It has been about 16 months since my wife and I left Japan and almost two and a half years since we made our commitment to change countries and careers. Here is an update on how our life has changed since we decided to give up our old way of life.
We are back in Canada now until the end of summer. My wife’s six month visa expires in September so we have to go somewhere before then. We still haven’t decided where or for how long.
Overall life is good. We really have few complaints. I am doing some part-time marketing consulting work with a few companies which more than pays for our living expenses. We have time to regularly exercise, read a lot, meet new people and generally do anything we want. With the exception of my terrible marathon performance last month, I would even say that life is perfect. 🙂
We are Homeless
Our house in Japan was up for sale for a long time but we finally sold it a few of months ago. Getting rid of the house will save us a lot of money every month so we are happy to lose that expense, but it also makes it difficult to return to Japan. Japan is still our home base for bank accounts, taxes, credit cards, etc. so we will return, however that will probably wait until the nuclear crisis is resolved.
In a previous post, I wrote about the idea of creating a Digital Nomad Network of accommodations to share with other location independents but only a handful of people were interested. I have a few possible locations arranged, but I think it will have to be a more closed group with close friends and family.
The Case Against Location Independence
My wife and I have been based out of Calgary, Canada for the last 5 months and it has been great to be able to build some connections and friendships. The Internet is great to connect with like-minded people, but nothing beats real world meet ups. It is a lot of work, but I have been trying to meet with several new people every week. This has been a fantastic source of ideas, new connections and even work opportunities.
If you are thinking of doing freelance work while traveling, I highly recommend building strong local connections in your home city. You can earn a lot more money selling your services to people who trust you, than to compete anonymously with the thousands of others offering the same services online.
Life is Good
Overall, life is fantastic. I can easily earn enough money to cover all of our expenses in a couple of hours per day. We are eating lots of healthy, home cooked meals, spending time with friends and family, cycling a lot, exercising everyday, and generally living a completely stress free life.
How our Lives have Changed
We no longer have the new car, big house, latest electronics and endless useless household gadgets, but that is a good thing. We also have no pressure to work. We are no longer spending our time shopping, maintaining the goods we have, or worrying about what to buy next. Less stuff really does mean more life.
Owning a house meant working in the yard, shopping for furniture and other household items, cleaning, taxes and a general mental focus geared towards possessions. Now all of those obligations and pressures are gone.
Not having a car means much less monthly expenses, not getting stressed out in traffic, more opportunities to walk and cycle. Even taking public transportation has become enjoyable. It is great to listen to an audio book while taking the bus and not have to worry about driving.
We are not sure what the future will bring, but we are not anxious to alter our current lifestyle either. Life is good.