Working holiday - Nirvana or Nightmare? Gordon Laing, 2012

Is it possible - or sensible - to work on holiday?

I love travelling but even when you're self-employed it's hard to take more than a couple of weeks off work, not to mention expensive too. That's a big problem when your family lives on the other side of the world and you fancy checking out some new places. But hang on, what if you run a web business? Can't you do it anywhere? Is it in fact possible to extend a family holiday by taking your work with you, or will you just end up falling behind and runing your trip? I'm going to find out and on this page will reveal all! I'll also talk about choosing the right camera and computer equipment for travelling light...

I’d like to start with my first video blog, filmed in San Francisco, where I’ll talk about the idea behind the trip and the equipment I’ve brought along. I’ve opted to travel light and in terms of a camera for me that means using a mirrorless compact system camera. I’ve gone with Micro Four Thirds due to the excellent range of lenses available and Panasonic New Zealand has generously loaned me a Lumix GX1 with four of my favourite M4/3 lenses to try out on the road. Find out more in the video below and check back soon for updates!

Video blog part one: San Francisco, the big idea and travelling light - what camera to take?

And next up, part two of my video blog, filmed on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco! In the video below I'll talk more about my choice of lenses, along with travelling in Morocco. For more information about this part of my trip, please check out my Morocco Travel and Photography tips article!

Video blog part two: Morocco, places to visit and choosing lenses...

And now, part three of my video blog, filmed just outside the Fundacio Joan Miro in Barcelona! In this video, below, I'll show you some of my favourite things to see and do around Barcelona before going into detail about how it's been trying to get some serious work done while you're away from home or the office. During the video I'll also show you a selection of my favourite photos from my week in Barcelona along with the settings used. I hope you enjoy it! The next video in the series will be dedicated to photography tutorials, using a selection of photos from my time in Morocco.

Video blog part three: Barcelona, tipsfor the city and the reality of working away from home
Here’s part four of my video blog, and this one is filmed from a holiday camp in Salou, Spain. As promised I’ve dedicated this video to describing the settings, techniques and equipment behind some of my favourite photos from my trip around Morocco. I’ll start with a quick update on the working holiday so far, but if you want to skip straight to the tutorials, head to 4:30 on the timeline! My next video will be from the UK!
Video blog part four: Holiday photo tips from Morocco

In part five of my video blog below, I describe four steps behind achieving proper hifi sound quality on the move. Just because you're away from home doesn't mean music lovers have to compromise on quality! For more details on this particular story, see my separate Portable Audio article!

Video blog part five: Enjoying Hifi audio on the road!

Working holiday - the theory

An increasing number of people run internet-based businesses which could in theory be operated from anywhere with a decent connection. I’m one of them, and already put the theory partly to the test when I relocated from London to New Zealand several years ago. But that was simply transplanting a business and equipment from one permanent location to another. What really intrigues me is the possibility of working while travelling in order to extend a trip away.

  Chefchaouen door, Morocco with Panasonic GX1 and Lumix 7-14mm
  Chefchaouen door, Morocco with Panasonic GX1 and Lumix 7-14mm lens
  Click image to access original at Flickr

Now this again can result in the worst of both worlds. You could find yourself in a wonderful location, only to never experience it due to work commitments. And even if you wanted to work, the environment or services may be frustratingly insufficient to meet your needs. But get it right and you could enjoy the best parts of a holiday while squeezing-in some work during down-times or committing regular days to knuckle-down between new locations.

As someone who loves to travel I was keen to find out if it could work for me, and as luck would have it, several things coincided to make it possible. First was managing the sheer cost of going away for several weeks or even several months. No, I didn’t win the lottery, and no, sadly Cameralabs hasn’t made me a millionaire. Far from it. The tipping point was realising my increasing rent in Queenstown coupled with the decreasing value of UK and US currency against the New Zealand dollar actually meant it would cost me about the same to travel abroad as it would to stay at home.

Secondly it was a good time for my family to take an extended break. Third, I may find it hard to source new equipment to review on the road, but I do have a pile of unprocessed results from various models and lenses I need to write-up, while my UK-based contributor Ken McMahon can take care of the latest releases. It will also give me the chance to finally write-up my own photography eBook.

It was all beginning to sound right, so in mid-April 2012 we packed all our posessions into storage, moved out of our home in Queenstown New Zealand and boarded a flight to San Francisco. The plan would be to spend a week there followed by another in Morocco, mostly spent as a normal holiday. After that we’d stay in various apartments in Spain and the UK where I could concentrate on work before hopefully enjoying some other locations.

Will it work? I’ve no idea. Get it right and it could be great. Get it wrong and I could end up ruining my holiday and falling behind on the business. The family may hate it too. But I’m not stupid. Believe me, if it’s not working we’ll be heading back home sooner rather than later, but I really hope it’ll work long enough to enjoy seeing some new places along with catching up with new and old friends, along with our families. What I can tell you is whatever happens, the reviews will keep on coming at Cameralabs every week, either from myself or Ken and between us we’ve got some really exciting products lined-up!

Meanwhile on this page I’ll update you with my progress, including photos from various locations, reports on the equipment I’ve brought along, tips on travelling light and smart, and video blogs in the field. For the latest updates as they happen you may also enjoy following my FaceBook, Twitter or Google+ streams. So if you’ve ever wondered if the concept of a working holiday really can work or simply want to see if I’ll fall flat on my face trying, you’ve come to the right place!

San Francisco Photowalk with Flickr

On 21st April 2012, Flickr hosted a photowalk around the Mission district of San Francisco to view and photograph the street art murals. As luck would have it, this coincided with the San Francisco portion of my trip, so I joined in the fun! During the walk I caught up with some old friends and several who I'd only ever 'met' online.

I thought it might be fun to interview a number of people during the walk about their cameras and style of photography, so here's a selection from the day. I filmed everything with my Panasonic GX1 and 14-42mm power zoom lens, and the audio was captured by the built-in mics. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks again to flickr for hosting the event!

Flickr Photowalk, Mission, San Francisco, April 2012



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