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Wanderer of the Week – Anh de Vietnam

Country: Vietnam, if it wasn’t already obvious from my name

Work Wanderers Retreat: Cape Town

What type of remote work do you do?

I work for a very small Canadian company trading nuts and seeds across the globe. Some of the products we work with are chia, quinoa, cashew, macadamia and sesame. Since the team is very small, we all wear many hats in the company. In general, I take care of operations which entails helping to move the products from one port to another, one container at a time. In addition, I also do sales (business development is a fancy way to call it), connecting sellers from South America, Asia and Africa to buyers from all over the world. 

I also own a bilingual English – Vietnam travel blog at anhdevietnam.com. I share travel stories and tips as a weak passport holder (Vietnamese in my case). Moving forward, I’d like to write more about traveling while working remotely. Resources on this topic are abundant for North American / European remote workers but more limited for travelers from developing countries, and Vietnam is no exception. The concept is still fairly new here, even my parents question my work all the time. 

Why did you decide to join the remote revolution?

I stumbled upon this opportunity by chance. I did a freelance project for the company I now work with before they offered me a full time position that allows me to work remotely. I transitioned into online freelancing from my previous business development work. 

Where have you traveled?

I’ve lived abroad since the age of 15 and roughly spent half of my life away from the motherland. Besides Vietnam, I have called Australia, the US, Singapore, and Spain home at some point. I’ve always had a base but I’d like to take advantage of my work now to be even more nomadic in the next few years.

What challenges do you face as a remote worker?

Remote work can be lonely. I find it hard sometimes not to be surrounded by like-minded people or by anybody really.

It also requires certain set-up. Although I’m location independent, I am not exactly time independent. For instance, the majority of our clients are based in Europe, Africa, and the Americas; and therefore, working in Australian or Asian Pacific time zone means I’d have to wake up in the middle of the night trying to close a deal. 

Making sure I always have internet access can be challenging. My job also involves a large amount of phone calls so I have to make sure people have access to me and I can call people (even through Skype or WhatsApp).

That said, I’m grateful to be having these challenges in return for location independence. 

Why did you join a work Wanderers retreat?

I’d always wanted to go to Cape Town and WorkWanderers’s founder is a proud Capetonian. I looked into a lot of other retreat options and from my research, WorkWanderers also seemed to provide (and it really does!) the best value for money. 

How has your Work Wanderers experience been?

WONDERFUL! I really had the best time in Cape Town with Work Wanderers. The house was very impressive. The activities were well-planned but still gave us a lot of space and flexibility. We had a small respectful and super fun group which I adored. Andrae, the founder, is smart and very passionate about what she does. I learned a lot from all the self-motivated, goal-driven and adventure-seeking peeps from the retreat, and found it helpful for my productivity as well. I honestly loved the retreat so much that I wrote a full blog post about it. I’m planning on participating in more chapters. 

What advice would you give someone looking to become a remote worker?

Start small and excel at what you do. For those who are unsure about where to start, start with where you are. A lot of people think remote workers are entrepreneurs or online business owners which is not always the case. You can earn a stable income working for existing companies. 

Think about it, 99% of many office work is in front of a computer and/or with a telephone anyway which can be translated into remote work. You may even be a lot more efficient skipping the daily commute and workplace gossip. If you like what you do but are dreading the office, maybe it’s time to request to start working remotely. 

Last but not least, become an excellent worker that your company would rather have you worked remotely than lose you all along. Or become so good that you’re better off on your own.

Where to find Anh de Vietnam:

Website: www.anhdevietnam.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TravelWithAVietnamesePassport

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