I spent most of the summer away from home traveling with my family. I wouldn’t call it a vacation, however it did include a few days off from work. This was something I planned to do a year in advance. As long as I have internet access, I can work from anywhere. This was the ultimate test. Here’s a recap of my digital nomad experience.
Google Fi and across the border. ☎️
Within the last year I switched my cell phone from Ting to Google Fi for better international coverage. This was crucial for making this trip a success considering I spent the entire month of July in Mexico. Overall cell coverage in Mexico is very comparable to the US. Great in cities and towns with spotty coverage when driving in remote areas, like between mountains or in the middle of the desert.
One of my phones did have issues with Google Fi. It seem to be extra picky when switching to a specific Mexican carrier and would often fail to connect. Luckily I wasn’t traveling alone and could use my wife’s phone as a backup. At one point I did reach out to Google and they had me run through a long series of phone codes to attempt to get my phone to connected to data. After about 30 minutes chatting with their support I was able to get LTE working. However that success only lasted about a day or so before the original issues came back.
Google Fi includes what they call bill protection. For 2 devices they’ll cap data usage charges at 10GBs. Anything beyond that is considered free. If an individual phone uses more than 15GBs then the data on that phone will be slower until the next billing cycle, with an option to pay for full speed. At first I was concerned about paying for full speed because I didn’t know if they would back charge for the extra usage. I’m happy to report their “pay for full speed” option is smart and only begins charging extra for usage after activated.
Long car rides with a hotspot. 🚗 💻
Now I know not every one can work while riding in a car. I luckily have no issues with it as long as I’m not too hungry. With my wife driving I can get a substantial amount of work accomplished with my laptop and a hotspot. Switching to the driver’s seat is a nice way to recover when I’ve reached the point where I’m no longer productive.
Remote banking and deposits.
I do occasionally receive checks in the mail for hosting payments. Anchor Hosting’s official mailing address is a coworking space in my hometown. I coordinated with a business colleague, who also works out of the same space, to scan and email any postal mail for my business. I was able to remote deposit using mobile deposit on my phone. The built-in MacOS screenshot app helped give the mobile app enough of contrast to see the check on my laptop display. There was one check which was a bit too large for mobile deposit which my friend was able to take to my bank.
New location and new focus.
July was an extremely productive month for my WordPress toolkit. I think that was mostly due to the change of locations. I was in a foreign country with very little Spanish which lead to a virtually distraction free work zone. I worked quietly by myself out of Airbnb’s whereas when I’m at home I typically work out of coffee shops and coworking spaces.
Lifelong memories made possible by remote working.
Vacations are great however it’s just not practical for me to take off work for the entire summer. Our family was able to travel by van across the USA and spend an entire month living in Mexico. All made possible by remote working. We really enjoyed our time and plan to take similar extended family trips fueled by remote working.