We have actually been location independent for since 2009. Location independent simply means that we are not bound to any geographical location by our work. For us, we simply need a great Internet connection, and a living space that allows us to work or be accessible to office space. Location independence does not mean financially independent. (While we have been location independent in our work, we have had some other aspects of life that have tied us down until this point.)
Many families living the location independent lifestyle sold their house and belongings to make this life possible. Others have family who are able to be involved in their properties and possessions. We feel like even in this, we’re a bit avant-garde. Not only do we still own one home, but we own several; real estate makes up a small part of our monthly income.
But we nonetheless homeless in a similar sense to many other digital nomads. Our “home” is now wherever we are traveling for the time, and our income is digital: we earn our income online and through remote work.
We all want to give our children the world. We’re just choosing to do so literally, in a sense. We homeschool our kids, but an important part of our what we want them to learn about doesn’t come in a curriculum kit. It comes through experiencing and learning from the world around them.
We are privileged to make an intentional choice to live life a little differently.
I can say that we have frequently longed for the perceived security of a traditional job, the benefits like insurance or retirement options, or even just a paid holiday. When the going gets tough, everything looks like a better choice than the one you’ve already made. But after 8 years of working outside the traditional work environment, it’s hard to even look back.
Living the Dream?
Interestingly, there are a lot of ways to look at this. For us, we see it from both perspectives.
We love what fellow travelers at Exploring Simply have said:
“We are not “living the dream”. We simply choose to live a little differently. We have our challenges, our ups and downs- just like everyone else. Our motivation for travel is to gain new experiences and practice the art of intentional living.”
At the same time, we resonate with the words of Paulo Coelho, even as they apply to the lifestyle we have chosen.
“The world lies in the hands of those that have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams”
In a sense, we are living our dream. But in another sense we aren’t living the dream. We still have to work, and probably more than if we’d had a professional position for 9-10 years. We don’t have a trust fund for this adventure (or anything else). We didn’t sell out a successful business to do this. We didn’t go into adulthood with financial support or social capital of our extended family. We don’t even have a primarily passive income system…yet. But we have done some really cool things, and we have multiple income sources. If you want to hear more, we’ll be sharing this as our site grows.
If you have kids, you know that it’s a bit of work. Especially when you have four children and no real support network. Sometimes travel makes that seem harder; sometimes, easier. But hard isn’t always bad.
Daniel was born outside his passport country and grew up on-and-off as a third-culture kid, primarily in South Korea.
Keren was able to experience very different and diverse cultures from age 15 onward, and we both contribute this to our growth in understanding diversity, empathy, and seeing through world through different perspectives.
In 2009, Daniel took a survey trip to Madagascar, where we’d planned for our family to live even since before we were married. In our minds, that’s where we’d be raising our children as we worked with a non-profit ministry. However, shortly after that trip, our perspectives and paradigms shifted and we were no long a good fit with that specific non-profit. Our lives were turned upside down, we struggled to find a new identity, and our family grew from 4 people to 6 people.
And yet, our desire to raise our children as third-culture kids and see the world together remained a burning desire.
In 2013, we found an amazing deal on plane tickets, and randomly decided to go to Ecuador for 5 weeks, while Daniel was working online for much of that trip. We found we could squeeze in both work and adventure, though it was not without sacrifice and some unexpected hardships.
In 2014, we made plans to move our family of five to Ecuador. Instead, we found ourselves expecting our fourth child. That made us excited to possibly give birth abroad and gain citizenship for that child. Plans changed yet again when the pregnancy grew more difficult, and Keren was on-and-off bedridden with the crippling effects of both morning sickness and (literally crippling) Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). Thankfully, our daughter was born healthy and at home, and we are looking forward to once again moving forward with our plans to experience long-term, worldwide travel as a family in 2017.