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Andrew Henderson wrote the #1 best-selling book that redefines life as a diversified,
global citizen in the 21st century… and how you can join the movement.

Entrepreneur • Expat

Three key attitudes to being location independent

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[Editor’s Note: Pete Sisco, author of The Freedom App, is filling in for Andrew today while he’s in transit to Indonesia.]

Dateline: Murcia, Spain

Living and working the location independent lifestyle is the way of the future, no doubt about it. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of location independence, it involves living wherever on earth you choose to live and enjoying an income from either internet employment or entrepreneurism or sometimes from a local job.

It might sound exotic and lightyears from graduating high school or college then settling in to a 40-year career with one company, and I guess it is in comparison. But even if living the location independent lifestyle sounds exotic, it is becoming much more common.

First of all, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 one in nine Americans in the workforce was self-employed. That’s a lot of people.

Secondly, when that self-employment takes place using the internet it doesn’t take a person long to realize he can work just as easily and effectively being location independent from a nice beach community in Thailand or the Bahamas as he can from Cleveland or Baltimore.

When you factor in the low cost of living and pleasant lifestyle available outside the US, living location independent gets very attractive.

I’ve lived in several countries over the last eight years and four of my kids – all in their twenties – do the same thing. It’s very clear that self-employment is a growing sector and so is living location independent. It’s a fantastic way to live but it’s also true that a person needs the right attitude to get the most out of it. Here are three key attitudes that can make the difference between location independent success and misery.

1. Learn, Don’t Teach

Thousands of everyday things are different outside of your country. That doesn’t make them wrong. Some restaurants ask you to pay the check at the beginning of your meal. Some cultures give priority to family events over work commitments.

Expats have a much better experience if they consider the merits of these choices rather than offering their opinion how it could be improved by doing things the way their home country does it. And being open minded not only makes you a better guest in another country, it often results in the realization that other cultures do things in a way you might find more to your liking.

Living the location independent lifestyle is a massive learning opportunity and it’s lost when effort is spent trying to teach an entire population instead of absorbing what is useful.

2. You Can’t Win Them All

Life is full of trade-offs. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, there is no escaping that reality. There is no perfect place on earth. And the truth is while it can be nice to post photos of you reclining on a tropical beach the same day your friends in Chicago or Toronto are digging out of a snowstorm, there will be things in your beach community that are less than ideal.

The electricity might go off just when you need the air conditioning working so you can sleep all night. Or the internet will quit working halfway through that critical upload you have to complete in order to get paid.

As a person living the location independent lifestyle you can’t allow yourself to get furious over these trade-offs in convenience and comfort. If you develop a mind set of dissatisfaction you will find things to dislike everywhere. It is far more productive and emotionally satisfying to instead look for things to like.

Nobody likes the traffic in Bangkok or the weather in London, but those are fantastic cities to be in for other very good reasons.

3. It’s Doesn’t Have To Be Either Or

This is a key attitude that can trump almost any issue. Living location independent means having mobility and that means that none of your choices needs to be permanent.

I’ve lived in several countries on three continents and there are things I miss no matter where I am. The Fall in Canada, the deserts of the Western US and a few other things are pure joy to me. Living the location independent lifestyle often means I can have my cake and eat it too.

In fact, when you visit a familiar place for a brief time there is a tendency to pick the cherries out of the time you have. A person can often get more out of a weeklong trip back home than he does from living there for months under normal circumstances.

It’s cliche to say that variety is the spice of life but it is also very often true. Living location independent gives anyone the ability to experience some of their most favorite things every year and to constantly add new experiences to the list.

This is a lifestyle whose time has come. As technology makes living location independent easier and as unemployment and underemployment accelerate under a collapsing economic system it will be the people who embrace the location independent lifestyle who not only thrive but squeeze more juice from life while doing so.


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