As a fulltime student with an online job, ditching the electronics are rarely an option. With family spread across the globe and wanderlust at heart, I refuse to let the university’s Wi-Fi define my workspace. In order to keep up with work and still travel requires flexibility – both in my lifestyle and from my devices.
I study public health and let me tell you that one thing I have learned from lectures and from personal experience is that posture matters! I often find myself looking down at my tablet or laptop and feel how it destroys my neck, shoulders, and back. Getting so close to the screen kills my eyes also, as someone prone to migraines.
At home, I use the HP Pavilion because of how the screen rotates and folds all the way back so I can adjust it to avoid glares or avoid neck strain. When travelling, however, I often just bring a carry-on, so I prefer my iPad for less weight and space. I have found that with the appropriate case I can transform my tablet to maintain the luxury, comfort, and flexibility of my laptop without the extra weight. Having the option to sit in an upright position also helps me remain focused, as I find with my iPad alone I tend to slouch or lie down and lose motivation.
My “Offices”: Where and When I Study
Train rides are a great time for studying and often have free Wi-Fi, unlike buses or planes. I often take the slightly longer ones to save money and give more time to study. I especially appreciate smaller devices and screen adjustability on trains though, as space is limited and glares can be a problem.
Cafés can be an excellent way to gain perspective of a place you are visiting and get work done. I NEVER go to large international chains, because let’s face it, we all know what the inside of a Starbucks looks like. But going to a local café and asking the barista for a recommendation or ordering “that orange drink I see on every table” as I did in Italy, is a great way to learn what the locals like. I love people watching in any city, especially a new place. And of course, the less fun reason for visiting the café, to get work done. I am all about maximizing my time, so I try to create an enjoyable, cultural experience in which to do my work.
Even if I anticipate having Wi-Fi, I always have something downloaded for offline use, just in case the Wi-Fi is spotty or nonexistent. For PDFs I recommend Adobe to read and highlight offline, and for typing I use google docs offline feature or Microsoft Word. I also always have a small notebook and pen so that I am never fully reliant on my electronics.
In short, having an open mind and equipment that is adaptable to your environment is key to working and studying on the road. The next step is to grab your passport and get out there!