I’ve recently transitioned from being “location independent” to working a nine-to-five job as BEACON’s new copywriter. It seems that most people are trying to figure out how to do the opposite – leave the office and live a life a freedom. In this digital age, it is fairly easy to work remotely, using Skype, Facebook and email as the main points of contact. There are countless blogs and eBooks out there advising folks how to work for themselves, earn passive income, and sip a mai tai on a tropical beach while running a business from abroad.
I won’t lie; the lifestyle is awesome. I’ve spent the past few winters in Asia, living on the cheap while writing from wherever I wanted to be. I was a freelance travel writer for roughly five years, working on Lonely Planet guidebooks, writing travel articles for the BBC, and meeting amazing people as I bounced around.
But for the past year, I’ve known it’s time to stop the travel-writing lifestyle, or at least put it on hold. There are several reasons for this decision; here are a few of them:
Nothing beats person-to-person communication
I don’t think my writing voice is off-putting, but I really shine at interpersonal relationships. I’ve found it’s easier to get work if I’ve met an editor in person, and I always jump at the chance to meet with a colleague traveling overseas. These meetings always proved to me how valuable in-person networking is, and how lacking it can be in the Internet world.
Travel bloggers have certainly formed a community abroad, but I was never a travel blogger. Anchorage was always my community, and I found that I wanted to invest more time and energy in the place I call home. I’ve loved watching Anchorage grow and change over the past twelve years, and I’d like to invest more of myself in it.
I value the structure of a set workday, and am grateful to work similar hours as many of the other folks my age. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t miss working on my couch in my PJs, but on the whole, I’ve found the structure and routine of the nine-to-five life valuable for my brain.
Consistency in work and pay was always lacking in my freelance life, yet my bills were always consistent. Not knowing when or where my payment was coming from as well as continually pitching for work was a constant stress, and I often felt like I was spending more time looking for work and following up on invoices than actually writing.
In transitioning from freelance to full time, a few criteria were important: I needed to do what I love (write) and be in a creative environment. Travel fulfilled my need to constantly learn and be stimulated, and I knew that to be happy in an office I had to make sure those same needs were met. I feel extremely fortunate that I have found a job that combines my love for the written word with the structure, stimulation, and consistency I was seeking.