15 Reasons I Love a Location Independent Lifestyle

15 Reasons I Love a Location Independent Lifestyle

15 Reasons I Love a Location Independent Lifestyle

I recently wrote about 14 reasons why I hate travel, most of it was minor bickering disguising the fact of how lucky my wife and I are to be able to live anywhere we want in the world. Bloggers tend to glamorize travel and online income opportunities in order to sell ebooks so I am trying to offer a little more reality to what it is really like on the road. However, in fairness I should also talk about all the things I love about living abroad. These really are amazing times.

First of all, I should clarify that constant travel is much different than living abroad. Many people talk about ‘location independence’ when they are really living in a foreign country. I love living abroad, it is regularly changing locations that gets too tiring and time consuming.

Here are 15 Reasons I Love to Live a Travel Lifestyle

1. Food

It is great to be able to try authentic international food around the world. Japan has the healthiest, freshest and highest quality ingredients but other countries like Hungary, Italy and Thailand are also at the top of my list.

2. Cafes

My wife and I are espresso fanatics. There is nothing we love more than sitting in a nice cafe and people watching. Starbucks brought cafe culture to the world, but nothing compares to smaller independently owned cafes with high quality coffee and a great artsy vibe.

3. Music

After cafes, music is another passion of mine. I love the diversity of music around the world. There are so many amazingly talent people that most people will never hear of. It is too bad that English speakers rarely listen to non-English music. I particularly loved the fusion of Middle Eastern and rock music in Istanbul.

4. Culture

I love seeing how people live in other countries. I am not so interested in the typical sight-seeing attractions, but experiencing how others go about their daily lives is very fascinating. Even small things like toilets, kitchen utensils and typical meals are very interesting. Foreign festivals are also amazing. There are so many rituals that have lasted centuries around the world.

5. Cost of Living

There are many countries that offer a fantastic quality of life for much less money than home. I have been away from my home city of Calgary, Canada for 14 years now but every time I return I am amazed at how expensive it has become. Calgary is more expensive than my last home city in Japan.  Regular travel, however, can be very expensive. It is best to stay in one place for a while.

6. Life is Not Work

Most people in richer countries don’t really know how to live. So much time is spent working, commuting, shopping and using technology. I love the slower pace of life in Europe and South East Asia. Slow meals with family and friends are still important. Normal people take 4 to 8 weeks of vacation a year. That is what life is about.

7. Wine

I am not much of an aficionado but it is great to have access to inexpensive, quality alcohol, particularly if spent in the company of friends and family. Hungary offers one of the best price/quality ratios in the world. For all you Italians and French, sorry but you can get twice the quality at half the price in Hungary.

8. Personal Development

Travel makes you a better person. It really does. New cultures help you question all the ridiculous assumptions we just accept without thinking. People are not born to work and consume!

9. Minimalism

It is impossible to travel with many physical possessions. Living abroad forces you to cull your life to only essential items. This not only saves money but it also reduces stress and frees up mental capacity from constant shopping and the maintenance of physical goods. I just spent Christmas  with family in Canada; it is astonishing how much time, money and energy go into buying things.

10. People

Internationally minded people are the most generous and interesting you will encounter. Traveling exposes you to a diversity of people and ideas that you would never meet in ordinary life.

11. Couchsurfing

I have built close relationships with people I have meet surfing or at couchsurfing meetings. There is no better way to develop deep and close relationships with strangers. Check out my post, CouchSurfing.org is What Social Media is All About

12. Family and Friends

Being away most of the time means that when you return to your home city, time with family and friends becomes much more important. Everyone makes a bigger effort to meet you because you are leaving soon. Also, you will likely stay with family so even a week back home is probably more direct contact than you will have in a year of occasional visits.

13. Creativity

Exposure to new cultures, people and ideas unleashes a flood of creativity. I particularly love good airports. The excitement and anticipation of going to a new destination open a flood gate of new ideas for me.

14. Weather

I am originally from Canada, need I say more?

15. Home is Best!

Living abroad makes you appreciate your home country much, much more. Every country has is good and bad points, being away for a long time makes you really understand how great your home is. Canada Rocks! Japan is pretty cool too.

If you are reading this blog it is very likely that you have the means to travel virtually anywhere in the world you wish. Travel is easier and cheaper than ever so there aren’t many excuses for not seeing the world. One caveat though, is that very, very few people can travel constantly for a long time. The few super travelers you read about generally have family that they regularly stay with or they live  for extended periods of time in one location. (I lived in my home base in Japan for 13 years.) I only know of a handful that are truly nomadic.

