So, what is this Extreme Telecommuting stuff, anyway? And how does it fit in with an Office Odyssey?
the early years
Extreme Telecommuting got its start way back in the amber-hued summer of ’97, when my then-fiancee, Kristanne, and I embarked on the original Office Odyssey. For three months, we drove our Volkswagen van around the U.S. and parts of Canada, exploring the ins and outs of the full-time telenomadic lifestyle — from how to get internet access in a pre-WiFi/pre-iPhone world to how to remove dust buggers from a VW Eurovan’s furnace (answer: Call Bob).
Extreme Telecommuting Goes Electric (and International!)
Having learned and grown from that experience, we decided to take our expertise international. From 3/28/99 to 4/03/00, we telecommuted from all over Europe back to my regular job in the Silicon Valley. We found out whether people pee in public in Rome (early and often), whether bankers dress in bondage gear in Zurich (on Lovefest day, they do), and whether newborn infants curse professionally in Scotland (yes, though I may have, perhaps, embellished a bit here). You can check out the episode guide for quick thumbnail pointers to each and every semi-weekly installment from the European road. Or, check out the interactive map.
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
“Yeah,” I hear you saying, “But that was twelve years ago. How could you possibly be relevant in this day and age.”
To which I reply, “Listen, whippersnapper, when I started this here blog, “blog” wasn’t even a word! I practically invented blogging, even though I still cringe inwardly every time I use the dang word. Why, when I was your age…you tweetley thissers and facebooking thatters…well, I tell you!”
Then, I strain my back taking out my false teeth and throw a tantrum because I forgot to record the Golden Girls Marathon on A&E. Betty White’s comedic talents are sadly underrated, I’m afraid.
Still, the question remains unanswered — where have you been and why are you firing this back up again now? The short answer is that we’ve been home in the lovely hamlet of Nevada City, CA for the last 12 years, creating a life there, and raising kids. There appear to be two of them at this point — Quinn is 10 and Kinsey is 7. I realize that it took us 12 years to have a kid who’s 10, but the first year in Nevada City we mainly spent at the Mine Shaft and on our deck…good times, good times.
Now that the kids are out of diapers and we’re not quite into them, well, it seems like an opportune time to have a little adventure. We’d like our kids to learn some foreign language, experience some different cultures, and, importantly, eat a lot of really awesome cheese. So, we’ve lined up ducks, checked off boxes, and moved to France for the year. From August, 2012 to August, 2013, we’ll be posting updates to this blog, documenting our adaptation to French culture (I’ve learned not to make the annoying “smacky” noises when doing the French cheek-kissing thing), French language (I haven’t accidentally told any matronly innkeepers that I love them in, like, weeks!), and French shopping (peace through strength — lead with your cart, always).
You can sense the arc here — we started out fully mobile, changing the office every single day. Next time out, we moved every 10 weeks, or so, staying one step ahead of the Schengen Treaty visa limits. This time, we’re completely legal with a work permit, cartes de sejour for the whole family (long stay visas), and are even paying taxes (we ought to — we’re taking advantage of some fairly awesome social services).