For someone who has travelled extensively, visiting many different countries over the last 20 years or so, packing and preparing should now be second nature. Not this time though. Planning to ensure that work will continue seamlessly has meant that technology will be central to everything. I could pack easily for a fortnight’s trekking but packing to cover a year’s work is a completely different ball game.
I’m not the most technology savvy person; when I first started travelling I didn’t have a mobile phone and I don’t normally worry about internet connection while half way up a mountain. Therefore, I’ve had to make a few changes. The first change was to make full use of the ‘cloud’; not only for work but also for my own private life. Luckily Arcadis, like many organisations, has started using cloud storage and with applications and programs such as Skype and OneNote, communicating and sharing information with work colleagues has definitely become easier.
I decided from the day that I was accepted on the Remote Year project that I would change the way I worked. I couldn’t carry around loads of books and printed information so from that day onwards everything had to be digital. This was far easier than I thought: by using OneNote I can type notes directly into the computer, maps and plans can be annotated and information can be easily shared and/or emailed.
There has been two added bonuses to this new way of working. The first is that the reduction in printing has meant that the amount of waste that I personally produce has definitely been reduced (a real bonus for someone who works in the environmental industry). The second is that I am now a lot more organised. Instead of writing things on lots of random sheets of paper, information is now synced instantly across different digital devises: everything from work notes to food recipes (I will still need to cook while I’m away!).
The other main difference between my original travels back in the 1990s and now is that I have a ‘life’ in the UK that I cannot entirely leave behind. Do I rent out my house? Will the mortgage company allow renting? Is the house suitable for renting? What do I do with the furniture? Thankfully I’ve found the perfect solution as a family member will be house sitting while I’m away. This is a great solution as I’ve heard a lot of renting disaster stories over the last couple of months!
So as the countdown to the 1st June continues, preparation for the adventure ahead is definitely progressing well.