There’s always An Arrival. There’s always an adjustment when transitioning from… one task to another, morning to night, one project to a different one, one interaction with someone to another, one place to a new destination. The water tastes unlike home. Shops are closed when you expect them open. Dinner starts late in the evening after your normal bedtime!
Whether it’s a First Day, Time, Experience, Team or Week, you will arrive! Consciously “arriving” assures that transitions, big or small, from one room to the next, are less onerous.
Our daily lives are full of beginnings. Similarly, so is a trip and Remote Work. When our train arrived recently in Valencia for the start of a month in this easeful city it meant learning and adapting to a new routine.
Here are Six Tips for adapting to a different flow, especially when first arriving in a new place or on a project.
1. Time: Stay Flexible
While clients slept, life in Valencia was in full swing. This meant starting work in the afternoon closer to 3:00 pm when our American partners were back in the office. Spaniards tend to work from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm followed by lunch and a pause (or “Siesta” for some), then additional work again for two to four hours. Life happens later in the evening and the city’s infrastructure supports this lifestyle. Restaurants and neighborhood bars are open late for tapas and drinks (with the nightlife really happening after 9:00 pm). If you didn’t shop in the morning you grab your groceries later in the day, including fresh bread from the bakery.
Flex and move with the customs of the place and or the norms of a team.
Basics: Figure Out the Where’s and “How To’s”
Since food is essential it wasn’t too difficult to find the nearest grocery store and where to buy our morning coffee. The rental shop showed us how to lock our bikes (there’s a built-in system common to all rentals) so nothing would be stolen. On the day we arrived in Valencia we pedaled to the language school. We wanted to know that we wouldn’t become lost the next day for our first class. During the first week we read the instruction manual on how to operate the washing machine and dishwasher (thankfully in English). We focused on the basics.
Become clear on the basics needed to succeed.
Sleep: An Experiment
As much as we tried to go to bed earlier, the later workday and mealtime meant sleeping was pushed closer to eleven o’clock p.m. or later.
Our bodies have not fully adjusted and we continue to experiment with the right schedule.
Sometimes you can push through especially if the timeframe is short. Other times you have to experiment. Be patient. You’ll eventually find your rhythm (or not and it won’t matter).
Technology: Ok with Trial and Error
Doing business from abroad has its technological challenges. Payments for travel have not been as smooth. Protecting my browser with a VPN has created some hiccups. It’s a matter of “trail and error” and after some effort you usually figure it out.
Be willing to learn new ways to solve your tech issues. Ask for help.
We’re part of a community ( #RemoteYear )of young professionals- some who are on a year-long adventure, moving every month, and others, in Valencia for April. Thankfully there is always someone with whom you can have fun or consult.
Travel and remote work is more enjoyable when shared. That’s not to say you don’t enjoy Solo travel or working independently. An experience is often deepened in community. Working as a team usually garners a better outcome.
Notice First Impressions
Move: Although the inhabitants would say that their city is loud, Valencia itself seems very calm. It’s comfortable riding a bike everywhere.
Listen: There are very few sirens (that’s not to say there isn’t crime, but the city feels incredibly safe). I often hear the pigeons.
Watch: Processions and holidays are embraced (Easter, Orthodox Easter, St. Vincent Day, a holiday local to Valencia) as is socializing outside with Amigos late into the evening. Going out is what people do.
Smell: My nose has picked up the sweet smell of orange blossoms as well as the occasional sewage smell in the air.
Stay open to your experiences and utilize your senses. First impressions are interesting; however they don’t necessarily represent the deeper experience.
Travel and anything new is usually strenuous and requires rigor. Stay kind to yourself and others. It’s ok if you can’t figure out how to say something in Spanish or you need more time to complete a new task. You’ll try again the next day. The GPS will self-correct and you’ll feel grateful.