Operation Location Independence

location independence
So the decision has been made. One of the things that I struggled the most with these last few months, is the idea of moving away from traditional success. Because like all other members of our society, I have been conditioned to long for it. Money, power, fame, popularity you name it. And these goals only seem attainable if you jump through the hoops that most other people do, but jumping through hoops is something that I’m terribly, terribly bad at. Although if I put my mind to it, I could probably leverage my current position into some form of traditional success with some work and persistence. But that’s not what I decided. I’ve decided to pursue one of my main goals in life, location independence.

What Does It All Mean?

Location independence is basically the idea that you’re able to live wherever you want in the world. And of course you need to have the financial capacity for travelling wherever you want. Strategically I will be starting out with countries that have low living costs, and then if things start to work out to the point that I can go to other, more expensive countries I will do that.

I prefer slow travelling, so the goal is to travel large parts of the world, staying in each country for a month or two, or more, depending on how much I enjoy it.

What’s The Point?

Because I’m not that attached to my country, I don’t really like the climate and the high living expenses pretty much limit you to working in a very traditional sense, the idea is basically checking out alternatives. It’s unlikely that I will ever relinquish my Norwegian citizenship because of the stability of the economy, and the safety and what not, but who knows.

Maybe all I will realize is that I don’t like traveling as much as I had imagined, or that the uncertainty is too much, or that I like Norway a lot more than I had imagined… either way it would be a welcome conclusion to a chapter in my life that feels necessary at the moment.

Set Backs

I’ve been borderline sick, with headaches, coughing and an absurdly overwhelming level of exhaustion, and I used that as an excuse for inaction. An excuse to dream and wait, to distract myself while nothing changed. I guess it’s not the worst excuse I’ve used because I have been a bit under the weather, but if I still have the energy to move my fingers there’s really no excuse to not be writing.

Freelance Writing

As far as I can tell, the most logical path for me to enable myself to travel with the skillset I currently have and the situation I am currently in, is to pursue freelance writing. While I decided that quite a long time ago, I have realized that I underestimated the difficulty and the amount of required to get established. So I’ve decided to approach it a lot more like an actual job, scheduling work days and weeks, and focusing a lot more on directly reaching out and marketing, instead of coasting along and postponing that part.

Other Options?

I mentioned that I was going to get a job in one week almost two weeks ago, things didn’t exactly pan out, although I tried a lot less hard than I had imagined. Job searching seems to be a black hole for any motivation and energy I have, because I get so caught up in the idea that I am basically struggling for a chance to maybe get a “dead-end” job. Perhaps my absurdly forgiving parents are part of the problem.

My part-time job teaching Japanese to some kids once a week is about to end, and I feel like the smart choice is to find a replacement that involves a lot more frequent work. I have a few things in the works, we’ll have to see how everything works out, but hopefully I’ll end up with a job that allows me time to at least process ideas and maybe edit outlines during lunch breaks.

Handwritten Checklists

I’ve heard rumors of the power of writing things out by hand, versus simply typing on a computer, and it’s time I put it to the test myself. I’m going to finally try handwritten checklists to keep myself focused. I will do both daily, and weekly and see what works best.


If I had to choose one thing that I’ve failed miserably at in the past, it just might be prioritizing. Hopefully that’s not going to be the case this time around.

No one knows what the future brings, or at least so we have been lead to believe. How things work out only time will tell.

The bird in the picture, the alpine swift has been registered to stay airborne for over 200 days a year, making it the longest flier of all birds. It sustains itself partly from airborne plankton, pretty much the definition of location independence.

Picture by Dave Curtis

13 Responses

  1. Vincent Nguyen December 3, 2013 / 5:36 am

    I wish you the best of luck, Ragnar. You’ve got this.

    • ragnar December 4, 2013 / 10:40 am

      Thanks Vincent! I know I’m not supposed to believe in luck, but hopefully there will be a few fortunate coincidences along the way!

  2. cj December 3, 2013 / 2:52 pm

    Location independence may very well be the holy grail of life styles. Can’t wait to learn more about this adventure of yours, Ragnar!!!

    • ragnar December 4, 2013 / 10:42 am

      I will keep you posted!

  3. Tammy R December 3, 2013 / 3:28 pm

    Wow, Ragnar. Hats off to you. I look forward to hearing more. And the alpine swift tidbit, I love. Your ability to connect “things” – in this case the bird to location independence – is one of the reasons I think writing might play a big part in your life. I’m far from the type of person that would say, “You should _____,” so I will just wait and see!

    • ragnar December 4, 2013 / 10:47 am

      I always considered that one of my saving graces as a non-fiction writer.. and I always played around with the idea of being a fiction writer.. but I’m not sure I have the dedication needed to get anywhere in that game. We’ll just have to see what happens.

      • Tammy R December 4, 2013 / 3:31 pm

        I like that, Ragnar. “We will just have to see what happens.” I am 42 and would never have pictured myself doing what I’m doing now, so I have to say as an Old Wise Woman (ha ha!) that life is full of surprises. Your adventures await you! 🙂

  4. Kevin Cole December 3, 2013 / 7:49 pm

    You’re going to crush it bro! Freelance writing is the easiest and most effective way to become location independent.

    And writing out a checklist helps out like crazy. I’ve been doing it for a year now and it’s been an absolute game-changer.

    • ragnar December 4, 2013 / 10:49 am

      Hey if I actually do end up crushing it, I’ll have to buy you a beer somewhere in the world! And I’m still trying to figure out exactly what to put on my checklists. But everything that I’ve written down, I’ve done so far so looks promising.

  5. Jamie Alexander December 8, 2013 / 8:51 pm

    Hey Ragnar,

    Good luck with your mission for location independence. I’ve been doing it for around 15 months now and although I still need to stick to cheap countries it’s still a lot of fun.

    I’d definitely recommend you add some time into your schedule to work on your own projects too. At least for me the main goal is to be making a full-time income from my own projects in the next few years. It does get tough writing for other people all the time ha.

    • ragnar December 9, 2013 / 1:46 pm

      Hey Jamie,
      Thanks a lot man. I am of course planning to start up my own projects, but at the same time I feel like the experience and expertise that is attainable through freelance writing could be invaluable in my own efforts.. so right now it seems like the most logical first step. Maybe we’ll end up in the same country one of these days!

  6. Steve December 9, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    I think you should definitely go for location independence. Try hard and see what happens. I’ve interacted with bloggers online who have made the jump before. Many of them didn’t think they could do it at first, but they eventually did.

    If you’re going to pursue writing, it will be tough. But go at it long enough and keep going for it and eventually you’ll succeed.

    • ragnar December 12, 2013 / 8:23 pm

      I fluctuate between high hopes and utter despair. I also have reservations about how the experience will actually be like once I make it.. but I think it’s about as an interesting of an endeavor as I can think to take on at the moment, so no regrets!

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