This is an edited, translated version of an article that originally appeared on June 22, 2022.
Like many people, I worked from home a lot last year.
I’m now working in the office two to three times a week, but in the fall and winter, I’ll probably go back to working from home more often.
As more and more businesses look to offer flexible working policies to their employees, I’ve been keen to find out how one could make the most of this.
I decided I wanted to try working from a different location, so I came up with the idea of renting a camper van and traveling across Germany while working remotely.
I was confident that I could do it, as the pandemic has proven that it doesn’t matter whether I’m sitting at a desk in my office, at home, or in a café, as long as I have WiFi and a place where I can concentrate.
My plan was to work 40 hours a week while visiting new cities and seeing some friends.
I started out from Berlin — where I work — then traveled on to Leipzig, the Thuringian Forest, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Cologne, and then back to Berlin.
A normal 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. working day wouldn’t make much sense — which was clear from the beginning — so my boss and I agreed that I could adjust my work schedule.
I usually got up at around 7 a.m., made some coffee in the camper van, and booted up my laptop.
This allowed me to get a few small tasks out of the way before our morning meeting — when we plan the day ahead — from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
After that, I usually worked for another hour or so before leaving for my next destination, which was a great way to avoid getting caught in the morning rush-hour traffic.
I would then drive for another hour until I found a rest area where I could stretch my legs. I would work from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., which was usually my most productive time.
The good thing about working from a rest area is that there are very few distractions: There’s no chatting with your colleagues in the kitchen or talking about ideas for articles.
This meant that I was able to stay focused and work efficiently. I also spoke to my boss on the phone many times and coordinated my plans for each day with her so she knew exactly when I was writing and when I was driving.
Keeping in regular contact with my boss was the most important factor in enabling me to work well throughout the week.
In the afternoons, I would drive the rest of the way to my next destination.
I wanted to arrive before sunset — partly so I wouldn’t have to drive in the dark, and partly because the later it gets, the harder it is to find a place to park for the night.
Once I got to my destination, I would do my last bits of work and finish my writing for the day.
My biggest concern about the trip was having an internet connection.
To write articles and attend meetings, I needed to have a stable connection at all times. I knew I could set up a hotspot from my work cellphone, but I also needed a network connection to do that.
Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem. Regardless of whether I was at a campsite in a city, a rest area by a highway, or a campsite in the Thuringian Forest, I had a good connection.
I had anywhere from two to three video calls every day and had no problem getting through them. I was able to write my articles and stay in constant contact with my colleagues.
I wrote at least two articles every day and managed my time well, but I didn’t conduct any interviews or in-depth research while I was away. I think I prefer my desk for that.
Despite being productive, I did end up missing the office. I’m a social person, and exchanging ideas with my colleagues is really important to me.
However, I thought the camper van was well suited to remote working because you have an office, a bathroom, a kitchen, a bed, and a car all in one. It was also great to be able to decide when and where I wanted to go at any time.
I can imagine doing this again, but there are some things that I would do differently.
I was only on the road for a week, and I drove at least two to three hours every day. Because I had to work during the day, that meant I only had the evenings and weekend to explore the different locations I stopped at.
I think one week was too short. If I had had more time, I would have preferred to stay in one place for several days.
Next time, I would also take someone else, as it does get lonely on the road.