I left the UK and now live on the other side of the world, earning my income entirely on the internet. Of course I live a location independent lifestyle, right?
Heh, not so much…
Not right now, anyway.
This post was inspired by a conversation with Mike Cernovich, so full props go to him, he articulated what I already knew but had not really thought about.
What is a location independent lifestyle?
It means that you can live anywhere and your work doesn’t require you being in any particular place, at any particular time.
So, while I work online and don’t have to be anywhere in particular…
I could not do that and afford to live in the west. Simple as.
- I could live in the west and just do paid work, which is pointless as it won’t take me forward if I’m just freelancing and making someone else rich.
- I could live in the west and do a stable job/business like when I was personal training, but then I wouldn’t be location independent at all.
I left London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, to move to Asia, partly to have the freedom and low cost of living to work full time online.
To be able to try things. To start new things. To fail and learn.
To know that whatever I do, I can earn a weeks living money in a day.
I don’t want to live in Asia forever. I want to be able to live in New York or Rio de Janerio, but I don’t want to move there on a permanent basis and have to get a job to fund it.
So right now, I am location semi-dependent.
I don’t need to be here specifically, but I need to be somewhere with a low cost of living to continue doing what I am doing.
Genuinely, my quality of life is better here anyway, so I’m not in any great rush to leave.
I think it is important to know the difference though.
The internet is full of people glorifying the location independent lifestyle, who have literally no money. They’re totally dependent on it being cheap, so that’s cool if you want to live in Chiang Mai, like me, or in The Philippines or some other cheap part of the world.
It gives you massive opportunity to take risks and build assets for your future. I spent years chasing my tail in London because I always had half an eye on paying the bills and couldn’t fully focus on building something of long term value.
Now I’m much happier and driven toward my goals because I spend only a fraction of my time doing work that, while I always found enjoyable, I was somewhat resentful of it taking my time and energy when I knew it wasn’t leading anywhere.
Is the location independent lifestyle for you?
If you want to explore and experience different cultures, you have the travel bug or just prefer somewhere else to where you are now, then it might well be.
Be realistic in what that means though.
Genuine location independence doesn’t come cheap. Indeed unless you live in Singapore, it probably costs more than living where you are now. If you’re truly location independent, you could choose to live in Singapore!
Don’t let that stop you though. There are many great countries and cities in the world that are cheaper to live in than the west, with arguably better quality of life.
Even if you’re semi-location dependent like I am now, I still have massive freedom. I could live comfortably in most parts of Asia, Africa, Central America, South America & Eastern Europe for equivalent or not much more than I do now.
Leaving the UK is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not because I dislike the UK or anything, though admittedly it’s not my favourite place, but because I felt more in touch with the vibe elsewhere. I could better create the life that I want to live elsewhere.
Maybe I will go back, maybe I won’t. For now, I’m doing the location semi-independent thing until I’m in the position to truly live location independent.
Want to become a digital nomad?
If you’re chasing the location independent, digital nomad lifestyle make sure you don’t make these common mistakes that I’ve made, and seen people make over the last few years.
You don’t want to end up going broke, having to go home, not adapting to your new life, or being lonely. You work so hard to achieve your dream lifestyle, not making the most of it would be crushing (for me at least).
Check out How to Fail as a Digital Nomad – The checklist for what NOT to do on your digital nomad journey.