Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Toiling from Belize

I did a quick Google search to see if I could find a good example of someone in the real world who has mastered the "island commute". Although the article is from 2000, I have found a good example:
Pat Stiley is a workers compensation and criminal-defense lawyer who has a practice based in Spokane, Wash., but lives in Belize. He uses the Internet to do legal research and also relies on cyber cafes and e-mail. Clients have met with him over the phone; Stiley still won his cases while arguing them in Superior Court via phone. "Except when interrupted by hurricanes, I'm usually online at least once a day," he says. "Not sure what my partners and employees think of all this, but I rather suspect they like having me out of their hair."

I did some further research to find out Mr. Stiley lives in San Pedro, Ambergis Key. Not bad.
I traveled to Belize in the mid-90s and absolutely loved it. Mr. Stiley, it appears, is definitely finding the lifestyle many of us only dream about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Living in Paradise Yet...

I am setting up this blog for anyone (especially, myself) who is currently working in a typical nine to five job with two weeks vacation time but wishes to design a new life. It is for people who desire to take advantage of modern telecommunications advances to work remotely from the location of their choice, including foreign countries.

The inspiration comes partially from my recent listening of the audiobook Four Hour Work Week , but mostly from the reality of my personal life: My wife hails from a tropical island that is very far away from the United States, and my and I are constantly wrestling with the idea of moving there, or at least finding a way to visit there more often. Jini misses her family and frankly, I've always dreamed of living close to the beach. Yet, at the same time, we are aware that paradise is not always paradise.

As an ex-coworker of mine who already telecommutes from an island wrote to me in a recent email:

..island life is very appealing from some perspectives (slow pace, relaxing, friendly people and sea at your doorstep), but on the other hand, it can also make you crazy (sporadic services, lack of infrastructure, no customer service, unkept appointments, maintenance, getting parts, etc).

Thankfully, modern technology opens up new possibilities and it's not necessarily an either or situation. IP technology and endless amounts of bandwidth means that, at least in theory, many if not most office workers can do their work from anywhere on the planet with a high speed connection. I say in theory, because the reality still exists that some bosses want their employees to be where they can keep an eye on them, or at least close enough so that they can call the occassional impromtu face-to-face meeting.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to explore various challenges and opportunities in telecommuting and ex-pat living. And my hope is that the world without borders will become a reality not just for me, but for many others in a similar mindset.