I read an awesome book recently that made me rethink many things about location, work, and business. It was Tim Ferriss’ book which I highly recommend.


“The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” (Timothy Ferris)

I recently had reason to head to Paris for personal reasons. I thought I would use the trip as an opportunity to try working somewhere other than Vancouver – to see if it’s really possible to relocate and still work? Of course, in Ferriss’ world, you only work 4 hours a week. Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience THAT part of the plan.

It worked. Here’s how I did it.

I moved all of my landline numbers into a Vonage account about a month prior – personal home phone, company land-line from San Francisco, company land-line from Vancouver – the works. I set up one voicemail box for all of the numbers and forwarded that to Simulscribe which transcribes voicemails to email (and does a pretty darned great job at it). Then I set up the cell to roll-over to the same Simulscribe address.

Once in Paris, I plugged in the phone and Vonage box. And realized that whoops – you can’t plug 110V devices into 220V. I had fried BOTH of them. Or so I thought. It turned out that fortune favours the stupid. One of the plug converters was fried so it never passed any current through.

So I bought some transformers (220V to 110V step down transformers) for my other various chargers, bought a couple of plug converters (for the Apple power supply and the new phone that I bought) and plugged it all in. It took a couple of tries but after a call to Vonage tech support, the Vonage box was up and running on the local DSL connection and voila – my phone was plugged in and ready to receive calls at any of my numbers.

I have to admit that it was freeing (and a bit strange) to have people look at my calling code and say, “OH! You’re in Vancouver!” and then have to explain that no, in fact I was in Paris, ten hours ahead of them! The sound quality was as good as it is in Vancouver, which is to say, on par with the regular plain old telephone lines that I had before.

There was only one glitch and that was more to do with the Siemens phone than anything else. It would ring but only at the moment it was actually ringing, could you hit the “ACCEPT” button. In between rings, it didn’t look “pick up able”. Weird.

But that very small issue aside, it means that with a laptop, skype, Gatherplace (for screen sharing), Simulscribe, a good DSL connection, and a Vonage adapter – have equipment, will travel.

I hear that Puerto Vallarta has good DSL… Or maybe Costa Rica….