Am I missing any more good reasons to travel?

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

32 Responses to 15 Reasons I Love a Location Independent Lifestyle

  1. Kirsty says:

    I live this post! I also love the photo… it looks like you have a small Chinese flag attached to your hat. A great way to endear yourself to the locals, that’s for sure!

    I agree with all of your points (except that home is best… not the hugest fan of Canada 🙂 but the one I agree with the most is the people. I’ve met some really amazing people through travel and living abroad, people I’d never meet in my hometown in Canada. Everyone I meet here in Rwanda seems to be doing something amazing, locals and expats. I have great conversations almost every day and I love it!

    I’d second the Hungarian wine recommendation. Bull’s Blood is great!

    • John says:

      Hi Kirsty,

      That flag is actually not on my head. My wife just positioned me to place it there. 🙂

      I don’t think I could live in Canada again but I definitely enjoy returning.

      Rwanda sounds interesting. Safe travels.

  2. Anil says:

    I love the perspective seeing various cultures gives you on humanity. One conclusion I keep coming to is that we are all very, very similar and adapt to circumstances in a very human way. Gaining these experiences firsthand has a profound impact that is not easily quantified.

    • John says:

      Agreed!

      Humans have the same basic needs and desires. It is too bad that politics and religion have pitted countries against each other. With the increase in travel and international marriages it is going to be harder and harder to hate our neighbors.

  3. More than anything I love the freedom of a world traveling digital lifestyle! 5 years into it and we still love the travel aspect & don’t need two months in a place to be happy. People really make it special and couchsurfing rocks…especially in Bora Bora & Moorea!

    We love being a constantly moving lifestyle as a family and mixing faster travel with slower travel. We just did 14 flights & 14 stops from Spain to Asia and adored it, but we’re also happy to be slowed down for a bit now too for a tropical winter. It IS much easier & greener to travel by small RV …as we do in Europe, so you can go slow & just take your home with you as you change countries. No packing or unpacking suitcases & we carry a digital piano and a violin with us. 😉 On the move we do it with just a carryon each & I love the minimalism aspect too.

    Wine won’t always be a positive ( alcohol is expensive and or not good in many places..like here). 😉 Funny, that some of our good friends here are from Hungary. 😉

    I don’t think I would enjoy being an expat in just one place, but I love the travel lifestyle, exploring new places and even returning to special places & people we adore. I love how the “newness” makes life always exciting. I don’t really feel like I have a home anymore, but that the whole planet is our home & we have MANY homes that are fun to return to. Not one of them seems the best. I can’t imagine ever wanting to return permanently to my country of birth. The freedom of this lifestyle would make it hard for me to give up travel.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Dave says:

    Like Kirsty, my first thought was “I live this post” too! I feel incredibly lucky to be able to continue living this lifestyle, and it only motivates me to keep working on building a business!

  5. Jannell says:

    Fun, happy post! I particularly like numbers 6 and 8, . . oh, and 9. Can’t wait to get out there and experience the ups and downs myself. Keep ’em coming, John!

  6. Jason says:

    Great post John. I like how many of these are original and are not something you would see on everyone’s top ten list.

  7. Audrey says:

    I completely agree with Anil and your emphasis on people, creativity and personal growth. That’s what I really value and appreciate from this style of living. I’m very fortunate to be doing this and hope that what we share from all that we have learned about humanity and the rest of the world with our home (United States) brings a bit more awareness to the rest of the world. The more awareness of other cultures and countries means less unknown and fear, which ultimately helps in a more peaceful world. That’s me being idealist 🙂

    Food is also big for us, not only in enjoying how other countries eat and their relationship with food, but that food is a great leveler and ice breaker in talking with new people and sharing an experience.

    • John says:

      Hi Audrey,

      Looking back over the past 20 or 30 years, it is clear how much more international all countries have become. This can’t help but make the world a more peaceful place. (I hope anyway!)

  8. Ryan Martin says:

    Along the lines of an RV, if your young and adventurous living out of a campervan (like VW bus) is pretty awesome. I just did it and drove up the east coast of Australia. As long as ur ok with sleeping shoulder to shoulder next to ur buddy (hopefully) and eating lots of noodles, it can lead to some pretty awesome opportunities. You can be nomadic, have a place to sleep and cook, and experience it with friends. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I loved it!

