Last year as African Spokes wound down Roz Groenewoud, Jen Gurecki and I talked about a women’s only self supported bike trip in 2019, the addiction and freedom of life on the road had us fully in it’s grips. But it wasnt until New Year’s time that we focused it in on Nepal, an entirely new culture, landscape and experience for all three of us. Everything went entirely differently than planned, sometimes it seemed like a disaster, but I think thats the definition of an Adventure, versus a vacation. And in almost every case the shifts were far better than anything we could have planned for.
I got intensely sick stateside with the flu and training went by the wayside as I focused on getting healthy enough to travel. Instead of riding with Jen, Roz and our guide, pro mountain biker Laxshmi Magar, I focused on photography and immersing myself in all things Nepalese, a great culture for wellness and centering, while they slogged up and down “rolling hills” of 8,000 feet and Nepali flats = 20’ inclines. We learned about how different the cultural references on mountains and hills are when Everest is your mountain reference.
Nepal is an amazing country of kind welcoming people, myriad ancient rich cultures, where religion blurs with daily life and the only scary thing is road travel. I was caught off guard by how smitten I am with the country, although no surprise, the wild remote Mustang captured me heart and soul. I very much hope to get back there before the wild places are lost with the new road coming in.
Remote work always comes with challenges. @coalitionsnow’s Jen Gurecki (@yogurecki) had more challenges than the average entrepreneur during her time with #AfricanSpokes, a 70-day, 6,520 KM cycling trip through Africa. Road conditions, dehydration, the heat and the wildlife are challenging when cycling in Africa, but not being on the same continent as your team with limited internet connection brought into perspective on how truly connected she was to her team.
“There are a number of things that we take for granted in the Western world, like accessibility to internet and cellular network. Although the infrastructure for both are improving rapidly across most of Africa, there would be days sometimes where I didn’t have network. With one or two days this isn’t so much of an issue because it gives you time to work on projects that don’t require the internet. But it becomes anxiety-inducing when more than two days pass and you have no idea what’s in your inbox or Slack, and you don’t know the next time you will be able to check either. The rapid, immediate turnaround isn’t always necessary, especially when you’ve clearly communicated with people about your timeline and you have lined everything up to allow the short breaks in communication. In general, it’s a constant game of catch up and solid planning. You take care of the most pressing things because you may not be able to tomorrow. That’s Africa; it applies to everything from running water, to hot showers, internet and the cellular network.”
Jen’s advice for other entrepreneurs working remotely, “Don’t underestimate the power of face time with people. Ideally you’ll have established relationships with people beforehand so that you spend your social capital rather than trying to build it while remote working.” #DigitalNomadSeries 📷: @julianne_snow
“Remote work is not a vacation. It takes significant self-discipline and a willingness to say no to all of the incredibly tantalizing distractions around you. Don’t let Instagram fool you — it’s harder than it looks and you work more than you would like.
Access to a network is a must — you can’t be remote while working remotely. You might be able to get away with this for a few days or a week, but consistently not being connected will impact your ability to deliver.
Don’t underestimate the power of face time with people. Ideally, you’ll have established relationships with people beforehand so that you spend your social capital rather than trying to build it while remote working.”
This photo series shows Jen Gurecki (@yogurecki)’s efforts to create an ever evolving work space as she traveled on #AfricanSpokes, a 70-day, 6,520 KM cycling trip through Africa while simultaneously running her business @coalitionsnow. Remote work is all about doing whatever it takes to get your work done in unconventional situations.
This series is the first of three photo stories which ran on Entrepreneur Magazine's social media channels in May 2018, focusing on businesswoman Jen Gurecki @yogurecki working remotely running her company, @coalitionsnow, while cycling with African Spokes across Africa on the 68 day trip.