Is Location Independence Too Complicated?

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Is Location Independence Too Complicated?

cubicles

Sure, living a location-independent lifestyle sounds glamorous: Getting to travel anywhere, anytime; living and working in exotic/interesting/beautiful locations; having the freedom to live on your own terms.

But there are a lot of challenges, too, that make it more complicated than glamorous, and make people second-guess whether it’s worth all the hassle—wouldn’t it be easier to stay in cubicle land instead?

To give you a better idea of what makes location independence complicated, here are just a few of the things we’re dealing with at the moment:

  • sorting out mailing addresses and business registration locations
  • understanding tax laws and how they apply to our work
  • creating an itinerary that is in line with visa requirements and allows us to keep traveling freely
  • finding longer-term accommodations during high season
  • looking at new countries to gain residency
  • transferring money internationally to cover expenses in other locations

 

Sometimes, all of the challenges get so frustrating and overwhelming, I start to think, “Life would be so much easier if I lived in one place, in my home country, and worked a normal job.” (Yes, I actually said this to Roberto the other day!)

I can just imagine how blissfully easy it would be:

  • I would know exactly what location/mailing address to use for my business and personal stuff
  • I would understand how things work and where to go to get help when I need it
  • My employer would take care of all the tax/legal stuff and all I’d have to do is file a straightforward return
  • Visa rules and long-term accommodations would never be a concern because we’d only take short trips
  • All my banking would be local/domestic

 

Yes, life would be infinitely easier in some ways if I lived a “normal” life. But then I’d have to deal with another set of challenges, such as:

  • Higher cost of living
  • Long commutes
  • Less time off
  • Little control over my time/schedule
  • One stream of income
  • Less freedom

 

Not to mention all of the things I’ve gotten to do in 10 years of location independence that probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d never left my cubicle:

  • Met my husband in Argentina
  • Traveled to lots of new countries (and often spent months in each one)
  • Taken lots of time off
  • Set my own schedule
  • Spent tons of time with my family and friends on extended trips “home”
  • And so much more

 

Yes, location independence can be complicated. But so can living a normal life. They both have their pros and cons, and it’s up to each person to decide whether location independence is too complicated, or it’s worth all the challenges.

For me, right now, my lifestyle is worth the hassles, because it gives me so much more than it takes away.

How about you?

Do you think location independence is worth it? Have you found a way to minimize the challenges in order to have the best of both worlds?
 
 
photo credit: mark sebastian via photopin cc

 

2017-04-26T21:19:59+00:00December 2, 2014|Inside Nomadtopia, Nomad Life|11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Jewel December 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy — all great thoughts! I’ve been something of a location independent with a home base for something like 15 years. In reading your thoughts, I feel that my life & workstyles fall near another model not mentioned: “Live in one place withOUT a normal job. Live in one place with a location independent job.”

    For me this has played out in a way where I have had a home base: a constant mailing address and home base where I can vote on matters I care about, pay taxes and recharge with friends and family. Because the work I choose and create is location independent, I’m able to move around locally as I please (e.g. from coffee shop to coffee shop to coworking space to a friend’s house) and I’m able to travel (on what I call workcations) and visit and support family when life happens. I, too, thought that perhaps I should try a normal job and twice took on the typical “butt in seat 9-5” … and even though I absolutely loved at least one of those jobs, the physical space, and my coworkers, I didn’t last. I found that I needed the freedom to travel — to move (temporarily) on a moment’s notice to be with friends and family as life happened.

    So not to complicate your wonderful thought process and questioning … but perhaps there’s a hybrid model that’s right for you. One that affords you some location stability while maintaining the freedom you’ve come to crave and rely upon. All the best!

    • Amy Scott December 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Jewel! That is definitely a great set-up, the best of both worlds in many ways.

      It seems like once you have some roots/connections in more than one country, it complicates things a lot more. If I could extricate myself 100% from Argentina, in some ways life would be a lot easier, but of course there are a lot of pros to having some roots there as well!