  9. Nomadic Matt says:

    Couchsurfing is the best part about traveling. I totally agree.

  10. Phil says:

    Another great post John! So true. I am in Canada right now (first christmas ‘home’ in 15 years!) and blimey is it expensive! This ridiculous ‘tax added at the register’ doesn’t help that feeling.
    Your blog is always an inpiration!

    If you need/want a place to hang out on the Costa del Sol (southern Spain on the med) drop me a note (you have my email)!

    • John says:

      Thanks for your generous offer Phil!

      Where are you in Canada? I am in Calgary.

      • Phil says:

        At the time I wrote that I was just outside Toronto – but I’m back in Spain now! We are off to Japan for a month in April… and we are growing weary of Spain. 10 years is too long. So we are looking for somewhere else in Europe to move to as a base.

  11. Earl says:

    I’d also add that long-term travel teaches us how to adapt in ways that we once wouldn’t have been able to imagine. What were once uncomfortable and difficult situations in foreign countries, suddenly become quite normal and easy to handle. This is an invaluable skill to have to know that you can travel around the world confident in your ability to handle even the most unusual and uncommon situations.

    If I still found myself terrified every time I landed in a major city in an undeveloped country, I doubt that I would still be traveling!

  12. Sandra says:

    I agree with pretty much every point you write here.

    I think I like living in 1 place and travelling a lot from that place, all around the world, but always returning to that 1 place which is your home. I used to move all around the place before and it’s not good long-term.

  13. Gaijinchic says:

    Great post. I agree with all of them.
    I would add one more. Language. I love learning the language of the nation we are living in. Even if it is only enough to order a coffee and say thank you. Its also great when you travel and can small talk with fellow travelers in multiple languages.

    • John says:

      My wife and I like picking up some of the language as well. The local people sure appreciate it when you try to communicate in their language.

  14. Smily says:

    Hey John.
    The thought occurs to me: what if you could locate an area where two or three adjoining countries within the same short distance of say 100 miles or so. Then u could leave some stuff in storage in each place and only travel a short distance to each to cross border. We should try an identify such areas in term of likeability and liveability etc. have you run across any? Example–Italy, slovenia, Croatia –corner–(Trieste Italy, NE corner) I’m hoping some excitement is generated by this idea, as it could be one answer to the problem of constant travel. Another one could be –Tunisia, Malta, Sicily? or???

  15. Ana says:

    Great article and comments! The big catch for many of us is the “we” part and, of course, having the means. I’d love to see more examples of people who are living location independent totally on their own, especially women and those well beyond twenty something. Oh, and how one could do it without the means to start. That is the trick.

    • John says:

      Thanks again for the comment Ana,

      I think the overwhelming majority of long-term travelers are single. Couples are definitely the exception on the road. http://solotravelerblog.com/ is a good example of a mature female traveler.

      If you are looking for an online income, I would recommend browsing around sites like Odesk.com or Elance.com to see what type of positions people are hiring for. There are work opportunities for every type of skill. Of course, the more expertise you have, the more you can charge. There are free online tutorials for virtually every kind skill. WordPress development, SEO, article writing, virtual assistants, graphic design, etc. are all in high demand.

      If you want to create your own websites, try adsenseflippers.com or affiliate marketing for beginners. There are no shortages of income opportunities if you work hard.

  16. Thomas says:

    Hey John, I am a 50 year old male, US Resident& Native, recently divorced, looking for a lifestyle change. Not old enough for retirement yet, income wise or otherwise. I am looking at Thailand, maybe to teach as I find usually in most of SE Asia(Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China) a 4-year degree is not required, and often will get you no greater income than a 2 year degree(as I have) and Teaching Certificate like a CELTA or TESOL/TEFL or just a H.S. Diploma and a Teaching Certificate. I am looking for all the tips on those countries you have. gave Her everything-Just a Backpack full of gear is all I am taking!!

    • John says:

      Hi Thomas,

      It is possible to get English teaching jobs without a degree, but they are typically illegal and often for less pay. Most Chinese positions will require a degree now.

      In Thailand and Cambodia, it’s easier to find jobs without a work visa, but that also has it’s risks.

      Indonesia seems to be one of the best destinations now for teaching positions for those without degrees. That might be a country to look into.

      SE Asia is a great area to relocate to, but you might want to look into other ways of making money online.

      All the best,
      John

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