Twenty-nine-year-old Bakersfield native Cici Pandol has launched an innovative website and blog devoted to the road-trippers, the wanderlusters eager to explore the highways and byways across the country and beyond while working from the road.
Pandol created Pollen as a hub for the new, emerging post-pandemic nomadic workforce, with a blog loaded with tips and ideas for combining work and travel, including itineraries with a full work week.
A lover of low-cost, authentic travel experiences, Pandol launched pollentravels.com last December.
“Before attending graduate school, I took some time off to backpack through South America for seven weeks, and experience the hostel culture for the first time,” she said. “I traveled solo, but I was never alone and loved the community and network that hostels brought to my travels.”
Stateside, she embarked on a road trip up California’s iconic Highway One. “It was a stark contrast to my experience in South America. There was no low-cost housing, no way to meet other road trippers, no information sharing, or defined routes. I found this striking since it is one of the most well-known road trips in the country.”
The experience, coupled with the domestic-only road travel created by the pandemic, got her creative juices flowing.
“The United States has so much to offer in terms of world-class sights and activities, but getting around is expensive and isolating. I felt like there was a need for information about how to work from the road trip as the world changes and remote work becomes more common," she said.
The website and blog offers tried and tested tips like planning loosely using can’t miss destinations, thinking through your travel money strategy, getting a handle on cellular and internet coverage where you are headed, packing a cooler filled with waters and sandwiches, traveling with your pet, and organizing your bag.
Pandol also advises putting GPS trackers on your valuables, listening to relevant audiobooks and podcasts about the area you are traveling through, ensuring your car is equipped with a charger, phone stand, wastebasket, and a wifi extender. The extender is genius.
“This way you can stop on the side of the road and beam that Starbucks Wifi straight to you in the parking lot for a work call you couldn’t reschedule without all the cafe noise,” she writes.
The tips also come with recommended apps like the location-based audio tour HearHere, which she used on a ten-day, 16 state, 3,500-mile road trip with her mother this past summer.
“I cold emailed them asking if I could get involved, and they asked me to write about my road trip experience. Without HearHere, we would have missed some silly stops like the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a statue of Popeye at the Spinach Capital of the world, not to mention so much history and stories about the people and moments that defined the landscapes around us,” she added. “It was like having an on-demand tour guide with you.”
Look for Pandol, an associate marketing manager at the Clorox Company, to add her recent Italian adventure to Pollen Travels soon, as soon as she’s unpacked. “I think this could be a new way to work and live.”