Episode #
018

Going Remote in Valencia, Spain With Chase Warrington | TNN18

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Episode Summary

For remote employees and digital nomads, organizational abilities can make or break offsite work experience. Without physical supervision, peer pressure, and the experience of walking into the office, even small tasks can seem daunting, and motivation can plummet. How you structure your remote workday has a huge impact on how you spend your day and thus, how much you get done. And that’s what Chase Warrington has been really passionate about - keeping a remote worker’s day organized and structured

Chase joins hosts Andrew Jernigan and Allen Koski in this episode of The New Nomad, talking about how important it is to get your tasks organized and the tools that you can use. Our three nomads also discussed the beauty of Valencia, Spain, and how they enjoyed paella (take note, the authentic paella does not have seafood). They shared their challenges and experiences in their nomad lifestyle where you can pick gold nuggets of information that can help you in your laptop-wielding lifestyle. This is definitely a knowledge-filled episode you don’t want to miss.

From the episode

Learn about Valencia, Spain

Discover Doist and one of their solutions called Todoist which is the leading task manager in the world.

Twist for less chaotic team communications.

Overlooked: La Val d'Aran

What You'll Learn

Does what you do allow you to be location-independent?

When we think of location independent living, we tend to think of all the good things of jetting around the world 🛫, sitting on a beach ⛱️, and having a great life 🍹.

Being location independent is simply being able to work from anywhere. At its very essence, is about tailoring your work to your lifestyle rather than letting your lifestyle be defined by your work.💻📱

Building a location-independent lifestyle takes 🕰️, hard work 💪, risk, and even a dash of luck 🍀. 

So before diving in headlong, it’s worth considering whether you’re the type of person capable of weathering the challenges that come with it.🤔

At the end of the day, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!👍 👍 👍

What can be a challenge in this lifestyle?

Timestamps

[1:07] After-pandemic travels

[6:11] Why go to sunny Valencia, Spain

[12:32] Asynchronous communication is the key to the laptop lifestyle

[15:01] A vision trip is as vital as actually traveling there

[18:59] The pros and cons of traveling with a pet

[23:44] Authentic paellas do not have seafood in them

Show Transcript

Allen  

Welcome to The New Nomad, we have a really interesting guest guest today, Chase Warrington will be joining us. He's a real advocate of remote work, host of a podcast, we'll get into a lot more details with Chase when he joins us. But starting out with Andrew Jernigan. Andrew, my co host, happy to see you today on a beautiful sunny day. And one thing that has really popped up recently is you keep reading that it looks like there's going to be a lot more global travel, as countries are starting to say, if you've got your vaccinations, you can come. And the question is, when is that date certain that people can start travelling to Europe, but I'm already seeing the airlines and the cruise ship companies. And all those folks beginning to say let's book now, what's your feeling on how things are coming? in that area?

Andrew  

I firmly believe that, you know, we are in the midst of the open door. We're standing in the doorway in many people have already crossed the threshold. They were already there. They're already working remotely around the world. They're not waiting on governments to open up. Many people that are listening today have already done it. And the others have bought their tickets, anticipating that it's going to be okay, they've submitted their visa applications. They've already done it. They're buying their insurance. They're changing their phone SIM cards there. They're getting ready. they've written their will. We're beyond the, beyond the open door.

Allen  

Yeah, I think you know, what's interesting is we've we've talked to many people on this, this podcast, and most of them are folks that are already outside the United States. And of course, we're going to talk to Chase today who's in Spain. But you know, there still were a lot of people before the pandemic, who were trying to search where they wanted to go what they wanted to do. And I think this activate a lot of people to say, we've just lived through this huge change. And it's time for me to make a change too. And I'm going to go live somewhere that I enjoy and ready to do something I enjoy while I work. And I think that's a huge thing.

Andrew  

Are you talking about me? 

Allen  

Yes, I am 

Andrew  

Aren't you talking about me, Allen? Yeah, that's it about yourself too. Because we're doing what we love and a globally distributed company working remotely and able to play with our dog at work, we're able to stop and go to our kids sports games. Or, you know, pick a trip if we want to, and keep keep working. It's it's really a great thing. I've been doing this and decided in the late 90s This is how I wanted to live my life and working remotely also with my partner, my wife, most of that time also working where we've chosen to be location independent. And today's guests I'm excited for him to join us and events but in in just few minutes. He is such an advocate for the successful remote work experience providing the software, the tools the and he's a voice for that. And you know Allen you you bring on fabulous guests onto this onto the show. So it's I'm looking forward to this episode today.

