We've been on the road now for over three months and our home is wherever we are. Before we left Perth, Australia, we sold a lot of our stuff, packed up the rest and put it in storage. We may still have some ties back in Perth, but in reality, we now lead a location independent lifestyle.
Leading this type of lifestyle can be rewarding and exciting, but it does have some downfalls. Here are some pros and cons of having a location independent lifestyle.
Some pros to being location independent.
Rent and Utilities can be cheaper on the road.
When you live in one place all the time, bills start piling up - mortgage / rent, electricity, water, home telephone / internet connection etcetera. Being location independent can be the complete opposite to this. Renting a hotel room or even a fully furnished apartment for one day up to even a year can work out to be cheaper in the short and long run. Most holiday homes or hotel rooms come with unlimited utilities or at least cost a very low rate.
If you are bored, you can move countries.
Life can be very exciting when you look out your window and see something new. Sometimes, even when you are traveling, you might not like a place, or it gets boring really quick. If this is the case, you can pack up all your stuff, jump on a bus or train or plane, and head to the next destination. Presto, something new to look at!
Staying in places with a lower cost of living means you can either work less or save more.
This can certainly be true. In Thailand, you can rent a one bedroom serviced apartment for between 3000 Baht and up to 30000 Baht per month. In US Dollars, that is between $100 and $1000 per month. These prices are just rough of course, you can find accommodation into the 70000 Baht per month too! Averaging $500 per month for accommodation plus another $500 per month for living expenses including food, some utilities, transport and nights out, would come to a grand total of $1000 USD per month. Per Month! That is $250 per week! Therefore, you could either work less and enjoy living abroad, or work more, and save a lot more money than you could at home. Your choice!
Some cons to being location independent.
Your surroundings may not be perfect.
Check out the photo of Tanya above. Sitting on a bed with cushions under her laptop so as to not burn her lap, a drink and a bowl of food on a book on the bed as there was no coffee table next to the bed, as well as wearing a hat to protect her eyes from the glare of the fluorescent light from above. Not exactly the best location to be working in. Often, you have to forgo some luxuries, for example, a desk and a chair, to be location independent. It is ok for a while but generally not good for long term.
Potential social isolation
The main difference we have found since becoming location independent is that we miss the natter of working in an office place. It can get very lonely working in your room or in a coffee shop or on a bench or step outside a McDonalds. We have found that the best way to counteract social isolation is to try and stay in guest houses where there are common sitting areas to meet other people. Most of the time, you will find people just like you, doing as you are. Sharing a table with someone else may be just what you need.
Co-workers may think you spend all day on the beach drinking cocktails, and that may not be entirely true.
Being location independent can bring up a mixed bag of emotions for both you and your co-workers. For example, we have spent some time on tropical islands recently. People tend to think that we don't actually work and instead we are sipping cocktails and getting our nails painted while having a massage. Who has time for all that? Unfortunately, we still have to work, and laptops and beach sand really don't mix well.
How do you find being location independent? Share your pros and cons in the comments field below.