Couple embark on round-the-world trip – as digital nomads

A couple are taking remote working to another level by embarking on a round-the-world trip while still keeping their jobs – thanks to Britain’s most understanding boss.

Chris Smith, 36, and Suzanne Walker, 33, will spend the next year travelling 35,000 miles to 12 cities across the globe in a once-in- a-lifetime travel adventure.

The pair thought they would have to quit their full-time careers in order to go on their dream tour of three continents.

But instead, their boss has allowed them to keep their jobs – working normal hours via the internet from far-flung places like Kuala Lumpur, Buenos Aires and Bogota.

Chris and Suzanne will now be able to enjoy their travelling adventures while carrying on working remotely for wealth management company Mattioli Woods.

The globe-trotting couple are already in Mexico City and will move onto the Colombian capital of Bogota next month.

Chris, a senior customer relations manager, said: “Technology means people no longer have to be tied to the office to get their work done each day.

“We might not always be working at the exact same time as our colleagues back in the UK because of different time zones.

“But we will always be contactable and, thanks to the digital age, we will have the means to fulfil our work duties just as though we were at our desks”.

They will travel through South America, Asia and Europe while working remotely from serviced offices during the day.

Evenings, weekends and holidays will be reserved for sightseeing and exploring each country.

Technical specialist Suzanne added: We both really like to travel and wanted the opportunity to spend time exploring various parts of the world.

“But we realised that to do that properly, we would probably have to take 12 months out from work.

“We thought that would probably mean us having to give up our jobs, which neither of us wanted to do because we really like working for the company.

“We’ve both been there quite a while and neither of us wanted to leave.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be the first people in the company to trial this arrangement.

“Everyone at work has been really supportive and positive about it.

“Most tourists have to cram in so many things in a very short space of time.

“We won’t have that pressure, as we’ll have a month at each destination to fit in everything we want to do.”

Suzanne and Chris will travel the world with a group of mainly American professionals known as “digital nomads”, who want to travel the world and keep their jobs.

The package, arranged by travel company Remote Year, includes flights, accommodation and the use of offices in each country.

Suzanne added: “We will fly to each destination with the rest of the group and there is opportunity to meet up with them whenever we want to.

“But most of the time we’ll be doing our own thing and exploring the surroundings.”

Ian Mattioli, chief executive and co-founder of the company, is now being heralded as one of the most understanding bosses in the country.

Ian, 54, added: “We have these millennials who come to work for different reasons than we do and some of the things they say may actually be right.

“When Chris and Suzanne approached us, they were a bit fearful because I think they thought the answer would be no.

“But Suzanne has been here since her 21st birthday and Chris has been here 10 years. We want to keep them.

“I thought: let’s work out a solution. If we offer some flexibility there two will come back with great stories, they will be better for it and they will work for us.

“I’m proud of them. I wish I could do it.

“I am delighted that, as a business, we have been able to support Suzanne and Chris on the Remote Year programme, which enables them to combine work with their dream of travelling.

“We look forward to regular updates from their destinations, but also to see how effective and productive remote working can actually be.”

* Travel log- the couple’s itinerary *

January – Mexico City, Mexico
February – Bogota, Colombia
March – Medellin, Colombia
April – Lima, Peru
May – Cordoba, Argentina
June – Buenos Aires, Argentina
July – Prague, Czech Republic
August – Belgrade, Serbia
September – Valencia, Spain
October – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November – Chiang Mai, Thailand
December – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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