Allen  

So let's bring Chase in right now who I believe is in Spain. Chase, I hope it's sunny Spain like it is back here in sunny Bucolic Delaware and Pennsylvania where Andrew and I are How you doing today? And how is it over there?

Chase  

Holá from España? Yeah, thank you guys. It's It's great to be here. Yeah, it is a sunny, beautiful day here in Valencia. And I unfortunately it has not been that way. But it's been unseasonably cold and rainy, the Spanish don't know what to do when it becomes cold and rainy. It's like when snow happens in the south in the US, and people kind of freak out and nobody goes outside. But now it's beautiful. And as you guys said earlier, things are opening back up and life feels like it's coming back a little bit. So yeah, I also am checking those travel sites and starting to get my eyes on some other places as well.

Allen  

I'm curious. So you made the transition from the United States wasn't directly to Valencia. And how did you pick Valencia? You know, for our listeners out there who are saying, jeez, I'm thinking about somewhere to go. You know, how do you you make that journey and that leap?

Chase  

Yeah, it was a so there's kind of two there's the there's the super short version and the and the more zigzaggy version, and I'll try to land somewhere in the middle to give a little bit of context. But basically, my wife and I were doing, we had a career path that was certainly more more normal, more corporate or, you know, white-picket-fence-and-suburban-neighbourhood kind of thing. And we said, Hey, we really want to travel we really need to find location independence, start working remotely. So that was years ago. We made that decision, we left those jobs, we we started new careers found, found new positions, tried a lot of different things, but just went out on the road full time and travelled and nomadic and lived in a bunch of different countries. And one of the countries that we spent some time in was in Spain, we learned a bit of Spanish. And we thought we'd love to come back here sometime. 

So fast forward a couple years, we found out that there was a visa in Spain that worked for us, that would allow us to come for a year at a time. And as you guys know, the, it's kind of tough to stay in the Shengen as a as an American for more than 90 days. This was one option that allowed us a year at a time and we could keep renewing it. We love Spain, they had the visa, we wanted to learn some more Spanish, and someone recommended blindly Hey, I think you'd like Valencia. So when we were filling out the application in front of the visa officer, she said, You got to make a decision right now, where are you going to live? And we were like, Oh, I guess Valencia? Wow. That's how we picked Valencia.

Allen  

It seems to work out fine. And it tells some of the folks about Valencia now that you're there. Just Just out of curiosity, what makes it so appealing, as people look at the community there.

Chase  

You know, it recently just got voted by Internations is the number one place in the world to live for expats. So I think that's, that tells a lot. I mean, I didn't, Valencia was not on my map at all. In fact, when we came here, I thought we'd stay for three months and then move on to the next place. That was the plan but we really fell in love with it. Because it's a mid sized city. It's like you know, like like a Charlotte, North Carolina or a Milwaukee or something like that a Portland it's got its own culture and vibe. But it's not like a mega metropolis, like a London or Berlin. It's also very easily walkable, bikable it's one of those bikable cities I've ever seen. Bike paths all over huge green parks 300 plus days of sunshine right on the Mediterranean. And my favourite thing is for the cost of living, I'm not sure you could find a better outlet to get to the rest of Europe. So you can hop off from Valencia to direct flights all over Europe for super cheap. And and then you just get the low cost of living. And it all kind of wraps up into this beautiful situation that we've fell in love with.

Andrew  

I you know, you describe it, I miss my times in Spain, it's I have such fond memories there. And it's not one of the the top promoted destinations with their visa because Portugal with our D seven is so so highly promoted these days with those who are thinking I'll go ahead and plan on a home base in another country not skipping every every three months in from one country to another but those long term planners that say, you know, no, we need some stability, emotional, relational stability, let's find a home base. Why is that? Do you think? Is the Spanish government not just not engaging with this this environment yet? Or what? What's your feel on that after? How long have you been there now again?

Chase  

I've been there, I just renewed my visa. So I know exactly. I've been here for just over three years. And and so your question is great, because I didn't know about this visa for people listening. It's called the non-lucrative visa. And it's really relatively easy to get if you have an income source coming from a country outside the European Union. So in my case, I'm, I'm working. I'm self employed. So he said, so to speak from the US. So that that works for this visa. But I think the reason is is you know until now, this has not been a big topic, there have been a handful of countries that were very much so the exception to the rule on getting on this digital nomad thing is remote work thing. And this visa was not set up for remote workers. It just happens to work for remote workers. It was set up for pensioners, so pensioners, people with a with a stable income, their social security or equivalent. They've been the ones to get this visa, but all criteria match for a remote worker. And it's not like you're tricking the system by doing it. We literally they the Spanish government knows exactly what I'm doing. You have to be very explicit about it when you're applying and and they're like, yeah, that works. That's perfect. So I think that's part of the thing. They weren't really targeting remote workers with this. They may, they may change that and I wouldn't be surprised if they do because they wouldn't mind more people like us coming in and and investing in the economy here without taking a Spanish job. But that wasn't on the the plate early on. I don't think.

