their profile and fulfils a purpose but protects themselves.

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