This campaign was created while on the road by globetrotting freelancer, Fraser.
He’s a busy man but that’s the way he likes it. Even while putting this article together he’s also getting ready for another trip – this time to Rotterdam where he’ll be working on a new pitch for another client. What is it, though, that appeals to him about combining his working life with travel? For most people doing one thing at a time is quite enough.
Here he discusses how mixing travelling and working has both up- and downsides.
Fraser explains that there’s a sense of excitement or even glamour about this freer-than-freelancing lifestyle: “I love jumping on planes and trains to work for agencies in different cities and different countries. I actually created my first online content in New York in 1996 which was a great experience.” Travel brings other benefits too, like awards, friendships and the chance to discover new cities and new cultures. As Fraser puts it, “I won awards and made lifelong friends on a big project in Warsaw. And while working in Hamburg I discovered my favourite part of any European city – the Schanzenviertel in St Pauli.” What’s not to love about this way of life?
Although working ‘on the road’ takes you out of your normal routine and brings you into contact with some great people and great places, it’s not always easy. You frequently arrive tired and hungry after getting a very early plane. You don’t know if you’ll be staying in a good hotel or a cardboard box. Sometimes the agency doesn’t even know who you are or why you’re there. In the middle of all this, you are expected to bash out a bunch of world-class campaign concepts for a review at four o’clock that afternoon… No pressure then.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. A bit of planning goes a long way to avoiding many of the pitfalls. It helps, for a start, if you don’t begin your trip with an exploration of the local nightlife which might also contribute to your ‘red-eye’ look the morning you turn up at the agency. There’ll be plenty of time for that at the end of the job. Clients, too, could do more to help the weary and wide-eyed freelancer and to make their life as easy as possible. Fraser’s advice for clients is born out of bitter experience: “Don’t, for instance, arrange for your freelancer to stay in a Dusseldorf guesthouse that’s located above an all-night bar favoured by karaoke-loving Japanese businessmen. Try not to put them in a motel on a traffic island near Eindhoven with rooms less spacious and comfortable than a North Korean prison cell,” he ruefully suggests. Some places even fail at providing the most rudimentary essentials like a desk or (in your dreams!) an office. It can also be a bit lonely turning up in an unfamiliar place so wouldn’t it be great if more clients made the effort and took the freelancer out on that first night to check out a couple of good bars?
In clients’ interests
It sounds trivial but there’s a serious point to this. After all, clients pay freelancers good money to solve difficult problems so it makes sense to ensure that they are well rested and comfortable. To that end, it’s much better to have travel arranged the day before the assignment starts. That way, you arrive at the agency after a good sleep and a good breakfast, eager to promote products and services to a grateful world. Remember, it’s always worth discussing things like this with the company employing you and to point out that it’s in their interests to give you the optimum conditions to work under.
Working and travelling – and enjoying life
Clearly, there are ups and downs to the travel-work lifestyle but, according to Fraser, “On the whole, working away from home has been a wonderful thing thanks to the many wonderful agencies that have actually made the effort”. So, zipping up his suitcase and checking his passport once again, he’s more than happy to be getting back on the road one more time.
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