When you think about location independence, what location do you think of? A good majority of the bloggers and other ‘experts’ in this industry fall into 1 of 2 categories: Those that choose a location based mainly on the low cost of living, and those that don’t bother to change locations at all..
Achieving location independence is just the beginning. Why create this freedom without exercising it?
Initially, I fell into the 2nd category, and then almost fell victim to the 1st category. Fortunately, I struck out on a better path..
Choosing the location
I think if you've taken the steps necessary to disconnect yourself from a traditional lifestyle you owe it to yourself to test out a few different locations.
A site like Nomad List will give you the relevant details about living in many different cities & countries around the globe.
Find out what each location has to offer, and get clear on what amenities, weather, etc., you'd like to live with.
Think about things like:
- what language will you need to speak
- how long can you legally stay
- how long are the flights (and cost)
- can you find accommodations remotely
Picking out the location is the hard part. Once you have that settled, the rest becomes easier..
When I decided to become a digital nomad, I divided my time between setting up online income streams and choosing an ideal location to start my journey. Initially, I thought Chiang Mai might be a good spot, as it is an extremely popular ‘digital nomad hub’.
Due to a few logistical concerns, we eventually settled on another location; Medellin, Colombia. Luckily, I stayed true to my philosophy of finding the best solution for me, not what the majority seems to have chosen.
I’ve written about my experience living in Medellin as a digital nomad HERE.
With that decision made, everything else fell into place. Well, mostly.
Having a plan is essential, but rarely does that plan hold up once the action starts. This was no different. Even though everything had been planned for, there were a few hiccups.
First, our flight arrived just as the airport was closing, which meant no chance at getting a little local currency, and practically no cabs available. The airport was also lacking WiFi, so we were on our own.
On top of this, there was some additional paperwork needed to ‘import’ our pets (basically another small shakedown), and there were no English speakers to be found. Luckily, the official and I both spoke enough French to get things squared away.
At this point, it was after midnight, and the few ‘cabs’ available appeared to be opportunists looking to deprive us of our luggage. I managed to find an ‘off duty’ cab driver who happened to be at the airport to pick up his girlfriend, and offered him a bit extra, roughly triple the normal fare (but still less than 1/2 of what it would cost in the US), to take us across the city.
Aside from the chaos of arriving in a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t know your way around, and don’t know anybody, we figured things out pretty fast.
In my experience, most people will help you out when you need it. We did need to make some lifestyle changes, but most of them were minor. Once we’d finished a few Spanish lessons, went out shopping, and learned our way around the city, we developed a nice routine.
I think it’s important to learn the local customs and try to fit in a bit. This is in direct contrast to the boisterous tourist that expects the locals to go out of their way to accommodate him.
The main purpose of this post is to link the concept of location independence with actually changing locations.
If you simply want to create an online business and work from home, no problems there, but you haven't actually achieved location independence.