Laying the Groundwork for Working on the Road

Planning Apr 10, 2012 1 Comment

It is hard to believe that the trip we’ve planned for three years is now weeks away.  Travel websites, maps and planning books are making way for actual action items, as we move towards the end of the school year and the beginning of our grand family road trip.

The past weeks have been spent arranging my technology needs as a Virtual Assistant to ensure working on the road will be as flawless as possible while we travel.  My less than reliable Blackberry has been traded for an Android that will give me mobile hotspot access while we drive.  Although many campgrounds say that they have WiFi access, we’ve been warned by more than one seasoned camper that WiFi in campgrounds is often broken and, if that’s the case, there’s usually no one who knows how to fix it.  We’ve checked the areas we’ll be in, and all are covered by our carrier.

Email and any other programs possible have been moved to the Cloud.  I like the idea that if something happens to my laptop or iPad, I (and my clients) will have access to the projects I’ve been working on. 

One of my main concerns actually isn’t how I’ll work, it’s where.  Although I love to be outside on my laptop, the truth is, working that way for extended periods of time just isn’t practical. I’ve yet to find a way to work outside where I’ve been able to balance the glare of the sun, and my need for sunglasses, with the ability to actually read my screen.  I also often need two screens to work efficiently.  At home I have an extra monitor for my MacBook Pro.  Since lugging a huge monitor around doesn’t make sense for the trip, I’ll be using AirDisplay and my iPad as my second screen.  Luckily my eyesight is still good, that iPad screen has a tough time competing with my desktop monitor!  While we drive, I’ll work in the extra wide front seat of our Ford Flex, Lewis.  The seats are so wide in the Flex that I can easily sit cross legged with my laptop on a lap desk and work very comfortably for hours. An built-in inverter and multiple USB ports means everything will be able to stay charged.

Finally, there is the issue of ergonomics.  Multiple car accidents, and diving into the bottom of a swimming pool when I was 14 (and, ironically, on the diving team) have left me with occasional back and neck issues.  At home, I have an adjustable desk that I adore.  I spend the majority of my time standing and working, but when my legs get tired, one quick turn of a crank and I can lower my desk to the proper height for sitting.  Since taking the desk is not an option, I’ve not yet figured out how I’ll comfortably work.  Ideas are welcome!

Oh, and my clients?  They’re all on board (with my idea, not on board the trailer!).  We’ve agreed to abbreviated retainer hours for the months I’ll be gone, which will allow me to enjoy time with my family.  Have I ever mentioned how wonderful my clients are?   The policy and procedures manuals I keep for each one have been updated in the unfortunate event something serious happens and each client knows how to access their own manual. 

We’ve even got a plan for what Bret and the kids will do while I work – laundry anyone?  But that’s another post…

So, fellow travelers… what have I forgotten? 


Tracie is an Assist U Virtual Assistant who loves that she can take her business along on family road trips. Traveling in Lewis, her trusty Ford Flex, Tracie works while her husband Bret drives and three teenage children experience America as it should be - from the backseat. Along with their giant poodle, the family takes extended trips pulling Clark, their short, comfy travel trailer.

One Comments

  1. Congrats for taking this step! I see you’re using a droid…good choice, but carrier also matters – Verizon STILL has the most reliable service and greatest coverage BUT unless you’ve been with them for quite a while, their data plan is expensive (if you go over 2gb / month – which is easy to do!) So… if you don’t currently have verizon, i hope you chose sprint. (they dont charge extra for high data usage).

    If you want to see what I’m doing, check my blog and look at the two red links at the top of the page – as you’ll see, I too work from the road! Al

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