Working Remotely

Ah, the joys of working for yourself: one can actually work from anywhere in the world as a translator. What seemed like a distant dream a few years ago when only one of us was a full-time entrepreneur (Judy was still working in-house) is now a reality: a month together, immersed in a Spanish-speaking country, working, spending quality time, and seeing some sights.  It's going to be wonderful to speak Spanish again all day -- and it's important to keep the language of our childhood alive. We've never been to South America, but that will change as of this Sunday: Judy and her hubby are flying to Buenos Aires to meet Dagy. We will actually take a well-deserved week off and explore the Argentine capital, of which we've heard great things. Our parents spent a month in Argentina last year and were fascinated by this vast and diverse country. We were delighted to accept an invitation to a colleague's house, Dolores Rojo Guiñazu, who lives outside of the capital. We haven't even met her yet, but she's a reader of this blog and a fan of our book, so she's actually picking us up and inviting us to her house for a traditional Argentine barbecue (asado). How wonderful is that? We truly have amazing colleagues all over the world, and we are grateful. 

Then it's on to Santiago de Chile, where we've rented an apartment and will run our companies (we have a company incorporated in Austria and one in Nevada) remotely. The landlord assures us that the wifi will work the minute we step into the apartment -- and he has a contractual obligation to make sure it happens. After all, it's a business trip. The reason we chose Chile is because Dagy is doing some reaseach for her dissertation -- yes, she's writing a dissertation on the side. She's focusing on the feminist discourse in Isabel Allende's work. We are both huge fans of her work, and even though Ms. Allende lives in Marin County, north of San Francisco, Dagy wants to meet with some leading feminists and thinkers in Ms. Allende's homeland. 

So, dear colleagues in Chile: if you'd like to meet up in April in Santiago, we'd love to organize a coffee get-together. Just let us know. We will be in Chile until April 30.

What about you? Have you worked remotely? And how did it work out? Was traveling and working not a good combo for you? We'd love to hear about how you take advantage of the lifestyle that being self-employed allows. 


Unknown on March 26, 2011 at 1:33 AM said...

Have fun in Argentina!

I am lucky and happy to work in-house and be able to work remotely three to four times a year. Our boss understood that we produce more when we are happy :)

Silvina on March 26, 2011 at 6:47 AM said...


The best part of freelancing is, precisely, the freedom. I was able to travel to China, Argentina, Uruguay, and across the U.S. while working + studying. It'd be hard to give it up.

Have a safe trip. Don't forget to give Uruguay a shout-out, too. You will find it as beautiful as Buenos Aires, just smaller. And don't make the same mistake a friend just did while in Uruguay: Bring a mate back! You can find Uruguayan yerba at the Argentinean restaurant in Las Vegas.


Karen Tkaczyk on March 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM said...

I find traveling and working difficult. The only projects that seem to work really well are the ones I do in the middle of the night when I'm jet lagged!
I don't proofread the same way when I'm not in my normal environment, nor do I have my full set of tools available (I still use some paper dictionaries and style guides).
The larger problem though, is that if I attempt to work when I travel with my family I feel permanently guilty about splitting my time. SO I don't work, as a rule, when I travel with them. Traveling without children would make working more manageable.

Adri on March 28, 2011 at 8:56 AM said...

No, lost my comment!!!
I'll summarize now... :-(

In 2008, we stayed for 2.5 months in Europe - 1 month in Florence (my husband took a drawing course, our 4.5 year-old son took a summer course in English), 10 days in Rome, 10 days in Paris, 3 weeks at a friend's home in London.

It was great, my husband and son went to school in the morning, while I went to discover the city by myself - too early in Brazil, nothing to do regarding work... I worked between midday-1pm until up to 10-11pm. But it was sooooo goooooood, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Now it's more complicated due to my son's age, he's 7 now...

The flat had great internet connection, super fast. It was a great experience.

Have a great time in South America!
(Now Ctrl+C before sending the comment...)

Caitilin on March 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM said...

We were offered the opportunity to spend a year in Ireland for my husband's work. How fortunate that my business is completely portable--it really didn't play into our decision, and the only requirement I had was a reliable, fast internet connection.

One of the unexpected advantages of renting a house was that we were free on weekends (not slaves to home maintenance), which gave us ample time for exploring and sightseeing.

It's also given us a preview of what semi-retirement abroad might look like!

Marie on March 29, 2011 at 1:26 AM said...

I'm a literary translator (English>French). Most projects take me around five months, so where I am at any given time (except proofreading time) is not an issue. Last year I spent 5 months in Damascus "just because", studying standard Arabic for fun, travelling around (Lebanon, Jordan), and being very happy. It even led me to having my travel diary published back home! Then I spent the summer in Morocco, ending up with 4 months in D.C.

Dolores on March 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM said...

So happy to see you today!

Time has finally arrived. The day is also happy, sunny, cold, Autumn like in Buenos Aires.

Hope you have the most enjoyable stay here!


Dagmar Jenner said...

We were delighted to spend such a lovely evening with you, Dolores, your wonderful hubby and your adorable kids. Thank you so much for everything! Hope to see you again soon!

May Fung Danis on March 30, 2011 at 6:25 AM said...

I might say that I've only ever worked remotely! I am from New York City, but I moved to the French West Indies after my studies to join my husband. Working from a small island in the Caribbean is pretty remote!
But yes, the liberty of working from anywhere in the world is an amazing perk of being an independent translator. In the future, I hope to spend at least a few months a year in New York, for example.

Evvie Sands on March 30, 2011 at 9:27 PM said...

I've always worked from home only, both translating and teaching, though on one occasion I had to finish an urgent job for a regular client at my father-in-law's on a family trip.
I agree with Silvina, don't leave Uruguay out of your trip!
My homeland is a wonderful place, specially this time of the year.
I'd love to show you around!


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Anonymous said...

Yeah, the joys of working remotely... I use my "freedom" to the fullest. In summers I back my bag and go back home to Austria. Pakistani summers with around 45 C° during the day are just too hot for me.

Unknown on April 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM said...

Great idea! I enjoy doing the same. I live in Florida but I am from Chile, and travel regularly, so I can give you our contact regarding an apartment rental over there, if need be. Just let me know.
Also, there is a very informative blog that is written by an American expat, Margaret Snook. She is an anthropologist, so it may help with localisms, cultural quirks, etc. Here is the link:

Sarah Dillon on April 7, 2011 at 6:31 PM said...

Sounds amazing! I love the idea of you both taking a working holiday together in a "third" country, and being able to use the language of your childhood. I'd love to do something similar with my sisters someday. Have a wonderful time, and I hope everyone leaves feels refreshed, re-energised and full of new-found inspiration!

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