Working Location Independent

working location independentI’m going to be completely honest: I was going to recycle an old post for this post. It was a post from the beginning of Kapitalust back in July 2013. It was called Don’t Fear Your Future. But as I read through that long ago post, I realized I can’t simply make some minor edits and repackage it out as something new. I need it to remain as it was written back then. Because it’s a reminder of the goals I want to achieve. It needs to be preserved because of what I am about to write now.


Before I get started, I want to announce the winner of the Money Book Giveaway. I know I said I would have it announced on Monday – that surf trip really had me on island time. So, without further adieu, the winner is…

No More Waffles! Congratulations!

This time last week, I was away on a surf trip over in the town of Tofino on Vancouver Island. I love surfing. This might sound cheesy, but there’s something very spiritual about being out in the ocean riding the swells while waiting for the perfect wave. The surf trip was one of the motivating factors for my Fluff Piece as my mind was more on preparing for a surfing road trip than blogging. To be fair, I love blogging and I spent at least 8 hours every day during my mini-vacation working on this blog. And I learned something really, really important: I loved every minute working on the blog.


Working Location Independent

My friend has been living up in Tofino since the beginning of September. He is planning to stay until the beginning of October. How can he do this? Is he from old money? No. Did he win the lottery? No. He is a software engineer. He can work from anywhere with merely a laptop and an internet connection. His career is location independent.

Our days would consist of:

  1. Waking up whenever we felt like in the morning.
  2. Firing up the laptop and working on our respective projects for ~2 hours.
  3. Head out surfing for ~2-3 hours.
  4. Come back in, grab a pizza and some beer and watch something stupid on Netflix.
  5. Go back to working on our respective projects for ~4-6 hours.
  6. Head off to bed when we were sick of working on our projects (usually around 1 or 2 am).

Rinse and repeat for 4 days. It was the most amazing working experience I’ve ever had. Granted, the only difference was that he was getting paid for his work while I wasn’t. But that’s just a current triviality. The most important aspect of all of this was that I enjoyed every minute and every hour of working away on the blog.


None of the hours I put in felt like work to me. Well, not in the sense of working at a regular 9-to-5 job. It was work, but it was my work and it was interesting. Not for a second was I bored to tears. Not for a second did I feel like I was going to go all ZZzZzzzzz, which happens on a frighteningly frequent basis at my real job.

This got me thinking about what work actually is and what I want out of work. And trust me, it sure as hell isn’t coming in at a fixed time for a fixed amount of hours to work in a fixed location on a fixed schedule.

Currently, I work a fairly standard yet mind-numbingly boring 9-to-5 job. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that it is a cushy, well paying job and I should be thankful to even have one in this kind of job environment for young people. I get that and I am grateful because it was this job that allowed me to pay off my $52,000 in student loans in 2 years and 3 months.

However, this isn’t where I want to feel satiated. I totally could. I could physically check in and mentally check out for the next 40 years and collect the paycheque. But that’s not me. And I don’t think that’s you. Like me, I think you hold yourself to a higher standard. Like me, I think you want to strive to be the best you can be. And that doesn’t mean checking out and collecting your paycheque.


My ultimate goal has always been about freedom: the freedom to choose how to live life. And for me, that means having enough wealth. Or as jcollinsnh calls it, F U Money.

My initial goals for building wealth was predicated on the basis that I would work at my current job for a maximum of 10 years, saving and investing as much as I could to have enough F U Money to have the financial security to do whatever I wanted. However, this trip to Tofino has radically altered my thoughts.

Now, that original goal is the new bare minimum. Saving and investing for 10 years on a regular 9-to-5 to over $700,000 in capital producing assets is still a major goal. That goal has not changed. But it is now the worst case scenario. Having tasted that freedom of working location independently over the surfing trip, I want to pivot to a career where I can work location independently while also saving and investing as much money as possible.

I am a pretty cautious guy so I won’t be up and quitting my day job anytime soon. I won’t leave this day job until I can secure at minimum the pay I pull in from it via other sources. But the idea has been firmly planted in my mind: not only do I want F U Money, I want to work on what I want on my terms and get paid for it.


And now, it all ties back to that post from the beginning of this blog: don’t fear your future. This new idea that I have is big and ambitious. It’s scary because it is ambitious. Well, actually, a lot of ambitious. But what the hell is life for without taking chances on our dreams and ideas? Fear of failure is huge. But the fear of not trying and being a B player for the rest of my life is even bigger.

There are some of you who have made it. There are some of you who are stuck. And there are some who have made it and teach others to persevere.

Persevere! Believe in your dreams! The only thing that is holding you back is you.

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42 thoughts on “Working Location Independent

  1. Don’t laugh, but when I was in my teens, I wanted to become a surfer. I was so obsessed with surf culture. I have no idea why. I’ve done surfing a couple of times, in Tofino and Costa Rica and loved it. And found it very difficult every time because it’s not something I do that often. I’ve tried SUP this summer and loved that as well. I found it way easier to do because it’s on flat water. Haha.

