Unlocking Wanderlust: Remote Work and Exploration

wanderlust embraced. Alison on the bow
One of my best friends from high school, Alison, embraces boating life.

In recent years, remote work has opened up a world of opportunities for those with a serious case of wanderlust. As digital nomads and remote workers embrace the flexibility of their careers, they find themselves on a thrilling journey to discover new destinations and cultures while maintaining their work commitments. In this article, I explore the profound connection between wanderlust and remote work, shedding light on the benefits and best practices of this nomadic lifestyle.

Benefits of Remote Work for Wanderlust Enthusiasts

When I was a teenager, every Sunday afternoon I would pick up the Los Angeles Times newspaper that my mom had discarded on the kitchen table.

Quickly flipping past the cover pages, the sports section, and the weather, I would uncover the travel section, reading travel writers’ depiction of epic hiking through the Swiss Alps or their discovery of Sundanese cuisine in Indonesia. These  travel articles transported me to places I believed I would never get to see. 

And I could not wait to graduate from high school so that I could get busy living and traveling as an adult. Now here I am, living, traveling, and working simultaneously–something I never imagined was possible. 

The allure of remote work–for me and for so many other digital nomads–lies in the ability to work from different locations and time zones. This flexibility caters to one’s sense of adventure. But it also offers various other benefits, such as improved work-life balance, personal growth, and unique cultural opportunities.

wanderlust in Loreto, Mexico, at Hotel Tripue
Hotel Tripue restaurant, near Puerto Escondido marina.

The Pros of a Wanderlust Mindset

Remote work has made the idea of exploration plus productivity possible:

1. Exploring Different Cultures in Different Time Zones: The ability to work from different locations enables remote workers to immerse themselves in different cultures. By living like a local, we gain a deeper appreciation of the world’s diversity. In my profession, teaching in the humanities, I can say without a doubt that my travels have impacted how and what I share with my students. 

2. Work-Life Balance: Remote workers often enjoy a better work-life balance. We have the autonomy to structure  work hours according to our own preferences. This allows us to seize the most exciting things about a new destination during the day and fulfill work commitments after a 9-to-5 type of schedule.

Instead of scheduling big blocks of time in another country (for a short stay), my day consists of working and then surrounding myself with Mexican culture and people. Whether it’s a visiting a 300 year old mission or practicing Spanish with a port captain upon entering a harbor. 

3. Personal Growth: Traveling to new places has meant getting out of my comfort zone. When I read the LA Times travel stories as a kid, always the intrigue for me had to do with the emotional shifts that transformed the writer while traveling. This could not have been possible without those individuals interacting with difference, discomfort, and styles of living that fostered gratitude for the here and now.  

wanderlust at Mission San Javier
About an hour's drive from the town of Loreto, you will find this oasis: Mission San Javier, built in 1699.

Opportunities for Career Changes

The rise of remote work has provided the perfect backdrop for career change. Those who were dissatisfied with their past jobs have found a new lease on their professional lives as remote workers.

Like so many cruisers I have met, they discover online job openings that align with their interests and passions. And they are not confined to a specific location. This creates a profound shift in the way people think about their careers, enabling them to explore new paths and grow both personally and professionally.

The beauty of being on a boat, however, is that you can see more of a country in a shorter period of time. Unlike land-based digital nomads, the cruiser is constantly moving and, therefore, does not have the same visa constraints. You can work–or not. Officials are not likely to keep track of your work activity on a boat like they might in a big city.

My husband and I have visited approximately 30 different anchorages on both the Baja side and mainland side of Mexico. If I were a digital nomad in Mexico City, the cultural sites, restaurants, and people would be incredible, no doubt. But it cannot compare to the sheer number of hikes, snorkels, dives, restaurants, festivals, and small-town interactions with locals that we have enjoyed in traveling by boat.

wanderlust and remote work at Espiritu Santo.
Another remote anchorage for remote work. Espiritu Santo near La Paz, MX.

Connecting Exploration and Remote Living

Digital nomads, a subset of remote workers, have fully embraced the nomadic lifestyle. They are known for their ability to combine work and travel seamlessly, making the world their office. As a digital nomad, one can have legitimate jobs.

