GTPulse: Working From Home While Living on a Bus
For the past year, many have been working from home. This is my first post-graduation job, and from the beginning, has been a work from home experience. I didn’t mind too much because I’d always done well with online classes in school. Also, I’m endlessly interested in getting to know people, and it can be easy for me to lose time due to conversation. Throughout the past year, how others feel while working at home has become a topic of interest to me. What I’ve found so far is that a lot of people would rather be in the office. Swapping desks and real office chairs for dining room tables has not been a comfortable exchange. And if you have kids or live with people the distractions can make getting into a flow state difficult. Small things make a difference for me. A longer desk instead of a wider one, putting a half-moon pillow under my feet, having plants all over the place, and working to an hourglass have all been ways that successfully keep me comfortable and focused.
My friend Kyle Anderson is a story you might remember. Last year he exchanged life inside for life on the road when he began traveling and living in a school bus with his Irish wolfhound named Maeve. Kyle converted the bus, known as a ‘skoolie’, and most recently, has been on the road in the Southwest for the past few weeks. He works full time as a tech consultant and chairs the board of directors for Arrowhead Incubator, a nonprofit he co-founded that supports the social and economic advancement of Native Americans. With two high demand, remote jobs, the idea of getting it all done while living on the road is something worth asking about.
GTP: How long have you been a WFH professional?
KA: I’ve been working from home since the age of 14, which would be just over 21 years. As a young entrepreneur, hosting websites and administrating servers in the technology sector, working from a remote location was the core of the services provided.
GTP: How has living skoolie life impacted that? Do you find it difficult to get comfortable or get into a flow?
KA: As I transitioned into skoolie life (living on a converted school bus) full-time and traveling, there are two goals whenever I move from location to location every 3-12 days. One is there must be good hiking close by and two is to have enough signal to get internet. To get reliable internet, it required me to invest in a robust enterprise mobile router that allows me to utilize dual-sim cards for different carriers, such as ATT and Verizon. I also had to invest in a high-gain antenna that is mounted outside. Once Starlink satellite internet becomes the new norm, it will allow for even more ability to get remote.
Getting into the flow, with traveling days sometimes requires careful planning around parking locations and the need for internet. I have found a good healthy routine of working out, whether it be hiking, yoga, running, and biking, in the morning allows me to focus on work more effectively. The moving around to new locations for new views to work from is very inspiring for me. As I write this, I’m on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land along the Colorado River, 60 miles north of the Mexico/USA border in Arizona.
GTP: Where do you think people fall into pitfalls when they start working from home for the first time? How can they avoid it?
KA: Establishing a habit that allows you to not be distracted by people or things within your home has been the most difficult for me. In the past six months of skoolie life fulltime, I have found constant distraction of people interested in seeing the skoolie for a tour or I find a new project to complete on the skoolie. Whatever it may be that is distracting, strong discipline is required to stay on task.
GTP: What is your routine to start a productive day working from home?
KA: I usually check-in via email first thing to see if there are any pressing issues that need to be addressed. Then it’s on to physical exercise to get those endorphins flowing through the body, most days it’s a hike, yoga and meditation. Once breakfast is finished on to the task list for the day, week and month. I find a five-minute break every hour of getting up and moving around helps me stay focused and my body doesn’t get too restless.
GTP: Are there any aspects of office life that you miss?
KA: I miss the office life within the 20Fathoms Tech Incubator. Surrounding myself with other like-minded entrepreneurs is not easily replaced with virtual meetings. Being able to bounce ideas off others in real-time is hard to replicate when working from home.
GTP: What are the basics that anyone would need for a space to get stuff done at home?
KA: Whatever tools that you find to make your day more productive is important. I have a dedicated area within the bus where I do most of my computer work. When distractions of people and things are gone, I move about where I can get sunlight!
GTP: How are you getting caffeinated out on the road?!
KA: Tea, lots of tea.
Don’t miss stories like these, join the newsletter community.