It’s going pretty well so far this online web design lark. I mean if it carries on at this rate of growth I’m gonna be employing people to help me do the work. Mathematically speaking, that is, probably millions by the year’s out. Of course, that won’t happen – it’s just a timely burst of good fortune at the beginning that‘ll level off, surely? This is about my first few months freelancing on the internet. Freelancing on the internet while traveling. And I’m hoping in a few months that it’ll pay to get us back home.
Beginning to Freelance
At first it was only Russians and maybe a couple of French people I met – but they were doing weird website stuff I couldn’t quite get. And then I noticed that, actually, more and more people were doing it, like, from the English speaking part of the world. Lots of Americans riding south from the north-west, hopping from Wi-Fi hotspot to hotspot, doing on the road what they’d undoubtedly been up to for years at home. But all these people were, like, professionals. What kind of experience awaited a newbie like me?
Well, mixing it with the global workforce for one. My chosen freelance sites seem to have a high proportion of South Asians in direct competition with me – suddenly I was reading all kinds of bids, proposals and offers in the distinctive English of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. I could hardly stop imagining them sitting in a hot internet café somewhere mega-urban struggling with the bandwidth, getting gassed by the slow, smoky dense traffic passing outside. Much like I am really – fittingly my online world sits with the Bolivian city meatspace around me. And fittingly approaching the general money side of it too; you know, the world average – ten dollars a day. Just enough to support us, if we don’t do much fun stuff but, no, not enough to get us much further down the road than where we are in Sucre. I’d better rack it up to sixteen hours a day if we’re over gonna make it to the Atlantic.
Working in the Global Economy
It’s certainly an education to be competing for work with everyone in the world. Anyone with a computer, access to the internet and the time to invest. That’s not much to ask is it? That everyone in the world had all that – and the chance to make some real cash? A few wires, a little bit of lithium and some time? Like the guy who stole our laptop a while back. For a few days, there, before he passed it on for a hundred bucks, how close was he to moving away from his role in life as a street-living petty thief with a hard drug problem to becoming a web designer just like you or me? He had the hardware in his hands, if not the opportunity to use it or the education to do the work… But surely the global economy was more open to him, in those few days, than the borders around the West ever were?