27 February 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Starting as a Mobile Worker: 3 Weeks Later

The last 3 weeks in a nutshell

I moved out of Netherlands, terminated my job, my apartment rental, took care of (hopefully) all administrative hassle, and then went for a stay at my hometown to relax, catch up with my family and friends and create my own company. I then went to Paris a few days to deal with more administrative stuff and catch up with a few more friends. I hopped on a plane to Malaysia to stay for two days at a friend’s place, and now I have been since yesterday in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I’ll stay 2 months.

Finding time to work

As expected, this is the ONE big challenge right now. Between all the things mentioned above plus transportation, being in a different city with so many things to do and see, friends to catch up with, my work time has been under severe attack so far. I wonder how many hours of work per week I will adjust to, but for now it has not been that much. I’ve actually started to write a journal at the end of every day with:

  • how long I worked on what (1/2 h granularity)
  • what I’m going to do the following day (also know as TODO list)

Working from cafes in Paris (and other free wifi opportunities)

My first experience with being a nomad worker in constant need of wifi signal was in Paris these last few days. Going from place to place searching for a free wifi that doesn’t expire after 20 minutes ended up being more time-consuming than I thought. A lot of places do offer free wifi that expires after 20 or 30 minutes, after that you need to subscribe to a monthly service costing 20 euros (a bit too much for staying only a couple of days).

I found a good spot at the library at Place d’Italie. I’ve never really worked from a library since the end of my studies, and I would say this is a good option in Paris. Wifi is free and reasonably fast, and as long as you can get a table, you can work in pretty good conditions. From what I’ve heard, there’s also free wifi in most of the city’s libraries.

As I have several friends in Paris, I also just worked from their apartment, that was the simplest solution. That being said, I can already see it’s very refreshing to be in a social setting and not to sit all day in the same apartment you stay at night too.

Dealing with papers at home

Since I’m going to be away for 5 months, I needed to make sure letters sent to me would be processed. Usually, it wouldn’t be that many letters, but considering I’ve just started a company and French administration is usually quite paper-intensive, I’m expecting to receive a few letters.

I have anticipated that and asked what letters I would receive from several parties (bank, state etc). I also trained my mom to scan a letter and save it under a shared dropbox folder. That way I will have instantly access to the letter scan on the other side of the world. Since I’ve left only for a week it’s still a bit early to see if that arrangement will work well. In the future I might have to have the letters being processed and scanned by a company, like what VirtualPostMail does. I don’t know if such a service exists in France though.

Congrats! You made it until the end. You can follow me on Twitter.

5 Responses to “Starting as a Mobile Worker: 3 Weeks Later”

  1. erik 27 February 2011 at 5:59 pm Permalink

    Have any more info on your company yet?
    Name? Url? What it does?

    awsome blogpost btw! Keep it up :-)

  2. Anthony 28 February 2011 at 11:27 am Permalink

    Haaa somw news, finally ! Glad to see you’ve set off.

    Regarding the company that scans snail mails and send you emails with stuff, I had a friend who used such a service in France, I’ll have to get back to him to find out the details if you need them.

    Enjoy the freedom !

  3. Gene 28 February 2011 at 9:18 pm Permalink

    I work remote quite a bit, mostly from locations in SEA…Bangkok, etc. Do you prefer a lightweight laptop that’s easier to carry, or a bigger one that’s more comfortable to work off of? I do trading systems design..database work, Java. I’m using a smaller Toshiba, I’m thinking about stepping up to an Alienware.

  4. tommy 8 March 2011 at 5:41 am Permalink

    Gene, I personally went for a lighter and smaller laptop (macboook air 13 inches). You get used to the small screen quite easily, not really feeling like its a huge drop in productivity…

  5. Wardy Noor 11 June 2011 at 6:04 am Permalink

    Hi there,

    If you ever in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia again do come and check us out. We are a mobile office cafe with innovative mobile/virtual office solutions, inspiring workspace & a chic dining option for entrepreneurs, business travelers, professionals & executives. For more info; http://www.paperandtoast.com


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