    I too, work at a job that provides somewhat decent pay, is secure and has great benefits, BUT….I like the idea of being location independent too. You may have just inspired me and gotten the wheels churning.

    1. Don’t laugh, but when I was in my teens, I wanted to become a pro skateboarder. I was actually pretty good at it and was on the brink of sponsorship from a local skateboard shop. But I wasn’t ready to risk life and limb to get to the next level of skateboarding.

      I also wanted to be an astronaut (I seriously looked into NASA’s website on how to become an astronaut at age 14) and a marine biologist (the Jacques Cousteau kind).

      I was terrified to try to become all three of those things. The first one because I legitimately did not want to ruin my knees and break my bones. The other two because I was scared of failing.

      That fear of failing is something you can overcome and control. That’s something I’m learning more and more with each passing day. Hell, I almost scrapped this blog because of my fear of failing. But I’m back with a vengeance. Hmmmm… that’s going to be a future post!

      Oh, and surfing – it is extremely difficult. You need to put a lot of time and practise into it. I guess that’s like anything in life really though 😛

      And that’s so cool that the wheels are starting to churn for ya!

  2. Great article. Thanks so much for mentioning mine in it! 🙂

    Being location independent is pretty amazing. Every morning I wake up and I honestly can’t believe how great life is.

    1. No problems about the mention – you’re one of the blogs I’ve been reading since day one and it’s one of my sources of motivation and inspiration 😀

      I’ve learned so much and still have so much to learn from your experience!

  3. Thanks for mentioning my post (even if I’m the “stuck” one!). Also, when you send No More Waffles his book, make sure you have the correct amount of postage. International mail is expensive enough as it is 🙂

    I could get behind being location independent. But I don’t want to freelance. I guess I just need to get stinking rich so that at some point I can become that. What did you say the odds of the lotto were? 😉

    1. I hope you don’t mind you were the “stuck” example – I have totally been there and understand that feeling all too well. I didn’t want to just blab about me the whole time cause there are so many others who have great stories!

      Working location independent can mean anything that let’s you work on what you want on your own terms. You’re a scientist. A PhD scientist. You could start a business online or offline that let’s you leverage those unique skills you have to solve people’s problems.

      I highly recommend you go check out Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog and podcast show. It gives me a lot of inspiration and motivation to see all these people doing all these cool things and making good money doing them! I say to myself “hell, I can do this too!”

      Oh, and you don’t want to know about the odds to increase your 6/49 chances above 50% – Eytan pointed out in the comments that it would take either $21 million or $30 million to slightly increase odds over 50% 😛

    1. I will have to check out that podcast!

      The podcasts I’m really into at the moment are Smart Passive Income, The Model Health Show, and Investment Outlooks with Bill Gross – check any of those 3 out and let me know what ya think!

    1. What makes it so that you can’t be as location independent as you wish? Without knowing more details, it sounds like with a laptop and an internet connection are all you need for that??

        1. It is sad that so many companies are so bad at managing their employees and getting the best out of them.

          IMHO, what’s the difference between where and when you get your work done as long as you are getting your work done? It’s not like you’re getting 8 solid hours of work done chained to a cubicle everyday. I’m going to venture that most people don’t even get close to 8 hours of real work done in a standard 8 hour cubicle work day.

  4. Very good thoughts Steve… if I could work non-location dependent and had some flexibility in hours, it would probably be the perfect balance. Now as you say it would still be work, but it is a type of work that is sustainable for a very long time. Sure the ultimate goal is financial independence, but you need to enjoy the journey if you can!

    1. I would actually not dislike my job so much if I had the autonomy and freedom to choose how and when I got my work done. 90% of the work I do at work could be done anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection. It’s annoying as hell that employees are treated like children and ordered to show up at a fixed time for a fixed amount of time sitting at a fixed location taking fixed breaks. What the hell is this, the 1800s!?

  5. I can’t speak to what it feels like to be location independent but from what I hear it sounds great! Lots of work in the background but seems like it would be worth it for anyone who wanted to travel and not be tied down to a traditional job in one location. Great to see the site back up and running 🙂

    1. Haha damn Bluehost – I swear if there are as many issues in October as there were in September, I’m packing up and leaving for a different service!

      What I personally want is total autonomy – if I want to go work in an office cubicle for 8 hours, I want to be able to choose that. If I want to go work out of a cafe in Paris, I want to be able to choose to do that.

      For me, the whole point of achieving a level of financial wealth is to have the freedom to choose what I want to do rather than being tied down to what others want me to do!

  6. Awesome! I’ve finally won something! 😀

    Great post, as always, Steve. Working location independent really is a powerful motivator to do a good job. My employer is trying to have everyone work at least 2/5 days out of the office. Most people just work from home, but when the weather is nice outside I sometimes find myself in the park working away on my laptop. I’ve noticed since joining that experiment that it makes combining work and personal life much easier and as a result the job much more enjoyable.


    1. That’s totally the way it should be! A lot of employer’s are stuck in this mindset that they run some day care for adults and need to strictly enforce draconian rules on when where and how employees work.

