Why I Chose A Location-Independent Lifestyle

Why I Chose A Location-Independent Lifestyle

This post is as much for me as for anyone else. I wanted to summarise my motivations for seeing the world. I connect these with my motivations for being location-independent.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to see the world and I now realise that it is a part of me and will never go away. For this I am so grateful as it’s a wonderful thing to love. As I’ve gotten older (now in my late 20s) my desire to explore has remained but the benefits I get from it have grown. I’ve realised why I used to do it, too.

This is why I travel, now and in the past:

It’s a big world

I can’t imagine a better thing to spend my money on than seeing the world. Don’t let this make you think I’m some sort of gung-ho one man explorer. I’m an extroverted introvert (thanks to Linda at How It Is To Be You). I enjoy socialising to a point but appreciate a lot of time to myself, seeing places at my own pace to give myself time to mentally recover. There is nothing greater than the following things:

  • Closing your eyes and hearing the sheer power of Niagara Falls.
  • Opening your eyes and seeing sand in all directions in the Sahara Desert.
  • Living in a time where a nomadic people, the Maori of New Zealand or the Aboriginal people of Australia, can still pass on their knowledge.
  • Experiencing beautiful sunsets almost every day in Montpellier.
  • The list goes on…
A washout at sunset, K'Gari (Fraser Island), Australia

A washout at sunset, K’Gari (Fraser Island), Australia

It excites me

Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Work Week, has said:

Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all.

Tim Ferris

Not many quotes resonate and stick with me but this one did. I am always seeking the next adventure because it’s what excites me and that turns into happiness. In my opinion, the search for excitement has got to be the best reason for living.

Sand as far as the eye can see, Sahara Desert, Morocco

Sand as far as the eye can see, Sahara Desert, Morocco

Being location-independent facilitates slow travel

The concept of slow travel is really popular with some digital nomads. I, for one will be employing it for the foreseeable future. Not being tied to a desk allows you to take your time in a destination because you work from wherever you’re living. It’s exhausting, especially for me, starting somewhere new and having to make new friends. Staying somewhere from 3 to 9 months gives you time to bed in, really experience a place without feeling the need to see everything at once. I once did a 2 week Interrail trip from Rome to Stockholm. 6 cities in 14 days was exhausting and I barely remember anything!

A rock wallaby grabs dinner, Simpson's Gap, Australia

A rock wallaby grabs dinner, Simpson’s Gap, Australia

To really learn a language

Right now I am learning French. It’s true that you won’t truly learn how to speak the language you’re learning until you’re immersed in it. You can’t hope to become fluent and soak in the culture without being in a country of speakers of the target language. In my case: French. I hope to learn more languages in the future and when I do I am grateful that I can just get up and go.

To escape “reality”

I realised after a few years of travelling solo that this was a big reason why I did it. It frees your mind of what you “should” be doing and what you “should” be living for. It might suppress those feelings for a while, and it does it really well. But once I surrounded myself (social media plays a huge part of this) with people travelling full-time and being location independent it spurred me on. It made it a realistic goal. Now I don’t travel to escape reality anymore. Of course there are always stresses and travel still helps ease those. But I no longer do it to ignore the real issue.

A rocky bay, Phillip Island, Australia

A rocky bay, Phillip Island, Australia

To avoid the London ultimatum

The options:

  • Buy my first place outside of London and commute in and out every day. No thanks.
  • Buy my first place in London and sacrifice years of possible enjoyment while saving for a deposit. No thanks.
  • Enjoy living now, having what I want in the prime of my life. Yes please.

If you want your first property to be in London you need to be earning a hell of a lot of money. Working in IT I do well compared to other industries and this was still a pipe-dream. Thankfully it was never a goal of mine. If it was feasible to save for a property and travel as much as I wanted I would have. With it being so impossible to do both without working myself into the ground for something I don’t love, it was an easy decision.

Sunset under the aqueduct, Montpellier, France

Sunset under the aqueduct, Montpellier, France


  • Sheldon

    Hey man! That was actually really good. ‘Actually’.

    26th November 2015 at 12:21
  • The Aspiring Digital Nomad

    ‘To avoid the London ultimatum’ – haha..love that. Nice post. And that Tim Ferris quote is a winner. Gave me pause.
    The Aspiring Digital Nomad recently posted…How I’m Learning To Become A Digital NomadMy Profile

    4th January 2016 at 18:02
  • Anita Waters

    “You can’t hope to become fluent and soak in the culture without being in a country of speakers of the target language.” It’s funny but I have been thinking about this in the last couple of days, I remember a comment made to me when I to,d them I was learning French…. “you won’t do it” was their reply, “you have to live in France”. Well, I have to say that, although I’m already highly motivated to do this, this comment just inspired me more to prove them wrong. Ok, it’s true, I don’t live in France, but I surround myself and expose myself to as much of the language as possible which is all I can do! Motivation and determination are the keys to success in anything. There is a quote that comes to mind ” If you don’t want to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you” There is also one other point I would like to make on this topic. How is it that polyglots can speak several languages fluently but they don’t happen to have lived in each of the countries of those target languages? I’m interested in your thoughts…

    25th January 2017 at 22:52
    • Alex

      Hi Anita, thanks for your comment. Indeed, my comment about needing to be in the country of your target language is a strong one. Your comment suggests you are doing everything you can to get as close to that experience as possible. Don’t take it to mean that you aren’t doing enough. But I still think that little nuances of the language are most likely to sink in when you are in the country for an extended period of time. At least for me. Those things that you have free space in your head for once the day-to-day stuff has become just that: regular and no longer take conscious effort. But it’s a personal perspective. I naturally focus on the little details which means I’d never have started integrating things like “alors”, “ben”, “hein”, “quoi” if I’d stayed in the UK.

      As usual I’d love to be proved wrong. Does your Pimsleur course cover things mentioned above? What you’re doing is fantastic.

      Regarding the polyglots: I know Benny Lewis lived in at least Spain and Montreal, and I’d guess at plenty more since he’s been travelling for 10 years+. With his method he gets to grip with real, natural language from the off.

      All that said, since I wrote this article my opinions have continued to evolve, and people like yourself prove that more and more is possible without leaving your home country. It definitely motivated me to take the opportunity I had and get to France.
      Alex recently posted…Language Challenge #5 – ThoughtsMy Profile

      27th January 2017 at 16:55
  • Anita Waters

    Awww thanks Alex!
    I agree with you that, periods of time spent in the country of a target language, would certainly expose you to the “nuances”, for sure! you get to experience them naturally occur in everyday living (vie quotidienne). Yes, I am very familiar with the terms, “alors”, “ben”, “hein” and “quoi”, Pimsleur has introduced three of them (not “ben”, I think? ), but I have watched several Youtubers cover these terms in detail and how they make you “sound more French” and although I am aware of their existence in the French language, I’ve yet to make regular use of 3 of them. 🙂
    I love observing the process of evolving! It’s so interesting to see how much we ‘grow’ and ‘outgrow’ our thoughts and beliefs!
    I’ve just signed up for the upcoming language challenge on Italki! Can’t wait to see how much I can ‘grow’ and learn in one month. I’ve booked 24 lessons during the month of February, it’s my own personal experiment! I’ll be exhausted :))

    30th January 2017 at 13:27


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