By Ev Bogue - November 23rd 2013
Since October of 2009, I've been living and working from anywhere.
On a recent occasion it sunk into my head that I've somehow managed to keep working from anywhere while staying 'on the road' for the past four years. I haven't called anywhere properly 'home' since I lived in New York from 2003-2009.
Living and working from anywhere is a challenging topic to talk about. The main reason I tend to avoid it is the jealousy. A lot of people wish they could be more mobile, able to travel the world while continuing to earn. I can't help if you feel jealous, but I can see why. Being able to work and travel is something not many people can pull off.
There are only a few technical pursuits you can master to facilitate living and working from anywhere. Writing is one, programming is another. I've heard trading stocks are another. I'm sure there are more creative ways people have found to live and work from anywhere, the writing and programming thing is just how I've been able to achieve it.
Living and working from anywhere isn't easy. No one will pay you a regular paycheck to stay on the road. At times I've considered throwing in the laptop and finding a corporate cube to sit my ass down in, only to find there aren't many corporate cubes left back in the United States of America.
Traveling full time has also turned me into the kind of person who isn't interested at all in dealing with bullshit, bullshitting, and bullshitters. Making me almost completely unhirable in a depressed economy, because almost all jobs are fake and/or about to be gone. I'm speaking from the experience of having a passport from the United States, and the United States being more economically shitfucked than it wants to let on.
I hesitate to write about living and working from anywhere. Why? Because I wouldn't recommend anyone do it anymore. It used to be pretty easy to get a small digital business off the ground. These days the technical savvy and sheer willpower involved is enormous. Most people don't have it in them to be living on their own, lost in the world, while also keeping up with the technological pace of change.
You can't live and work from anywhere and trade bad stocks (so I hear.) You also can't live and work from anywhere pretending it's still 2009. It is not 2009 anymore. As the Snowden leaks have made clear, the times have changed. Making a living over the Internet is an exercise of building trust.
To put it blunt: living and working from anywhere is an exercise in navigating a web that is dead. It's finding the bright minds who continue to float amongst the bits and processors between the contaminated central services. You can't make a living from anywhere while being blind and continuing to think centralized social websites are the future. They are not. If you're hooked, as in heroin, on them, then you might be able to convince yourself throwing away your money on advertising will save you. It will not. No person I've ever met who's a successful entrepreneur in the digital space throws away money without tracking conversion (turning human minds into dollars). There is NO conversion on social. Which means it isn't worth investing time and energy in -- except to stroke your fragile ego. You just have to know that is what you're doing. You aren't successful, you're a slave to a centralized program convincing you that you're doing work. Sad, but true.
I've seen too many colleagues fail in the pursuit of a location independent income to recommend it to anyone. I don't meant to scare you, I don't mean to tell you to stay home with your mama, but it isn't easy. Selling $4 (or god, $.99) ebooks on Amazon just doesn't cut it. You have to charge an appropriate amount for your work if you want to succeed. Successful for a location independent allstar means food, beer, plane tickets and housing.
And you also need to know that any skill that can be done from anywhere means you're competing not just with every person in the 'supposed' developed countries of N. American Europe. You're also competing with Indian kids and kids from Southeast Asia who don't have the same expectations for quality of life that you or I have. They aren't afraid to do a little hard work for a few bucks, unlike most people from the ... shall we say, shitfucked? ... developed world. Who want their work given to them on a silver quantitative-ly eased platter.
This isn't to dissaude you. My experience of living and working from anywhere is amazing. I wouldn't, and because of the bullshit thing, probably couldn't trade it for anything. I'm too far in to want to turn back now. I'm lost in the world, and there's no way back home for me.
Yet you still ask me how you would do it. How would you live and work from anywhere?
Well, let's start by asking some questions. You email me and ask the question that's always been on your mind. I'll reply.
We'll consider the conversation from there. firstname.lastname@example.org