I recently returned from five weeks in Europe, traveling to Stockholm, Sweden, and onto Poland (Gdańsk, Warsaw, and Kraków), and finally, Prague, Czechia.

I was lucky to have found a great deal on my flight, enjoyed traveling by train, stayed in some affordable Airbnb apartments, and saw many historical places, including several WWII and Holocaust sites, that profoundly impacted me – as was expected.

Gdańsk, Poland

As usual, I work every day, so shifting my daytime routine to an evening set up nine hours ahead of Pacific Time is what I mentally prepare for in advance.

Working while traveling in Europe is much easier than my overnight routine in Asia.

In Europe, I had the mornings to explore for several hours before getting lunch, taking a nap, and starting the work day from 2:30 PM local time to about 11:30 PM.

During this recent trip, a few things occurred to me as I moved from one Airbnb to the next, with a couple of one-night stays at hotels.

The wonder of exploring a new city and the satisfaction of accomplishing projects and tasks while connecting with our team and clients make a unique equilibrium.

Warsaw, Poland

Working with a Purpose

Kellie Walenciak, our client at Televerde, wrote an insightful article, “The Secret to Immortality: Why I’ll Never Retire,” discussing how work provides that sense of purpose that stimulates her mind while allowing her to think, dream, and be creative.

I agree because “work” offers me a purpose that motivates me while I travel the world. There is a balance between adventure, a meaningful connection with my colleagues and clients, and a sense of achievement by accomplishing tasks and projects.

I never tire of looking up from my screen after being immersed in my work for hours and realizing I am in Tokyo, Prague, Montevideo, Saigon, or any of the 36 other cities I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the past five years.

It’s a never-ending thrill, and striking that balance between contributing to the team and having a sense of wonder by being in a new place is beyond motivating.

Digital Nomad – 24/7 – 365

I realize that most folks do not have the opportunity to get up and leave for 5 – 6 weeks at a time.

Still, one of our Leadtail colleagues, Kate Sowerby, is a true digital nomad who travels most of the year with her partner to unique destinations. Over the past year, Kate has worked remotely in 16 countries, including seven in Central America, two in South America, and seven across Europe. Go, Kate!

Mathematicians Otton Nikodym And Stefan Banach In 1916, Kraków

The Balance Between Mind and Achievement

Years ago, while attending Simon Fraser University in BC, I took five classes each semester while working 32 hours a week at Safeway. I had a full schedule with constant studying and working 3:30 – midnight shifts in the meat department.

Finding time to get out and have fun with friends was never left behind, but during that time, I was always super busy – and loved it.

Once I graduated and started working 40 hours per week at Safeway, I quickly became out of whack. My curiosity needed stimulation, and only doing physical routine work became tiresome.

There needed to be a balance between work and intellectual curiosity. Years later, I realized I function best with a solid mix of intellectual engagement and being active at work.

Now, the ability to work remotely offers new opportunities to find that much-needed balance – and I’ve discovered that traveling the world has been the ticket.

Finding “balance” also fits my profile for those familiar with Strength Finders, including being an Achiever and a Maximizer while needing Context to find ways to look back to understand the present.

Warsaw Uprising Monument

Visiting the Past in Context

Visiting the place where WWII began at Westerplatte, Poland, was interesting, and seeing the former Warsaw and Kraków Ghettos was incredibly moving.

Walking through the death camps at Treblinka and Auschwitz Birkenau was also more than emotional.

Having visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the five beaches of Normandy (three times), and traveling across Germany in the past, these WWII sights offer a hefty dose of Context that makes me appreciate what we have today while being thankful for those who bravely fought for our freedom.

Your Office is Wherever You Are

An evident saying says, “Wherever you are is where it’s at.” Your reality is always in the present, wherever you are on Earth.

With work, we often find our workspace to be where “work occurs.” Throughout my advertising, marketing, and communications career, I have had many different office experiences.

From cubicles and open-pen workspaces to corner offices with views (even a fireplace) to open table concepts with everyone working around you.

They all have positive and negative aspects – but privacy to get work done in your own space, preferably with a view of some sort, was best.

Since I began working with Leadtail, I have worked from home and on the road, so my office is where I can find good WiFi and a place to sit that is relatively quiet – and a view!

(My trips to Buenos Aires, Athens, Hue, Florence, and even Anchorage offered some fantastic views that continue to inspire me.)

Arlanda Airport, Stockholm, Sweden

For example, airports are excellent places to work at empty gates or, even better, at business lounges.

In early January this year, I flew to Portland and back to Vancouver in a day. (Essentially, I was running an errand before my next big trip).

On my way down, I changed planes in Seattle with a two-hour layover. For many folks, that would be a giant hassle. For me, it was 1:45 hours of super productive time before hopping on my next flight.

Likewise, I spent an hour or so working at PDX before my flight on the way back. With “white noise” tunes in the background (keeping that part of my brain that’s easily distracted occupied), I could zero in on what needed to be done and stay alert until boarding time.

Train From Kraków To Prague

Trains can also be good places to work if the WiFi is good – and the view is constantly changing. Cozy coffee shops and libraries, ditto.

For internal and external meetings, somewhere quiet without distractions, such as an Airbnb, hotel, or a separate room at a friend’s or family’s home.

All this is to say that my office is where I can plug in, turn on my DroneZone (mentioned above) background music, and use my extra screen to become more efficient.

Prague, Czechia

Continue to Find Purpose

Until my next big adventure, I will end by paraphrasing Kellie Walenciak’s words; I will always seek purpose, engagement, and connection because working and traveling keeps me mentally active and constantly challenged while providing me with that much-needed balance – in abundance.

Originally published here.