Experimenting with the future of work life balance

Experimenting with the future of work life balance

MY LIFE WORK ADVENTURE

MY LIFE WORK ADVENTURE

MY LIFE WORK ADVENTURE

For mid April to mid July 2018 I’ll be on an incredible trip with my family up the east coast of Australia. But rather than take a break from work and treat it as a holiday I’m planning to maintain most of my existing workload while on the road.

So why not just take a holiday?

The first reason is personal, if I just took a holiday I might be able to take off on such an adventure once every 10 years, but if I can integrate the living bit and the working bit properly there’s the potential to take off on similar adventures every year, or to take off on a holiday that never has to end.

The second reason is commercial, I want to better understand how embracing remote and flexible work impacts on our work and on others around us (both our families and our colleagues). We are already seeing a trend towards these types of work arrangements amongst freelancers and digital nomads and it is only a matter of time until other workers start expecting greater flexibility in how, where and when they work.

The Plan

For those who are familiar with my work there are a couple of key things that I do. The first is that I’m a professional speaker. This can’t generally be done remotely so along the way I will need to get to an airport, fly to a conference somewhere in Australia or New Zealand, deliver a keynote, and then get back to the van again.

The second is that I run a program called the Digital Champions Club which involves me coaching members on identifying and implementing technology projects as well as running a quarterly face to face workshop. To conduct the coaching I will be setting up an office in my camper van. My clients are used to me coaching them over Skype, so as long as I have a quiet space and can access a decent internet connection I should be able to manage this effectively from just about anywhere.

Finally, I need to be able to maintain my relationships and help manage the members of my team. This requires weekly Skype calls, team meetings and time to contribute to our online channels.

The dream

So if this is an experiment then what does success look like? For me, success means that I can travel for three months, have a great time with my family and neither my clients nor my staff will be paying for it. This means I need to be able to give my clients an experience that is as good as (if not better) than what they would get if I was working from my office in Mount Eliza and I can’t expect my team to take on an unfair workload.

As the adventure unfolds I will be capturing what I’ve learnt in a series of blogs and videos so please check in regularly on this page or subscribe on YouTube to get the updates.

THIS IS HOW WE’RE TRAVELLING

We are travelling in our 1990 Nissan Homy pop top campervan called Dennis (Dennis already has his own page on my website, click here to find out more about him). Nomes and I went travelling in Dennis up the west coast of Australia back in 2006 but now we have the kids in tow, the campervan is a bit small for us all to live in.

So before we left we added a 2006 Goldstream Storm to the convoy. The Goldstream Storm (tentatively called ‘Daisy’) is a pop top camper trailer that sleeps four and also has modern conveniences built in (such as a table and a stove).

Daisy is effectively our house while Dennis will serve as both the tow vehicle when we’re moving and my office once we are stopped.

Where We Are Going

(And where we have gone)

The plan is to do a loop from Mount Eliza, across the bottom of Victoria to Mallacoota, then from there up to Sydney along the coast. From Sydney we head to Brisbane via Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay. After Brisbane we will head to Bribie Island in Queensland to visit family before heading back to Melbourne inland.

The above map shows where have been so far (it has been authored using Google MyMaps and is updated twice a week).

Week 6

Blog post: Listen to the locals

Update

After leaving the farm stay at South West Rocks we spent three nights at an incredible camp site on the Clarence River called Michael’s Clarence Valley Retreat. It looked like the set of a Crocodile Dundee movie and the owner Michael, or Mick, was a Paul Hogan doppelganger. After leaving the Clarence our next stop was Byron Bay where we met up with a couple of friends who came up to escape the Melbourne winter.

After Byron we stopped off at Mullumbimby, the location of this week’s blog, and then headed up to the Gold Coast for our week long ‘world tour’. We’re currently staying at Paradise Country at the back of the Village Roadshow Studios and on our world tour we’ve so far visited Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild World and the Australian Outback Spectacular World. There is little doubt that we’ve hit the ‘peak tourist’ phase of our adventure…I think it’s just about time to hit the road again.