Allen  

Well, you know, Chase, you would think that the Spanish government would see what's going on next door in Portugal. Yeah, you know, it's not a big leap to see that, you know, if you're competing with inter regionally for, you know, interesting, affluent, exciting people, this might be a proverbial no brainer.

Chase  

Yeah, exactly. 

Andrew  

I know you're a tech guy, you know, the software programs. If I know this, this is a spur of the moment, spontaneous question, but what are the top three recommendations for living this out of out of the ordinary out of your comfort zone lifestyle of saying, okay, I now have freedom to go anywhere and continue my job. But I've got to implement some new structures to be able to do this. What are your top three recommendations on software that you suggest?

Chase  

Well, I've got it, I'm very biassed, and I want to, I want to start with by saying that I am very clearly biassed on this. But we have a phenomenal tool at Doist the company I work for called Todoist where the leading Task Manager in the world and my life lives in Todoist. In order to get this visa we had about between my wife and I about 100 tasks that we had to manage. And over the course of about six months, this was a project of ours in in Todoist. So if you're looking for something to manage your work and your life and keep things organised, which is one of the struggles that nomads face, right? I mean, keeping things organised and having some structure in your life when you're moving around constantly and looking for the next place to stay and battling visa issues. You've got all this extra baggage to carry. It's nice to have a place to dump all those tasks. So that's the that's the first one that comes to my mind, of course, but again, I'm I'm a bit biassed there.

Andrew  

I must agree with you on that top recommendation. I've been a user for years. So yeah, okay. I don't feel like people should do that, in my user experience has been good, but has been limited to the shopping list. A lot of times, it's when my wife would add the things of when I go to the store. That's where that list is. But okay, number two, and number three, go for it.

Chase  

Number two, and number three, so yeah, this is let's, let's see here. So which direction do we go in? I'm trying really hard to not go in the productivity nerd direction, because this is the world I live in. And team communication and and collaboration and an asynchronous communication. So should I steer clear of this this area? Or

Andrew  

No, no, that's key for remote work life for Okay, location independent, you got to figure out productivity because you're not strapped to a desk. And that time, and many people end up working for 15 hours a day rather than eight or nine?

Allen  

Well, yeah. There's a lot of people who want to do four hours a day, but do eight hours of work in those four hours. They can experience.

Chase  

Yeah, absolutely. So So I think one of the one of the things we talked about a lot at Doist. And in some of the advocacy work that I do for remote work is the importance of asynchronous communication for remote teams. And if you're anybody that's even if you're not working yet, on a remote team, if you collaborate with clients or colleagues of any measure partners that are in other time zones, presumably you're travelling and nomadic a little bit or living in another country, asynchronous communication should be if not the cornerstone of your communication stack. It should probably be a big portion of the way in which you communicate with those people. 

So transitioning from tools that promote you know, synchronous communication, instant messaging and video chats and things like this and going to tools like, again, I'm biassed here with Twist, but that's what we use Doist for, for asynchronous communication with our team. But really any tool I mean, even a slack or Microsoft Teams can be used better than an instant chat tool if you use it correctly. So I'm going to kind of lump all those together and say, Look, giving you a place where you can communicate asynchronously instead of synchronously like one of those tools I mentioned is is huge for for remote workers and digital nomads.

Andrew  

Wait, okay, well, yeah, this is this is great. Knowing the some of those central recommendations that you've provided here now. If you know I know you guys shopped around different countries, and in this has been a very intentional journey. This wasn't just okay overnight and did you do what I refer to as a vision trip to go to the country that you made your home base?

Chase  

So we we spent some time in Spain on a previous couple trips and actually you know what your we did do a vision trip. That's I love that term. We'd spent some time here on a long stint. I think we did three or four months here. Unintended, that's right, unintentionally, we did four months because we bought a camper van and it broke down and we ended up having to stay an extra month past our visa, a whole nother story. But we had been here for four months in Spain, and we and we realised we'd really love to come back here. We just weren't sure where. So a few years later we we made a trip back to Spain and we spent a month in in in Grenada thinking Grenada was where we wanted to be. And after a month, we ruled it out. And we said we're gonna keep looking. And the next time we came back is when we came to Valencia on what we thought was another year long exploration of Spain, but like I said, turned into three years. Yeah, like the vision trip frame framework. That's a that's a great idea.

