Imagine traveling the world without worrying about where your next paycheck is coming from. Sounds like the dream, right? But while quitting your job and taking off to explore the world might sound easy in theory, it can be hard to do in practice. Here are a few steps to help you plan a location-independent lifestyle so you can travel while making money working from anywhere in the world. After reading this post, you will have a better understanding of what being location independent is about, as well as some pitfalls I’ve experienced and strategies to get you where you want to go.
Figure Out What You Want
As simple as it sounds, figuring out your purpose can be one of life’s toughest challenges. If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you ever get there? That’s why setting clear goals is so critical. For example, if your goal is to earn $20,000 in six months by launching a business online so you can travel through Europe, determine what needs to happen on a daily basis for that goal to come true. What kind of time commitment does that require? What skills are required? In other words, who do you need to become to turn this dream into a reality?
Then, wake up every morning and be that person. This level of commitment can seem overwhelming at first, but without it your overall goal doesn’t really mean much and you’re less likely to follow through.
Where Are You Going and When?
Ok, it’s time to get specific about your dream destination. Most of us have daydreamed about living somewhere else at some point in our lives, but now it’s time to take those ideas and choose one place where we’d like to be. If you can pinpoint one country or region that appeals to you, great—but you need more flexibility than that, consider making a list of several places. Once you know where you want to go, think about how long it would take for you to establish yourself there. It may take longer than six months for most people to find their footing abroad. The more realistic your expectations are, the less likely it is that they’ll lead to disappointment.
Plan your first trip based on whatever timeline makes sense for you.
For example, don’t set out with a plan to become an ex-pat in Spain within three months—that’s not setting yourself up for success. You should also identify several countries as backup options just in case you get there, and the location wasn’t what you hoped it would be. Have a clear idea of exactly how long you’re willing to stick things out in one location before deciding to move on.
What’s Weighing You Down?
One of the most important steps in becoming location independent is getting rid of everything that’s weighing you down. Don’t be surprised when you need to shed a lot of your possessions as they can quickly become unnecessary as well as expensive to store. Remember: You can’t take everything with you and it’s better to own less and love what you have than to weigh yourself down with things that have no practical use. Take inventory of all your items and make decisions based on what you truly need. The more things you consolidate, the lighter you’ll be when it comes time to go – both literally and figuratively.
Don’t get caught holding onto unnecessary items if their true value doesn’t outweigh your personal expense.
How Will You Make Money?
Many people who want to travel for a living jump right into it without figuring out how they’ll make money. Because there are so many ways to make money while traveling, you can often look at your skillset and figure out how you’ll earn an income in no time.
If you have programming experience, you could build websites and work strictly online. Graphic design might be a good option for making money abroad as well. If you’re a teacher, teaching English abroad could be your way of earning income while traveling. And the list goes on and on!
Before you set out on your big adventure, do some research on what options would fit best with your skill set. Even if you never use these ideas, having them will help put your mind at ease when things are uncertain or not working out as planned. As long as you stay open-minded, anything is possible!
Sometimes You Have to Improvise
Having the skill to fall back on might give you a way to keep going if something goes south. Sometimes you have no other choice but to stick things out until they get better.
I’ve had to take on some interesting jobs while traveling. I’m a brand and web developer and one time, in particular, involved me being stranded for four months with no internet access on an island in the southern Caribbean. The homeowners lied about having high-speed internet just so they could get someone to come watch their dogs.
I found out just how much the Universe had my back and how powerful I really was.
Then, at the end of my contract, 2 hurricanes came back-to-back, wiping out the Caribbean in the area I was slated to work next. I was on the brink of giving up, but I didn’t. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of my hospitality skills and found a position working as a caretaker at a boutique resort. I also catered exclusive events for the owner, which created even more long-term relationships.
In fact, my experience ended up working out much better than I could have ever imagined. Most people would’ve thrown in the towel but being flexible and willing to change with every new development allowed me to create a completely new reality.
Invest In Learning New Skills
If you want to become location independent, you’ll need an impressive skill set that is also relevant. If your dream is to live in Bali and surf every day, it’s unlikely that learning how to code will get you there. Focus on building a real marketable skill set that will support your ideal lifestyle. This is an opportunity to do what makes you happy. Take advantage of the freedom you have to create anything you want.
Also, don’t forget to learn soft skills; while less tangible than technical knowledge, they’re equally important when you’re trying to convince someone to hire you or sponsor your visa.
Soft skills are equally important when you’re trying to convince someone to hire you or sponsor your visa.
Soft skills include things like communication, interpersonal relationships, and leadership. After all, opportunities can come from anywhere. Once you’ve got your skill set down, start networking with people who can help you get to where you want to go. With enough connections, it’ll be easier for you to create an online presence that showcases your experience.
Whether you want to travel and become location independent, or you’re already working remotely and are looking for more freedom, one thing is certain: if you don’t have your shit together, traveling around the world won’t work. Your productivity and time management skills will become even more important than when you worked in an office. Use this time as a chance to clean up some of your bad habits. Figure out how to ignore distractions and say no so that you can focus on getting things done. You only have so much time in a day, you need to make the most of it.
This means not leaving anything hanging over your head for too long. Get clear on what’s most important every day.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you have to do, try writing down absolutely everything you can think of that needs doing in order of importance. Breaking things down into a list helps put them into perspective because sometimes we’re too focused on insignificant things and lose sight of the bigger picture.
What matters most now? Big picture goals— or irrelevant things that will prevent you from achieving those goals?
A location-independent lifestyle is a dream for many of us, but it can be hard to figure out how to make that happen. Have you started your journey to a location-independent lifestyle? Let me know by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in learning how to get shit done. Cheers!