It's not like I was trying to live a location independent lifestyle. It just sort of happened, and I certainly wasn't expecting it.
I left my home city of Boston, with a one-way ticket, for what was intended to be a three-to-six month trip up the east coast of Australia. I had nothing more than a college degree and a savings account with a couple thousand dollars in it.
Let me clarify something: This was not a well-thought out plan.
I hadn't really anticipated how everything was going play out, but being the impulsive “never-plan-anything-in-advance” type of person that I am, I decided I was going to do it anyway. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
And, as it turns out, absolutely nothing.
OK, well, plenty went wrong. But in the long run, many countries and many years later, I look back and realize that, on a grand scale, nothing ever went awry.
I'm still here, I'm still traveling, and I'm living a location independent lifestyle without ever having meant to do it.
Living a location independent lifestyle isn't about having a steady career that you can do from anywhere. It's not about having a laptop and running your business online, or being a freelance writer or a blogger. Many people believe this is the only way to make money from anywhere in the world.
The fact is, that's far from the truth.
You Have to Be Good at Something
You have to be good at something. But, you have to be good at something that you can do anywhere in the world. And really, you should be so good that people will hire you, without question, anywhere you go.
I left home with experience in IT, but with ambitions to be a bartender. I weaseled my way into a bar gig and soon began training with some very, very good bartenders. Now, I can go almost anywhere in the world and find a bar who is looking for someone with my particular set of skills.
So, what are your strengths? Can you make your strengths work in a job in Greece, Australia, Turkey or China? I'm guessing yes. You could be a graphic designer, an office administrator, a bartender or a mechanic. These jobs exist everywhere in the world. Who says you have to do it in your hometown?
But I'm Not Good at Anything
You might not think you have anything that makes you particularly employable, but you have to think deeper and a little more creatively. If you speak English, you can teach English in non-native speaking countries! And you could be location independent by taking up successive contracts all over the world! Many of these jobs pay well and you get bonuses when you finish your contracts.
But it's not limited to English, of course. You can teach any language almost anywhere, and you don't necessarily have to know everything. If you're teaching beginner courses, your technical knowledge only has to be that good.
Work at Finding Work
You don't actually need an itinerary, but you do need to be able to make plans! Find a job, jump on a last minute flight, and go where the job is. Then find another job, and go where that job is. Then find another, and another.
The easy part of working in an office is that you don't have to work at finding a job. If you're location independent, and you are constantly finding new jobs in new locations, you have to be looking for work at all times, constantly planning your next move. It's what I've done for three years straight, and I've never had a major issue.
Finding a job in a foreign country is easier than you think, actually. Some jobs require interviews, but with tools like Skype, face-to-face meetings can be conducted from across the globe. I've done it, and it's a blessing. In this world of technology, anything is possible.
You have to work hard. You have to have gusto and strength of personality, as well as perseverance and the ability to think creatively. But it's possible. The fact is, if you're in a bind, you're going to find a way to get out of it. Frankly, you'll have to. And there's your transition from one place to the next.
It Gets Easier
The hardest part is the beginning. When you first start living your location independent lifestyle, the whole job is on YOU. You do the research, you do the planning, you make it happen. As you travel, though, you meet new people, you become more savvy, and you brainstorm new ideas that are going to make your future easier.
If I hadn't started traveling, I never would have met the girl who got me a job teaching English in China, the woman who received me in Brisbane, Australia, or the couple who found me a house in Queenstown, New Zealand.
The truth is that, once you begin, everything gets easier. And once you become more comfortable with the lifestyle, every move becomes a smooth transition.
So, think you've got what it takes to live a location independent lifestyle? Frankly, it's a lot simpler than you think. I didn't even know that I was about to become location independent.
How inexplicably remarkable my life has been.
This article was brought to you by Travelzoo!