Allen  

Yeah, and Andrew is also now envisioned your but about kind of slow travel to where you don't just rush to a spot. And then yeah, you know, and I'm sure you took some time to. And and I think one of the things that we're picking out more and more is the people who used to just fly in do meetings and leave are missing a real opportunity. And I'd love your comments on you know, what you see kind of change because I think the remote work community, the location independent community, a big part of it is that they really want to just kind of get in to the fermement of the of the civilization there, so to speak. What are your tips on that?

Chase  

Yeah, I'll just I'll say I couldn't agree more. When you just fly through and see the see the Frommer's guide, you know, top 10 you just miss so much and and you asked me earlier like one of the What do I love about Valencia? One of the things that I really love all those, you know, I mentioned it was ranked number one for for expats, like it doesn't feel like an expat city. I mean, it feels very local. It doesn't feel super touristy. You know, you feel like you're in a not in European Disneyland. But in like a, you know, a rich deep culture. There's very, there's a very deep culture around Las Fallas, which is a big festival here. And there's people called Fajeros, which are like wearing traditional clothes and music. And during normal times, it's just such this rich vibrancy, it's the home of paella. So there's just paella festivals and paella being cooked in the streets and very, very vibrant, deep, rich Spanish culture. So it's, I think, like, if you're the kind of person that really likes getting into the nitty gritty in the culture, which I know from talking with Andrew on my podcast, he definitely is that person, then it's, it's just, it's so great to slow down and just really enjoy the time in a place and not just check off a bunch of sites on a list. 

Allen  

Sure, sure. I want to bring you back to something that actually kind of it was interesting to me, you mentioned that when you were moving to Spain, you use your you know, the task manager, and you had about 100 tasks. Now, I just want to say that if I'm listening to this podcast, I'm very worried when I hear about 100 tasks in six months. It's please please share with the audience are those difficult tasks, are they fun tasks? Are there a couple of really big hurdles to get over? Or is it simple tasks that that it makes things right now I'm a little intimidated by that, if I'm going to Valencia

Chase  

fairpoint I will say we have a hurdle that maybe some others don't. As we we travel with a 50 pounds, Siberian Husky who's got a Spanish, he's got a passport. He's travelled criss crossed across the Atlantic and the equator multiple times. And he's a well travelled pup. And And anyway, I would get I would venture to say 40% of those tasks were related to him. Okay. So if you can remove that element, and then if you can remove the housing element. We were, we had a big section set aside for finding housing. And, and we get very detailed with it with the tasks too. I mean, again, I'm a little bit of a productivity nerd working at a productivity company. So I've, I probably fall into the trap of adding too many tasks. But, you know, it is still a process. I mean, the the non lucrative visa requires a decent amount of background checks and doctor's visits and financial proof and work letters from your job and things have to be validated and translated. And so it's not a it's not for the faint of heart. For sure. I mean, you have to put some effort into it, but it's a it's it's doable. It's it's very doable.

Andrew  

Yeah, I hear that with the dog aspect. It is, you know having moved a couple of many times with pets, dog and cat, that is one of the most time consuming aspects of the relocation, I believe. And having done it recently, as well, it was, luckily, during COVID flights were not very full and the price dropped to half. And they actually my dog actually flew with a, with an escort, which is wild, you know, the first time that dog flew from, you know, from the US to Brazil, they didn't have an escort, and it spent the night in Frankfurt. So my kids were upset, you know, it flew by himself. And it was just yeah. So there's, you know, as we dive into this, there's the one question that we ask everybody. And that is, what is one overlooked place, person, book or experience that you feel like that the listeners should know about? That's about Oh,

