This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9.
When I was in the Pacific Northwest a month ago, I started falling in love with it, and like a hasty lover believed it to be so perfect I could marry it.
But I’ve been around the world a fair bit and lived in enough places to know that no place is perfect and that moving and marrying one place takes commitment and sacrifice.
We’ve been conditioned to accept the fate of living in one place, depending on it for our survival, and accepting the good and the bad that come with it as if there were no other choice.
We’ve been told over and over that we can’t have our cake and eat it too.
But location independence is real. Real people are spending two summers in two hemispheres and going where they please in between. They run their businesses and live where they want, when they want, and they find a way to balance it all.
That’s my goal. When a J.O.B. says I have to stay in one cubicle, in one city, for fifty weeks a year and I only get two weeks a year to roam where I will, I get super depressed.
Human beings weren’t made to sit at a desk in one place every day of their lives. We’re a migratory species. If we weren’t, we would have gone extinct a long time ago.
I don’t want to go extinct. I want to be location independent. What does that mean to me?
It doesn’t mean living out of a suitcase and moving every couple weeks to a new place. That sounds more like a multi-tasking nightmare.
It means having the time to stay in a place for one, two, three months at a time, or even longer if I feel like it. To go home for stretches of time whenever I need to reconnect to a sense of home and stability. To visit a friend when I’m needed and for as long as I’m needed.
But to never feel obliged to give up my sense of adventure or surrender to the chains of any single location.
I’d like to feel at home in many places in the world. To get to know it and become part of a community, so I can feel more like a global citizen than a mere tourist.
But how do you balance work and play when you’re moving between places multiple times a year? That’s the question for today’s challenge.
If I had a month in a place like Portugal, where I’ve never been but would be dying to explore, I’d first prioritize what work tasks I needed to get done in that month as well as the most important things I wanted to see and do as an adventurer.
With a few days on the front end to settle in, I’d figure out the lifestyle of the locals and try to match my work and leisure hours to theirs. It would help to find a coworking space in each location to help myself focus but also to meet other people and feel more like part of a community.
Ideally work and adventure would go together. My photography would take me out and about on adventures all the time. My experiences exploring would turn into material for my writing. A few hours at my coworking space would be followed by a work-related adventure, followed by an evening of relaxing and exploring without any work responsibilities at all.
I know it will be a challenge and that’s why habits are so important. To know whether I’m at home, staying in an Airbnb in Portugal for a month, or living in Italy for the summer, that my working hours are 10-4 or whatever I choose and that all other activities need to be scheduled around that sacred time.
I don’t see location independence as a working holiday, though.
For me, a “working vacation” doesn’t sound like either work or a vacation. Just like I wouldn’t try to practice yoga while checking my email, I wouldn’t try to relax on a beach while also writing a blog post. Periods of digital detox are definitely important in my ideal location independent lifestyle in order to remain sane and still enjoy the journey.
So if I wanted to go someplace purely for holiday, that’s what I would do. Let people know I’d be off the grid and then just disappear, resurfacing fully refreshed to continue the work I was meant to do.