Hands down, most of the people I know who want to travel for more than a few weeks here and there want to run their own businesses. They want to start their own business that allows them to support their traveling habit while still working on a schedule that is convenient for those same travels. But that approach requires skills that must be developed in advance. While it’s possible to pick up one or two of these skills when you’ve already got an itinerary planned, building them ahead of time makes a world of difference.
- Paperwork-Fu: You’re traveling light, which means that you don’t have a filing cabinet for all those pages of paper that can build up at the average office. The minute a piece of paper comes in the door, it must be processed. Depending on how you travel, the process can be different — a high quality camera can be useful if you want a record of all your receipts without carrying the associated papers around. It’s best if you use the same approach for digital paperwork as well. You never know when you’re going to be without an internet connection if you’re out on the road.
- Rules Lawyering: The phenomenon is most common in tabletop RPGs, when one player knows every single rule in the book — and how to take advantage of them. While I don’t want you to be a pain in the butt during games, it’s a skill that will come in handy when you’re trying to figure out details like what your visa allows you to do in your destination and how to handle taxes from oversea.
- Loquaciousness: Aside from the fact that I’ve always wanted to actually use the word ‘loquaciousness,’ you must be out-going and have the associated skill set. You have to be able to walk up to strangers, ask questions, make friends and talk about just about anything.
- Short Attention Span: Time management is particularly tough when you’re on the road. Even if you have a schedule in mind, things come up just about every day. That means that you need to cultivate the skill of sitting down to work in short spurts. It can’t take you an hour to get into the groove of working — you need to be able to get into a work mindset immediately.
- Technical Know-How: There are plenty of cities without Apple stores around the corner. No matter what equipment you rely on for your work, you need to be able to handle basic problems. It’s worthwhile reading up on some simple maintenance, too — assuming you want to minimize the problems with your computer.
- Sign Language: Depending on where your destination lies, there is a decent chance you may wind up somewhere that you don’t know the lingo. Communicating in such situations can be difficult, but picking up on the local gestures can help you speed the process along. It doesn’t hurt to think ahead about how you can get your meaning across.
- Salesmanship: No matter where your business is, you’re going to have to be able to sell yourself. Doing it through a computer can be much harder than handling sales in person, so getting in plenty practice before you pack your bags is critical.