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Workcation: test the expat waters


Jerry Andrew Nelson


April 06, 2022


08:26 PM

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Joe was a cardiologist in Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center. Empty nesters, he and his wife Bonnie lived a comfortable life but were growing tired of the brutal winters.

With snowfalls measured in feet instead of inches, they started to wonder if there was life ‘out there’.

Stuck inside one weekend, Joe scanned through social media and noticed that Robert, a friend from medical school days, had packed and gone to New Zealand.

For several days the idea of living in The Land of the Long White Cloud became increasingly appealing and he broached the idea to Bonnie. To his surprise, he was on-board immediately and together they began to make plans.

Unsure as to how to make the leap with all that was involved — visas, housing, plane tickets, and so on — they discovered a new concept which would allow them to test the waters without having to make a final break.

They discovered “workcations”.

As workers become more accustomed to working outside of an office environment and businesses get more comfortable with dispersed teams and flexible working arrangements, the concept of ‘workcation’ is becoming increasingly popular.

Persons considering being an expat are exploring workcations as a way to dip a toe into the waters before doing a cannonball and jumping in.

Digital nomads have been fans of the ‘beach office’ and working from exotic destinations around the world for some time, but we are now entering an era where this increasingly becomes a possibility for many more people.

At one time, being an expat was like being pregnant — either you were or you weren’t there was no middle ground of being ‘almost’.

As winter morphs into spring, those days are changing. With a relatively new invention, a person can explore the life of an expat before making the final commitment.


Writing on LinkedIn Pulse, Fab Giovanetti says, Workcation “stands for working remotely while on holiday.

Since that article was written in August 2021, workcations have been shown to be linked to a morale boost, yet burnout is just around the corner.


What Does Workation Even Mean?

The idea behind workation is basically what the word means -- working + vacation. If you have been working from home for the last few months, a change of location might be very much welcomed. Escape the monotony of your home office and head away for a few days to refresh your mindset.

Benefits of a Workation

Workation can help in escaping stressful commutes and the confines of a city office without sacrificing productivity. The office can be distracting and mundane. We bring teams together to explore, collaborate and create in a setting that fosters forward thinking, mindfulness and engagement.

  • A full 86% of employees agree or strongly agree a workation boosted their productivity.
  • Over 81% grew more creative at work.
  • Roughly 84% are now more satisfied with their job.
  • Nearly 69% are less likely to quit after taking a workation.
  • As many as 83% agree/strongly agree a workation helped them cope with burnout.

Workation makes you relaxed and creative

Besides testing the expat waters, a workation can boost your creativity and improve your work-life balance, even if you eventually decide to wait before becoming an expat.

But remember, when you get used to a world of routine and the same traditional arrangement every day, you have no option but to think in the same way every day.

In Conclusion

Joe and Bonnie? They booked their workcation to New Zealand, and says both he and Bonnie will continue to benefit from this new life. “In the past, people often had to wait until retirement to do the things they’d dreamed of,” he says. “That’s no longer necessarily true, and I plan to take advantage of that.”

Jerry Nelson is an American writer living the expat life in Buenos Aires. Some of the adventures Jerry has enjoyed, he jumped into the ocean from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Aden, cut off a goat's balls as part of a mating ritual in Indonesia, raced a NASCAR around the oval in Charlotte, created a small coin purse out of live Tarantulas in Australia's outback, spent six-weeks with the Sinaloa cartel along the U.S./Mexican border and sailed a 16th century schooner through the sound and into the open ocean.

Never far from his coffee and Marlboros, Jerry is always glad to discuss future working opportunities. Email him at [email protected] and join the quarter-million who follow him on Twitter.

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