I recently read about a customer success manager for an outdoor technology company. She lives in a camper van exploring National Parks while she works. This lifestyle presents a unique opportunity to savor the great outdoors while staying connected to a career through a stable internet connection like Starlink. 

The proof of this is in how many cruising families now have mom and dad working from the boat while the children are homeschooled. Talk about quality family time!

Additionally, these remote working families maintain clear boundaries between work and exploration. It’s the only way to manage the minimal number of hours in a day to get everything done (i.e., boat chores, meals, work, parenting, play time, etc).

family play time on the beach in Agua Verde, MX. Families embrace their wanderlust.

Best Ways To Appease Your Wanderlust and Become a Digital Nomad

If you’re eager to embark on the journey of a digital nomad or remote worker, here are some essential steps to consider:

  1. Assess Your Skills: Determine the type of work you can do remotely. Look for job posts that match your qualifications on legitimate job sites. Most digital nomads I know of who are searching for work use Linkedin. And they network on Facebook groups, like Digital Nomad Women or Remote Workers. 

  2. Create Office Space:  Set up a comfortable and productive place that you can carry with you to different destinations. On a boat, usually “office space” is wherever crew are not parked. I tend to work in the cockpit if the sailing conditions are good. Or I use our aft berth where I can close the door if I have to Zoom. 

  3. Invest in reliable technology and equipment, and consider using mobile phones, sim cards, and stable internet connections to stay connected. Obviously, having enough power onboard is a must. The best way to do this is to invest in a good quality generator. Or have enough solar and wind power.

This will ensure that you have enough power to work comfortably, even when the weather is bad or you’re anchored in a remote location. Onboard our Amel Super Maramu, we do not use a generator as we have enough solar (1200 watts) to keep Starlink powered all day (see my article about power consumption on a boat.)

Other Factors for Unlocking Your Wanderlust

4. Network with Like-Minded Individuals: Connect with other digital nomads and remote workers who share your passion for wanderlust. Join online communities and forums to exchange experiences and tips. And if you like to write, there are literally hundreds of types of writing or editing jobs available.

5. Financial Planning: Plan your finances carefully, as the nomadic lifestyle may come with fluctuations in income. Ensure you have a budget that accommodates both work and travel expenses.

If you are living on your boat, honor the “10%” rule, which says that regular maintenance costs are about 10% of the boat’s purchase price (honestly, it can be so much more depending on how much of your own boat work you do or do not do.)

wanderlust and remote work at Espiritu Santo.
Another remote anchorage for remote work. Espiritu Santo near La Paz, MX.

Listen to Your Instincts

The deep, instinctual voice inside you that’s urging you to discard the comforts of home life–this is wanderlust. And I am trying to honor the dream of working while traveling even though it is not without sacrifices.

However, when I’m watching the horizon’s glow at sundown or suddenly hear the quick sucession of exhales from a pod of dolphin near our boat, I’m reminded of the importance of traveling now–while I’m young enough to enjoy the journey.

The profound connection between wanderlust and remote work has transformed the way people like me approach their careers and personal lives. So, whether you’re yearning to explore the great outdoors, immerse yourself in different cultures, or simply want to embrace a nomadic lifestyle, remote work is the key to unlocking your wanderlust dreams. Doing it from a boat will change your life.

unlocking wanderlust. Turtle at Coronados Island.
This guy visited us every morning at anchor. Coronados Island in the Sea of Cortez.

About The Author

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9 thoughts on “Unlocking Wanderlust: Remote Work and Exploration”

  1. Stacy, I look forward to reading your post on the Remote Nomadic Life. Both you and Kevin are living the dream! I am sure there are many out in the concrete jungle living vicariously through you. Maybe, just maybe…….some reader will be sparked with the courage to take up remote living. Keep exploring, keep living and keep posting.

    1. Thank you so much, Sean! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond–and we look forward to seeing your outdoor paradise some day. Cheers!

  2. Stacy!

    Although I will not live on a boat in this lifetime, I love reading your words of wisdom about having a work-life balance and how you actualized your childhood dreams of wanderlust traveling — all great advice for us land-lovers, too. And I love the pictures! You and Kevin are truly living your best lives, and I feel privileged to be able to follow along.

    1. Pablo! So good to hear from you–and thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate your support.
      Miss you, and hope you are well. 😉

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