Week 5

Blog post: Slamming into the pot holes on the road less travelled

Update

We left Lake Macquarie on Friday and headed to the Hunter Valley for an impromptu birthday lunch and a spot of wine tasting. We camped for a couple of nights before heading back towards the coast. We stayed a couple of nights at Anna Bay before heading to Nelson Bay…which was the start of the adventures described above.

I stayed on in Perth a couple of extra days to catch up with friends and spent a magical day at Rotto on the Sunday before heading back towards the van and the girls on the Monday. After dealing with a couple of days of awkward rain in Nelson Bay (awkward because we haven’t really had to deal with much of that since leaving Melbourne) we packed up and headed north again. We are currently at a farm stay just near South West Rocks and Byron Bay is now clearly in our sights.

Week 4

Blog post: The answer to poor short-term planning is good long-term preparation

Update

We finally got our first few days of rain just after my last update. We were holed up in Jervis Bay for a few days but managed to escape down to the incredible Booderee National Park for a couple of days of free camping. On Tuesday we headed to Sydney where we met up with my parents and checked into a hotel for the night (I was running a workshop the next morning and the client was paying).

After the workshop on Wednesday afternoon we headed to Umina Beach on the north side of the Hawksbury River with my parents in tow. After doing some coaching sessions on Thursday and squeezing in a game of golf on Friday we got back on the road again and headed to Glenworth Valley for a couple of days camping, horse riding and abseiling.

Monday, we said goodbye to my parents (who headed home to Perth via Sydney) and moved north again to our current location at Lake Macquarie. This week I’ve had a chunk of work to get done in preparation for a couple of workshops and a keynote I’m flying out for next week. A few days in one place has also given the girls a chance to get the van sorted out and restocked before we head off again tomorrow.

Week 3

Blog post: Can you inherit a mid-life crisis?

Update

This last week we’ve covered a lot of ground, but not all of it by road. After the surf lesson at Broulee we drove to Canberra via Batemans Bay. The next morning, we flew out of Canberra to Adelaide to catch up with my extended family for a surprise 70th birthday event for my dad.

From Adelaide the road trip continued with 25 family and friends boarding a bus and driving from Adelaide to the Southern Yorke Peninsula. We spent a couple of nights in Point Turton where my dad grew up and visited Pondalowie Bay where may grandfather fished during the summer, my dad spent his days surfing…and where my drone got taken out by an Albatross (all captured live and uploaded to YouTube).

Monday we returned to Adelaide and flew back to Canberra. On Tuesday we spent almost the whole day at Canberra’s incredible science museum, Questaconbefore packing up and heading back to the coast on Wednesday. As I write this we are currently camped up at stunning Jervis Bay feeling especially grateful we are currently missing the terrible weather back in Melbourne!

Week 2

Blog post: What to do when a bird poos on your head during a business meeting

Update

On Wednesday we left Mallacoota and crossed the border into New South Wales. Our first stop was the beautiful seaside hamlet of Pambula, nestled between the towns of Marimbula to the north and Eden to the south. Thursday was a work day and most of it was spent in my mobile office, parked up at the Pambula Surf Club.

On Friday, after the ‘poo incident’ we went and explored the Killer Whale Museum in Eden (if you ever want to hear an incredible and true story of cooperation between humans and animals I highly recommend you reading up on the story of Old Tom and the Whalers of Two Folds Bay).

On Saturday we left Pambula and headed north for our first free camping experience of the trip at Brou Lake Campground. This incredible campsite was recommended to us one of the Eden locals we met. It is located in Eurobodella National Park and sits right between a beautiful lake and pristine, unpopulated beach.

We reluctantly left Brou Lake on Tuesday (after our water and food started running out) and headed north once again to Broulee, another small seaside hamlet located just south of Batemans Bay.

Week 1

Blog post: Escaping an octopus’s cold embrace

Update

On Wednesday last week we left Mount Eliza and travelled to Seaspray, situated on 90 Mile Beach, just east of the Gippsland Lakes. Thursday was my first day of work on the road with a meeting in the morning and three coaching sessions in the afternoon. We stayed at Seaspray until Saturday before moving on to Lakes Entrance. On Monday we travelled to Mallacoota close to the Victoria – NSW border.

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