This is the second of “4 Freedoms of Team Espinoza” or a list of freedoms that my family uses to make decisions. The first was Freedom of Schedule.
Job Transfer Is Still A Job
My wife and I love to travel. The day after our wedding we flew to Rome for a two week trip touring through Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and Milan. We loved every minute and when we got back home to start our life we longed to travel internationally. We didn’t want to wait until retirement to travel so we started looking for ways to travel and still have a job. My wife worked as a civilian for the Air Force and constantly looked for transfer opportunities to bases in Europe. Our plan was to use her job transfer as a way to work and travel.
We soon realized there were some downsides to our plan. My wife would have a job, but I’d need to find work or we’d be living off a single income. I’d be job hunting in another country where I didn’t speak the language and had no network. I’d also be competing with other spouses for a small number of jobs.
Although we’d be living in another country our travel would be limited to the small amount of vacation time from the jobs we had. We could find ourselves living in another country in a non-ideal location for a year limited to traveling solely for two weeks and weekends.
Our plan for travel freedom wasn’t really freedom. Although we would be based somewhere else our income would be tied to being in a physical location for 40 hours per week. It was just a different translation of the same script we were living in America.
My wife never got the job transfer she was looking for, but that’s okay. We discovered a better, more flexible way to accomplish our dream of international travel. It’s no longer necessary to have your income and livelihood tied to a physical location.
Freedom of Location
For my family freedom of location means that we can live, work, and school from wherever in the world we choose to be.
Using this ideal to make life decisions it was obvious that traditional jobs where employers require employees to come into an office 40 hours per week didn’t fit with our ideal. Also, any sort of self employment, like owning a store, that required a physical presence would conflict with this freedom.
We held to this ideal even when things weren’t going well. A few years ago when I lost a client representing 80% of my income my wife and I talked about what we should do. I knew I could find a local developer job, but we both knew we would be miserable and there had to be another way. We chose to fight through the lean times and build the business back and stick with remote work. Thankfully that bet paid off.
Abundance of remote work opportunities have grown to the point that it’s not necessary to operate with a forced location business model. Several companies in the WordPress community operate on a remote only model with Automattic having an entirely remote work staff and I know several other developers who enjoy a nomadic life while running a business online.
With our new script of sustainable remote work I’ve been location independent for over six years doing web development. Disconnecting our income from a physical location has allowed us to enjoy international travel while still making an income.
If you want more convincing that remote work is the future here’s a classic TED talk from Jason Fried where he talks about why work doesn’t happen at work.