FAQ: What Is Location Independence?

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FAQ: What Is Location Independence?


Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Photo by Amy Scott, all rights reserved


The phrase “location independent” is frequently used in certain circles, but it isn’t a term that everyone knows, and I often get asked what it means. I wanted to address this question, because somebody might be longing for this kind of lifestyle and not know what to call it! In fact, I was location independent long before the term existed. (I wish I’d come up with it myself, but I must give props to Lea Woodward, who I believe first coined the term.)

So, what does it mean to be location independent?

Here’s my definition of location independence: not being tied to a certain location for any reason.

Why Be Location Independent?

There are lots of reasons you might choose to stay in a particular place, but being location independent means that you could easily go somewhere else. I’ve been location independent since 2004. I have actually spent much of the time since then staying in one place, but because I work online, I can go somewhere else anytime I want.

Here’s why I choose to be location independent, and why I think it’s one of the best ways to live: freedom.

Being location independent gives me the freedom to:

  • Go anywhere in the world
  • Travel and work on my schedule, without having to ask for time off
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Have a deeper cultural experience wherever I go
  • And much more

Location independence gives you the flexibility to do all kinds of things in addition to the ones I just mentioned. Even if you don’t make any other changes to your lifestyle, being location independent means you can move more easily if your partner gets a job in another city. It also means you can go help out a friend or relative in need, and take your work with you if need be.

Could You Be Location Independent?

For most people, work is what ties them to a particular location, so being able to make money from anywhere is a significant piece of being location independent. That might mean working remotely with your current job, or building an online business.

Owning a home is another reason many people feel tied to one location, but you don’t have to stay there. You can be location independent and still own a home (I do!). In fact, it can be the perfect balance of both worlds, allowing you to have a home base and also providing a source of rental income and a home you can exchange with someone in another location.

Or you might feel location dependent because you want to be close to family, or because your kids are used to going to a certain school. Both of those things are great, but if you also value other things, like freedom and travel, you could become location independent, give your kids a global education, and still have lots of time to spend with family.

It can take a lot of work to become location independent, but it is possible, and it is worth it. Nomadtopia is all about helping you make it happen, and this site is chock-full of resources and inspiration.

There’s plenty more I could say on the topic, but this is a good start!

Have any questions about location independence or if it’s right for you? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch!

2017-04-10T12:08:11+00:00 March 21, 2013|FAQs, Inspiration, Nomad Life|5 Comments


  1. Leanne Chesser March 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Yes, freedom! My goal is to be location independent . . . still with a home base, but with the freedom to go where I want, when I want. I want to be able to travel throughout the world to all the places I love – – Peru, Brazil, Australia, India, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Scotland, Germany and all through Canada. I want to experience the culture, history and spirituality in each of those places and spend extended periods of time there. A tropical trip or two would also be nice :).

    • Amy Scott March 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      That sounds fabulous, Leanne! How close are you to making it happen?

  2. marianney March 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Totally agree with Leanne! Want that home base, but the freedom to travel when and where I need/want to. I am so tired of having to carefully choose every year what I will do with my very few weeks of vacation. It feel so restricting to not be able to be able to just go somewhere, stay as long as I need to and know that if i need to work, i can.

    Amy, how did it go with renting your place on Airbnb?

    • Amy Scott March 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Yes, exactly! You gotta make the most of what you have, but it still sucks!

      We didn’t use Airbnb last year, just a local agency in Buenos Aires and word of mouth. Might give that a try this year, though!

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