I’ve actually not lived in America for over 5 years. Only going home every 12 to 16 months to visit family back in New England.
Way back in 2010 when I was working a job and reading blogs and watching YouTube like everyone else, I though it a dream to be “location independent.”
From the bio of a blogger I used to read:
Hi, I’m Everett Bogue. I’m the author of The Art of Being Minimalist and Minimalist Business. I live with less and work from anywhere in the world (currently Oakland, CA).
My writing has been featured on the top-25 blog Zen Habits, and countless other outlets. I used to work at New York Magazine, but I quit to pursue a minimalist location-independent life.
I write this blog to teach you how you can apply minimalism in order to live and work from anywhere.
Sounds so cool right? Much better than, “hey I’m Dave and I work in a cubicle for 60 hours a week. I write this blog because I like to imagine that someday I could make money from this blog and be free from my cubicle! Subscribe!”
Ev started a blog on minimalism before minimalism was a thing and stumbled on an untapped topic that still to this day has millions of readers for whatever reason.
Heck, theminimalists.com get MILLIONS of visitors a month and they credit Ev with being the reason why they go started.
Here are my 7 reasons why YOU can’t handle location independence and the digital nomad lifestyle
1 – Failure is not an option
Your success is on you. Too many get caught up in living a perpetual hedonistic life of sex, drugs, women and travel.
They forget to focus on the main thing and that is building a reputation around something. If you work hard and create something world class, you can always fall back on a job.
Really. I meet one YouTuber when I was in China who got his job in digital marketing because of his blog and YouTube video combination.
You can develop marketable skills, but the key aspect is develop. If you fail to do this you’re setting yourself up for failure as if you won’t have any skills to market yourself.
Your friends back home now have long track records that allow them to be gainfully employed and if they were to lose said job, they could still manage to find a new position (so long as they were not fired).
You however are an unknown. The best thing to do is still be active on building your reputation and begin a quantity others want to work with.
This means finding your thing and being world class at it.
It also means working hard and doing the work. Not just living in fantasy world where you’re a “digital nomad” living a location independent life.
If you get stuck in dream world too long, you’ll have to crawl back to the hole you came out of. Starting at the bottom of the hierarchy and being 10 years older than those you’re working with. Not a pretty sight.
This fear of failure should hopefully be motivation enough to get you to build a reputation and a track record on your terms.
2 – Addiction to life abroad
I get asked by friends and family, WHY anyone would want to live and work abroad.
Vietnam? Isn’t that third world?
Thailand? Do they even have internet there?
South Korea? Aren’t you worried about being blown up in a nuclear fireball?
My answer is always the same.
It’s really, really fun.
…and no Thailand and Vietnam are not some 3rd world hell holes. They’re dynamic and interesting places.
Your mind is engaged, your sense of novelty is fulfilled and you feel like you’re really living your life.
Now again, it can be dangerous stuff because you can end up spending your days not doing much in the way of work and letting precious years go by that you could be using to build some sort of career.
It’s also difficult to go back to life in America or whatever country you’re from. After you’ve had fun and freedom, it ruins you for any sort of low level corporate position.
How can you go back to living in Connecticut alone in an apartment, working in accounts payable while living next to a Puerto Rican drug dealer? Barely making enough to live? Incurring a ton of life overhead like a car, rent and over price utilities?
You can’t. You just can’t.
The only job you would even be open to doing would have to be one that be an extension of what you already do. For me that would be the SEO industry and digital marketing, for others it could be a company that provides TEFL certification.
But the idea of just taking any job will be long gone once you travel.
3 – An inability to commit to ONE woman
This is kind of a weird one but it’s true. Back in Connecticut, I had a good friend named Bobby at Uconn. Bobby was a 5,10 180 lbs Lebanese guy. He would sleep with 1-2 different girls each week.
It was amazing. We all wondered what the deal was? Like most young guys we’re all told lies about how guys are dogs and women want love and a relationship.
Then why the heck are these sexy college students having one night stands with my friend?
It was a lesson for 20 year old me that girls want sex and have no issue cheating on the guy they are with if a guy they find more attractive comes along.
