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Working As A Freelance Programmer While Traveling

Surfers Paradise Office View
The view from my apartment / office in Surfers Paradise, Australia

Q. Hi Mike! I got your contact details from my friend Janne. He told that you are travelling freelancer programmer. I have been programming for 11 years and I have been thinking to start similar lifestyle than you and Janne. Have you enjoyed your life during the trip? Would you recommend travelling and working as a programmer? Where do you find your customers?

My story is a little different than Janne’s, I worked for a company for 5 years as a programmer, and told them I wanted to travel / work / live abroad. I had some leverage, so we worked it out to where I would work as an independent contractor for them, which allowed me to make my own schedule. They’re my only client, and I work 160 hours a month for them, as well as on my own projects.

I dont have to worry about finding customers, and I’m working towards generating enough money to live on from my own websites.

I’ve LOVED my life since I went off traveling and working. If you have the opportunity, and you’re the type who can balance work and play, I highly recommend it. It’s easy to get behind on work when you’re traveling around meeting and hanging out with people who don’t have to worry about work. It means you sometimes have to skip things with new friends, often have to move slower, and sometimes don’t get much sleep. It also means you rarely if ever have any free time once you throw in the traveling aspect, and deadlines can be extra stressful.

All in all, it’s an amazing life, one most people envy and want to have. I recommend moving slowly, don’t rush your travels, make sure to try and do things you’d normally do back home, watch tv, catch a movie every now and then, read, whatever it is. I found if you’re always on the road, always moving, always seeing new things, you can get burnt out and lose appreciation for the lifestyle you have.

I just came home after about 20 months abroad, and to be honest I was happy to come home. I’ll probably be ready to head somewhere new in 3-6 months, but at the moment I feel pretty good getting back to more of a normal life. It’s a balancing act, but if you want my advice, absolutely go for it, you won’t regret it.

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