There are a few unique places which I visited when traveling and working on the road.
These are not only places that stand out from the rest because of the experiences I gained, nature, cuisine or atmosphere I discovered while living there, but also due to the people I met. I think about those relationships that often last longer than the journey itself.
Las Palmas is one of such places. It was in the capital city of Gran Canaria where I had the opportunity to observe how the community of nomads is growing. Those are people exchanging experiences, sharing knowledge and skills — related to both traveling and work. They spend time together working, exploring the nearby areas, drawing inspiration from each other.
The person who has been supporting the idea of building a nomad community in Las Palmas is Carlos, who for ten years now has been traveling for at least a few months a year while working remotely on the road. He lives in his hometown of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where he runs a company that works 100% remotely. Carlos is one of the initiators of the nomad community on the island.
I talk with Carlos about his passion for travel, the idea of working remotely on the road, the role of the community for nomads, and of course about Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.
"Canarian people love celebrating the life" — Nomad Talk
What were the main reasons you decided to travel overseas on a regular basis? How often and for how long do you travel usually?
Carlos: I love traveling and discovering new places, cultures, foods, languages. I usually travel two or three months in a row, mostly in summer. In winter I come back to Gran Canaria, where I have my home base.
When did you hear for the first time about the idea of working remotely from the road?
Carlos: I started traveling and working remotely ten years ago. I’ve been working as a freelancer for a few years and have always wanted to travel more than a few days per year. My first trip was to Berlin for three weeks. It was a kind of experiment. I wanted to check if I were able to combine my job with long-term trips. The experience was great. My customers didn’t even notice that I was abroad. That was the beginning of my life as a part-time digital nomad.
What do you value the most in the possibility of working and traveling at the same time? What are the main pros and cons?
It's the freedom of discovering new places and cultures without the constraints of vacations limits.
Carlos: I think the main pro is the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. The main cons might be the organization of the trip and the reset of your routine and environment every time you arrive to a new place (which is also pretty exciting!).
What's the difference between your regular working day at home and while on the road? What are your best ways to adapt to a new place?
Do you think running your own business can be an advantage while working on the road? Do you see any differences between working remotely or as a freelancer and owning a business?
Carlos: Sure! Unless you have to visit your customers frequently, you don’t need to ask for permission from your boss to travel as much as you want. Apart from that, I don’t see much difference between being a freelancer and having your own business, especially if you work in the digital world.
Can you tell something more about your business? Is it related somehow to your experience gained while traveling and working from the road?
Carlos: I’m the founder of Quaderno, a tax management software for internet businesses. We help businesses with customers around the world to easily calculate late and report sales taxes. Quaderno was born as a side project while I was a freelancer. I always wanted to develop my own product and create a recurring revenue stream. The product became quite popular pretty fast, allowing me to quit my job as a freelancer and focus on it. Quaderno is not really related with my experience as remote worker and traveler, but it belongs to that kind of digital products with customers everywhere that allow you not to be based in just one place. In fact, the whole team is working remotely.
Knowing the ins and outs of the nomadic lifestyle, you’ve decided to form and coordinate the digital nomads' community in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. What's the main idea of the community?
Carlos: I’ve been traveling quite a lot and I know the community is one of the main things remote workers and digital nomads value the most when they visit a new place. More than three years ago I created the Gran Canaria Digital Nomad Meetup as a monthly event for occasional visitors and long-term residents to meet, make friends and share experiences. At the beginning, we were just a bunch of people. In our last meetups, there were more than 50 people.
The event is very alternative and spontaneous. We don’t have sponsors or any kind of support. We just meet in a different place every month to chat with other fellows and have fun. The main goal is to connect the nomad community who is living in the island. It's a gathering of nomads and expats to meet each other and share experiences.
Every year Las Palmas has become more and more popular. The city has a high rank as a place for nomads, and the offer of co-living houses and coworking spaces on the island is growing. What are the most important factors that influence this image? What are the benefits of choosing Gran Canaria as a short or long-term travel destination?
Carlos: First of all, the community. If you come to the city, especially if you travel alone, you know you’re going to meet more like-minded people. Obviously, the weather (winter is amazing!) and the quality of life are also important.
Besides Las Palmas is very well connected by plane with the main European cities and it’s an inexpensive and secure destination, with an awesome Internet connection.
I’m sure the city is going to be more visible in the future.
In that case, I think I should ask what are the most intriguing activities or places to explore during the winter season in Las Palmas?
Canarian people love celebrating the life.
What are your thoughts on the future of remote working? Do you think this trend will grow and companies will focus even more on remote workers? Or maybe if you want to travel full time you should rather choose a freelance business or own a company?
Carlos: Remote working is definitely the future. More and more people want to work from the place that makes them happy and not to waste their time commuting. Being a freelancer or having your own business make it easier, but every year there are more remote-friendly companies that want to work with the best professionals in their fields, no matter where they’re based.
What are your plans for the near future? Have you already found such a place?
Carlos: I'll visit the Balkans soon. It’s a quite unknown part of Europe with a lot of beautiful places to discover. I don’t usually travel for many months. I’d rather come to my home base. So I’ll be back to Gran Canaria for the winter. This island is my home, where I have family and many friends. I love to come back on Gran Canaria when the weather is getting cold and days are darker in the north.
Carlos Hernández Medina is a founder of Quaderno, an online service company supporting the idea of working remotely. He's also a founder of The Sandbox, a coworking space in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Internet guy with more than several years of experience in software development. Traveler and explorer. Tea Lover. He believes in creativity and simplicity.
What are your thoughts on traveling and working remotely? Share with me your opinions in the comments below. Do you have a story you would like to share with others? Please send me a DM if you want to talk about your experiences gained when working and traveling to different parts of the world. I'm looking forward to talking to you!
I publish more pictures from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Instagram.