It's my dream job, and being back in Dubbo has been terrific, we're just making the most of it...Mitch Malone
Remote working has become a popular way of life for many employees with businesses having to shift to a different way of operating due to COVID-19 and the requirement of social distancing where applicable.
But, for Mitch and Stephanie Malone, remote working has been a way of life for years.
Software engineer, Mr Malone has been on the road living out of a caravan, and at times a meer two bags, with wife, Mrs Malone, and their dog, Porthos, for the past two years, working from various locations across the country and even overseas.
"All you need is a laptop and internet connection," Mr Malone said.
With remote learning a must for many in current circumstances, Mr Malone said he hopes more businesses are coming to realise the perks of remote operations.
"I hope companies are starting to take remote working as an option more seriously," he said.
Mr and Mrs Malone were in Croatia when the pandemic first peaked in Australia and are now temporarily working back home in Dubbo, but as soon as they can they will venture out again.
"I've been back in Dubbo for five months now working from my office at the Exchange for the company Linktree," Mr Malone said.
"It was quite weird when the pandemic first hit, we were actually in Croatia at the time. We were out rock climbing one day, five days into the trip, we were literally halfway up a mountain. When we got back to our Airbnb our phones were just going off, we had like 53 emails from Tripadvisor and stacks of messages from friends just freaking out. It was really disorientating. I'm usually a see how it goes sort of person, but on this one occasion, I was like I think we should leave.
"We ended up getting back into Australia, we were quite fortunate we got in fairly quickly, the only thing was that the tickets were really expensive. I think we got back something like 48 hours before the hotel quarantining commenced, but we completed our two-week quarantine and done everything by the letter of the law."
Mr Malone said it was while he was in his two-week quarantine period that Linktree "headhunted" him.
"I studied computer science at university and I've been a software engineer and programmer for two decades, right now my role at Linktree is Chief Technology Officer."
In a roundabout way, Mr and Mrs Malone's travels being cut short ended up having quite the perks.
"It's my dream job, and being back in Dubbo has been terrific, we're just making the most of it. I have two beautiful nieces here who I've been spending time with, and we have loads and loads of really amazing friends here," Mr Malone said.
"Besides, right now Dubbo's the safest place for us to be, so we're just waiting it out, but we do want to head back to Tasmania when the borders open again."
Despite having family members and friends in Dubbo, Mr and Mrs Malone are still living out of their caravan.
One of the things Mr Malone does in his role at Linktree encourages companies starting to think about remote working.
"I hope companies, especially now, are seeing there's not productivity loss in remote working. Everything that happens in the office still happens, but instead of say, using a whiteboard in a room, we use a digital whiteboard for everyone to collaborate on."
Mr Malone said he believes remote working produces a result of happier employees and better relationships with kids for working parents.
Although for some the jump to remote working while travelling the country and living life with only the bare essentials may seem unattainable, Mr Malone said it was quite the smooth transition from mundane life.
"I had been working remotely for quite some time from Dubbo for a company in Sydney, and we sort of just thought, well if we can work from Dubbo remotely to Sydney, why can't we work from anywhere we want," he said.
"We already had the caravan and the property market was good so we sold our house and just took it on the road, at first it was a bit of a journey for us, we were taking our time pairing things down, like most people who own a three-bedroom house, we had a lot of stuff, so it took us a couple of years for us to cut that down to just bare essentials, but the last little bit was really just like ripping the bandaid off.
"We spent a month in Dubbo getting our affairs in order and then we drove up the road a bit, stayed there, drove up a bit further, and before we knew it we had travelled 10s of thousands of kilometres, and we were in Tasmania for the summer and it was incredible."
Mr Malone said the only limitation is off-grid exploring, which they wait for the weekends when having an internet connection isn't a must-have.
Although the couple has been to some remarkable places around the country, and the globe, Mr Malone said nowhere beats the Dubbo sunsets.
"Dubbo, for whatever reason, has the most beautiful, amazing sunsets, but also, for us, really great people," he said. "I will always love Dubbo, now I've spent so much time away and in cities, I can appreciate it."
Mr Malone said for him and his wife spending so much time together was easy, but he warns others contemplating of travelling while remote learning, with their significant others that you will notice if there are any kinks in your armour.
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