      I think it’s important to be honest about some of the challenges of this lifestyle. As I said in the post, for now the trade-offs are worth it, and I love how everyone finds the approach that works for them.

  2. Tom December 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    We have used Earthclassmail for several years. They have addresses in several US cities and because it is a street address they receive all types of mail. I use the address on tax returns for both personal/business plus voter’s registration and all bank info. The biggest perk is not having to change or remember a new address with each move!

    • Amy Scott December 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Tom! Yes, I’ve been looking at starting to use a service like that.

  3. Marianne Manthey December 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy, you had me at “no commute!” haha
    But seriously, there’s hassles either way, so I guess the way to look at it is, What lifestyle will bring you more fulfillment?

    Great topic!

    • Amy Scott December 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Spot on, Marianne! It’s really about the big picture, not the little (perhaps annoying) minutiae. It’s not so hard putting up with all that stuff if, in the grand scheme of things, you’re feeling fulfilled.

  4. Vicky White December 5, 2014 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    great post. I suddenly had an epiphany- I’m living the location indecent life I’ve dreamed of. Sounds funny, but it’s only just over a week since I got my bus and took off to explore my home country New Zealand. It’s certainly easier to be based in one country – I’m still sitting out my tax situation and dealing with banks in three places – but that will get sorted – then start up again in a couple of years when three countries need to contribute to the pension I’ll get here.

    Apart from that, after getting confused about which address I was using for what here I got a mailbox at Mailboxes etc – very new thing in NZ. They’ll forward things, scan and email mail if I ask and sign for parcels. Already my life has got simpler.

    So far my biggest decisions involve deciding where to stop. NZ has a great system of freedom camping for those with self contained vehicles – so my living expenses are way low. I love that.

    I certainly get how you might question what you’re doing but for now the pluses outweigh the minuses, right?

    It’s certainly worth thinking about – our lives do appear very glamorous to others. And the are mostly I’d say.

    • Amy Scott December 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that, Vicky! And so excited for you. I’m glad things have worked out so well.

  5. Vicky White December 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    that autocorrect – location independent not indecent LOLA

  6. Ryan Biddulph December 7, 2014 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Oh yes, it’s worth it! Your points are valid; we’ve all been there at 1 time or another. But, freedom reigns in my life.

    I spent the past 8 days in: Bali, Bangkok, Kuwait and now, NYC. Who can say that? Really? I am jet lagged like a boss lol…..yet, I am free. We’re lining up our next trip, soon, and goodness gracious there is no other way to live if you value freedom above all else.

    I feel this life is simple. I’ve become a minimalist, picking up less stuff until now I own clothes, my laptop, tablet, wallet, backpack, suitcase, and assets. That’s it. What a simple, freeing ride I’m on.

    Thanks for sharing Amy! LOVE your blog!!

    Ryan

  7. maxwell ivey December 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    hi ryan; well i used to travel with a carnival which meant living in travel trailers, using a data card for unreliable internet access, sometimes not having power water or a sewer for a day or two of a week. sometimes i would work on my laptop and be sweating. if the local electricity service at the festival or fairgrounds wasn’t strong enough you might have to choose between air conditioning and coffee. i don’t miss it but that may have more to do with the fact that it wasn’t my own family’s midway. my dad had passed on our show was out of business and we were traveling with my uncle’s carnival. he’s not an easy person to like. and the fact that we competed hard against him for bookings when my dad was alive made it feel like failure to be there. maybe i could travel with a show again but that’s not who i am or where my future is any more. if i visit a carnival midway it will be to talk with the owner about buying or selling equipment or to feature him in a video. and i don’t plan on traveling in an r v or travel trailer. i am thinking that finding someone to go with me isn’t working out, so i need to figure out if and how i can start traveling on my own. a lot of it comes down to finances. and i really need to start generating coaching revenue or bring in more equipment sales or have the book sell better or some combination of all of the above. would appreciate any thoughts you might have on how i get started. as i’m sure you know that first time you head off is the hardest. thanks for sharing this post. take care out there, max

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