Location Independent Travellers

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.

Location Independent Travellers
Location Independent Travellers

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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.

Alan & Ros
Alan & Ros

How do you become Location Independent?

There are many ways to become location independent, for us it is a combination of house sitting, accumulating and using frequent flyer points, saved funds and online income.

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.

Teaching English
Teaching English

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.

Locations Visited

Since we started house sitting we have been fortunate enough to get assignments in London, Inverness, Singapore, Manila and Hong Kong, looking after the most delightful pets and houses.

One laid back Princess
One laid back Princess

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.

Location Independent
Packing up our “Stuff”

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.

Passport an essential component of location independent living.

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 peopleYou miss your family
Learn a new cultureThe culture is hard to understand
Get to learn a new languageIt’s hard to communicate your needs
See exciting thingsIt’s not like home
Experience a different way of lifeYou miss the food from home
You get to try new food

Challenges of location independent travel

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 with you

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.

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.

Summary of Location Independent living

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.

23 thoughts on “Location Independent Travellers”

  1. This sounds like a pretty great lifestyle, despite the cons you’ve described, and it is definitely something I’d love to do in the future! Thanks for a great article.

  2. It’s a lifestyle I’m willing to adopt, but it’s not easy to get rid of everything and almost everyone. For sure I need to have a more stable online income, to start with, then knowing that I have my back covered, I can start thinking about the next steps to become location independent!

  3. A great guide for people in the digital and creative industries that want to travel more. Though my job can’t really be done from different locations, I am hoping to develop it so it could be managed from afar some day. I think there is a huge change in the way we look at work in general and the job market and more and more people want to be location independent.

  4. You guys have my dream life! I just married my husband and we are still young (24 and 27) and we’re struggling to balance life, traveling and are planning starting a family. This is very motivating, especially since people rush you and tell you to travel while you’re young. You gave me a new perspective on this and something to aspire to. Thank you πŸ™‚ and thanks for the tips! Before moving to China I never researched money, but when I moved here I realized that my card didn’t work and it caused so much unnecessary stress! I’m never making that mistake again.

  5. Now this is life! It’s awesome to see bloggers just living life after raising a family πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing a great post. Definitely a great lifestyle!

  6. I have never tried this kind of traveling, always doing well planned to the last day kind of travels.
    May be after raising my family too I can think of this kind of tourism. Very inspiring!

  7. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    I remember when I started my family, I thought my travelling days were over. They never are as long as you keep them as your goal, if you want it enough it will happen. You have already taken a huge step by moving to China. Thank you for sharing and all the best for your travel dreams :).

  8. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Yes it is shameless self-promotion but I forgive you :). Enjoyed your story it was honest and funny. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I’m so glad that you both decided to go on this lifestyle. I hope both of you are happy exploring the world. I saw your Machu Pichu stamp on the passport photo, I can’t help but smile because that is my biggest travel achievement and favorite travel stamp so far. Both of you are such an inspiration!

  10. This is indeed a very helpful post. On some days when I see some people living the life as digital nomads, I get envious and consider being a location independent traveler as well. However, I do not know if that path is for me or whether I would survive that or not. Aside from taking a TEFL course, would you suggest taking a writing workshop as well if I would want to be an independent travel writer? Would it be really sustainable?

  11. The concept of being a “Location Independent Traveler” sounds so amazing. I always have this habit of pre-planning every detail of my trip beforehand. Would really love to experience such a concept of travelling. This is how you get to know the real essence of a particular place. Thanks for the blog and the valuable tips.

  12. What an interesting lifestyle! Never knew about this before but hey glad that you made that decision. I can really feel as I read through this post that you are brave, accommodating and very resourceful. Good luck πŸ™‚

  13. Great post and advice, I have to say that I envy you a little bit! πŸ™‚
    One day I’d love to do something like this; save some money and go to a different country just to travel around the world, it must be such an incredible experience!

  14. Being locaton independent iis the ultimate goal of mine too and so far I have more or less managed it. I rememeber the times when I had to wait for months to get a decent leave for a decent trip. Those days sucked!

  15. While everyone embark on long journeys, few people manage to make a the journey worthwhile!
    Location independent Travel seems to something i’ll definitely like to try. This is such a well researched and intricately crafted article. Thank you for enlightening the traveller in me!

  16. This is a great post. I’ve sort of become a location independent traveler too. 3 years ago I moved to Korea to teach English (which you should add to your list!) Its a great way to explore the world. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I would like to congratulate you on taking the plunge and severing ‘roots’ to become location independent travelers. I know this is not so easy and requires lots of determination and courage. But of course, the benefits, flexibility, and independence are probably well worth the effort.

  18. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes it did take courage and determination, I know a couple of times we almost changed our mind, I am so glad we didn’t. Life is an adventure :).

  19. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Teaching is a great way to see the world! I admire anyone who does teaching, a profession that is rewarding and hard at the same time :). Korea is on our list and would be happy for any tips.

  20. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Machu Picchu is our biggest travel achievement as well and my favourite stamp too :). Have fun exploring the rest of the world!

  21. I am sure your children see you as heroes because I sure do. It’s so refreshing to see people get out of their comfort zone and enjoy life no matter what the age. Best of luck as you continue to conquer the world.

  22. Interesting how the same words can be interpreted in different ways. I also call ourselves “location independent.” Nevertheless, I always use this description in terms of being able to work from anywhere (i.e., virtual office). Loosely put, location independent = digital nomad. However, when it comes to lifestyle, I describe ours as “slow travel” or, sometimes, long-term travel. Hence, the full description of what we do would be “long-term slow travel location independent couple” or “slow travel digital nomads.” Cheers!

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