How to Break Free of the 9-5 and Live Anywhere...
Aug 19, 2013
Quit the daily grind and get a life… sounds lovely, doesn’t it! At least in theory it does. Chances are, most people dream of doing this, but their pesky ‘job’ gets in the way. Is it possible to do both? Escape the rat race and enjoy a jet-setting life?
Yes, it is. But you have to really want it and you have to be prepared to make a lifestyle change.
Working while travelling, or working and living in an exotic location is being done by thousands of people around the world. And we don’t just mean government or military jobs either… as technology and communication advances around the world, so does the potential for regular, everyday folks to live and work from anywhere.
As North America continues to suffer economically, other parts of the world are booming, giving way to a multitude of opportunities. As exciting a prospect this may seem, there are some very real considerations to keep in mind. Making the choice to work abroad begins first with you and the decisions you have made up to this point in your career. For example, are you able to make your existing career mobile? If not, are you prepared to make a change?
If living and working from abroad is your goal, consider these points:
Taking risks, especially when it comes to your livelihood, is scary! But what’s even scarier is being stuck in a job you hate, only to potentially be fired due to downsizing or the company going bust because of a lagging economy.
Of course, you want to be mindful of how large a risk you take. Going ‘freelance’, starting a business or simply pursuing an alternate line of work are all options you can look at while still in the ‘security’ of your native country. And if making a life change means a few months of lost income - from a job you detest - many people would agree it’s worth it.
Look Beyond Your Borders
Economically, North America is having a rough go… unemployment levels are high and personal and national debt is high; situations that will take time to be turned around, if at all. Meanwhile, other areas of the world are ‘developing’ very well, booming even! Take, for example, Latin America. The countries that are prospering - Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador - are doing so exponentially. By moving to a new country with no ties, and your job being wherever you are, it’s possible to take advantage of the growth in these areas. The freedom of being unchained from your 9-5 desk job and being beyond your native borders will open you up to money-making opportunities, as well as to the potential of taking advantage of job opportunities when they arise.
Become a Professional Communicator
Naturally, there are certain jobs that can be done from anywhere and other ones that can’t. You can essentially communicate from anywhere in the world, but if you build houses for a living, you need to be on a job site. Of course, with the development booms happening in Latin America, this may just be a possible job abroad… especially if you’re looking to head somewhere and settle.
If being portable is more your speed, setting yourself up on a career path that will allow you to maintain an income and still travel is where being a ‘professional’ communicator comes in. This doesn’t mean only computer and internet work either… there are many job opportunities that place extremely high value in communication skills. Even better? Brush up on your Spanish. Bilingualism is a major asset in any country around the world and, if you’re not picky, can almost guarantee you a job.
It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of what working from an exotic locale could mean. Sitting on a beach, waves crashing, sun shining, working on your laptop… sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Although there are many exotic locales you can work from, you will likely last about 10 minutes working right on the beach in this way. This isn’t to say you couldn’t do your work near the beach… you’ll still hear the waves crashing, but won’t have to deal with the hot sun, blowing sand, no-see-ums or inevitable discomfort of a hot laptop on your legs.
Choosing to work while travelling or to settle and live and work abroad isn’t going to magically change your life. It takes time, perseverance and… actual work! Regardless of whether you’re working for yourself or someone else, there are still deadlines to meet and expectations to exceed. It really comes down to where you’d rather be doing that work.
Regardless of where you work, there will always be upsides and downsides. Those no-see-ums we mentioned? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a beach anywhere that doesn’t have them… but to many, that’s a small price to pay compared to sitting in traffic on a freeway twice a day or slogging through winter weather.
The technology is available. The business tools are available. It’s up to you to pick the path, develop the skills and take the first step to make your dream of living and working in a faraway land a reality.
Exploring a variety of countries, and areas within those countries, is a necessary first step when a move abroad is being considered. Check out a Discovery Weekend to get a genuine feel for the neighborhood and community; you’ll meet with developers, get a lay of the land and be introduced to some incredible real estate deals.