Location Independence: Working From The Beach; Myth or Reality?

by Stephanie Walsh · 7 comments

in The Digital Nomad Life

Working from the beach; myth or reality?

I’m sure you’ve seen those ‘Work From The Beach’ promos on various location independent blogs and websites. The images usually involve someone sitting on a stunning, white-sand beach, surrounded by tropical palm trees, with a fresh coconut drink in hand, and a laptop on their knees. These promos claim that you really can sit at the beach all year, while working on creating a passive online income, starting your new business or launching your freelancing career.

Well, of course you CAN, but, really, how practical is that?

Sure, it’s a notion that’s easy to sell, and it’s definitely alluring for anyone stuck inside a cubicle looking out their office window to dreary, rainy weather.

Pack it all up, grab a bottle of sunscreen and a mojito, and head to the beach to sit under the nearest palm tree with your trusty laptop, they say.

That all sounds dreamy, until you actually do it.

I’m not here to debunk any myths of location independence, which is 100% possible (I’ve been doing it for over a year). I’m just here to give a little warning to those who are thinking about giving it all up to go sit on distant golden sands with their laptop for the rest of the year.

Don’t get allured into this idea, only to discover that it’s all just a marketing ploy to get you to buy e-books, online courses, plane tickets and more.

 

The Reality of Working From the Beach

First things first, I have never even been able to see my laptop screen when working outside in the sun…or in the shade for that matter. How can you expect to get any work done if you can’t even see what you’re doing!

Secondly, please tell me what beach has Wi-Fi? If you’re planning on creating an online business…I think you’re going to need to get online first.

Yes I know you can get those Wi-Fi signal extenders, or buy a USB modem for $10 to stick in your laptop, but free Wi-Fi is better, cheaper and more convenient.

Even if you do get Wi-Fi and you find sufficient shade so that you can see your screen, the next question is, ‘where are you going to charge your laptop?’

Yes, you can go for a few hours on battery, but that’s not very practical if you don’t have a say in when you stop working. Of course, you can buy solar-powered chargers nowadays, but soon you’re going to be lugging around a huge backpack of chargers, Wi-Fi extenders, and anti-glare filters. It kind of goes against the whole ‘packing light’ ideal of most digital nomads. Less is definitely more when it comes to traveling with heavy tech gear.

And don’t even get me started on the heat, sweating, sunburn, sand, and annoying bugs!

Yes, of course it’s possible to work on the beach, but what you should be asking yourself is, ‘is it really all that practical?’

Digital nomads, stop selling this embellished idea to wishful dreamers and naive beginners. The whole ‘making money online’ industry is already so full of scams, spam and manipulation. There’s no need to add fabricated beliefs into what is already a fantastic, achievable and enjoyable life of location independence. Show the reality. Work is work, no matter where you do it. Just because you’re not sitting on a beach, doesn’t mean you can’t work somewhere beautiful, peaceful and productive.

Instead, go inside a nearby cafe or restaurant overlooking the sea, with delicious air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and power sources. Now that’s an idea that can work!

So don’t sit on the beach and get sand in your mouth while trying to do a Skype conference call. If you want to go to the beach, go to play, not to work, and don’t ruin it for yourself forever.

 

Annnnd…rant over 🙂

 

Have you ever tried working from the beach? Did it work for you and did you like it?

I’d love to hear the other side of the story, if there is anyone out there that has made working from the beach a successful reality.

 

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrés February 17, 2014 at 11:01 am

Oh I love you wrote this finally. You got everything right. It is just a pain to work in the beach.

Amazon is the perfect example of a company which advertises the Kindle with people reading on the beach. Mine got damaged after traveling to a couple of beaches. Sand gets everywhere.

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2 TammyOnTheMove February 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Ha ha, I am typing this as am sitting outside in Sucre, Bolivia, desperately trying to see what’s on my screen in the intense Andean sun. 🙂 Working outside is definitely not as easy as some people make it sound.
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3 Maiella February 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Computer on the beach? No absolutely not, but I have done my share of writing on the beach- the old fashioned way, with notebook and pen.

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4 Julian March 15, 2014 at 3:18 am

Great post! I recently experimented with working outside in a botanical garden near my home for a few days and I found it an enjoyable experience. Much more peaceful and beautiful than my usual workspace (my bedroom) and slightly less isolating.

It wasn’t as easy as I originally thought either. My biggest issue was power. My laptop lasts 90 minutes on my regular settings but I can just squeeze 3 hours out of it with the screen set on near-blindingly dim light. This setting was barely conducive to work.

I personally forgot about wi-fi and just connected my laptop to my 3G android phone. It’s better this way in terms of energy conservation. Wi-Fi burns a ton of juice.

I’m going to give this “location independence”, as you call it, another shot with an upgraded 9 cell battery + a standard one. Hopefully I can get 4 ~ 5 hours of power on a screen brightness that doesn’t blind me lol.

Oh, and I found your blog from a post on oDesk.

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5 Raphael Alexander Zoren April 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I live in Cancun at the moment and yes, whenever I say that people ALWAYS assume I’m taking my computer to the beach in order to work there hahaha If they only knew…
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6 Tim May 14, 2014 at 11:49 am

Love this article. Good for you and shame on all those who try to sell the beach myth. The beach is for relaxing and jumping in the surf…and its got sand on it. Who wants sand in their keyboard? No one. Thanks.
Tim recently posted..More than a Dry SpellMy Profile

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7 mpt March 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

…desperately looking for a out of this reality which is sooo depressing, your article gave me a chuckle…thanks! 🙂 I would like to find an office/hotel room on the beach with a really nice beach facing balcony for naps in between work…wishful thinking, funnier even that I googled in desperation…or wait, I guess everyone else here googled too, or something like that, pray each of you and I find the peace that we are longing for…for real!

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