Ready to Be a Nomad? Here’s How to Become Location Independent

How to Become Location Independent
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Have you considered transitioning to remote work that will allow you to be location independent? This lifestyle change requires a lot of planning and opportunity chasing, but it’s not unattainable.

Becoming location independent can help you build a more fulfilled life. You can travel the world and explore new cultures, all while earning money instead of just spending it. This might not be the right path for everyone, but if you’ve been searching for a way to make this happen - here’s how to start. 

Why start working remotely?

Being able to work from anywhere opens a lot of doors. From being able to take affordable off-season trips or living that beach life you’ve always dreamed of, to simply cutting down on your daily commute — there really is something in location independence for everyone.

An individual can spend one-third of their life at work. Even in environments that are more pleasant, chances are there’s somewhere else you’d rather be. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that many of our jobs can be done from home, or anywhere else in the world. So long as you have a computer and Wi-Fi, why shouldn’t you be in your ideal environment? 

How to become location independent

It might seem like a dream to be able to travel the world while still making an income. But more and more people are making the transition every year. Here’s where you should start:

1. Secure a remote job

Traveling is not cheap, even if you’re headed somewhere more affordable than your current home base. Traveling the world while you work really starts with finding a job that allows for being location independent. 

If you’re already employed, reach out to your current employer and ask if there’s a way to make your job more location-independent. If not, don’t worry - more and more companies are switching to remote and are trying to grow their teams. You just have to find the right one for you. 

You’ll want to demonstrate your ability to work independently while being part of a team, so make sure to update your resume with any previous remote work experience you have. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a new role: 

  • Do they work asynchronously or have any recurring meetings you are expected to attend? Does that work well with your time zone and schedule? If your employer is in the US, it might be hard to attend meetings if you’re based in Asia. 
  • Do they expect you to be available online at certain times of the day? It’s a good idea to look for an employer that offers as much flexibility as possible. 
  • What benefits do they offer? Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect benefits such as health insurance. 

The other popular choice for nomads is freelance work. Being your own boss means deciding when and where you work, which is optimal for a nomad. If you’re already freelancing or side hustling, you might already be well on your way. If not, there are plenty of opportunities out there - from platforms like Upwork, to RemoteOK & Workew. This updated list of recent remote jobs posted is a great starting point. 

2. Define the lifestyle you want

Choosing to travel frequently and full-time are very different experiences. Likewise, changing your location every month requires different planning than setting up a home base for six months at a time. Before you take off to explore the world, it’s important to decide how you want to go about doing that.

If you’re planning on taking off full-time for an extended period of time, you’ll need to figure out what to do with both your home and belongings. Selling your used furniture can help you make some extra cash for your travels. But if you decide to settle back down in the future, you’ll be starting from scratch.

So, here’s your list of things to brainstorm:

  • Whether you’re traveling full-time or part
  • How often do you want (or can afford) to switch locations
  • If you need to be in a particular time zone for work.

Not every location is going to be a perfect fit for your needs. Knowing what you want before you start planning can help make things easier, and avoid disappointment in the long run.

Also, don’t shy away from reaching out to someone in the nomad community - they’ve been exactly where you are and probably have great advice to share. 

3. Breakdown your routines

Traveling is fun and exciting, but it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to keeping up with routines. While you might be a go-with-the-flow kind of person, traveling while working remotely is not easy. Take some time and figure out what kind of routine makes you happy and productive, and what you need to be comfortable. 

Are you an early riser? You probably don’t want to live on a busy street that’s known for its nightlife. If you need to be able to have a quiet walk sometime in your day, living along a beach might be a better fit than a bustling city.

It’s also important to take a look at how you work. You’ll no doubt need fast and reliable Wi-Fi to get the job done, but what else? There are likely other things that make an impact on your day. For example, sitting on one of those white plastic patio chairs for eight hours isn’t going to be very comfortable – even if you are beachside while you’re doing it. Perhaps a co-working space close by, or a portable desk modifier would help keep you more comfortable.

Finally, moving from place to place, regardless of how exciting, interrupts your flow. Building a routine that you can repeat in every location can help you settle in faster. 

4. Cover the basics

The excitement of choosing an exotic destination and travel often makes us forget about the logistics. When you’re out of your home country for an extended period of time, you lose certain things you are simply used to having. 

Before you start packing, you’re going to want to understand how things like taxes, immigration, and healthcare will work for you. Knowing the answer to the following questions can help you solidify plans:

  • Where do you pay your annual taxes?
  • What kind of travel insurance do you need? Most countries now require proof of travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage to allow you to enter the country, so make sure you have that ready (*SafetyWing offers coverage for Covid-19 and unexpected quarantine!)
  • What type of visa or immigration permission do you need to stay for an extended period of time at your destination?

Embassies, consulates, governments, and legal and tax professionals can help you out. You should also make sure to keep track of travel restrictions worldwide as they tend to change quickly and often without prior announcement. 

Your nomadic future starts today!

Location-independence doesn’t happen overnight. But luckily, you can start implementing small changes and plans today that will get you one step closer to where you want to be. There’s an entire community of nomads and remote workers here to help you out, so know you’re not alone when you decide to embark on your first journey. 

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