Our culture likes to make it out that men are the ones to look out for, but any guy that has slept around with a lot of women, knows how women are no better.
My whole point with bringing this up is that I experienced something similar once I went to asia. In Connecticut, my tall dark skinned friend was really attractive to your generic white girl in Connecticut.
It was not until I went to Asia where I experienced something similar. Just being able to go out to bars and clubs with friends with no intention of of meeting anyone and then going home with a cute 20 something year old girl I had just meet. Men are not wired to say no to sexual opportunities.
To date I’ve slept with over 100 different women. This is not something I’m proud of or anything. It’s just that I now “get” why Bobby was so successful with women.
Guys like to talk a lot about game and what not but the truth is this. Women go after the top 20% of guys. Go to a place where you can be in that top 20% and it’s easy to get women.
It’s true that Asian women are simply more attracted to white men, but you’re still not off the hook for looking good, being in shape and doing something interesting with your life.
You’re a fool if you think you’re going to roll up into Thailand and be hooking up with cute young girls simply because you’re white.
4 – Alcohol will do you in buddy
Alcohol, social media, video games and the wrong woman are the biggest distractions for most men.
Alcohol is particularly dangerous for some. You have to know yourself. If you have a problem with beer, it’s going to be tough for you to live an unconstrained, location independent life as you’re free from your cultural expectations.
I personally am not a big drinker and did not even drink until I was 28 years old to any great length. But I’ve seen alcohol destroy lives. I’ve worked with teachers back in my ESL days who literally dank 10 beers a day, every day.
This is a big waste of money, your health and it leads to poor performance at work. Instead of teaching English and then going home to work on a side project to make money and again, build your reputation (see point 1) you just drink and drink. Until you get fired for being a problem.
5 – You have to learn how to make friends
Who are your friends? Were they people you choose or are you only friends through circumstance?
Most people don’t choose their friends. They simply make friends from work or childhood.
When you’re on your own abroad, living a location independent life you can meet some amazing people from around the world.
It is tougher to make long term friends for sure, but the opportunity to meet interesting people is there and you can make some great, lasting friendships.
But it takes work and skill. You actually have to network, socialize and make friends. You’re in charge of your social life in a way you’re not going to be used to.
I’ve made some great friends, lost touch with others and most have ended up being nothing more than “this guy I know.”
I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy. It’s not. Most “friends” you meet won’t go to bat for you. Won’t help you in times of need and won’t be real friends. This is another aspect you’ll have to learn and adapt to.
People who travel are outgoing and it’s easy to meet people to hang out with, but to develop relationships of depth will take time and skill.
6 – You will lack respect from other people
Job = status
When you’re outside of this, you’re some weirdo or wild man. It’s easy for Mike the engineer who works for Microsoft to explain what he does and thus obtain a level of respect from others for his position.
You on the other hand it’s much more difficult. Other people will have no idea what exactly it is you’re doing or how you’re making a living.
Since you have no formal job title, you’re just some vagabond on a “journey” of self exploration who has not yet taken on the burdens and responsibilities of life as far as everyone else is concerend. No one can respect a man like that!
7 – Location independence has some big sacrifices
You give up stability and boredom for potential adventure and uncertainty.
You give up long term relationships for countless short term flings.
You give up building roots in one place for the freedom to move anywhere.
This may sound great to some, but I can tell you this: This sort of freedom will amplify any underlying problems you have. If you’re not a strong, disciplined go-getter you’ll be overtaken by some vice you have.
Trying to make a living by not living anywhere long term simply adds another layer of complexity onto the challenges that life already presents us. My personal solution to this is to slow travel.
By slow traveling to a new location, you’re able to built roots, have your local places and make friends. You simply can’t do this if you’re just hitting up a place for a month and then moving on.
Some ideal places to make a second home are Chaing Mai Thailand, Bangkok and Bali. These places all have perpetual travelers and those whom call these places home alike.
This is not to say you should live here forever and ever, but it’s a good idea to make these places your base whenever you want to return to a place that can feel like home.