Chase  

man, I love I love this question. So many ideas rushing to mind. Wow. So you know, you know, something about, you know, everybody, I think has their kind of like travel style. Some people really love to hit all the big cities, some people want to, you know, go real far off the beaten path. You know, maybe somewhere in between some people like to see all the sights, some people don't want to see any sights. And something about me that I've learned is, you know, I've tried, I've travelled quite a bit, but a lot within the same countries, a lot. I've spent a lot of time in Europe and, and more so than checking off lots of countries or going in and seeing a lot of different cultures. Sometimes what I'm really enjoying is going back to countries that I already really love, and diving deeper, going further down the road less travelled in that particular place. So rather than go real exotic on the on the country level, I'm going to say there's a there's an area in on the border of Spain and France called the Aaron Valley. The Val d'Aran is the local language. This is a corner of Catalonia, which you guys know is a separatist part of Spain, they have their own language, Catalan. They have their really deep rich culture there. They consider themselves their own country. They want to secede from Spain. This is a section of Catalonia that wants to secede from Catalonia for the exact same reasons they have their own language called the called Aranese. They've got their own culture and it's high up in the Pyrenees on the border of France. Beautiful. I think there's like 36 or something little villages that dot this area at some of the best skiing in all of in all of Spain. And and and really really really really good skiing there. And good snow and just amazing astronomy, cute villages. It's beautiful and so I'm gonna throw that out there is like I didn't know about that until I lived here for a year or two and I found it and I just I fell in love with it.

Andrew  

I remember when when I accidentally discovered it myself. I thought is that Russian on the road signs? What language is this? That's not Spanish no and. And we ended up staying in in Bilbao going to the Guggenheim Museum and you know our explorations that region I must agree wholeheartedly with you. It's a place that's overlooked unknown by many and the food there the paellas is we had there were so good and obscure fact. Did you know that paella originally never had seafood in it. That's for the that's for the foreigner.

Chase  

I did what I have learned that Yeah, rabbit is the is the original kind of protein. Actually. Crazy.

Andrew  

Oh, that's good. Actually, I saw one on my window a few minutes ago. But 

Chase  

yeah, that is that that area of state I just absolutely love it then and I'll just quit I won't go. I won't waste any more time. But one other place that came to mind is this area in the south of Chile. Not not Patagonia because I don't think that's off the beaten path. I think that's that's probably pretty well travelled. But there's this area between Santiago and and Patagonia called Pucon which is like volcano country, lake country, waterfall country. And it just insanely gorgeous and very, very friendly people and great food and I really really loved that too.

Allen  

Well, this is this has been great. We've covered a lot today. I know people will want to know more about Doist, more about yourself. Could you share where people can catch up with you and and stay in touch?

Chase  

Yeah, so I'd love to plug our our blog here because the doist.com blog has a whole remote work section, which is really great for anybody aspiring to be more nomadic, looking for remote work. There's tonnes of great content and links to more content from there. So do check out our blog, you can find me on LinkedIn, it's a great place to follow my work and advocacy around remote work. And also I have a podcast called About Abroad, where I talk with expats and people who are moving around, some nomads, some permanent residents in other countries. But the whole idea is to dive into what life is like living beyond your borders, so that you can go to AboutAbroad.com and find me there and all social media handles About Abroad, as well. So

Allen  

Well, thank you for joining us today. I learned a lot. And I also learned that you and Andrew both have been to a unique section of Spain. So Andrew, I'll throw it over to you for last thoughts on this great conversation today.

Andrew  

Last thoughts for me are, let's get a little bit more organised. Let's get some good, good software in play. And, you know, I must confess, I missed Todoist. I was using it and for some reason we quit. And so my takeaway is get that grocery list get some of those other high priority management list get back going Todoist. That's that's my takeaway. Sorry. I didn't plug didn't ask for that plug. But that's my one takeaway from today's session. I'm getting my wife and myself and a couple others back Todoist first one collaborative task management.

Chase  

Mission accomplished.

Allen  

Thanks again. We really appreciate you joining us today the new Nomad podcast. Remember, it's a community of people, ideas and spirit, helping you take advantage of the location independent lifestyle. Please rate this podcast tell others about it. We'd love to have more people participate in you can find us at TheNewNomad.net or at InsuredNomads.com. Keep on travelling and we look forward to seeing you down the road. Cheers.

Going Remote in Valencia, Spain With Chase Warrington | TNN18

About the Guest

Chase Warrington

Chase Warrington is the Head of Business Development at Doist, a remote-first team with 85 employees in 30+ countries. He is also a regular contributor to many of the leading remote-work courses, conferences, and publications, as well as the host of his new podcast, About Abroad. Having worked remotely since 2009, and managed teams spanning all time zones, he is passionate about making remote work, work. After calling a half-a-dozen countries “home”, Chase, an American ex-pat now living in Spain, is well-known for his passion for making location independence the new norm — and helping others step into a life beyond their borders. He is a major contributor to nearly every major remote-centric publication, podcast, and blog, and can often be seen collaborating with some of the most prominent companies in the remote workspace.