Required Beliefs For Location Independence

by Dan Johnston

Required Beliefs For Location Independence

Last December I spent 8 days crossing the Atlantic, from Africa to Brazil, on the first ever “Nomad Cruise”. Interesting people, great meals, 24/7 sunshine, and daily maid service.

What more could you ask for?

On board it was a varied group if I’ve ever seen one. Within the 100 or so “nomads” you could find 6 figure entrepreneurs, true “four hour work weekers”, detoxing London workaholics, and those just starting out.

Perhaps the only thing everyone had in common was that they made it. They found a way to spend over a week on board (most opting out of wifi and fully disconnecting) and between a few weeks and six months in South America after the cruise.

Many took a follow up cruise back to Europe, from Cartagena, Colombia to Lisbon.

What allowed those in this group to be location independent? What was the difference between them and their friends back home who never made it on board?


It’s OK To Take Things One Step at a Time

When starting out it’s essential to remember that everything is temporary. If after a few months abroad you decide location independence isn’t for you, no worries. It’s easy enough to buy a ticket home and recreate your old life.

The beauty of the free market is that whatever you sold your possessions for (if you did) and whatever rent you were paying before you left is about what you’ll pay when you come back.

Heck, if you work on your marketing and negotiation skills you may even be able to turn on a profit on your possessions and on subleasing your home.

I always advise my coaching clients to start off with a location independence test trip of 3-6 months. Not only does this allow them to test out living abroad before fully committing, it also makes it easier to pull the trigger on that first plane ticket.

You can always turn back…but you’ll never want to.


Location Independence Can Be Good For Your Bank Account

When I booked my first flight abroad to Costa Rica I had just under $3000 in my pocket and no guaranteed income. This had to cover all my expenses, including a week in New York on my way down.

Truth be told, Costa Rica was about twice as expensive as I expected but at no point was I forced to sell my body for food (although I can neither confirm or deny selling it for other things).

Depending on your room and options, the cruise cost around 40-50 euros per day. This included housing, food, and alcohol. Literally, everything.

Wherever you currently call home, I bet there are dozens of awesome destinations where you can live for the same or less than you’re spending now. Apparently this includes cruise ships.

Don’t Be High Maintenance

Don’t be the kind of person who “needs” a car, every possible insurance, and 4 star accommodation guaranteed before they can even consider taking off. If that’s you, that’s perfectly OK, but just stop the lie about how bad you want to be location independent…

Because if you really did, you’d be willing to ditch some of the luxuries.

On that note, those luxuries, like a car, are most likely draining, rather than adding to, both your bank account AND your happiness.


Location Independence Is Great For Business

If you handle it the right way, choosing to be location independent and spend a lot of your time abroad can be the best thing for your business and client relationships.

Of course this depends on you, your business and your clients, but for the majority of people and businesses I believe living abroad can be either a wash (neutral), or an asset to your business.

One advantage is better time zones. For example, if you live in Spain and your clients are in North America you have at least 4-6 hours each morning and afternoon to work on your business and larger projects (writing, marketing, planning) before your clients are even awake. This is one way I was able to publish multiple books while still working as a freelance copywriter.

Another advantage is expanding your network. As popular as you are back home, imagine if you had friends and business connections in a dozen cities around the world all referring you business?

For more on the business benefits of travel, check out 7 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Travel


The Potential For Awesome Outweighs Any Potential Problems

When thinking about living abroad it’s easy to get lost in the what-ifs. Let’s be honest, living abroad while operating your business involves a lot of new challenges and moving parts.

There is one huge difference I’ve noticed between people in the “sort of wanting” to be location independent phase and those who are fully committed to it.

Where they focus.

Those committed to making it happen focus on the possibilities. They think about all the awesome experiences they will have, the people they will meet and the opportunities that will open up.

When a potential challenge comes up they are quick to point out how unlikely it is to happen, and then list 2-3 solutions just in case it does.

Sometimes we actually take this too far. While in Brazil my friend Bjorn from 22Tribes mentioned he didn’t have any travel insurance, or vaccines. This while in the country that would announce their new friend Zika a few months later.

Now, full disclosure, I also didn’t get any vaccines. Having lived in Costa Rica in 2012 I figured I was covered.

But after leaving Rio, poor ol’ Bjorn found himself denied boarding in the Sao Paulo airport. It turns out South Africa (his destination) requires proof of yellow fever vaccine…Well, assuming you don’t want to spend 10 days in quarantine upon arrival.

While this story initially sounds like a horrible experience, the next time I saw Bjorn in Europe he had a huge smile on his face and a beautiful Brazilian lady on his arm.

I’d say the awesome outweighed the problem.


Life Is So Much More Than Money

This doesn’t mean life is one big holiday. Quite the contrary. Most successful location independent entrepreneurs are highly disciplined, focused, and hard working.  Yet, they define themselves by more than their bank accounts. They are often as concerned with health and personal development as they are with increasing their income.

Partially because it does affect their incomes, they learn to care about all areas of life. I would wager a location independent guy is 2-5x more likely to have read a book on relationships than your average joe.


Trying Something Is Better Than Pondering The Perfect Path

Some of the sections here assume you already have a business, or know what you want to do. What if you don’t?

In my free training on The Life Design Approach I teach something I call the 70% rule. Essentially, if you feel 70% sure about taking on a new profession, challenge, or life change, then you should do it. The best thing you can do is get started. Once you do you’ll have a huge opportunity to learn about yourself from your successes and failures. You’ll also grow your community and those able to give you advice and feedback.


Which belief or beliefs have you already mastered? Which 1 do you have to do the most work on?

Signing off from Spain,

Dan Johnston.

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