51 Comments

  1. Jon
    February 1, 2016 @ 10:44 am

    Another excellent no-nonsense and insightful piece – thanks Tom.

    Your work is a real inspiration, albeit a somewhat distracting one!

    I think this outstanding paragraph represents an important nuance that is sadly often missed by many (possibly by the stealthly infiltration of consumerism into both travel and self improvement):

    “The best definition of success I’ve found in all my travels is getting to a place of peace, contentment and acceptance of the way things are, rather than frantically striving for something different and better. That’s not to say the world doesn’t need changing, because it surely does, but it’s easier to change what’s outside when you’re not being guilt-tripped to improve what’s inside”.

    Keep up the good work! I will try your work schedule this week – not sure about those 5am starts though…

    Jon

    Reply

    • Jessica
      February 4, 2016 @ 8:48 pm

      Love this! I was in corporate life – and just took 6 months to travel and reset myself. Now I am figuring out what is next. I have ideas – but not sure how to make it happen. These resources I definitely took note. Thank you!

      Reply

      • Tom Allen
        February 5, 2016 @ 10:14 am

        Good luck on your continuing adventure!

        Reply

    • lucie
      February 10, 2016 @ 8:54 am

      COMPLETELY epic, no bullshit, massively organised, informative and hugely appreciated…wow, thankyou.

      Reply

      • Tom Allen
        February 10, 2016 @ 10:52 am

        Very kind of you to say so. My pleasure to share it.

        Reply

  2. Wade
    February 1, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

    There is so much great information in this post that I have bookmarked it so that my wife and I can consult it while planning our year. Thanks for writing such a long, in depth post. I think it will be incredibly helpful for myself and many others!

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 1, 2016 @ 11:19 pm

      My pleasure! You’ll find a ‘print’ button under the ‘More’ link by the sharing icons 😉

      Reply

  3. Tom Vaillant
    February 1, 2016 @ 9:07 pm

    Wisdom packed, thank you for sharing Tom!

    Reply

  4. Rosien
    February 1, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write all of this down, very insightful!

    Reply

  5. Alexandru Ionica (@the_dev)
    February 2, 2016 @ 10:27 am

    Thanks for this post. Interesting and lots of useful resources

    Reply

  6. Classic Scott
    February 3, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

    This was fabulously delightful. Thanks!

    Reply

  7. Radhika Morabia (@rmorabia)
    February 4, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

    Read the whole thing! Thanks for the refreshing look amongst all the start up founders who simply hop from one Co working space to another.

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 5, 2016 @ 10:14 am

      Glad you found it refreshing 🙂

      Reply

  8. James Taylor
    February 4, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

    Awesome post Tom. Just discovered you through Chris Guillebeau. Would love to have you on my new podcast that interviews creatives around the world. Email me if interested and I can have my VA follow up. Once again great post.

    Reply

  9. Rohit Pandey
    February 5, 2016 @ 4:53 am

    An amazing read Tom. Have to confess that I came to your blog for the first time today, following an Fb link, and then couldn’t leave without reading it all till down here! Thanks 🙂

    Reply

  10. Poppy
    February 5, 2016 @ 12:26 pm

    Two months into Self-Unemployment myself and starting to feel a teeeensy bit aggravated by my own lack of Divine Purpose…I feel fully invigorated after reading this amazing instruction manual for an ideal life. Are you open to the idea of taking on an intern?? Joking. NotJoking.

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 5, 2016 @ 4:13 pm

      Good things take time. 😉

      There’s a hiking route project that’ll need lots of pairs of hands this summer!

      Reply

  11. Karenee
    February 5, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

    Thank you! I’d love to have the option of downloading this post as an ebook. It is already pinned to my “travel advice” folder. I love that I can implement a lot of this now so I’ll have less to think about when I travel.

    Your perspective meshes well with my world-view, and most of your advice easily fits my own business and goals as an artist and writer.

    I especially enjoyed the section on managing the business and financial aspect of a location independent life. It’s easy to over-complicate these ideas, since I have very little experience in putting them into practice. Seeing how you’ve done it helps me to notice where I’ve been wasting my time with misplaced worry, and you’ve solved many of the valid concerns.

    Reply

  12. Geraldine
    February 5, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

    I have been home-free for 2,5 years now and love the feeling. Not fully location-independent as I travel to whete my clients are (mostly Sydney, Auckland and Paris) I will eventually settle a bit for personal reasons, but will use this time to make my revenue even more location-independent. The freedom of movement and organising my time as suit best my own rhythm was well worth leaving my well-paying corporate job. It was risky, but the rewards are huge.

    One tip to add to your travelling kit maybe: clothes compression bags! They easily reduce volume by 40%, they are waterproof as well. I travel with more weight than you do because of business attire, 4 seasons in a bag (and also because I appreciate a bit of comfort, I am not on a holiday where I don’t really care), but living with 23 kg has turned me into a minimalist in many regards. Same thought process than you: is it useful, can it be replaced by an item fulfilljng many purposes, am I hanging on to it for sentimental purposes, and I now go for quality over quantity. And I still don’t use at least 25% of what I drag around. I consider it my ‘mental comfort zone’, reducing any regrets or upset in a trying moment 🙂

    I also use Slack to work with others around the world, integrates really well with Trello, etc.

