Welcome to the 31st of the weekly interview series where I will speak to a wide range of people who have embraced the working remotely opportunity. We will speak to entrepreneurs, business owners, large organisation workers and freelancers about their trials and tribulations when delving into remote working
This week’s interview is with Jeremy Jones a guy who knows a little about living the dream. I don’t really want to provide an introduction as I don’t think one is necessary in this example. Basically Jeremy will tell you everything you need to know about living the dream and travelling the world. Read the interview. I urge you. It’s a real truly amazing viewpoint to how you can become a remote worker through career breaks and having a passion outside of the office. You can follow Jeremy and his wife Angie via Twitter here.
Q: Hi Jeremy tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?
Hey everyone! My wife and I are both from Ohio originally but are currently living in Pennsylvania while she is finishing her PhD. While our formal training is in chemical engineering we run a number of online travel websites in the Living the Dream Network in our spare time including Living the Dream, Free Travel Contests, The Travel Atlas, International Food Project, and more!
Living the Dream – http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com
Free Travel Contests – http://www.freetravelcontests.com
The Travel Atlas – http://www.thetravelatlas.com
International Food Project – http://www.internationalfoodproject.com
Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation?
While we try and keep our personal work side out of our online presence, I can say that we are both chemical engineers. I work in the environmental sector and Angie is finishing her degree with focus on the biological side.
Q: You run the sensational Living the dream RTW blog. For those reading who haven’t been fortunate enough to venture over to your blog can you give them a brief introduction to what can be found over there?
Sure thing! Living the Dream is the flagship blog in our network, and also our longest running. I started the blog in 2008 to chronicle a long-term trip around the world I was planning for late 2010 and on. That trip was ended a bit shorter than anticipated, primarily due to returning early to marry Angie, but we now cover an array of topics from travel planning to stories from the 35 countries we have visited (either solo or together) over 250+ days of travel. But our days of being at home are almost at an end as we are planning some amazing things for the next two years that are really going to change how we run the site!
Q: You run the blog with your partner. How does it benefit the blog and your lifestyle having a partner who has similar goals and aspirations to yourself?
It is quite amazing really. The unique thing about our site is that I ran it solo for the first 4 years or so. The last six months my wife Angie has joined on as a part-time author and is now becoming full-time with our increasing travel schedule. I think having a different voice on the site really adds to the depth of coverage we have when we travel. I’m all about adventure and she is completely devoted to cooking, so we each offer our own perspectives and excitement levels on different post types that the other doesn’t touch on nearly as much.
In terms of us as a couple it has been nice for both of us to be involved with the site as it helps us stay on track to our travel goals while giving each of us an outlet to craft our travel itinerary and enjoy it together.
Q: You have just announced another Round the world tour starting this Summer. How does this fit into your work and how do you plan to earn while travelling?
Well I guess the cat is out of the bag on that secret now, although we haven’t officially announced it on our site yet. I don’t want to give away all of our secrets before our big reveal, but suffice it to say our websites will soon be our only form of income in a few months!
In terms of how we earn money while traveling we have a modest income from freelance writing, book sales of our first self-published feature The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide, and through advertising on the sites in our network. It isn’t enough for us to live off of perpetually , but it will definitely add a few more months onto our trip when it is all said and done.
The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide – http://www.longtermtravelersguide.com
Q: Given your wanderlust it’s fair to say your not a huge fan of the office environment. What did you dislike most about the office environment and how does travelling relieve this?
My alarm would go off at 6:30, an hour later I’d be out the door. For the next 8-9 hours I’d be staring at my computer, eyes almost bleeding. Then I’d come home and work on the websites for a bit and go to bed. Wake up the next morning and repeat.
The monotony of doing the same thing every single day got very old after 2+ years is one of the biggest aspects of office life that I do not like. Traveling is the opposite of this because other than the ocassional early morning bus or train ride I can do what I want, when I want, and am only dependent on the schedule I set myself.
Q: How do you deal with stereotypes from friends in regards to productivity when working remotely? i.e.: Sleep until midday, 2 hour lunch breaks etc.
I think my friends have begun to understand the amount of work that goes into making our sites work that they typically don’t stereotype us when we go travel. Sure we may sleep in until 9-10am often, barely work some days, and have a great time, but they also know that when we are at home we work like crazy to prepare for it.
