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Since starting our adventure almost a year ago, we have become Location Independent Travellers, something we did not originally set out to do. Our original plan was to move to Thailand, find a city we liked and stay there.
Before we left Australia we booked a flight to visit our son in Germany and started looking into house sitting as a way to save money on accommodation, little did we know that it would change our life.
What is Location Independent Travel?
Location independent travel is long term travel where you are no longer tied to any specific location. For the moment we are living in beautiful Chiang Mai Thailand and using it as a base to explore the world. Our minds are open to all options and we are even considering doing more house sitting assignments in Europe, starting the in the Northern Spring.
Why Become a Location Independent Traveller?
Since starting our journey, we are surprised by the number of like minded travellers we have met along the way, affirming our belief that we made the right decision in choosing this lifestyle.
Although everyone has their own story for choosing this path, our story was simple, we had come to an age where we saw many of our loved ones become sick and pass away.
We had worked hard all our life, we had the pleasure of raising 3 children, while supporting mortgages and everything else that goes with raising a family. Now that our children had left home we had more freedom try the things we had put off doing while they were young.
In short, we realised that our time here goes quickly and we didn’t want to waste another day.
How do you become Location Independent?
Teaching English is another popular way to become location independent and we have friends teaching English in countries such as China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and in South America. While some of our friends were already teachers, most started by doing a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, this can be either done online or at a TEFL Certified Training Organisation.
Many people we have met are living the digital nomad lifestyle, and we have found that jobs for digital nomads are a popular way of becoming location independent.
During our travels we have met many English tutors, house sitters and digital nomads and we all agree that we would not change this lifestyle for a second. There are also many digital nomad forums on social media that provide advice and support networks, for anyone considering this lifestyle choice.
What Kind of People Become Location Independent Travellers?
There is no age limit to being location independent. As you would imagine there are a lot of young people enjoying this lifestyle, but what really surprised me is the number of people my age (late 50’s) and older diving head first into this way of life. For the more “mature” of us being location Independent is a way of keeping our mind stimulated, a way of keeping us young at heart.
Location independent travel has also been taken up by young families, something I really admire because I can imagine how difficult it must be at times. I recently spoke to a couple with two small children and they said that the whole family embrace this way of life with a passion.
This lifestyle allows you to work from anywhere and travel anywhere. Not bound by physical location.
We have been so busy we have had to turn down house sits in Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Spain and England. Between house sits we had the chance to visit different cities in Germany, Denmark, Macau and Vietnam.
Living Out of a Suitcase
If you told me years ago that I would be giving up all my worldly possessions and living out of one piece of carry on luggage and a backpack I would have thought you were mad.
Now however, I find that apart from photos and a few special keepsakes, I don’t need all that “stuff”. What I am trying to say is that I don’t find possessions important anymore, in fact all that “stuff” keeps you trapped in a lifestyle you may not want or need.
It has been very liberating to live life so simply, a life without borders.
What Will People Think?
This is the hard one, a lot of people will think you are crazy (and maybe you are).
You will hear the likes of “Why do you want to leave your home to go off into the unknown?” “What are you going to do?” “Isn’t it dangerous?” All are legitimate questions with legitimate answers, but some will be said out of fear and worry, some will be said out of envy and jealously. It is up to you to decide if you are strong enough to stand by convictions.
For us this was not an easy decision to make, for months we agonised over whether to go or stay. We would be leaving loved ones and they did not want us to go. You only get one life and in the end we decided to go for it, it was the right decision for us.
Things to Think About Before You Go
If you are going indefinitely you will need things in place to make your new life overseas work. You need to research the countries you may be visiting and arrange the following things before you go;
Passport, make sure your passport is up to date, you are going nowhere without it. Most countries need at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires.
VISAs, do your research! Different countries have different visa requirements. Some countries will let you enter without them, others you can get a Visa on arrival and some you have to send your passport away to the Embassy before you leave home.
Money, you are not going to get very far without money. Do your research before you go and work with your bank to find out the best way of accessing accounts in the countries you intend to visit. Alert the bank to any changes in your itinerary so they don’t freeze your account. Be aware that some countries are cash dependent and rarely take credit card.
Mail, request all your mail to be sent electronically or redirected.
Travel/Health Insurance, make sure you have insurance before you leave, this is important. There are many companies that will help you with the cover you need.
Thinking about becoming a Location Independent Traveller? You may be interested in this book by Norbert Figueroas.
The Ultimate Guide To Travel The World: How to Become Location Independent to Live and Work From Anywhere.
Norbert Figueroas’s book is an honest and informative account of the joys and pitfalls of becoming a location independent traveller. This book is beneficial to anyone considering a location independent lifestyle and reaffirmed why we chose this way of life. I wish I had read this book before we started our journey. We learnt a lot from The Ultimate Guide to Travel the World and it gave us direction. Get your copy here:
Pro’s & Con’s of Being Location Independent
Meet new people
|You miss your family|
Learn a new culture
|The culture is hard to understand|
Get to learn a new language
|It’s hard to communicate your needs|
See exciting things
|It’s not like home|
Experience a different way of life
You miss the food from home
You get to try new food.
Every country you visit will have different challenges.
Whether small, like trying to eat Khao Soi or Pho (delicious noodle soups) with chopsticks and a spoon without splashing it all over yourself or large, like finding a place to rent, it is crucial to research your destination before you go, this will make your life so much easier when you arrive.
Language is one of the biggest barriers when travelling. This becomes a real challenge when it comes to paperwork and visa reporting. Before you leave home look into support networks such as Expat communities and Facebook groups etc, people in these groups are a wealth of knowledge and are usually more than happy to help newcomers.
Rules are another challenge, to you they may seem strange and frustrating but they are the countries rules and you have to live with them. This will either drive you crazy or you will accept them and look at them as another quirk of travel.
Essentials to Take
If you choose to this lifestyle, it is best to take as little as possible, this makes it easier to move from place to place.
Computer and smart phone are essential for keeping in contact with home and the outside world. There are many travel Apps available that can make travelling simpler. For the list of Apps we use click here…
Take a photocopy of your passport and upload important documents to the cloud in case of loss.
Small First Aid kit. A supply of prescription medication and a letter listing the medication from your Doctor if needed.
I started travelling overseas when I was 18 and from that moment on all I ever wanted to do was travel.
For me, this has not only been a discovery of people and cultures but also an inner journey, I have learnt so much about myself and feel an inner peace I have never felt before.
This lifestyle is not for everyone but if you have a wanderlust for travel I can highly recommend it. Getting started may sound difficult but once you set the wheels in motion, you will find a satisfying and rewarding way of life.
Come on over and join us…
I’m wondering what other people think of Location Independent Travel. Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.