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Five lessons I learned crossing the country 30 days

Lessons learned on a cross-country journey in a blue van with luggage.

How do you relocate across the country with half of your personal belongings while avoiding sitting barely 6 inches (nowhere close to 6 feet) apart from dozens of strangers on a five-hour flight during a pandemic? 

The answer is quite simple: just drive… for a month.

Now, it’s not like I needed an excuse to get out and see nearly the entirety of the beautiful country, Canada, I call home… Besides, traveling solo in an enclosed capsule on four wheels sure seems like the ideal way to travel during this time of uncertainty. 

What sounds logistically impossible to most is just another day at the office when you work for a company that fully embraces a remote working culture.

It’s one thing to frantically give in to the modern socio-political macro trend that is remote work, but it’s another to fully embrace it as a source of strength for your workplace dynamic.

Luckily, ReCharge has been remote-first since day one so we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Driving 6000 km over four weeks with plans to only take a few vacation days here and there really forced me to put my own personal learnings to the test. 

Are you contemplating a vacation while continuing to remote working? Well, look no further – consider this collection of anecdotes and lessons learned to be a checklist hand-crafted for you to navigate the world of visitor parking, ergonomic compromises and Uber Eats.

Packing 101

Go big or go home.

It turns out, there are spaces in your car that you never knew doubled as impromptu cargo holds. The back seat passenger footwell behind the front seats? Perfect spot for a stereo. Underneath your seat? Small paintings are well protected. The spare tire well under your trunk? Lots of space for plastic bags full of socks. The possibilities are truly limitless if you’re willing to get creative.

Get a laptop stand

You may not always have access to a Herman Miller – and just because all you have is a wooden cafe bench for eight hours, doesn’t mean your neck should suffer. Purchasing a laptop stand may just be the best investment of $20-$30 you’ll ever make.

Plan your stops

Sounds obvious, but it makes all the difference in the world when you hit the road. Even now, through the uncertainty and new social norms of 2020, you can still be a tourist and stay responsibly distanced from others.

It just takes a little planning and sometimes getting creative with your selection in leisurely destinations. You’d be surprised at the scenic spots you can find if you do a little research and avoid some of the more popular spots along your journey.

Trust me, your wallet will generally thank you for this.

Ask about the essentials

Building access? Critical. If you are crashing with family along the way on your remote working trip, be sure you ask for a key even if you don’t think you’ll need one.

Why? Because the moment you realize you didn’t plan your lunch out very well and decide to go grab some take out is the exact same moment you’ll realize that your brother is out for a bike ride and you have no way of getting back in the building.

Guess you’re having cheerios and a glass of cranberry juice for lunch… Remember to embrace challenges with innovation. Like when you also forget to ask ahead of time if there is a space you can work at so you relocate some patio furniture to make a nice little hot desk for a few days.

Stay connected off the grid

Last but not least, if you can get Wi-Fi tethering on your phone, you can go off-the-grid entirely. Some mobile plans will allow you to add features on for just a month if you don’t already have them and features like tethering and data roaming can give you a whole new set of options.

Imagine starting your way day by pouring a hot cup of coffee out of the french press with water you boiled over a wood burning fire and then taking a look at your work inbox. Did I mention you cut the wood yourself and the water is from the lake you spent the night camped next to? Not quite your average Tuesday morning in the staff room, is it?

We’re fortunate at ReCharge to exist in a high trust and flexible working environment. That said, these paradigm shifts in the tangibility of what a “workplace” represents are taking place at an accelerated rate – whether every employer wants them to, or not.

While it may soon become a baseline expectation to have the freedom to “escape the office” – the difference between working from home and working remotely is that one refers to a location, while other refers to a mindset.

Special thanks to our friends at ReCharge Payments for their insights on this topic.
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