I set off on a grand adventure at the end of 2010. I had fallen in love with the chaos of not knowing where I was or where I was going. And so, with little more than what I could cram into a backpack, I took a one way flight to Australia and then onto Thailand.
Each country I visited was intoxicating in its own way. The food and beaches of Thailand. The smiles and laughs that resonated in your belly in Cambodia. The greenest green I’d ever seen in Sapa, or how hard the adrenaline pumped through my veins as I simply crossed the roads in Saigon. It was like an addiction, the more I travelled, the more I wanted to.
Everything felt fleeting and new.
No two days were ever the same.
The more people I met, the more stories I heard of places I’d never been, but knew I needed to go.
More. More. More.
I was addicted. Much like someone who spends their last dollars on alcohol or gambling, travel was my vice. Anything I had went into travel, so I could travel more, further, somewhere new. I didn’t care about tomorrow. I didn’t care about retirement and I didn’t care about finances because as long as I got one new adventure, none of that mattered.
Until one day I realised that I was chasing a dangling carrot. I could always travel somewhere new. I could always go somewhere different. But it was becoming exhausting staying in the same place financially, as I saw friends buy homes, provide themselves with security, and grow up.
So I decided I wanted to do both at the same time. I wanted to make money and travel. Could it get better than that?
I was fortunate enough that my travel blog The Wrong Way Home began to generate income and along with some freelance writing on the side I had a full time salary, working less hours that I’d work at home. I was living a life so many people dreamed of, so why did it feel so uncomfortable?
I felt as if I was doing a half-hearted job traveling. I didn’t – and I couldn’t – have the same spontaneity I had when I was first backpacking, carefree and without responsibilities.
I stopped bothering to read how social the hostel seemed to be and instead focused on whether the accommodation would have good enough WIFI I’d be able to survive a week without wanting to throw my laptop into a wall.
I’d upload cute photos of me sitting with my laptop in a gorgeous location, smile-forced while inside I wanted to cry because I’d spent half an hour trying to press “publish” on the same post.
Of course, location independence does work for some people, but not for me. I think it’s fine if you have an online business you can almost entirely outsource. I think it also works well if you’re not in a ‘growth’ stage of your business, merely maintaining.
It’s very hard to sit in a sad hostel room furiously typing away at your laptop when your new travel buddies have invited you out for cocktails, or for a midnight swim, or to eat gelato.
So after having all the freedom to live and work anywhere, I decided to set up a base. So that I could focus on some of my long term goals, have a place to store all my things, and travel for a few weeks – or months – of the year.
Do you dream of a location independent lifestyle? Where you would you base yourself if you could choose?