The highs and lows of location independence

In honor of Location Independence Month here at One Woman Shop, we asked our digital nomad friends to answer the following question:

What is the highest high and the lowest low when it comes to living a location-independent lifestyle?

Here’s what they had to say:

For me, the high of location independence is connecting with other people on the same journey. Being a solopreneur gets lonely so meeting someone who shares similar goals and mindsets is amazing. I love connecting with other entrepreneurs and freelancers - especially over some local cuisine or going on a random adventure together! The lowest low would be the exact opposite - the days where you're completely alone and you feel about a million miles away from anyone or anything familiar. As exciting as it is to be immersed in a new world, there are lonely days and they can be rough! On those days I try to do something fun wherever I am to shake that homesick feeling. - Kayli Barth, The Freelance Hustle

The highest high has to be feeling as if I'm the real controller of my own success and happiness. If I want to take on more work and make more money, I can. If I want to scale back and enjoy where I'm living, I can. If I want to pick up and move to Thailand, I can. Not many people get the opportunity to have total control of their professional AND personal lives. The lowest low would be having to be completely on top of my work 24/7. Having that complete control also means not being able to fall back on anyone else but yourself, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. - Kelly Schwantes, Where in the World

For me, the highest high and the lowest low of a location independent lifestyle are the same: freedom. While it's invigorating to be able to do things like fly to South America and work remotely (which I did for five months last year), you eventually find that for all that freedom, you sacrificed the stability necessary for things like nurturing friendships and relationships. - Amy Rigby, Wherever Writer

It was surprising to learn that friends and relationships I had before I leapt into this lifestyle weren't all built to last. Be prepared that not everyone will be supportive, but that there is a huge community on the other side! It's shocking to learn how few things - clothes, shoes, beauty products, etc - you "need" to live comfortably. An intentional wardrobe with multi-purpose pieces allows me to have style yet easily live out of a small suitcase for over a month at a time. Looking and feeling your best, even when you're not going into an office, helps you work at your best! - Ashley Word

The highest high of being location independent is the ability to have a stable home life but still drop everything and go to China if you find a ticket that's too good to pass up. The worst part is the loneliness -- all my friends are busy with their lives and kids and don't have the time to meet up with me during the week. - Vanessa Page, Vanessa's Money

To me the highs are meeting new people who you really connect with... I'm an introvert so I'm not out looking for people but I have met a few who have become what I think will be lifelong friends. Also, learning how much you can do on your own...overcoming the fear of doing this solo and finding out how much strength you really have when you "gotta do what you gotta do" is amazing and empowering. While I'm not the all out partying type, I do have great friends and family and there are times where I miss them quite a bit. Also, the language barrier encountered when moving to a country where you don't speak the language. 🙂 Having conversations, ordering take out, buying groceries all become a bit frustrating sometimes. - Tamala Huntley

Highest high: In general, getting to call the shots in my life—when to work, when not to work, where to go and when. In particular, meeting my husband at a salsa club while living abroad in Buenos Aires! Lowest low: Just recently, getting sick three months in a row, in three different countries—a stomach bug in Mexico, a kidney infection in Nicaragua, and dengue in Costa Rica. - Amy Scott, Nomadtopia

The best thing about being location independent is being able to travel to new places whenever I want, of course! The low about being location independent is that it can be very hard to get any work done when you want to see wherever it is that you are. - Michelle Schroeder, Making Sense of Cents

The very best thing about location independence is the schedule flexibility. I get to spend more time with my family. I can volunteer at my kids schools or meet my husband for lunch and every night we eat dinner together as a family. This goes a long way in helping to assuage some of the "mommy guilt" I felt when I worked outside the home. One of the hardest things about location independence is the isolation especially when you're a solopreneur. I often feel out of the loop and that my business growth is being stunted because I don't have a network of professional friends or a "business bestie". I wish I had an accountability partner or mentor who could relate to the nuisances of a being an entrepreneur. - Tracie Momie 

(Editor's note: Espresso Level One Woman Shop membership includes a kickass accountability group full of women solo biz owners riding the same rollercoaster.)

Digital nomad and location independence resources

1 Comment on The Highs and Lows of Location Independence

  1. Christina Garofalo
    August 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm (3 years ago)

    Nice to see/hear people talk about the lows too. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the “sexy” aspect of being location independent that when you run into obstacles you think you’re alone. I definitely live for the freedom (and wouldn’t trade it for anything now that I have it), but having a lack of structure can make for unproductive days, which are hard to not beat yourself up over.

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