How I Work From Home All Over The Country
Balti Virtual has been fully virtual for the past two years and for the last seven months, I’ve been living and working full-time in a 1997 24’ motorhome with my partner and two dogs. I’ve learned a few things about making this lifestyle work for two full-time workers and would love to share them, but first, how did I get here? Let’s back up.
Before COVID-19 came to town, Balti Virtual (and the majority of other businesses) believed that we needed to have an incredible office space with areas for immersive demos and professional conference rooms for people to pick up what we were putting down aka hire us.
In January 2020, Balti Virtual signed a lease on an amazing new office with seven times the amount of space than our previously cramped confines (see above image). The ink on the lease was probably still wet when we first heard about COVID-19 making its way across the world. We had no reason to work from home, but as it turns out, a global pandemic is a pretty good reason.
At first, Balti Virtual did a “test” to see what it was like to work remotely. Everyone loaded their computers and monitors into their cars one Friday afternoon and when Monday rolled around, we all logged into our daily standup via Google Meet versus standing in a circle in our office.
The day-long “test” turned into a week, then a month rolled around and we started to see that business could be done remotely just as well, if not better than when we had our fancy office space. So, we started looking into ways to make this work-from-home transition into a permanent move.
As soon as I heard that Balti Virtual was saying goodbye to the office (you will be missed, Port Covington!), I was immediately on the road to Pittsburgh to say hello to my new home.
Working remotely definitely takes on a new meaning when your home (and office) has wheels. For example, I’m currently writing this from a truck stop in Moab, Utah. Our campsite the night before didn’t have the best cell service, so we woke up before the sun to drive Bonnie (that’s the RV’s name) somewhere that provided us with enough service to successfully host video calls.
Wifi and cell coverage are the parts of life on the road that caused the steepest learning curve for us. When you work from a house every day, you seldom worry if you will have wifi or if your video will come through clearly. Maybe if there’s a storm or you didn’t pay your bill on time (tisk tisk!), you’ll see some inconsistencies with your service, but it’s not an everyday thought for most people.
We knew that in this new WFH world, video calls (Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, etc.) are how connections and sales are made. We couldn’t simply call into client meetings and hope to be successful, the world doesn’t work that way anymore. My partner and I average about 25 hours of video calls each week. Did you know that a one-hour video call uses 1GB of data? We surely did not know that when we started on this nomadic-work journey and quickly learned that a 15GB SIM card (the standard SIM card size) will work for approximately one day of work. About a month in, we bought a 150GB SIM card and now save our phone’s hotspots and the original 15GB SIM card for backup. Needless to say, we don’t get the luxury of binge-watching Netflix, but after waking up before the sun, working 8-10 hours, then going out to hike/climb/bike in our surroundings, we’re asleep by 8:30 most nights.
This brings me to my next big change from working on the road: timezones. When we originally pushed off from Baltimore in July 2021, we headed north in an attempt to escape the humidity so we didn’t have to worry about time until we were in Louisiana in November. As mentioned, Balti Virtual has always started the workday with a daily standup at 9 am EST. When we had an office, it was a way for people to get up from their desks, mingle with teammates, and let everyone know what was on their plate for the day. The daily standup tradition continued as we went fully virtual which means my workday started earlier (and ended earlier!) with each timezone change. Thank goodness that there are only a handful of timezones in the United States, but it does make scheduling a little tricky when you’re in PST, your office is in EST and your client is in MST!
Power and water are obvious aspects of this life that we didn’t realize as obvious when we first started. In a home, you can just plug your computer, phone, light source, etc into an outlet and constantly run the water while you’re doing the dishes without thinking twice. Bonnie’s batteries are charged by solar panels which are so awesome, but if we’re parked under a tree or it’s overcast for a few days, then we run the risk of Bonnie dying (it’s happened before!). We have a 40-gallon water tank, but the average in-home shower uses about 17 gallons of water, so you can only imagine how quickly we use our water supply.
This lifestyle definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s tiring, dirty, and constantly pushes me outside of my comfort zone but it’s been a dream of mine since I got my license. I’m so thankful that Balti Virtual has allowed me to work from anywhere in the world and that my partner and two dogs go along with my crazy ideas. We’re currently making our way back east and aspire to live this life for as long as we possibly can. Do you have questions about this lifestyle? Hit me up on LinkedIn! I wholeheartedly believe that if you get the opportunity to live this way, you should take it and drive.