Wherever I am in the world, I wake up 7am, tug on my trainers and get out the door before I have time to think about it. My routine might not change, but my surroundings certainly do. I could be running along the beach in Margate, Kent, near my flat - or the banks of the Seine, past temples in Laos or around the boating lake in New York's Central Park.
When I go for a run somewhere new, I feel like I’ve made it my home.
As a freelance reporter, I spend around half my time immersing myself in distant locations or looking for stories in unfamiliar surroundings. And I spend the other half frantically typing up my stories for editors in New York, London or Sydney.
It’s my job to identify emerging destinations, cultural scenes and interesting new hotel openings around the globe, and make sure I’m one of the first to cover it. Work has taken me whisky-tasting in Islay, kite-surfing in Mauritius, gorilla-tracking in Rwanda, street-art perusing in São Paulo, hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara and on the food truck trail in Austin, Texas.
And my trusty MacBook means I can work from anywhere; I’ve filed a feature about catwalk trends for a women’s fashion magazine from a bale of hay at a New Zealand winery, a piece on horror movies to a men’s magazine from a hammock in Antiqua, and submitted a news feature to a UK paper about the sharing economy from a Seattle coffeeshop at 5am.
My editors never know where I’ll be, but they do need to know I’ll file copy on time.
To do this job I’ve had to well and truly embrace flexible working, taking time off when it's worth it and then opening my laptop whenever and wherever I can. I know my way around airport lounges and train station WiFi zones, and haven’t slacked off and watched a plane movie in years, sadly.
The word ‘holiday’ has little meaning for me now, because I expect to work as I travel, and vice versa. But if I’ve sacrificed sporadic holidays, I’ve gained something more precious: daily flexibility. I’ve been able to base myself in a camper-van in New Zealand for six months, beach huts across Thailand, a co-working space in Bali one winter, and an Airbnb in Los Angeles for six months. I consider this freedom one of my greatest career assets, and being a writer is a dream job for me.
I still can't believe I get to travel the world and call it work.
Anna's travel memoir Departures - published by Little, Brown Book Group - is out now and available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Departures-Guide-Letting-Adventure-Time/dp/0751569569