Graham your story is so amazing and you make the idea of disconnecting from typical lifelong obligations seem so easy. Was it?
Deciding to sell everything and travel the world was relatively easy but living “on the road” itself is the real challenge. Our location independent life is like any normal life – there are problems and a few crises thrown in for good measure. The only difference is that we are living on a tropical island in the middle of the ocean rather than stuck in a traffic jam!
Your whole strategy of being location independent makes your life seem like one big vacation. Do you yearn at all to have a place that you are more connected to?
Sure, it can seem like a vacation at times: snorkeling the coral coast of Fiji, bodyboarding in Hawaii or exploring the volcanic Canary islands of Africa but it’s not a footloose existence. We try to stay in one place for some time – a year here, a year there. I think the idea of your “home” is an interesting one. Is it a place or the people in that place we’re really connected to? If it’s a physical place then it’s going to be hard to travel. If, however, you see people as your home then you can be at home wherever those people are.
How realistic is it that families can just pick up and “drift wherever the wind takes them?”
It’s possible that families can up and travel, live somewhere else. I’m not sure about drifting. Of course, that’s one option but for me the better option is to stay somewhere for a year or two. As a family, you want to plug into the local culture, put your children into local school, make friends. You can’t do that drifting between places. So, in answer to your question, it’s feasible in this day and age to do that with the right location independent income streams but the key is understanding it’s not a black or white option. You can have something in the middle like making a home somewhere else of your choice. If you like somewhere, you can stay. And if you don’t like where you’re at, you can move on. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle.
Was your wife as enthusiastic as you about becoming location independent?
Pretty much so. I think you all have to be on board to make it work. It can’t just be one person’s dream or decision. Any differences are soon going to get exposed on the road. Let me tell you, it puts any relationship to the test!
Do you feel that children will be better off or hindered by their parents’ decision to live unattached to a location?
Sure there are things children lose out on but the upside far outweighs these losses. If we look into the 21st century we see a changed world where, even in 5 years, China will be the world’s biggest economy. The world will need people who can cross borders both mentally and physically, speak languages and work with different cultures. In that respect, travel will be the best education for the next generation of workers.That’s why I put my son into local Spanish rather than international school and, here in Asia, I want him to learn the local languages. If they were in anyway worse off, I wouldn’t travel. This is our own family adventure we create together.
What is the biggest drawback to adopting this lifestyle?
I think that when you open your world to travel you also become vulnerable.The highs are higher and the lows lower. You live a more raw existence so there are days when you really feel exposed and tired. Even buying food at the local supermarket or local drivers can get to you because you don’t have the crutch of security you once had. This is particularly true when you arrive in a new place but I have to remind myself that most of the time it’s because I’m hungry!
And what is the biggest reward?
To the point about being vulnerable, long term travel opens your eyes and emotions to the world. Think of it as falling in love. You can’t fall in love unless you let go. Sure you’re gonna get hurt but life on the road teaches you many things. I loved watching my son play soccer with the local Spanish kids and singing in the school fiesta. We made some lifelong friendships with people I knew only a short time. I can’t remember the last time we watched TV! In short, it’s never going to be easy but it’s always going to be worth it.
What other valuable insights will readers learn in your book: “Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World?“
They’ll learn that it’s both possible and there are people just like them doing this right now. The technology and business models exist. All we need is a little bravery to take the first step. Importantly, they’ll also learn there are many ways to travel long term. I think people feel that if they commit to long term travel and being location independent, they have to travel 50 countries in 50 weeks. That’s one option for sure, but there are many options available. You could enjoy a 3 month vacation once a year, take 3 years out or travel forever. There isn’t one way of making this work.
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Newest Book: Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World
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