As time dragged on I got sick of it and decided to relocate my office to Weligama, a little beach town in Sri Lanka. It took me two years to realise that working from home doesn't necessarily mean working from Germany. Home could be anywhere. So off I went, about to make my dream come true in Sri Lanka!
I would like to share what my typical day looked like just in case you are curious!
On most days my alarm went off at 5:30 in the morning. With a banana and swimsuit in my hands, I made my way to the tuk-tuk and drove along the coast to check all the surf spots. After my sunrise surf session, I headed back to my accommodation to have a three-course breakfast. By now it was about 9 am now and I've already had a 2-hour workout and a delicious breakfast. Before I started working, I needed to rest for a bit.
While everyone back home in Germany was still sleeping, I was hanging out at the pool to get a tan or heading back to bed. The first few hours of my day truly felt like living in paradise.
Around 10:30 am I found a quiet place to set up my workstation for the day. Being 4.5 hours ahead of my German co-workers gave me enough focus time in the morning to concentrate on my work. This meant I got all my high priority tasks done before most of my colleagues even had their first cup of coffee. If I was lucky and there were no urgent meetings in the afternoon (German time) I paddled out for another surf session around sunset. If there were no waves, I continued working until it was time for dinner. However, I wasn't lucky everyday and sometimes had to attend meetings in the afternoon. This was especially true on a day with a sprint change, I had to be on my computer until 9pm! While everyone else was having dinner and getting ready for a night out, I had to be in a meeting. But working until 9pm once in two weeks was a small price to pay for being able to surf all morning.
This routine took me roughly a week to figure out. But in the end I was very happy with it and stuck to it for the rest of my stay.
Before going on this trip, I had this perfect image in my head of working fully remotely and combining my greatest passion (surfing) with work. But after my first day of work, I quickly realised that life on this beautiful island was not all sunshine and rainbows.
Sri Lanka is a developing island country located in the Indian Ocean of South Asia. There were power cuts daily, the country faced a Diesel shortage and I was constantly worried that there wouldn’t be enough fuel for the next day to keep the backup generator running during the power cuts. There was a good chance of me cutting my trip short, losing a lot of money on the accommodation and changing my flights to go back home earlier than planned.
Another constant problem was the quantity and quality of sleep I got every day. As I was on a minimal budget I could not stay in a private room so I had to book a shared dorm. Sharing a room with two strangers while sleeping in a rather questionable bed did not benefit the quality of my sleep at all! After those four weeks in Sri Lanka I was definitely looking forward to being back home in my own four walls, sleeping in a big, comfortable bed.
Now that I'm back in Germany the question I get asked the most is: Would you do it again?
And my answer is yes!
Though some of the circumstances were challenging and it was not always pleasant, I feel a great sense of achievement and growth from making the best out of all the situations I encountered. I am learning better ways on how to convert negative experiences into positive ones and all of this combined with the overall experience has given me a great sense of purpose in life. I now have a new strength and willingness to face and overcome obstacles and view them all as experiences that can only lead to further growth.
So, if you're thinking about combining your holiday with work, I'd say: Do it! Try it out for a week or two and see how it goes. If you struggle to concentrate on work, whilst everyone else is having a good time, book yourself a spot in a co-working space or try to find a buddy to work with. This could be a life-changing experience and I promise you won’t regret it!