Sebastián Siseles plans to work from five countries in the first quarter of 2015.
As the regional director of Latin America for Freelancer.com, Siseles expects to travel to Canada, Australia, Spain, the UK, and his home country of Argentina.
“Many people think that travelling and working is just fun,” he says. “They imagine you go to a place and rest, drink some martinis or margaritas, and/or work in PJs from your hotel or Airbnb place. It’s not really like that.”
He calls travelling while working “amazing but tough. The personal belongings and comforts that someone has at their office — a printer, WiFi, assistants, your own place — are not available when travelling.”
Eight years ago, Siseles started travelling regularly as part of his job as a lawyer. He continued to do so as the interim COO of a Patagonian Vineyard, as the cofounder of a tech company, and now with Freelancer.com.
After years on the road, he shared some of the recurring, unexpected costs and considerations of earning a living remotely:
The cost of avoiding extra fees
While Siseles clarifies that his lodging and food is generally covered by his employer, he makes a point not to spend company money that he wouldn’t spend if it was his own. That said, he finds planning his costs out ahead of time to be critical in order to avoid spending more money than he has — quite literally, in the case of limited amounts of foreign currency.
“In my country we are suffering certain currency restrictions with limitations to buy foreign currency, and some extra tax when purchasing abroad,” he says. ‘Therefore, planning is a must in my case in order not to run out of money and/or limits with my credit cards.”
“I necessarily plan very precisely all my costs and expenses when travelling, both those to be approved by my company and also for my personal expenses, setting up either daily/weekly limits in order not to run out of cash,” he continues. “You don’t want to be in the middle of a strange city — fabulous or not — and miss awesome things to see and visit, or be stuck in a place you are willing to leave ASAP.”
The cost of experiencing new places
Business travel can be a blur of hotel rooms and meetings, so Siseles shells out the non-reimbursable cash to spend some time exploring wherever he happens to be.
He says wandering the area and visiting the restaurants that serve the best local cuisine are his must-dos.
“Also, if I have time, I go to museums and therefore get to know the places and culture through their food, their history, and their architecture,” he adds. “It’s a routine I have followed since starting to travel for work abroad, and I will continue to do so. All of these activities are paid by me and, believe me, it’s a huge extra cost. However, I like to call them investments.”
The (time) cost of commuting
If time is money, Siseles says to expect travel to be very expensive. “Going to the airports — every day more and more hours in advance between things like traffic and security checkpoints — is not only getting dramatically harder,” he explains, “but also in trips with even two- or three-hour flights, you end up wasting all day, and then you need to work.”
Siseles minimizes this cost by consolidating his workflow into just two easily portable devices that let him work en route: his smartphone and laptop (he uses a MacBook Air and says that for travelling, “a light computer is a must”). “For applications, Skype, Dropbox, Google Drive, and many other tools offered by Google, like talk and Gmail,” he adds. “I’m also a heavy user of Microsoft Office tools, mainly Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.”
Despite the costs, Siseles wouldn’t trade his lifestyle for one limited to a single city. For people who want to work like he does, he advises, “Don’t wait. Life is too short and the world is too big to be only in one place. But be aware of the pros and cons: Be responsible, work hard (and then if you have time, party hard!), be proactive, and always, always, deliver.”
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