Can I just take a remote job and work from anywhere?


Have you ever thought about taking a fully remote position in order to travel the world and work from wherever you like? What are the things you need to consider, and when is it worth considering? If you asked yourself these questions already, then this article might be for you.

Before we dive in, here are some facts about me: I’m working as a web developer for a startup, based in Munich. Personally, I consider both facts, an IT job, and the startup environment, as perfect conditions for working remotely.

Since the pandemic hit with all the restrictions and the social isolation, my wish to go out again, see and explore the world became bigger and bigger (and maybe for you as well).

So I decided to plan a trip to the US together with some friends. However, my plan was not to simply go there on vacation, no. It was more of an experiment. The question that I wanted to be able to answer after this experiment was something like this:

Checklist for working remotely

Am I allowed to simply go abroad and work from there?

This is the very first requirement you need to check. Even if you have a (temporarily) fully remote position, I highly recommend discussing this with your boss to make sure everything is fine from a legal perspective as well. Clearly communicate how long you want to work from abroad and answer all questions your boss might have.

Especially if you plan to work permanently from another country, this will have some legal implications that need to be discussed. For shorter trips (less than a month), this aspect typically can be neglected.

Does my personal situation allow me to be away for multiple days, weeks, or months?

This one is, obviously, a very personal question and depends on your individual situation. Maybe there is someone or something which binds you to your current location. For example, you have a partner, a pet, lots of plants that need special treatment, or maybe a second job.

For each of these, you should think about individually how you could manage it from remote — and for how long. I’m sure you can find a dog sitter for a few days, but for months?

Also, you should be clear about your financial situation. If you want to travel abroad for just a few weeks, then you’ll most likely keep your main living location. This means you still need to pay the rent at home, while also paying for living somewhere else.

In the end, you will always need to agree to some kind of compromise. How long can you afford to live and travel abroad…

  • Financially?
  • Without disregarding your duties at home?
  • Without negative effects on your job?

Does your working location provide a sufficient internet connection and other equipment?

This is essential since you won’t be able to work efficiently if your connection is slow, or you’re feeling uncomfortable. I heard from many people that they enjoy working in a café, Starbucks, or a dedicated co-working space, such as WeWork.

I tried WeWork myself at the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. The registration and onboarding worked very smoothly via the app. The internet was fast, lots of comfortable seats, free drinks, and the possibility to connect with other people there made it for me an amazing experience — not to mention the beautiful view over the Bay Area!

View while I worked at WeWork in San Francisco.

Do you have regular important meetings?

Try to pick a location where the time zone difference is less than, i.e., 4 hours. Otherwise, you will need to wake up for meetings at 1AM, then at 5AM, and once again at 7AM, just like I did…👀

It was fine for a few days. But after some weeks, I really felt the negative impact of this. I didn’t have deep sleep, I was tired the whole day. And the first thing I saw, right after waking up, was work-related stuff in a meeting. And trust me, that’s one of the last things you want to see after some hours of sleep 

The outcome of my experiment

As I mentioned already, whether you can just work and travel from anywhere, is a highly personal one and depends on your individual circumstances.

For me, going to California for a month was an incredible experience. I’ve visited unbelievable places and really felt the spirit of traveling 🌎, while I was just doing my work as usual — with the tiny difference that I’m on the other side of the world.

A few downsides that I want to mention here:

  • I was able to live there for a month only because I shared an apartment with three other friends. Suddenly living together with multiple other people in a comparably small place comes with its very own challenges, that I don’t want to dive deeper into here. I was lucky enough to have great friends, and we all managed it living together very well.
  • After this month, I felt that it was time to go back home. I missed my girlfriend, my friends, and my family.
  • Also, financially, it was time to go back home. California, especially Silicon Valley, is not the right place to do low-budget traveling 
  • From a work perspective, I can say that working remotely works quite fine if you can handle the distance. However, what didn’t work that well were meetings with my team. As I mentioned before, lots of these meetings were in the middle of the night due to the time zone difference. So either I miss them or sacrifice my nighttime sleep.

After all, I can say that I enjoyed this trip and would recommend everyone to simply go out and try it, at least once. What I would personally change for the next trip, would be choosing a closer location and a shorter duration.

Actually, this is exactly what I did 🫣

About two months after my US “workcation”, I did another trip with the same friends to Barcelona, Spain. With the experience of the first workcation, the second one was even better (considering the work aspects). But that’s maybe part of another article.

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