It is obvious to those of us who choose a freelancing career that we favor life as a relatively free person. While we still work a job as such, freelancers do have the benefits of being able to work anywhere in the world. Just imagine you wake up on a lovely tropical beach with the sound of the surf and nature being the only things that disturb your sleeping pattern.
Work - Netbook
I just spend three weeks logging my massive 17 inch notebook all across Europe and I got increasingly fed up with the sheer size and weight of the thing. So I went and bought myself a nifty little netbook that is small, lightweight and fast. I suggest you check out Asus for some super machines that do the trick.
If you find yourself a victim of storing every email, article, and other digital scraps on your computer, try to use Gmail, an online backup and storage service such as Mozy, Google Docs, Evernote and a portable USB stick instead. Among all of them, you can keep your computer clutter-free without the need for bulk.
You can also use a service such as WebEx, GoToMyPC or LogMeIn. The one thing I don't like about these types of services is the fact that you have to leave your computer switched on and connected to the Internet to access it remotely. To me this defeats the purpose of leaving home and making sure all digital devices are switched off for fire safety reasons.
Of course, if you travel with a netbook you will need to make sure to have sufficient supplies of chargers. This can potentially become a bit of a nuisance if, for example, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere desperately in need of juice.
In those cases why not try one of the new breed solar powered chargers for portable gadgets. SolarGorilla looks cool enough to work actually. I will definitely get my hands onto one of these gadgets as I believe them to be very useful.
Connecting to the Internet is the hardest thing at times when on the road. Yes you can use your 3G mobile phone, or a similar capable device. But to be honest, I rather use a USB broadband stick with wireless access (or a wireless card). Relying on wireless hot-spots is OK when you travel in big cities, but go rural and you find yourself out of sync with the web. Just for the record, I don't like dial up Internet services and rather not bother than spending ages waiting for things to happen, I guess I am spoiled in that regard.
After failing to connect to the net in rural UK, I finally bought a USB prepaid modem to help me out of my misery. It worked, albeit somewhat slow, and the job was done and my client was happy. I have yet to try to hack this stick for use in Australia, but I think since it was prepaid it should be possible. In the worst case scenario I can always try to get it unlocked and then use it anywhere I travel with a local prepaid sim card.
These tools are really all I ever need to run my business from the road. They allow me to travel uncluttered and get online whenever I need to. Best of all, if my netbook dies a sudden death, I can still access all my files and emails by keeping them safely online.
I'd love to hear from you and what tools you absolutely must have when you are on the road. Let us know in the comments!