As someone who travels and lives in hotels full-time, I receive a lot of questions regarding my non-traditional lifestyle. Following are answers to the most common questions:
Question 1: What do you do for a living, and how are you able to work remotely from hotels?
I am an IT Consultant. Fortunately, there’s been a trend in large IT organizations to encourage working from “home.” Realizing that there was no need to ever stay in one place, I simply took “home” a step further. Each weekday, I work from my hotel desk, wherever I am. By choosing at least mid-range hotel chains, such as Hilton and IHG, I can generally count on having a good Internet connection. The Internet and my laptop are all I need to connect into work. I use instant messaging, WebEx, and e-mail to collaborate with my co-workers and Microsoft Office to create documents.
Question 2: How did you get started with this lifestyle?
- 1999 – The spark to travel. I met the love of my life while living in Houston, Texas. He had already travelled much of the world, and I was in awe.
- 2004 – The spark to live abroad. I married that wonderful man, then we discussed how fun it would be to live in another country. We chose Canada because 1.) Canada is a nice country and 2.) at the time, it was relatively easy for Americans to get a job there. I applied via Monster.ca, and 3 months later I interviewed on the phone, and was given a full-time employment contract. I rented the largest moving truck possible to transport my belongings, and I bought a house in the suburbs of Calgary.
- 2007 – The spark to become a minimalist. I disliked all the chores and constant to-do lists that come with owning a home. I also disliked driving in ice and snow. Therefore, I sold or gave away about half of my belongings, including my car, and I bought a condo in downtown Calgary. I began walking everywhere – to work, to shops, to restaurants, etc. I loved it!
- 2009 – The spark to REALLY become a minimalist. I accepted a job offer with Accenture in London, England; they sponsored me for a work visa in the UK. Because I was moving across the ocean, I was inspired to get my belongings down to fit in just 2 large suitcases. I began renting only furnished apartments while living in the UK, and later in the Netherlands.
- 2012 – The spark to live and work in hotels full-time. My husband and I moved back to the U.S., and I began working remotely as an IT consultant. At the beginning, I often travelled for work and it didn’t make sense to own or rent a place in a single location. Instead, I became the top tier in hotel loyalty programs, and I started really enjoying the benefits. That transitioned to working almost 100% remotely. 4 years later, and I have no plans to change this wonderful lifestyle.
Question 3: How was the experience of living and working abroad?
Incredibly enriching! I greatly enjoyed my 10 years of working and living in Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands. See “10 Things I Learned While Living Abroad.”
Question 4: What are the best things about being a minimalist?
As I explain in “All My Belongings in a Carry-on,” I own only what I need. I only buy things a couple of times a year, and then I use them thoroughly. If I own something I no longer need, I either give it to hotel housekeeping or to someone I know who could use it. There’s no clutter, and there’s no waste, which is better for the environment and my finances.
Question 5: What are the best things about living and working in hotels?
I share my favorite aspects in the “Top 10 Best Things About Living the Hotel Lifestyle.” The more I live this way, the more I love the freedom and ability to experience a variety of places.
Question 6: How was the experience to go from owning a home to living out of hotels?
It’s such a relief to be rid of the hassles, chores, and expenses of owning a home. I compare the expenses of owning a home, renting an apartment, and living in hotels in my post “Save Money by Living in Hotels?” In my very first blog post almost 3 years ago, “Waking Up from the American Dream,” I realized that owning a home wasn’t necessarily a positive thing. (Also check out this excellent post by a fellow blogger: “Why Your House is a Terrible Investment.”) I realized that owning a home meant I had to buy stuff, maintain stuff, do chores, run errands, and have a perpetual to-do list.
Question 7: Do you have tips regarding travel sites, credit cards, points, and perks?
Yes I do! In my next post, I’ll share what I’ve learned over the past several years to optimize your travel arrangements and hotel stays.
What other questions do you have for me? Please add them to the Comments section below.
Yesterday we were visiting friends for lunch at their home.
I mentioned that when our lease expires at the end of next August, our plan is put the few things we want to keep in storage, unload the rest, load up the jalopy with our elderly dog and a couple of suitcases and start hotel living while wandering around the US and Canada.
Once the dog passes, we’ll dump the car and go international.
I mentioned your blog as informative and inspirational in this cause and promised to send them a link. Sitting down to do just that this morning, what do I find but the absolute perfect post for that purpose!
Oh, and thanks for the link!
LOL. That’s great to hear, and what great timing indeed! Your plans sounds so exciting!
In 2008, our cat passed away, and that corresponded with our decision to move to England. Now I am happy to ocassionally visit friends who have pets.
I look forward to hearing about your future adventures!
Well, the timing could have been better.
Back when our daughter was a little girl and campaigning to get a dog, I held out for four years before caving. Had I agreed right away, we would very likely now already be post dog and on the road.
Moral? Give in to your kids promptly. 🙂
You live an amazing and interesting life. I love hearing of your adventures!
*what did you do with your scrapbooks?
*what do you do when you want or need something and it isn’t readily available? Fuzzy socks for a chilly night; an urge to pop some popcorn or make a panini; video games; a way to express your personality in your living space?
*how do you handle the disconnect from friends and family?
*do you travel in the same time zone as your co-workers or do you adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate?
*how do people come to visit you?
*do you know how much I miss you and our goofy talks?
Thanks for the comment and questions Katherine! Here are my answers:
1. I took pictures of my most precious items, such as my scrapbooks, before disposing of them. All my memories are now on a USB stick.
2. If I need extra blankets or food, I just contact the hotel front desk. I love video games, but they are in the form of apps on my iPad now. I have no need to express my personality in my living space, or anything like that. After much research about how consumerism hurts our environment, I have no interest in buying anything that I don’t actually need.
3. Making a large number of friends from different places around the world has greatly enriched my life. I’ve learned about other cultures and gained new perspectives. Thanks to social media, it’s easy to stay in touch with all of them. When I happen be in a city where my family or friends live, I let them know so we can catch up in person.
4. I do indeed adjust my sleep schedule to accommodate my co-workers time zone as needed.
5. I admit it’s quite a challenge to visit me since I’m on the move so often. Over the years, I have been able to see my friends and family who travel if we happen to be in the same place at the same time.
6. You’re so sweet! I have lots of lovely memories with you. Thanks for holding on to our friendship, and one day these hugs won’t just be virtual: (((HUGS)))
Thanks Libby! Great FAQ article!
I have a couple of questions:
1) How does this work for your husband? Does he work remotely also?
2) Do you travel to where the work is, or do you work 100% remote?
3) Do you see this working with having children in your household?
4) I am likely saying this clumsily, but what about a community beyond your spouse? I know you have lots of friends … Do you feel a need to see them in person, or do you keep the relationships up long-distance through technology.?
Losing the to-do list sounds wonderful!
Hi Leila! Thanks for your questions.
1. My husband also works remotely.
2. I used to travel for work about 20% of the time, but for the past year I’ve been 100% remote. The benefit of traveling for work is that work pays for it, but I prefer just working remotely so that I can be anywhere I want.
3. Having a child would add some challenges. I would imagine you’d want to be fairly settled in one location, for schooling and friends.
4. I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought lately, and I will write a separate blog posts that covers it. Thanks for the inspiration. <3
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