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?