      News flash, that’s not how you motivate people to bring out their best and perform at the highest level.

      If people resent such restrictions, they’ll resent going above and beyond for the company they work for. Honestly, most people in standard 8 hour a day jobs DO NOT actually accomplish 8 straight hours of work. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say most people accomplish like 4 hours of actual work.

    2. How do you see your screen? I’ve always found working outdoors difficult with a laptop but I do remember typing up high school essays in the backyard on a typewriter. Have you ever seen one of those, Steve? 😉

      1. I actually had a typewriter in late elementary school (probably around the age of 13) that I bought at the thrift shop! It wasn’t super old – it was like plastic and looked like it was from the 80s.

        It was annoying to no end that one spelling error and you basically ruined the aesthetics of the entire line/page! 😛

  7. Being location independent would be pretty awesome. My job is getting closer and closer to location independent. I have been working from home here and there since my son was born and it’s wonderful working from home.

    1. Oooh just like I asked Tawcan – how did you become location independent? Did you negotiate little by little with your employer until you got there or did you start off the bat with that?

  8. That’s the dream, isn’t it? To work how you want, when you want, where you want, and thrive financially is such a great goal to have. It would take some getting used to for me. When traveling it’s very easy for me to get out of a work mindset. When I travel I just want to soak in every moment. I think I like to compartmentalize in that way; I like to leave work at work if possible. I’d have to adjust my expectations of traveling while working in order to get done what I needed to.

    1. I wonder if you can achieve the perfect blend between work and you interest, if it would hardly feel like work – it would just become a daily part of your day like eating healthy and exercising. When I’m on vacation, I still eat healthy and exercise (just not as much) and I want to be able to have the perfect blend of work that allows me to incorporate it into my life!

  9. I wake up at 8-9, depending on my daughter’s schedule for the day. Change diaper, hugs, play-time. If the weather is nice, we go for a walk (OK, I walk, she ‘hangs’ in my Baby Bjorn). We get back home, she sleeps for about an hour and I prepare something for her to eat. Maybe I work 30-40 minutes, depending on her sleep.

    She wakes up, eats, change diaper etc. We get out again for a stroll. Then back home and she sleeps again. Evening time – another walk, bath, eat and sleep. From about 8 to 12 at midnight, I can do some work. Then she wakes up and cries for me, so I get in the bed with her and we sleep.

    4 years ago I worked from NYC as a tourist. Now I work from our home, with our new baby. I love the freedom I have. Sure, would rather surf, but it’s nice to have a child, too. This lifestyle allows me to be by her side and raise her myself. It’s a huge privilege and, even if my work sometimes has to suffer, it’s OK. Business can wait, she is my priority

    Signed: dojo – web designer and mom 🙂

    1. OMG dojo – this is the DREAM! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse of the location independent lifestyle 😀

      One of my biggest motivating factors for both building wealth and achieving work that is location independent is for my family. I want both my wife and I to be able to spend plenty of quality time with our kids as they come into this world. In their most crucial development stage – childhood – I want to be there for them to guide them and teach them.

      Did you always work freelance/location independent or did you migrate to it as your priorities in life changed?

      1. I actually had a ‘proper’ job till 2009 (radio DJ – OK, cool job :)) and kept my web design as a hobby. When I lost my job, I had to go full time freelancing. Was in debt and pretty miserable. Still, after less than a year I was doing OK, started a 6 month stay in NYC (which is huge for the part of Europe I live in) and just built my business from there. We had 2 more 6 month stays and now we have the baby.

        1. You’re one of my road maps! I’m striving for that same freedom to dictate how and when and where I make money. I think some people enjoy the security and direction of a typical office/corporate job. But for me it drives me insane to be told how to do anything!!

          That’s so cool – a DJ! I’ve got lots to learn from you dojo!

    1. I’m realizing that more and more. And another cliche that is totally true: you just have to start doing. It all is so simple but so many people get caught up just thinking about how nice a goal is and never moving into taking action. That psychological aspect is very fascinating.

  10. Surfing is a really good analogy to what this post is about. You see the wave in the distance, you know you are ready you have been working hard and building up keeping an eye out for the perfect wave. You caught a glimpse of FI and catching that wave, it doesn’t happen very often but when you see it your eyes get wide and you know that’s what you are working towards.

    1. Didn’t even connect that analogy with the post – amazing! Yeah, I’d like to get sooner to FI/financial freedom/location independent work so I can be doing more of the stuff I love rather than not. It’s the dream my friend!

  11. It’s always so fun to fantasize about location independence. I did it from 2012 to Jan 2014 and it was great. But, I didn’t fully immerse myself in it b/c I had friends back in SF.

    But if I could have someone to spend the travels with, now that would be amazing.

    1. It’s the ultimate goal, whether it’s achieved through having enough invested money throw off money to supplement location independent work or have that work fully pay for the lifestyle.

      Travelling alone is good but having a partner to share adventures with is great.

      I think Vancouver will always be a homebase – I just want the freedom to travel wherever I want and still make money!

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