In theory, having an online business allows you to work from anywhere you want and after reading the 4 hour work week, I fantasised a lot about being a digital nomad. “Fun things happen when you earn dollars, live on pesos, and compensate in rupees“ was always a quote that stood out to me.
Over the last few years, the garymelican.com business has grown to a point where I now could do the full-time digital nomad thing. However, I’ve instead opted for a more hybrid approach – taking regular workcations.
”Simply put, a workcation is a working vacation.”
Why not just do digital nomad thing full-time?
So if it’s possible, why wouldn’t I just do the digital nomad thing full-time? Here are my reasons:
- I would miss not being able to see my family and friends regularly
- maybe this is an old school belief, but being primarily located in one place gives my business added stability. For some clients, it’s important that we could meet in person from time to time.
- I really like living in Dublin. There’s a great atmosphere around the city and given that there is now so much immigration, it feels like you’re travelling the world sometimes without even having to leave!
- the WeWork office in Dublin (Charlemont specifically) is amazing and I’ve built up some great personal connections with people here which I wouldn’t want to abandon
- just having the option to go away whenever you like is enough for me. The weather really affects my mood so knowing that sunshine is never really out of reach gives me peace of mind
Why I love workcations instead?
- workcations are a great balance between having a holiday and keeping work going
- they’re not actually that expensive compared to a traditional holiday, meaning that they can be part of a sustainable lifestyle. For instance an upcoming trip to Altea for 2 weeks will cost me €150 for return flights and €550 for accommodation (so about €700 total). But then on a workcation, you save on cost of living if it’s in a less expensive place than your hometown. So I’ll probably spend €250 less than I would if I were in Dublin for those 2 weeks. Total cost for 2 weeks in the sun on this basis is €450
- Coworking spaces are optional but I love joining them to meet new people. For 2 weeks in Lab Altea, this will be a business expense of €80.
- I like having the feeling of living somewhere rather than being on holidays necessarily. 2 to 3 week trips give you enough time to settle in and get to know your local shop keeper, learn about cool spots to go to and make a few friends
- and most importantly, getting good weather for running, swimming, drinking a caña after work is also so so nice
Is this just a pure pleasure seeking mission or are there business benefits to workcations?
From experience, there are some real business benefits to taking workcations. These include:
- workcations get you in a really positive headspace outside of your regular routine. This gives you a chance to reflect most on your life and how to improve it
- workcations open you up to trying new things. I actually started the podcast when in Gran Canaria on my last workcation. I don’t think I would have taken that leap if not outside of my routine.
- it can be difficult to take holidays as a business owner. So workcations are a nice way to holiday without subconscious stress building inside of you. So perhaps, they promote longevity of your business while it’s still relatively dependent on you.
A few aspects that make for a great workcation destination for me are:
- great weather
- inexpensive cost of living
- safety and good Wifi
- decent coworking spaces
- somewhere close to the Irish time zone (our client breakdown is about 50% Irish, 25% Europe, 25% US and Canada) so I prefer not to go far east as this would mean I would have to be on call quite late into the night.
Taking all of these factors into account, some desirable destinations for me are:
- the Canary Islands
- Rio de Janeiro (only a 3 hour time difference and it has WeWork offices)
- Cape Town (only a 1 hour time difference and has WeWorks)
- countless places in Spain, Italy and Portugal
Nomadlist is a great site for checking out things like wifi, community, demographics, fun versus safety etc.
Before doing my first workcation in November 2021, I was quite apprehensive that it just wouldn’t work for some reason. It seemed too good to be true.
Now somewhat regular workcations keep my perspective on work quite fresh all year round and I hope to be able to keep doing them for the forseeable future.
Thank you for reading as always,