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To me the ultimate beauty in working as a developer is the fact that given a nice CV, your are going to find a new job, everywhere at any time.

So I would like to ask if somebody here as experience in working while travelling for example. Or job-hopping from metropolis to metropolis every, say, six months.

For example I have been investigating for how to get to Brazil. But it seems like that working as an employee in Brazil would be no option, b/c it takes a lot of time/money/effort to get the proper visas and permissions. So the only practical solution would be to freelance and the just travel, while getting your job done wherever you are.

I bet my ass that there are loads of IT-guys out there and on here who know exactly what I am talking about.

I'm looking forward to interesting ideas and stories.

EDIT for the BOUNTY:

I am not so much intersted in general wisdoms but rather in concrete accounts of personal experiences addressing the subject from people who can relate to my question and do have actual personal experiences to share. I am not asking for opinions and accounts of second-degree nature.

EDIT for EVERYBODY (concrete questions):

  1. Where do you work while travelling? (office pooling? libraries? cafés?)
  2. Where do you sleep? I guess hotels are somewhat to expensive. (hostels? couchsurfing?)

EDIT

I accepted Andy's reply as "the" answer mainly b/c of its romantic and positive undertone. Though of course there is not THE answer to that question. I was hoping for an intriguing discussion and given 11 vote ups and 5 bookmarks I seem to be not the only one who is interested in some input.

So I hope some more people chime in and share their experiences.

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closed as off topic by Yannis Rizos Mar 8 '12 at 11:42

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2  
So what exactly is the question you want answered, then? –  NickC Mar 5 '11 at 0:08
    
If I recall correctly the best way to get a work visa for Brazil is to have a local company to ask for it in the Ministry of Labor. If you need some help I can try to help you. –  Vitor Mar 5 '11 at 1:21
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If you're going to work in another country, then you need the correct visa regardless of whether you're an employee or a freelancer or anything. You certainly can't go there on a tourist visa and expect to be able to work. –  Dean Harding Mar 26 '11 at 1:53
    
The question was closed during the [career] structured tag cleanup –  Yannis Rizos Mar 8 '12 at 11:43

6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted
+50

I sit in a room and write software on my notebook computer. When it works I upload it over the Internet. When the client is happy they put money into my bank account, and I take it out with my ATM card.

I sit in a room in Vientiane today. It could be Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur, or Moscow, or Taipei, or Jerusalem. As long as I've got my health and my passport and an internet connection, I can work.

You don't sound like you want to switch from Boston to Sao Paulo, you want to reloate from Boston to Earth. It can be done.

Teach your clients that you are available 24/7, and they won't care where you are.

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I really do envy you so much. That sounds amazing and exactly the kind of thing I want to be doing a few years down the track... –  Trezoid Mar 23 '11 at 11:37
    
This is'nt really an answer. What's wrong with wanting to relocate? You might be right if you spend 24 hours a day in front of your computer... but come on - are you saying working in Brasil is the same as working from the US??? There's more to life for most people than work... –  rmx Mar 23 '11 at 13:05
    
that is pretty much the kind of lifestyle I am envisioning. Could you give more precise details on how you got there and what are the pros and kons ... what obstacles have to be overcome ... etc –  Raffael Mar 23 '11 at 13:35
    
Yeah - I want to do this sometime myself! –  Roopesh Shenoy Mar 28 '11 at 13:26
    
The guy asked about location independence, not about relocating. I had a high-paying job and got laid off at the height of the global financial collapse. So I sent e-mails and moved to the only positive response, which was a dud. I lived for a year on my savings. Over the past decade I have increasingly worked alone, and I use internet connections to save travel time. Sometimes I need to be on-site; last weekend I visited a server to put it on-line so now I can adjust it through the Internet. All my applications are web-based. FYI: arakka.co.th/Resume.html –  Andy Canfield Apr 15 '11 at 6:44

Why not join a firm that needs Road Warriors?

Many consulting firms ask for 100% travel on the job listing.

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those jobs usually require a degree in economics or experience in this area. neither I could provide. though having a degree in mathematics I guess I could evolve into that profile. but I don't think this is what I would like to do. I'm still at the beginning of my "career" as a developer (Web-Development, PHP & Co) and someday I could do some technical consulting. right now I would like to stick with web development while not restricting myself to one bureau. –  Raffael Mar 4 '11 at 14:19
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Sorry to say this.. But it is simply not that case that they require a "degree in economics or experience in this area". –  Morons Mar 4 '11 at 14:22
    
@SomeGuy - I was hired as a consultant engineer with 2 years experience in a job that had something like 25-50% travel. Of course, the most exotic place they sent me was Reading, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, another coworker at that time was shafted and had to spend 2 weeks in Alaska, while another was soaking up the sun in Hawaii and another was in France. Oh yeah, I also only have a CS degree, nothing super fancy like economics and no previous experience in consulting before that. –  birryree Mar 5 '11 at 3:02

It seems to me that this is going to depend partly upon if you want to work for someone else or work for yourself where working for someone else could either be as a regular employee or through a contract agency that handles all of the paperwork for you.

If you are working for someone else you are going to run into some problems, depending upon where you want to work and if you are working as a contractor or not. If you are working through a contract agency and they know you are willing to relocate nationally, you could work with them to find contracts in different cities as you wrap up contracts. Working as a regular employee might also be an option but only if your employer doesn't mind you telecommuting. If that is the case then as long as you can reach their office, you could feasibly work anywhere in the world, baring issues with local taxes.

If you are looking to travel a bit more, working for yourself might be another option if you are interested in try to develop something that you can sell to others. If you are able to develop a niche product that you need to travel to the client site to support. For an important niche application you could feasibly set your own price and make a pretty good living off of it while traveling around. A slightly riskier option, but a bit more viable in this day and age is to try and develop applications for mobile devices and various application markets. The only problem here is that you need to have a good enough idea to get a decent revenue stream coming in and will have to keep developing new things, but you could write that software from anywhere in the world. There are likely some tax considerations for these options though, so if you go that route you might want to talk to an expert to make sure you have your finances in order.

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My hops have been about 3-4 years apart. For a few of the jobs I managed to keep working for the company even after I moved. You build up trust, you get to do that. Never did this while traveling.

Really all you need are clients that don't care where you live. Sounds easier than it really is. Communication is such a big part of programming and many employers are lucky if they can do it even while face to face. That's why we have to draw pictures dome times.

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I work in a multi-site team now and can assure you that the communication issues are real. It helps tremendously if you're in the same time zone as your clients and have at least basic video conference capability when situations warrant. It's not the same as being there in person but HD video conferencing is the next best thing.

On a practical note beyond the communication issues, I suspect the reason some employers don't want telecommuters is because of the hassle of dealing with the legal and tax issues since those are based on where the person is employed. So I agree that the most likely viable path is to work for yourself somehow.

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I have been telecommuting for a decade. No hassles but yes you need to do a lot more marketing (tell your gf or wife to help). Another thing is pay is not as good. But if you live in cheap places, that is usually better for you. Do enough marketing and you'll find clients who don't care about timezones if you arrange an hour a day to talk via skype/googlechat/yahoo/msn.

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