    I also appreciate the fact that you point out that it is not the glamour a lot of people think it is (encouraged by blogs and articles), there is a lot of downtime and uncomfortable time. But the rewards, for me a life lived more intensely, is so much worth it!!
    Maybe I’ll see you in Sydney, currently somewhere in the sky on my way to Auckland 🙂

    Reply

  13. lunaeeed
    February 5, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

    I have yet to fully commit to living a life such as yours, but I commend you for being able to choose your manner of living. This post is as instructive as you are inspirational.

    For a long time now I have been threatening to up sticks and leave, but caution has always kept me captive. Even now, living as a workaway helper in a house belonging to a couple who were strangers to me last week, I am clinging to certain luxuries that add perceived ‘value’ to our lives. I am writing this post on a laptop, came to this house in a car that is mine, and have more belongings with me than I could feasibly carry in a rucksack.

    I guess you could say that I am easing myself into a more itinerant lifestyle, but perhaps it is better to make a leap of faith, rather than slip from one state into another in a less than mindful way? Whilst I was working in Meribel I had issues with this laptop in so much that it refused to connect to the WiFi network for the duration of the winter season. My phone wasn’t much better behaved and whenever I needed to access the internet I would traipse down to the Office de Tourisme in order to conduct my online admin. The sheer effort and expense that this entailed meant that I quickly lost my dependence upon the internet. I was much happier for it.

    Reply

  14. James
    February 6, 2016 @ 7:24 am

    An excellent and refreshing article Tom. I need to get out of the corporate world and free up more time!

    Reply

  15. Bamboo Rider
    February 6, 2016 @ 9:55 am

    Great article. There are too many things that I agree with to mention, so let me take out the one thing I don’t =) “Time is the most valuable asset” – I believe for a few years now people (incl. myself) have been focusing too much on time – it’s not time that we value, it is “focus / attention”. I think the distinction is quite impactful: E.g. we can’t expand time, but we may learn to expand our attention span, cognitive presence or what it may be.

    Ah ye, now that I started: I love bamboo, have a shirt… the problem with bamboo, to my knowledge, is that the fabric production requires chemicals toxic to the environment. I am not a 100% sure of the supply chains of bamboo fabric, but I thought to have heard that the main source is ONE factory in China, which may or may not have a diligent environmental process in place. Yes, it’s growing fast, yes it is resilient and low-maintenance, it’s just that at this point it is not yet as environmental friendly as often portrayed (also by that website that was referenced). Hemp is more environmental friendly (fibers come directly from the plant, no need to create them in a chemical process), but does not have the silky properties of bamboo, feels more like linen. Well, I hope there will be 100% sustainable bamboo fabric in the future soon – it just feels so damn good =)

    cheers, best of luck!

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 6, 2016 @ 1:38 pm

      Interesting about bamboo fabric production. I believe BAM products are made in Turkey (previously Syria but no longer for obvious reasons), not China. I’ll drop the main man a line to find out more.

      Reply

      • Bamboo Rider
        February 6, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

        Oh – awesome! would be more than happy to learn I am erring and the industry stepped up to be more sustainable!

        Reply

  16. Sausage King
    February 6, 2016 @ 10:48 am

    A great read as always!

    Slightly random question but do you think you might ever have children? Do you think you could continue with your brilliant lifestyle or would something have to change?

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 6, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

      Undoubtedly, something would have to change. There are no children on the horizon right now!

      Reply

  17. toekneep
    February 6, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

    Thanks for that Tom, I really enjoyed reading it. Lots of practical stuff but also lots of thought provoking ideas too. My wife and I plan to retire to a narrow boat one day and although it couldn’t be more different to your lifestyle on the surface an awful lot of what you write about in this article would apply. You have also prompted me to go back to meditation, thank you.

    Reply

    • Tom Allen
      February 6, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

      A narrowboat would be one of my few affordable housing options in the UK – perhaps not so different!

      Reply

  18. Kevster
    February 6, 2016 @ 8:46 pm

    Thanks for some great advice!
    The XC10 looks an incredible bit of kit and I look forward to seeing the results. The convergance of pro video and stills at a realistic price draws ever nearer. I hope you get great results from the footage and it pays for itself many times over.
    Good luck and take care.

    Reply

  19. liv enqvist
    February 6, 2016 @ 10:42 pm

    Thank you, your article is brilliant and so inspiring! Really useful links as well.

    Reply

  20. Mara and Jake
    February 7, 2016 @ 6:11 am

    Hi Tom,
    Once again you have me mesmerised. It started with reading your cycle touring blogs, and now a year later my partner and I have been on the road in Asia for four months, learning a hell of a lot on the way but with a great base from your information.
    This again has given me more food for thought, and different ideas about lifestyle and what it means, and how we can employ parts into the life we are living. It does seem more simple on the road, compared to those 12-hour days I used to work. Jealous that you’re in Australia, I love travelling, but for me there’s also no place like home 😉
    Thank you

    Reply

  21. Max Goldzweig
    February 7, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

    Fantastic article! I wish I had the discipline to start work at 5am!! Would be so nice to have half a day’s work done by the time my colleagues arrived at 10. What time do you go to bed?

