I know many of my readers dream of living a location independent lifestyle. Here are five things to think about when planning to make location independence happen. Today’s guest blogger is Ryan Gibson.
For many of us, the path to true happiness and a lifestyle we adore is one that allows us to live for the moment, with the people we love, in a place that we love. For most of us, the source of stress that arises in everyday life is because we can’t find the right balance. Whether it is a long commute and short night sleep, or money issues and bank balances – or just a job that we don’t enjoy – the source of unhappiness is often because we’re not finding the right balance.
After all – we grow up in life believing that our life has to be a day job, a commute, and then a short evening spent at home with family. But what’s to say this is the right way?
There are many ways to achieve location independence – all it takes a bit of experimentation to see which kind of lifestyle works for you.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine was a London city professional – which meant he was commuting for three hours each day on cramped public transport, working nine or ten hours at a desk, and then trying to find time for himself and his partner when returning home.
I know from chatting with him this became increasingly difficult – as they both had other commitments aside from each other (such as friends and hobbies). And even when they moved in together, two years later, they still found it a struggle at times. That’s not to say they didn’t enjoy their lives – they loved living in the big smoke – but sometimes their balance was just a bit “off”.
Making a change
My friend decided to try a different way of living for a while – not a permanent change, but a period of time long enough for them both to enjoy each others company, and life without other commitments. I could see how excited they were to try out this new lifestyle – and it became obvious that this was clearly the right lifestyle choice for them.
Six months ago they decided to move to New Zealand and Australia. They lived for four months in Australia and now they’ve settled in Queenstown, New Zealand. It’s a move that has done endless amounts for them as a couple – I hear now only good things, and the new lifestyle change has brought them closer together.
They now support themselves working freelance, part-time – without any pressure and with plenty of time to relax and explore the gorgeous countries they moved too. I must admit – I often contemplate whether such a move would benefit myself as much as I’ve seen it benefit them. It’s so tempting to follow in their footsteps.
Making it permanent
Whilst my friends are only planning to be away for a few years – many people achieve this lifestyle as a long-term plan. Here’s how you can achieve a similar lifestyle long term:
1) Think about your industry
You’ll need to be working in an industry that lends itself well to location independent working – and most people I know that are effortlessly fitting into the location independent lifestyle are actually in the digital industry. Working online, or making money from online pursuits – something you can do from anywhere – is frequently referred to as being “digital nomads.” If this is something you plan on doing for the long-term you need to make sure your career path, industry, or job is something you can do from anywhere and doesn’t require regular commitment to a specific location.
2) Don’t be afraid to ask
This is perhaps my biggest piece of advice. If you feel your job could fit well into a location independent lifestyle, then don’t be afraid to ask your employer about this. Many companies are embracing this way of life – and many are now completely open to some staff members working remotely. After all, we have Skype and the Internet to keep us connected. If you don’t ask your employer about these opportunities you may never know if they’re possible.
3) Think about Visas
Does the country you want to move to offer the chance to live and work there? New Zealand and Australia are great as they offer 12-24 month working holiday visas – which are inexpensive and easy to apply for. Whilst this is only a short-term solution in the long-run, it would give you two years of location independent working in a great location to get your feet on the ground.
4) Be savvy
Be savvy with your decision and make sure you’re prepared. It takes a lot of self-discipline to work independently – so be sure you’re ready. Maybe do a test run for a month or two and see how you find it. Some people may find they actually miss working in an office and don’t enjoy location independence – so make sure it’s actually what you want.
5) Find a partner
If you can share this lifestyle dream with someone, that’s a great way to feel secure and comfortable as you head away. Whether it’s a romantic partner or a friend, heading into this decision with someone you know and care about makes the process even more enjoyable. You can overcome any obstacles together and share your successes and struggles.
Ryan Gibson is resident blogger at AsiaRooms. When not working he spends his time travelling the globe, drawing on his travel experience and passion for travel to spread the good word. Ryan is also a social monkey and can be found lounging around on Twitter & Google+ and loves to interact with other travel bloggers