7 Reasons We're Becoming Location-Independent

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The Tinkertowners are going local — as in, becoming locals wherever we are! Some call this lifestyle ‘digital nomads,’ or ‘borderless living,’ but we’re going with ‘location-independence.’ We’ve both lived overseas before (Robert in Vietnam, Australia and the UK; Kim in Norway), and have both also traveled extensively over the past 20 years. This leads some of our friends and family to ask if we’ll ever come back to the USA and our answer is: We’re not sure yet.

Leaving lovely Portland to explore life in other parts of the globe, as a location-independent family.

Leaving lovely Portland to explore life in other parts of the globe, as a location-independent family.

Some of our reasons for ditching the idea of one specific location being called “home”:

  1. It’s now easier than ever to register and manage a business entirely online, especially with programs like the country of Estonia’s e-Residency. The middle class is on the rise seemingly everywhere but in America, and we’re eager to find opportunity wherever it may be on this sphere of ours.

  2. By setting up a home and staying as long as we feel inspired by a given location, we’ll have the time to make friends with locals and interesting expats from around the world. We’ll be bringing our little pal Disco the Doggo, so might even make some nice new canine friends.

  3. Cost of living is dramatically lower in some other parts of the world — that are often more beautiful, more full of arts & culture, and safer than the USA. We’ll be living in Vietnam (first up: Saigon, then perhaps Da Nang and Hanoi) for the foreseeable future, until we decide to move on. Other locations under consideration down the road are Estonia, Bulgaria, India, Laos, Mexico, Russia (yes, Russia), and the Rep. of Georgia — but, nah, not Chang Mai, Thailand.

  4. Online high school (for Kim’s teenage daughter) has 100% fewer school shootings than schools in the USA do. Not only will she have more time and creative flexibility (she’s a night owl like us), she’ll be much more safe in this era of epic American gun violence.

  5. Our kids will develop a much more well-rounded worldview and will be taking art and language classes wherever we are.

  6. Living outside the US, specifically, diversifies gut bacteria — which can lead to overall better health and well-being.

  7. All the caramelized bacon and delicious IPAs have led to a bump in, ahem, girth. We’re looking forward to eating healthier - with some of the world’s freshest, tastiest street food awaiting — AND feeling healthier by distancing ourselves from the constant barrage of social media angst in these prickly times in the States.

We’ll be writing and posting videos — and would love to know what you’d find most interesting. So leave us a comment on what you’d like to see most along the way as we have new adventures.

International house tours? Street food? Recipes and cooking lessons? How to make money while living abroad? How to be an e-Resident? How to travel internationally with a dog? Local music? Local comedy scenes? Cost of living comparisons? Just let us know…

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Do U.S. Travel Publishers Have a Russia Blindspot?

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I'm a bit of a Slavophile. Growing up in Cold War Tulsa, we were told the Soviets were bad. So I immediately became interested. I did a school report on "Life in the Soviet Union," studied Russian in college, spent the summer of '92 studying in Moscow and St. Petersburg, got followed by a KGB guy when I was interning at Echo Moscow, rode the Trans-Siberian Railway (twice) while updating Lonely Planet guides, and went back last year with Kim for a fun Viking river cruise down the Volga, and to shop for Soviet records.

I know Russia's never been an easy place to visit. But I also know it's easier than it used to be. And that it's worth the effort. I've never seen any place, for example, with more flower shops. And if Russians love flowers that much, they have to be a people worth spending some time with.

I've noticed, though, that no matter how many headlines Putin makes, travel media seems to turn a relative blind eye to the world's biggest country. At least in those year-end "best of" travel lists, I mean.

In the past four years, Russia's hosted the world's biggest two sporting events: the Olympics and the World Cup. And yet Russia made those "best of" lists only 12.5% of the time. Yet when those same events are held in places like Brazil (also home to an expensive, time-consuming visa process) or South Korea (near that feisty North Korea border), the host nation makes the list 67% of the time.

That's 12.5% vs 67%. Feels like a "blindspot bias" to me. 

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Anyway, that's too much of an imbalance for me to stay mum. So I wrote about it for Skift and talked about it with some of the most enduring and endearing travel podcasters out there on This Week in Travel.

Have a listen! (The Russia talk begins at the 19:00 mark.) 

Robert Reid, co-founder of AA Jaggers, has worked in travel publishing for over two decades. Follow him on Twitter at @reidontravel.