Throughout the pandemic, many people spent their time amidst shutdowns fostering an unprecedented wanderlust. Once the travel world started to return to normal once again, a new type of travel approach emerged. Instead of short, fast trips, travelers choose to stay gone longer and take trips focused on savoring time. With more people working remotely than ever before, the availability of long, globe-trotting trips has grown. One such advocate of this new approach to travel is Prequel founder Ivy Xu. Xu's day-to-day focus is on revolutionizing the educational landscape for teens by teaching them critical life skills that aren’t learned in traditional K-12 school environments. Part of the core life skills that Xu's Prequel programs teach young people are also the life skills that Xu applies to her travel philosophy. "A question that I often get from strangers on the internet is, ‘how can I afford to live a nomadic lifestyle?’" says Xu, "I've done a lot of different things. Depending on your skills, your current bank account, and the trade-offs between money and freedom you're willing to make, there are ways to support yourself while traveling."Looking at the career and lifestyle in terms of today's world is the basis for Prequel's bootcamps. Xu and her team acknowledge that the days of the standard 9-to-5 in a cubicle, a pension plan, and a week of vacation a year are likely coming to an end; the working world and family life have shifted. This shift has led Xu to create Prequel to teach young people necessary skills such as personal finances, growing a social media following, and building businesses. These modern skillsets are what allow young professionals like Xu the ability to travel the way they do.
Living the laptop lifestyle
People who travel for long periods of time are often called "Laptop Nomads." This moniker is assigned because they typically make their living while on the road. There are several approaches to maintaining an unconventional travel lifestyle and still earning a living. These include:
The pandemic created a moment for remote work that doesn't seem to be waning, even as the pandemic winds down. Prequel was formed during the pandemic's early days, creating a remote work environment like many other companies. If one can find a position with a remote company that is open to them working anywhere they can find a WiFi connection, the sky is the limit in terms of where you can travel and explore. A recent study found that 59% of the workforce works remotely, up from 23% pre-pandemic. This new world of work is one that Xu has fully embraced, and it's allowed her to travel to 20 countries in the last four years. "I stay in each country for one to three months to truly experience life there as a local. This helps me experience culture at a greater depth, learn from others how to live in a different way, make the most unexpected discoveries, and stay as long as the place brings me joy."
One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a culture is to work where you happen to be. "One of my favorite nomadic memories was working on a boysenberry farm in rural New Zealand," explains Xu. "Every day, we would get up to hand-pick berries and sell them on a roadside stall."Dream travel experiences can be about rest and relaxation but also about trying new things and learning new skills. Many countries offer working holiday visas that allow for longer stays and working experiences for those on holiday.
Work for yourself
A large part of the Prequel platform is teaching young people how to create startups and work for themselves. This entrepreneurial spirit primarily feeds Xu's traveling. "Being your own boss allows you to do whatever you want, like travel the world!" Dreams can come true if they are well-plotted, thoughtfully planned, and executed with the big picture in mind. In this new era of working and traveling, innovators like Xu are showing the upcoming generation how it's done in business, travel, and life in general.