    Ps – Enjoyed watching Last Explorers very much. Looked like it must have been a much tougher project than Karun though…

    Reply

  22. Davide
    February 7, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’m trying to figure out how I could do it with two children and not being comfortable in teaching/home-schooling.

    Open for suggestions if anyone has any. ☺

    Reply

  23. This week I've been mainly... - Chris Wray - Professional Maverick
    February 8, 2016 @ 8:37 am

    […] this story rang so true, I couldn’t help but go back and read it again. All 8,000 words of it. There […]

    Reply

  24. Maroosh
    February 8, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

    Love this. Love the Yerevan reference! thanks for all the tips. future digital nomad here xo M

    Reply

  25. Martin
    February 9, 2016 @ 7:45 am

    Oh Tom. In one post you’ve made about a hundred entire “nomad lifestyle” blogs completely redundant!

    🙂

    Reply

  26. Christine
    February 11, 2016 @ 9:35 am

    Tom, as ever, erudite and simply brilliant. Your posts keep arriving at the most serendipity moments. Thank you for pointing me towards Mr Money Mustache – I hadn’t come across him before but totally resonates with where I am and what I’m doing.

    Reply

  27. Hilary
    February 13, 2016 @ 12:18 am

    Thanks Tom, love that you are happy to share what has taken an age to learn, so appreciative of your inspiration and knowledge, so that i inturn don’t have to stumble quite so often. I laughed at the ‘self control app’ no way, yet there it was! Enjoy the peace xx

    Reply

  28. Amanda Gokee
    February 13, 2016 @ 2:47 pm

    Tom, thank you for this very useful and informative piece. I will definitely be bookmaking it for future reference as well as checking out many of the links you included. I have been traveling for years, but I’m now in the process of starting and growing my website to hopefully lead a ‘location independent’ lifestyle. I graduated from Harvard a year ago and I just knew the ‘traditional’ paths were not for me; I had to set out on my own and figure out a different way of doing things. It is nice to know there are others out there walking this path as well! Now to figure out how to finance it :)Thanks so much for your tips along the way.

    Reply

  29. Sanna
    February 13, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

    Thank your for sharing this, a really fun and useful read! (Especially for someone who’s going location independent in less than two months.) 🙂

    Reply

  30. betternotstop // Just Do It. Why it’s time to invest in yourself.
    February 14, 2016 @ 2:28 pm

    […] / adventure film maker and writer. He sent an email with a long, fantastic article on how his location independent lifestyle works. There was no ‘Quit your job and travel the world’ mantra in this. It was about practical […]

    Reply

  31. Reflections from a corporate digital nomad – Sanna blogs
    February 15, 2016 @ 8:09 am

    […] Tom Allen: A Complete Breakdown Of How My Location-Independent Lifestyle Works […]

    Reply

  32. Jason P
    February 15, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

    Hey Tom, read the entire article, long but addictive, loved how you broke them into sections. 🙂

    I just left my consulting career after almost 5 years with money that can lasts me few months. I am gonna give this a shot and let’s see if i make it. 🙂

    Reply

  33. Heather K
    February 16, 2016 @ 3:53 am

    First time reading any of your work, Tom – and what a place to start. Been doin’ the location independent thing for a while now and I always find myself getting caught up in the work and the money – working more than I ever used to and worrying about money just like I always did.

    Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to take the afternoon off, every day even, if I’ve achieved all I needed to in the morning. I too often forget, finding mostly “busy work” excuses to work until the evening and then another day is shot.

    Cheers.

    Reply

  34. Dave
    March 8, 2016 @ 8:12 am

    Great article, a welcome change from a lot of hyperbole you see around.
    Just one thing (no shampoo etc), is this a life hack for extra seating space?

    Reply

  35. Fred Pilkington (@fabpilkington)
    March 13, 2016 @ 3:19 am

    No need really to add to the admiration and respect those above express but here I go!

    Reply

  36. Kevin Casey
    January 1, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

    Great BS-free article, Tom. I explore wilderness rivers around the globe (www.remoteriverman.com) and pay for these – and other – journeys through location-independent freelance copywriting (www.thejetsettingcopywriter.com). So far, so good, but I agree that the drawbacks of the digital nomad lifestyle are often glossed over by the lifestyle ‘gurus’. For example, when I was in Cordoba, Argentina for 5 weeks this year, I had so much work on that I hardly saw any of the surrounding area. Made more money from writing than I paid for the entire trip, though…

    Reply

  37. The Only Ten Adventure Websites You Need | betternotstop
    October 3, 2017 @ 7:53 am

    […] Standout Article: A complete breakdown of how my Location Independent Lifestyle works. […]

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