Working Anywhere


The making of 'The Workcation.'

By Andy Abramson 

There are three kinds of “cations” in life. The vacation where you go away and promise yourself and everyone else that you won’t be working. Then there’s the staycation where you stay at home and like the vacation, commit to not working as well. But, in today’s connected world, we always somehow end up working and that leads to the third ‘cation. The altercation and that’s one that’s usually caused when you end up working on either a vacation or a staycation when everyone else wants to be playing.

But what if there was something different? What if you could go away and everyone would know you may have some work to do, but still will have the benefits of a vacation with them?

It is possible, and I should know, as a few years ago I set off on a workcation and loved it. It all came about as I was for the first time in my life free of home ownership or a lease on an apartment.

I decided that rarely ever would I be in a situation where being “home free” versus “homeless” would mean I could live and work anywhere, all without having to pay for another place. This situation would provide the opportunity to do something entirely different – and for me it was to take all my years of business and pleasure travel and become a resident for a short time in a pair of cities I knew well and in a country where I always enjoyed visiting and vacationing.

Work and Play

To have a great workcation means choosing a place you can both work and play. For me, Lisbon and Porto provided that for a few reasons. Great weather. A strong economy with low cost of living and very moderate costs for all the creature comforts a vacation demands. The cities have a vibrant tourist and local nightlife, as well as fantastic food and amazing wine.

To get started meant that either a great house or apartment was vital. After some back and forth with Airbnb hosts I chose three fantastic air-conditioned, modern apartments. Each had quality fiber broadband, and Portugal’s world-class mobile broadband service meant I would be very connected at home and when out and about.

The third factor was unlike the rest of Europe, Portugal is only eight hours ahead of the west coast, which meant more working hours and time to work remotely with my team. It also is a town where you can dine well after midnight. Lastly, I have a few friends in the city and nearby so I knew I would be able to also connect more with them.

All About Timing

Let’s get back to the time zone difference. To have a great workcation means staying in touch and getting work done. In my case, the eight hours was perfect as my team was spread across the United States, as are our clients. Staying connected meant using local SIM cards versus roaming, sparing the pain of a big mobile bill, and somehow that approach worked as those two devices were my constant companions and I was never out of touch.

My mornings were spent an hour online, then exploring Lisbon or Porto’s cafes and shops, dropping off laundry, buying groceries or hitting the gym. By 11 am or so I was at a desk working, and by working the clock, it meant I could be ahead on email and writing. Around noon, some of my team would be getting online and by two pm in Portugal, just about everyone was in touch.

That meant as I was grabbing lunch they’d be looking to connect with me. From there it was five to six hours of work, conference calls and one-on-ones. Somewhere in the mid-evening, I would head out with my iPad and iPhone to a wine bar followed by dinner at one of the city's high dining spots with friends from near and far.

How did I get work done so quickly halfway around the world? Easy. A few essential services like Dialpad, WhatsApp and Skype all kept me in touch. Email and documents on Google’s G Suite platform meant my work was in the cloud and all my network connections were local, not being routed to some far off exchange server. That in itself made work a breeze as I could work on my MacBook, iPad or iPhone on every document, regardless of situation or location.

Conference calling services Zoom and UberConference made meetings easy. A Regus office that I called “my office” gave me a place to go when I was tired of working from an apartment. Friends from afar who visited always had fun, and so did I along with my local crowd. It’s all thanks to the approach to the workcation. And yes, all altercations were completely avoided.

Andy Abramson is a global business nomad, working with clients around the globe in areas of technology, media, travel and wine. In 2015, Business Traveler named Abramson its Business Traveler of the Year. Although Los Angeles may be home, he continue to operate Comunicano Inc. from anywhere there’s an internet connection and a wine bar nearby. Abramson can be reached at

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