Some Thoughts and Tips Regarding Lifestyle Design and Being Productive While Travelling

By on May 11, 2016

Hey guys! I just wanted to post a quick one to say that a lot more content is on the way and I’m sorry for being slow updating lately! Partly, this is due to my being very much on the move at the moment and doing a lot of travelling while trying to fit work in. I like my creature comforts too much to be a full-time digital nomad (and my wife!) but one perk of working online is being able to work while travelling. So I try to intersperse smaller trips while taking my mini-laptop and a few other bits to work on the move with.

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Working by the Rheinfall in Switzerland visiting my self-employed friend!

I’m doing a bit of a stint at the moment and have been to Wales, Lisbon and Switzerland in the last month or so. I went to Dortmund earlier in the year too and right now I’m on the train to London Stansted and will be flying from Salou very shortly. I also have a UK vacation in Kent coming up. It’s all super cheap these days and especially when you have a pilot friend!

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Views from a cool hike on the same trip

So I thought, why not try to update with something relevant to that quickly while I’m doing all this gallivanting and discuss how I manage to stay (relatively) productive on the move. I’ll share the business model I use, some discussion on the pros and cons of this lifestyle and some of my favorite gadgets for getting work done.

I might continue writing this article on the plane and when I get to the hotel, so I’ll keep you posted!

Lifestyle Design – Pros and Cons

When I’m not working while travelling, I still get benefits from working around London. I normally like to stay in my local coffee shops but I’ll also sometimes visit other parts of London. I like to go into central London (Tottenham Court Road) with my wife once a week and meet her for lunch. Then I can also pop to the comic shop ready for new comic book day. Occasionally, I visit my cousin in Tower Bridge and hang out around St Catherine’s Docks and I often meet my buddy Nathan for drinks in Hammersmith. My favourite spots for working in London though are outside St Paul’s and in the British Library.

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My more usual work set-up around London

Other days I just stay at home!

A lot of people think that ‘lifestyle design’ means working online so you can travel. Actually though, being free to move around during the day and work from nice bars and cafes around London can be just as enjoyable and it helps to keep me productive. For me, it’s about having a job that I can fit around the lifestyle I want to live – rather than having to compromise my lifestyle to fit my job. This has also been a huge benefit when it comes to getting to the gym and keeping up my fitness.

Working on my up-coming book while on honeymoon in Mauritius. This isn't work to me!

Working on my up-coming book while on honeymoon in Mauritius. This isn’t work to me!

Of course there are downsides to this kind of work too. One double-edged sword is that I can always work and I can always rest. I’ve had to train myself hard to develop the will power to work solidly during the day and have been much happier since I adapted to Hannah’s work schedule. It’s super convenient though still being able to do over time whenever I want and thereby get an extra wad of cash when I need it.

At the same time though, this also means I have to work late if ever I have a bad day – or if I decide to meet friends for a few hours during the day. And then there are other things that become more difficult when you work for yourself: getting a mortgage for instance. This is something I’m in the process of doing right now and some lenders need you to jump through hoops. Actually though? It’s not half as bad as I anticipated it would be and touch wood, it looks like it’s going to go okay.

Overall I would recommend working online to anyone. Yes, it takes a bit of will power to motivate yourself but finding the work is easier than you think these days and as my experience with the banks shows, the world is starting to catch up. More and more people are doing this and I haven’t even touched on how rewarding it is to run your own business and succeed (or fail!) on your own terms.

Even little things like being able to help friends out if they need it during the day, or being able to go to the bank during not-rush-hour make working for yourself awesome. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Some Useful Tips and Gadgets for Travel-Working

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The travel kit I recently took to Dortmund! We chose the destination at random last minute and saw the biggest Christmas tree in the world apparently!

While I’m certainly not an expert at all this, I have found a few different ways to work more easily on the move – many of which revolve around gadgets. Here are some of them:

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard

This is what I’m working on right now! It’s a completely foldable keyboard that I can stick in my pocket and it’s also splash proof. It can sync to do devices and switch between them and it’s actually very comfortable to type on despite being entirely flat. The only downside is that it won’t work on your lap because of the fold in the middle – but you can get around this by using a magazine to prop it on.

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Portable Charger

Apparently everyone knows about these but I was a bit late to the party! I now have a very smart portable charger that’s capable of charging my S6 twice or my 8’’ Windows PC once. It can also charge the Microsoft Keyboard and it’s small enough to slip into a wallet.

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This now helps me to avoid this scenario:

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Keyring Phone Stand

Sadly I have lost this, but until recently I had a phone stand that was small enough to fit on a keyring. That meant I could turn my phone into a mobile command center wherever I was. RIP.

Microfiber Towel

A friend who also travels a lot gave me this and it has been brilliant for saving space in my bag! It’s basically a towel made of a thin microfiber material and this means that it can bundle into a tiny ball and try instantly. It’s small enough to potentially fit in a pocket but unfolds into a towel you can use after a dip in the pool. Not too shabby!

