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The Warsaw Voice » Travel » January 26, 2012
Travel: Around the World in a Land Rover or how to go traveling while running a firm effectively (2)
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Staying True to Priorities
January 26, 2012   
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Our decision to go on a trip around the world was a choice we made to stay true to our priorities. It was not prompted by some random event. We chose to leave behind material comforts and dedicate ourselves to what we valued the most: the family.

At the same time, my work experience and career path led to me being offered a job as a “remote” consultant.

Getting Ready for the Expedition
In October 2009, five months before departure, I resigned as CFO Europe at SigmiaKalon and decided to divide my time between preparing for the trip and building a new business organization for Akcja Job, the company which I was about to manage remotely. I visited Poland every 15 days to recruit staff and get things up and running for our work together in the future. This was a complicated matter, because I did not have much time on my hands and the situation in which I had to leave the new team to their own devices and manage them from thousands of kilometers away left little room for improvisation.

Slowly, but surely, I was building this whole new enterprise. I was lucky to find a good manager with expertise in my line of business. I provided him with a team of young, energetic and ambitious sales people. I put together a system of salaries, bonuses and so on and the team was ready for action.

In the meantime, my wife Rachela was taking care of the administrative and financial side of our project. Taking care of all the formalities took time and was definitely not the most pleasant part of the preparations. We also needed to organize a “mobile school” for our kids, as for the next two years they would not be able to study in a regular school environment. Rachela got in touch with principals and school administrators, teachers and the Ministry of Education (National Center for Distance Education, CNED) and collected teaching aids, including textbooks, course books, audiovisual materials, CDs and so on.

In between my business trips, the formalities handled by my wife and the kids’ final days in school, the five of us visited our doctor every now and again to endure the torture of a round of 11 vaccinations.

All that aside, I worked hard to get our Land Rover ready for this unusual trip. I installed extra fuel tanks so we could be more autonomous with 170 instead of 60 liters of fuel, and I added a 44-liter water tank. Then, I replaced the shock absorbers with a rally-type suspension system and gathered all other necessary gear.

Accompanied by my wife, I went from bookstore to bookstore in search of travel guides and detailed maps of areas where gravel roads are the only roads available. Instead of a suitcase, each family member got a 30-liter plastic box for their personal belongings. We wanted to avoid taking any extra baggage.

In order to prepare for any eventuality, I arranged two laptops for myself and several cell phones. Aided by our IT people, I installed Skype to be able to communicate with my people at the lowest possible cost. I devised all kinds of tools to enable data and message transfer. All of this would let me keep track of the goings-on in the company and efficiently manage the company while I was away.

Finally, after four months of preparations, everything seemed to be ready. Unless some unexpected obstacles cropped up, we decided that every Friday would be the day I would contact the company and vice-versa.

Igor Jeliński

Igor Jeliński, 41, businessman and traveler. After 15 years of working in senior posts for large multinational corporations, he swapped his career for a journey around the world with his family. Before departing, he set up two firms with two partners, Akcja Job and NelsonLamartine, which proved highly successful during the two years he was away traveling. While pursuing his dream and visiting the most distant and most beautiful corners of the world, he was able to manage his business effectively.

You can find out how he did it from his monthly accounts of his journey, entitled “Around the World in a Land Rover,” in the Voice.

Barbara Deręgowska
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