How Catapult’s Admin Became a Digital Nomad
Did you know the Catapult admin works lives out of a suitcase, travels the worlds, and works from anywhere and everywhere? Here’s the story of how she made her dream of a life of travel come true. And why in the world Catapult ever agreed to such a thing.
Travel has always been my passion. My obsession. I love it and need it in my life. I can’t get enough of it. I want to see the wonders of the world with my own eyes.
For many years, I had been searching for a way to work and travel. Traveling just a few weeks a year on my PTO was no longer enough for me. I’m not yet retirement age, or wealthy enough to just travel without working. I needed to work, and I needed to find a way to travel more. Then, finally, two things magically aligned to make this dream a reality: Covid and Catapult.
I was working for Catapult when Covid happened. I worked remotely for them for about a year, staying safe and staying home. Once the worst was over and we started discussing the possibility of returning to the office, I had an honest conversation with my employers, who already knew of my lifelong dream to travel. I asked if they would consider allowing me to continue to work remotely so that I could travel while working. Having already worked remotely for a year with no issues, I hoped it might be something they would consider. I explained I would work my normal work schedule, regardless of the time difference wherever I was. We discussed what work I would continue to be able to do remotely, and the few things that were part of my pre-Covid in-office job that I wouldn’t be able to do remotely. Someone was going to pick up that slack, so it was important to me that it was not an undue burden on the team. I was happy to take on some new responsibilities to make up for it. Fortunately, my amazing employers generously agreed to a 6-month trial. We decided at the end of the trial period, we would regroup. If it wasn’t working for them, or if it wasn’t working for me, I could either return to the office, or we’d go our separate ways with no hard feelings.
Once I had my vaccines, I was off. In 2021, I spent several months traveling through Europe visiting 30 countries. I cannot adequately express how much joy and fulfillment this experience brought me. Traveling full-time is exactly what I have always dreamed of, and the reality of it turned out to be even better than the dream. But my own personal happiness is not the only consideration. It is equally as important to me that Catapult is happy. Especially because my employer is so incredibly generous in allowing this arrangement, it’s extremely important to me that I keep up my end of our bargain. I work that much harder to ensure that I am always on time, prepared, efficient, productive and helpful. I don’t want my personal life of travel to ever get in the way of my professional work. I am so blessed and honored to be able to work with the amazing and brilliant team at Catapult. They all mean so much to me, and I never want to let them down.
Fortunately, things went very smoothly workwise. I think I missed only 1 day of work during that whole time due to an unexpected illness requiring me to go to the hospital. (Romania has excellent and free emergency care, FYI.) After our 6-month trial, we agreed to continue the arrangement since it was working well for Catapult, and it was absolutely working for me.
I do come back to the states from time to time. I spent a few months in New York to spend the holidays with my son and help him find and move to a new apartment, and to housesit for several weeks for my sister. I’m now traveling again, currently in South America, counting my many blessings as I explore this big, beautiful world.
This lifestyle is not for everyone. Especially not at the pace at which I move from place to place. I tried staying in one spot for a month once, but my wandering, curious feet got the better of me and I haven’t done that since. Usually, I stay about a week in one place and then move on to a new horizon. I will admit that it’s exhausting. When I’m not working or sightseeing, I am forever reading, researching, checking Covid requirements, planning, booking hotels, reading reviews, checking for places with good Wi-Fi, studying maps, scheduling tours, drafting itineraries, and figuring out how to say important phrases in another language. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is something new and beautiful to see every day, and something interesting and moving to learn about. I get to meet the most amazing people – sometimes locals, sometimes nomads like me – and I always learn so much from the people I meet. And day by day, bit by bit, I get better at this. And I find I’m the one giving helpful advice to travelers I meet.
Some people think I’m a little crazy. After all, I’m essentially homeless. I sold my house and everything I own to make this dream come true. I have a small backpack and carry-on suitcase with me, an extra suitcase of mostly winter clothes at my son’s place, and a couple of boxes in my sister’s basement. That’s all I need. I just don’t care about things anymore. I care about experiences. When I need a break from travel, I have a long list of family and friends who have kindly offered me a place to crash if I need a rest from a life on the road.
I think I must be the luckiest person on the planet. I’m able to truly live my dreams of travel while working for the world’s best employer. I mean that with all sincerity. I’ve had so many jobs over the years, but I’ve never been happier at any job than I have been at Catapult. That team has carved a very special place in my heart. I can’t imagine many other businesses would even consider an arrangement like this, especially for someone at my level. Catapult isn’t like that. They aren’t afraid to try an unconventional work arrangement. They see worth in every person in their company, and they value the happiness of their employees. They work with other businesses to help them open up to new possibilities and different ways of working and thinking, and they truly practice what they preach within their own business.
Every morning I wake up (usually for a moment not knowing where in the world I am), the intense feeling of joy at having a new place to explore and learn about overcomes me. And these words, so small and insufficient for the vast amount of gratitude I feel, spring to mind. Thank you, Catapult.
The Catapult Perspective:
The executive summary of our perspective on this working arrangement is: This is one of the best experiments we have ever tried. The outcomes have far exceeded our expectations and, as a bonus, we get to travel vicariously through Sheila’s photos and stories! The best part is that we have a colleague and friend who is living her dream and helping us to live ours.
The future of work is now. True talent combined with commitment and loyalty is invaluable! We hope this piece will inspire you to think differently about what’s possible!