I put my entire development environment offline so that I can develop my data-driven React Native App while being completely off the map!

It's one of my hobbies to be able to do long treks in the mountains, but the problem is, that during these treks I can't really work. Or can I? It's my dream to be able to work 8 hours a day and still do long hikes of, for example, 6 hours a day walking, trekking through the most amazing nature and rural areas in the world... Wouldn't that be awesome?

Most of my work currently consists of programming. I'm building my own app, so I don't need to communicate. Very often when programming, however, I need to go online to read some documentation. However... It can be done in another way! While being in Bansko, I decided to try it.

I needed to be able to program with React Native and continue building my app without using any internet. This is what I did to be able to do that:

  • I downloaded all documentation and GitHub repo's that I'm using as dependencies. I used devdocs.io for documentation for most huge libraries.
  • For smaller libraries like Apollo or GraphQL that weren't available there, I used SiteSucker for Mac to download the Documentation websites for offline use.
  • My React Native App uses a Node + Express + GraphQL + Sequelize SQLite backend which I run locally and completely offline.
  • I don't use anything like Expo. Expo needs internet! I use the good old way of running and building the React Native App locally.

The experiment

Can I be productive in an extremely rural environment? I will sleep in the mountains in huts for 2+ nights.

  • Day 1 - 8:30 Bansko train station bus to Vihren hut - Walk to Vihren peak - walk back to Vihren hut; work & sleep
  • Day 2 - Vihren hut -> lakes -> Demyanitsa hut - It's a long day. I can work at the Demyanitsa hut in the evening.
  • Day 3 - Demyanitsa down to Bansko or stay and do some more... I'll see how it goes!

The theory is that I will be less distracted. Having no or very bad internet keeps you off news websites, social media, and other things.

The results

It's tuesday, 22nd of August, 2017. I've just worked 90 minutes without any internet. Great focus! I don't mind working like this every day! Look at that view!

I am even still getting 2Mbit Download speed here, so if I really want to… I can still look some things up on Google… Or update my blog… Like now :)

Further possibilities

  • In the future, I will try to go even more remote in other offline-experiments by using a tent, bringing my own food, and a good solar panel + power bank to keep my laptop charged.
  • It could also be possible to go with a small group of people to Nepal and do the Annapurna Circuit like this. I want to do this in april 2018, preferably with a small group of React Native programmers!