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Written by Patricia Modispacher
I'm sitting on the sunny balcony of my cute Airbnb in a suburb of Venice. The grandpa in the apartment below me has been listening to Italian heartbreak music at full volume all morning. But even louder than Sempre sempre are the two gentlemen who have been shouting at each other next to me for minutes, or simply "talking passionately".
At this moment, I realize that I have actually made it: I'm having my first workation at Actonic and that in Venice!
The fact that I can now enjoy Bella Italia to the fullest, however, was connected with good organization, a lot of research and unfortunately also a traumatizing bus ride. To prevent the same mistakes from happening to you during your workation, I want to share my experiences as well as the best insider tips for Venice sightseeing with you here!
Direct connection with the night bus? How environmentally conscious, I thought. Just sleep and time will surely fly, I thought.
My bus left on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, I would arrive in Venice for my workation. Everything should have worked out with the seat reservation. Inconveniently, there was a gentleman sitting on my seat who was twice my age and height and refused to leave my seat. Luckily, I don’t speak all the languages he insulted me in, and after both bus drivers and other passengers told me to just sit “anywhere,” I did. Of course, I couldn’t sleep – barely an hour later, at the next boarding, someone wanted to sit where I was sitting.
The chaos (and shouting) was perfect.
I have rarely felt so uncomfortable and literally misplaced.
Afraid of the bus drivers and the strange, aggressive man, I was unable to sleep all night. Maybe it was also because of my new neck pillow.
Completely exhausted and overtired, I arrived in Venice Mestre around nine in the morning and had already learned a lot before the actual start of my workation.
If you’re going to buy a new neck pillow, test it first to see if it might not be a little too big for your neck.
Good people are everywhere: Even if 90% of the people on a bus yell at you, there is at least one Ally who will protect you.
Maybe next time you should take the overpriced train or fly with a bad ecological feeling.
My host Lorenzo is incredibly helpful and let me check in earlier than planned. Unfortunately, it was still late enough that I had been traveling for two hours with suitcases and other luggage, and had sore muscles in my arms.
Half past noon I had arrived at my new temporary apartment and realized I had to leave in ten minutes to catch the next train to Venice. Or I would have to wait an hour.
After a cat wash and new clothes, I grabbed “the bare essentials,” stuffed them into my backpack, and ran.
“the bare essentials” should always include sun protection.
However, I didn’t realize that at the time.
Instead, I was just happy to finally arrive in Venice after this long and exhausting trip!
Before I share my insights and Venice tips, I would like to go into more detail about my workation at Actonic, how I planned my stay abroad and what a workation actually is.
Workation is a compound of “work” and “vacation.” For me, workation at Actonic is a wonderful way to combine work and time off. Because unlike traditional business trips where you stay in an anonymous hotel room, a workation allows you to work in an interesting and inspiring place. Plus, a workation is the ultimate chance to explore extraordinary environments and new cultures while doing your ordinary work. During the day you go about your regular work and in the evening you go exploring, thus absorbing new “brain food” and enriching your creative thinking.
Workation at Actonic is my first experience of this kind. At the same time, this trip is also my first unaccompanied trip abroad. To make sure everything works out, and you can pursue your work in a foreign environment with familiar productivity, I’m sharing my tips here.
At Actonic, and especially with us in the marketing team (kudos to you, Andreas!), communication is always open and warm anyway. When the gates for “Work from Anywhere” were opened, I went straight to my teamlead Andreas and asked what I had to consider when I wanted to work remotely abroad.
After all, it’s essential to clarify what your employer wants. How long do you want to be away? Where exactly? If you want to work in a different time zone, it must be compatible with your daily schedule and other meetings. Clarify exactly what your company’s requirements are, and then you’re off!
The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly, so you should take care of the paperwork first before you start your workation. Is your passport still current? Do you have health insurance? Do you need an amendment to your employment contract? Whatever you need to do, do these unpleasant things first.
Then the fun part can begin.
Because you want to work productively during your workation, you should choose a country (region) that can offer you a good internet connection. Antarctica would not be a suitable place for a workation if you require a stable internet connection.
Furthermore, if you are traveling alone, you should feel safe. So do accurate research on the workation location of your dreams. This is especially important for all the women out there. Although we now know that the real danger is already lurking on the bus in your hometown …
“You’re so lucky with your Airbnb,” a friend said to me yesterday. You can call it luck, or you can call it hours of intensive research. Because this has filled a few evenings over the past few weeks.
Since I wanted to go to Venice, I first thought to directly house on the island. However, that is extremely expensive. Besides, I was already aware at the time how touristy the city has become. But I also wanted to experience the “real” Italy (like the Sempre sempre grandpa below me). Therefore, I decided to stay in a suburb of Venice. I can comfortably be in Venice within 45 minutes, but have cute little ice cream parlors, pubs and one pizza restaurant next to the next here. And the area could not be more picturesque.
All the people greet you and start nice conversations, during which, unfortunately, sooner or later, it comes out how bad my Italian is.
Before I booked the apartment, I wrote to my host Lorenzo and clarified the following things:
Is the internet connection in the apartment stable?
How far is the nearest shopping facility?
What is the connection to Venice?
How is the kitchen equipped?
What is the neighborhood like?