Dell Venue 8 Pro

Actually the charge on my Dell Venue 8 Pro is starting to die which has made it less effective but in theory, an 8’’ Windows tablet with a keyboard cover is kind of ideal for travelling.

Wedge/Arc Mouse

The wedge mouse is small enough to fit in a pocket and works with a Windows tablet or an Android phone. I also have an Arc Mouse now – also from Microsoft – which can fold entirely flat for easy transport.

Kindle (With Keyboard)

I don’t know if a recent update has ruined this but until recently I could use my Kindle’s ‘experimental browser’ to check email and research topics online completely for free!

Little Man-Bag

My little man-bag is ideal for carrying all these bits with me at once and doesn’t count as an extra bag in your hand luggage. This means I can keep my tech close and it also makes it much easier to empty out all laptops and phones into the tray when I’m getting scanned at airport security. Thank you little man-bag!

Oh and one more tip in this regard: keep your belt in your hand luggage until you get through the airport security. That saves you even more work! One for all you belt wearers.

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And I know this because I just went through airport security and am now on the plane. This hasn’t worked out that well though because I fell asleep for an hour and now we’re landing in 20 minutes and the table has to go up…

Notepad and Pen

This is super useful on any trip. Not only can you use it as a kind of second screen for taking notes (right now I am using it to keep a note of how much work I’m doing while away, so I can invoice clients when I get back) but you can also use it for communicating with people abroad by drawing images to explain your point and even for playing games like hangman on the plane!

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As a writer, I feel it’s always important to carry a notepad so that you feel bad ass.

Surface Pro 3

When I’m working around London, I’m always on my Surface Pro 3. I love this laptop for its versatility and relative horsepower. I can use it for developing, for presenting work and for writing on the move. When I get home, I detach the screen, set it into a stand and plug it into a USB hub at which point I can use it like a desktop PC. I need something with a little more oomph soon but it will be hard moving away from this form factor.

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Where my friend works in Germany – a very cool library

My Business

And now I’m at the hotel! I’m on a stag and everyone has fallen asleep drunk. I meanwhile am also drunk but am out on the balcony using my folding keyboard to polish this post off quickly.

I thought I’d just share a tiny bit about what I actually do for a living and how it fits around my travel and other activities.

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Pretending to work in Croatia…

Other than running this website (which earns me very little at the moment), I am a freelance writer and an app developer. My main income comes from writing blog posts for other websites, as well as doing copywriting for businesses and making ebooks for marketers to sell.

I found this work by posting on marketing forums like Digital Point and Warrior Forums. You could also try freelancing sites like UpWork, Elance or PeoplePerHour. This has brought in a very steady supply of work and many of my clients don’t have specific ‘deadlines’ for when they need their content by. This affords me a lot of flexibility and means that I basically can work whenever I want to and fit that work around my routine. Not a writer or a coder? You can

Many of my clients pay lower than I’d like but this is partly by choice as those clients tend to provide large volumes of work and require minimal maintenance. I chose to work like this to support the lifestyle I wanted.

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But at the same time, this also affords me time and energy to prioritize the projects I really care about. I have a couple of clients that I’m really excited to work with and that might lead to some even better opportunities. At the same time, I have my apps and this site – both of which bring a lot of satisfaction, passive income and the promise of higher earnings someday.

The way I see it, the copywriting pays the rent but the other stuff is my ‘career’ and offers the best prospects. It’s nice having both on the go and especially as I genuinely love that work.

The view from Salou

The view from Salou

So anyway, that’s why I’ve been away and that’s a bit about my business and how I travel while working. Hopefully you found something useful there. Stay tuned for much more of the normal stuff coming your way in the days to come!

By the way, if you’d like to follow my travels you can find me on Instagram @thebioneer!

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About Adam Sinicki

Hi there! My name is Adam Sinicki, I'm an entrepreneur, psychology graduate and amateur bodybuilder interested in fitness, self improvement, technology and transhumanism. I run an online business (NQR Productions) which allows me to live the lifestyle I want: getting time to hit the gym and to work on my projects and apps. Stick around and I'll be sharing my experiments and adventures in brain training, bodybuilding, productivity, business and technology.
  • Great blog! Glad you shared on Reddit. Freelance writing is definitely an excellent way to go about making money online – I’ve been doing it full time for about 5 months now and love the freedom (currently working from Thailand).

    Anyway, how involved are you with App development? Are WordPress plugins something that you think you could create? Either way, we need to keep in touch!

    • thebioneer

      Hey thanks a lot! That’s cool you’ve been writing too! Getting the kind of work you’re hoping for?

      I do quite a lot of app development but have no experience with WordPress plugins. Were you thinking of something particular?

      Thanks for commenting and hope you’re enjoying Thailand!

      • Just constantly brainstorming ideas. Nothing specific. But keep up the great work!