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.