Three and a half weeks working and traveling between Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, and London, and an analysis of working while backpacking

For the month of December Lindsay and I decided to take advantage of the long break Lindsay had from school between classes and the semi-flexible work schedule I have by spending (most of) the month “backpacking.” We actually JUST arrived home last night around 8:30PM.

I’d say the theme of this trip was “work a lot.” Honestly this isn’t a complaint or a problem, in a way this was a “bucket list” item for me – doing the “romantic” backpacker thing all while working a reasonably stressful and high-intensity full time job. In ways it’s a dream, because I could, in theory, continue to travel indefinitely like we did in December throughout Europe and live out of backpacks and hostels, seeing the world all while maintaining an income. I now at least have some idea of what that would feel like (as opposed to long term travel WITHOUT jobs, which of course is something we have a lot more experience with).

My overall impression of traveling while continuing to work a normal 8-5( or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10!) is that it’s OK, maybe once a year or every two years, but not likely something I’d care to do for a long period of time. This didn’t really come as a shock as I’m sadly experienced enough at this point to know that working a job like the job I have adds a certain type of always-thinking-about-work-and-mildly-anxious-about-it element to my days. Also, the particular job and the particular project I’m working on at the moment is in a particularly critical period which didn’t help.

Lindsay had her own work and work-stress to deal with on our travels as she had two large papers to write for the end of her term at the University for her masters. Basically anytime I was working Lindsay was working as well, and although I don’t know for sure I guess I’d bet that this work and stress also generally detracted from her experience.

The sad (or maybe not sad, but boring) reality is that I think when I look back at this mini-backpacking trip the best part of the trip for me was actually the best because of our working environment. Basically, in Berlin we had an amazing place to work, then Sweden, then London.

For some context, our trip looked like this…

Basic Itinerary

  1. Sunday, Took a bus from York to Manchester (cheap flight)
  2. Flew Ryanair from Manchester to Berlin
  3. U-Bahn from the airport to the city
  4. Stayed in Generator Hostel and worked at WeWork for the week
  5. Saturday, Flew from Berlin to Stockholm
  6. Took a train from Arlanda airport to Stockholm city center, then struggled to buy a bus ticket but eventually got a bus to our accommodation
  7. Stayed in an AirBnB and worked in the AirBnB until Thursday
  8. Thursday booked an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki
  9. Friday stayed at an AirBnB in Helsinki
  10. Saturday took an overnight cruise back to Stockholm
  11. Sunday took a bus to Skavsta airport and flew to London
  12. Stayed at Wombats Hostel London for four nights
  13. Stayed in an AirBnB in London for three nights
  14. Took a train back to York

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