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7 ways to manage living where you work

Living where you work presents its own upsides and downsides. It can be a balancing act trying to manage the challenges and rewards of this unique way of traveling, so here are some top tips to live and work well when you work where you live!


Jun 04, 2023


living where you work

Through work exchange experiences such as Worldpackers, working remotely and other work abroad opportunities like live-in Au Pairing, living where you work has become an attractive choice for many backpackers. 

Not only is it an economically smart way to save money while traveling but it also offers ways to experience cultures and countries in a deeper way than just passing through the typical tourist sites.

The pros and cons of living where you work

There are heaps of pros and cons to this particular way of working while traveling.

Some of the benefits to living where you work include the opportunity to thrive within a community setting, having no commute time, being able to fully throw yourself into projects and getting to connect with people and places on a whole different level. 

The challenges can lie in finding a work life balance when your life is at your place of work, finding ways to switch off and needing more personal space than may be available.

I've done all kinds of live in jobs during my last five years of travel such as teaching yoga on back-to-back retreats for three months in Romania, Au Pairing for nine months in Réunion Island (France), and doing work exchange projects at various organic farms and eco lodges in India, Brazil, Argentina and Peru!

Ways to manage a healthy work life balance

If you've ended up living where you work, you might be wondering how to successfully manage that work life balance

Here are 7 ideas to support this incredibly unique way of living and working:

  1. Have a life outside of where you live and work
  2. Have boundaries and stick to them
  3. Take time alone
  4. Prioritize your sleep
  5. Take full days off
  6. Don't let work take over
  7. Make the most of it!

Ways to manage a healthy work life balance

1. Have a life outside of where you live and work

This is essential. 

However amazing the project you are working on might be and however beautiful the place you're living is, it's still important to get out from time to time. 

Some ideas could be trying out a local dance class, going on regular walks, taking a sketchbook to the nearest city or forest or checking out what hostel or community events are on offer where you are.

2. Have boundaries and stick to them

It can be so easy to get swept up in doing extra work when you work where you live and sometimes you might be happy to do so which is fine but be sure to set certain boundaries. 

A non-negotiable boundary could be no work talk after 9 pm, a set hour every morning that you take for yourself before starting work or never sacrificing your lunch break.

3. Take time alone

Working remotely in hostels, working in exchange for food and board with community projects and any other live-in work arrangements, often come with living and working in shared communal spaces

Whilst this can be a great way to connect to others, it can also be tiring so be sure to prioritize some solo time in amongst all of the socializing! 

How to live and work well

4. Prioritize your sleep

When living where you work, especially if in a hospitality setting e.g. working on retreats or in hostels, there are a lot of reasons to stay up late. 

It could be an exciting in depth conversation, a dance party or a late night star gazing session that calls you to miss your bedtime. 

These are all great to do here and there but it's also important not to try to do everything when you live where you work or you could miss out on important rest.

5. Take full days off

This might seem obvious but it can be hard to do when you live where you work

It's important to have at least one full day off a week to reset, recharge and get some head space from your work. If you're a digital nomad or work on the road, it's just as important to practice self-care while traveling as it is to do so at home.

Not all of us manage to do this so hats off to those who make it a top priority!

6. Don't let work take over

Just because your work is part of your everyday life even on your time off, be sure not to abandon your own personal practices and hobbies. Traveling can be a great way to find your passion or discover new interests, but if you work as you travel it can be difficult to make time for personal pastimes.

It can be harder to schedule in time for your morning meditation, evening jog or whatever else you enjoy doing but your well being should be on the To-Do-List as well as all your work related tasks.

7. Make the most of it!

Honestly, not everyone can say they've lived where they worked

It takes an open mind, flexibility and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone to choose to live where you work.

Make the most of every second because it is a unique opportunity for professional and personal growth.

On living where you work

Each work placement I've had abroad has pushed me to develop in ways I never would have imagined

When working in the marketing time at community project in Brazil, I surprised myself by spending three months sleeping in the forest with the world's deadliest spider where I faced my fear of the dark head on and left feeling much stronger. 

Teaching on yoga retreats around the world, I've learnt the importance of taking time to myself and in Réunion Island I found creative ways to socialize and make friends while traveling, despite living in a secluded mountain village.

Living where you work can, without a doubt, present a unique set of challenges but it also comes with rewards that are like no other. 

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