San Salvador was an interesting remote working destination for me. It was a big transition in my digital nomad career. Many people often just pass through or skip El Salvador altogether while traveling through Central America. Many people shy away from El Salvador due to the media perception but a media project from a client meant I would be spending a month in the capital, San Salvador.
My overall impression of San Salvador is that it’s an amazing city. Lot’s of things to see and do around the entire country because of the small size. My plans of exploring all around the country were soon cut short after landing a big remote working project. With a large project online and working onsite with a client at the same time meant that San Salvador would become one of my busiest trips yet. I had to adjust my work flow right on the spot to keep up with the work assignments.
Traveling to a new destination automatically means that you have to re-adjust your workflow to the new environment. Not only do you have to find a new place to work but keeping focus is also a challenge when interacting with a completely new set of people. When thinking about essentially two major projects I had to work on plus other ongoing projects, I had to quickly find a way to balance it all.
I had set a schedule of working very early and wanting the possibility to work late if needed. I found these specifications at a nearby university. I was able to utilize the university’s library and other resources as temporary office while in San Salvador. The campus was very secure and I had to get a temporary ID to use for the time that I would be there.
My routine would become very strict over the next few weeks. I began working at least 12 hours everyday just to accomplish all of the tasks. Some days would be spent in the library all day working on assignments while other days I’d be in a remote area with no Wi-Fi connection working on a media assignment. These were opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of types of projects. Even though my time and energy would be pulled between two completely different assignments, I actually liked the difference in them. Since I had to be fully engaged for each project, working on each allowed me a break from the other. Going from all day on the computer to all day behind a camera provided a nice variety in my time in San Salvador.
When you’re so involved between projects, your time in a country can quickly go by. The entire trip in San Salvador meshes into one continuous period. Work-life balance is already blurred as a digital nomad. When you add in having to adjust your work flow, it gets even more complicated. Weeks and weekends became the same days for me. The same routine of waking up and getting to work was even on Saturdays and Sundays. The entire day wouldn’t be strictly work, however. I was still able to find time to get to know the city and meet new friends to hang out with. While most people enjoy nights out, most of my free time was midday. This was a good way to break up the workload. I could spend all morning on one project, relax and explore a bit during an extended lunch break, and get back to work later in the day.
By the end of the month, I was lucky enough to stay focused enough to get everything done that was needed. It took a lot of self motivation to accomplish it. You’d see people going to the beach, taking day trips to different parts of the country, or just enjoying the nightlife in San Salvador. The interesting things about my time in San Salvador was that I was able to see a lot of things anyway just from doing work. I was able to travel around a bit when heading out for the different projects. I like the fact that my work was taking me to new locations, not just to a different country, but around the city to explore.
So what did I learn from this experience? I was actually able to land another major project shortly after completing this project. I would have to incorporate everything I learned from this initial experience and apply it to a new project in a new country. What helped me get through this busy period most was realizing the big picture of the projects but breaking them down into daily tasks to accomplish. This trip was perhaps one of the busiest I’ve been but it was well worth it to spend it in San Salvador.