If you happen to know anyone who earns a decent living, sleeps until midday, and takes 2 hour lunch breaks at the same time let me know because I’d love to learn from them!
Q: What is the most challenging part about remote working and how do you overcome this?
Give me a poor internet connection and a major site failure that requires a few hours to fix and you will find one of the most frustrated travelers on the planet. Nothing is worse than being completely consumed with travel to only have a major repair that is needed immediately. It really puts a damper on your spirits.
Q: What are the main positives in working remotely?
For our sites in particular the best part is that we are the boss. We have no one to check in with, no deadlines except to our partners, and no site management goals that we must achieve other than commitments to ourselves. So we can be anywhere in the world and work whenever we want, and that is a pretty big perk. If we wanted to schedule some posts in advance and take two weeks off, we can do it. If we are busy and need to work, we make the sacrifice and do that too. But the fact that all commitments come from our own actions is pretty awesome.
Q: Are you an advocate of work/life balance and how do you try and balance both?
I’m definitely a big fan of the work to live mindset rather than figuring out a proper balance or living to work. I’ll let one of the other 7 billion people on this planet do the live to work midsent. Since are still on the cycle of “work really hard for a few years, then travel” it is hard for us to say that we have had a very good work/life balance as of yet. While being at home, we worked. And worked. And worked some more. Now we’re going to enjoy life for a while while still working on our site, which isn’t really work to us because we enjoy it so much.
Q: What’s a typical day for you both right now and how will this different when you’re travelling this summer? Realistically….start to finish .
As I mentioned in an earlier question, a typical day for me right now would be to get up at 6:30 and go work in an office until 5 pm. As Angie is writing her thesis she is pretty much working 12 hour days so I get to enjoy laying in our hammock for 3-4 hours every night working on the websites while she writes.
When we travel our schedule will be a bit different. We’re going to sleep in til 9 or 10 everyday, go have breakfast at a cafe or famous restaurant, go hit a few tourist sights, eat lunch at a really nice restaurant, maybe take a mid-day nap or write a blog post, then go stroll the city to end the day. Other than our city-to-city transit we’re going to have as little time commitments as possible every day and just enjoy being us for a change.
Q: Do you have a dedicated office space at home?
Yes and no. We have a second bedroom that doubles as an office. When either of us are home alone we typically will work on the computer in the office and be pretty focused. When we’re together we take our laptops and lounge in different parts of the apartment and are a bit more relaxed in our work effort. Lately Angie has been working on her PhD dissertation in the office (due to programs needed) so I’ve been working in our Thai Hammock that we currently use as our second bedroom’s “bed” as I mentioned in the last question.
Q: Any pictures of this working environment?
Q: How important do you feel family support is for you both? Given you both work together does this help the whole process significantly?
My family has finally come around to the idea of us traveling after me heading off to random places so much. 3 weeks in Egypt & Jordan and 5 months in Asia are a bit daunting, but they also see how we’re running a mini-business with it too and are completely supportive (even though they would like to see us some).
Angie’s parents are coming on board with it too and everyone has been quite happy for us. The challenge we have is not so much getting support from our parents but trying to get them to come visit us somewhere amzing around the world for a while. It is more difficult than you would think due to timing and money!
Q: Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient which may help our readers?
Passion and isolation. Neither of those are really tools, but they are the two biggest traits I see that help us be efficient in what we do. Passion to keep us going and give us the will to work for hours on end without moving or getting stressed. Isolation to remove all distractions that may slow us down (music, movies, tv, etc). Whatever you need to do for yourself to make these two happen would be unique to you, but it certainly will show in your work when you are completely consumed by your love of what you do and don’t let anything else get in the way.
Q: Lastly. The audience of Generation Y are young, digital savvy individuals. Your book ‘The Long term travellers guide’ talks at length about travelling longer, cheaper and living your dream. Do you see this as a viable future for some of our readership?
For sure! We wrote The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide as a way to put all of our experiences planning long-term trips into an easy to follow guide that is independent of any destination you wish to travel to. All of the thoughts that go into planning a trip are covered for those looking to get out there and explore the world like we do!
It is something that I think everyone in the world should do at least once and highly recommend everyone to try it out!