I admit it: ChatGPT was a faithful helper for me and is responsible for me remembering power adapters. Thanks, AI!
The bot was also a great help in planning my Venice tours.
These are the things I asked ChatGPT:
What is the best way to get from (suburb name) to Venice?
I leave Friday night from X and arrive Saturday morning. I have the weekend off and want to see Venice. Then I work in (suburb name) for a week and return Saturday morning. What is the best thing to pack? What do I need to think about?
And yes, here came the top answers, like adapters and sun protection – which I then forgot at Airbnb anyway.
What vocabulary should I learn, so I’m not completely hopelessly lost?
At home, I’m used to working with a laptop and a 30-inch screen. Accordingly, it was clear to me that I would need at least a second screen to efficiently pursue my work even during my workation. Power cables, adapters, headset: Make a list of all the electronic devices you would like to have with you during your workation.
If you have found a good temporary housing and communicated to your employer from when to when you want to do your workation where exactly, nothing stands in the way of your mobile work abroad!
I am a person who loves culture, history and beautiful buildings. Movies romanticizing gondola rides have reinforced my longing for the islands. When “work from anywhere” was established at Actonic, I immediately knew that my first workation would be in Venice.
Moreover, there was a direct connection from southern Germany to Venice. So very convenient, I thought at the time …
Venice is beautiful, but of course everyone knows that. That’s why everyone is there. When I arrived in Venice at noon on Saturday, some bridges were so crowded with people that there were traffic jams and I couldn’t get through at all. In addition, there was glaring sun (sunglasses were in the Airbnb) and an acrid smell of garbage from the alleys.
This did not give the best first impression of the city. Relatively speaking, I could hardly see anything of the actual Venice between all the Instagram-Influencers and tourist stores. But I had already researched that in advance and therefore thought of a solution for the next day.
Although I’m a typical morning-person, I would have liked to sleep a little longer on Sunday (after this bus ride). But because I wanted to experience the true magic of Venice, I got up at 6am and hopped on the train to Venice.
My expectations were exceeded.
Sunday morning, before nine o’clock, Venice is a paradise that can hardly be described in words, you have to experience it:
Empty alleys, a few joggers, one or two walkers with their dogs and the rising sun by the Canal Grande.
Sunday was my museum day: I bought the Venice Museum Pass in advance and was able to get into 11 city museums, including the Doge’s Palace, for 40 euros. This was one of my smartest decisions during my Actonic workation in Venice. The museums were beautiful and showed me the real Venice, away from the tourist streams.
In general, you should book any tickets, even for gondola rides or St. Mark’s Basilica, at least four days in advance. Otherwise, the tickets are already sold out, and you’ll be in Venice either in front of closed doors or endlessly long queues.
After my museum tour, I wanted to use my cell phone navigation device to find more quiet places. But since my battery was supposed to last until the evening (so I could still buy a train ticket back to the mainland), I simply activated flight mode. I let myself be driven by my intuition and discovered small, hidden alleys and typical Italian restaurants.
As a book fan, author AND cat lover, this Venice tip is not to be missed. In fact, this is the place I was most looking forward to during my workation. Libreria Acqua Alta (translates to Bookstore High Water) is emblematic of a pragmatic life: because the library is so often flooded, it stores its books in boxes, bathtubs, and boats. The atmosphere is quaint, relaxed, and exceptionally wonderful. The fact that there are cats running around everywhere in the library, wanting to be petted, is of course also worth a trip!
But: like most beautiful things in Venice, everyone wants to see them and especially take photos for social media. Therefore, this place is not for people with claustrophobia.
Pigeons are seen as a nuisance in Venice and if you feed them (and get caught), you will have to pay a fine. So better not!
After spending the whole weekend in Venice, I worked my usual hours from Monday to Friday. In the evenings, I explored the idyllic small town here and also talked a bit with the nice people.
I was able to gather so many impressions that I still haven’t processed them, and the week has flown by. On Saturday, I’m going back to beautiful southern Germany and before that, I’ll treat myself to one last evening in Venice.
For me, this first workation at Actonic was definitely not the last! I learned many things about Venice, Italy, bus rides and people. And about myself.
Having to be completely on your own abroad makes you realize what really matters in life. Which brings me back to the topic: flight mode. Because one day, just as I was taking my lunch break and about to take my first bite, two messages from my two volunteer positions popped up on my phone at once. At that moment, I realized that I had simply been overdoing it at home lately. Two voluntary positions are perhaps one too many …
You can combine work and vacation and discover a new place
New cultural impressions broaden your horizon and inspire your creativity
Distance from the daily grind is perfect to do a “life check” and reorder priorities (and honorary posts) if necessary
Best cheese pizza in the world in Bella Italia
My stay in Venice was my first Workation at Actonic, but definitely not the last. I’m already collecting ideas of places I’m keen to discover. For me, a Workation is the ideal opportunity to master new challenges and recharge my mental and creative batteries.
I can only recommend such mobile working to all my colleagues at Actonic!
Maybe this is also something for you? When you work at Actonic, you can choose where you work from. Venice, Japan or wherever you want. It’s an opportunity that you simply have to take.
We are always happy to welcome motivated new employees – maybe there is a suitable position for you? Discover our open positions now!
Andreas Springer _Actonic_
Head of Marketing
2 accepted answers