Mountain roads take us home

2.5 months after loading our equipment into the car, mounting the rear car box, and diving into shared-space working, we are back in our individual home offices! Weeks of travel, working, getting used to not-so ergonomic desks, juggling different languages and sudden drops in temperature lie behind us. And for this final digital nomad entry, we’ll turn the order around a bit!

We managed to share our working, living and pastime spaces for several weeks without any major social issues.

After returning home, we still realized: being at our personal desks again in our familiar surroundings allowed us to work more focussed. And our backs are very happy!

When accommodations in Southern Europe speak of “good internet – suitable for video calls and working”, they likely don’t expect 4 people to use it. In one of our later accommodations, we had a time of “Internet break for everyone from now until <that traveler>’s call is done!” – and even then their connection wasn’t the best.

Ah, the joy of a 65 to 100 Mbit/s connection at home! 😀

With the right team a journey such as this can be fun, exciting, relaxed, AND productive! It does not take a whole lot, and all our equipment survived being packed, unpacked and loaded with luggage 17 times without any serious damage. Minor scratches on the back of a panel don’t count. 🙂
All in all we are very grateful for the opportunity our lives and our job have given us!

A calm evening at home without people running around you can be very relaxing.

In the end, it is all a matter of … balance!

After recovering and leaving the Algarve we went back to Spain. Finally a country were some could understand the locals again. We decided to cut across the country, rather than drive along its coast. That allowed us to take necessary breaks from traveling and still make it towards home in about two weeks. After all, we had to make up for 3 unplanned weeks in Portugal. It also allowed us to see Spain from a different, non-coastal side and took us right through the many olive groves of Andalusia. We enjoyed a proper, shared Spanish tapas meal (so much pork!) outside a little diner in the middle of the countryside and amused a few waiters with our broken Spanish. Then we stopped at the Northeast coast of Spain, and spent some nights in a place we called “swamp house”. Why swamp house? Because to get there you had to take a surprising turn off a main road, down a steep muddy road, through brushes rising left and right and then after a few turns right and left, there it was, with a humidity level of over 90 % (inside!), and an armada of mosquitos waiting for dinner (i.e. us!).

After that we decided to actually take a full week off from work as a team and make sure to really enjoy the next stop: a small, cozy coastal village in France. Oh the crepes, ice cream and seafood! The temperature, although lower than in Spain, was still warm enough to dip our legs into the salty lake of Mèze, but we knew it would be the last of summer feeling for this year.

For the remainder of the journey, we had to make sure to avoid any areas with a chance of snow or ice, because we were still running on summer tires. Not that easy when your home is on the other side of the Alps! When we had left beginning of September, it was still summer and we had intended to be back by end of October. Now it was November and we could see the snow line slowly approaching in the surrounding mountains from our next holiday home. The weather forecast was also the defining factor for the remaining two stops, and thankfully we managed to escape the snow!

Our final stay on non-German ground was at the border of France and Switzerland, in a fancy two-level apartment with a spectacular view of the mountains. Here we went back to work (our one actual holiday week of the trip was over!), and we enjoyed a proper cheese fondue as recommended by locals. Random fact: In 17 stops there were only 4 places where we all worked at the same desk: the very first stop, Lissabon, swamp house, and the second-to-last stop. Everywhere else we managed to spread and use individual desks, so we had enough space for ourselves. This time we occupied the kitchen table, which also meant we had to move our equipment around quite a bit whenever it was food time.

To finish off our month-long trip, and because we got the opportunity at a fairly low price, we spent our first (and last) stop back on German ground in an actual castle in Baden-Wurttemberg. Working in the library, relaxing in the Whirlpool and taking a walk through the nearby village really made a nice end to this long journey. A day later, we were back home.

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