The journey to becoming location-independent…

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Living and working as a location-independent remote professional – in a team that is culture-conscious to boot – did not happen overnight for me. Rather, getting here was a journey that spanned many years, with a number of experiences that pushed and pulled me in this direction.

This matters because many of you reading this will perhaps not be there yet, and I think it’s helpful to acknowledge, that ‘getting there’ – for those who desire this lifestyle – may (or may not!) take some time. Trust your unique journey and take note of the unique ‘seeds’ that are planted inside of you.

Here are three key experiences in my life that planted the seeds that have led me to where I am now…

One of the first seeds that was planted for me was an on-the-face-of-it simple phone call with my mother back in 2013. I was living in London; she was living in America. She had broken her elbow biking, and she was recounting to me how it was taking her 30 minutes every morning to make her bed. She wasn’t whining; she simply found it interesting – and certainly somewhat annoying – that it was taking her so long! I got off the phone that day, and started to cry. My tears didn’t come from a place of pity – it was a minor injury and she would be fine. My tears sprang from a deeper place of realizing that I wanted to create a life whereby I could go to my loved ones when I felt compelled to do so – either to help them out when they were injured (as was the case with this example) or for any number of other reasons – without necessarily needing to take holiday or put my job in jeopardy. At the time I was tied to London because of my job, but seed #1 was planted that day. I wanted to create a life whereby I could simply go to the people I love when I feel compelled to do so.

Seed #2 
was planted in 2016, when I met a man (on Tinder) when I was living in Alexandria, Virginia (USA) for a couple of months. (I had taken two months off of work – unpaid leave – to live with a friend.) He lived in the Washington DC area; my life was still officially set up in London. This seed was similar to seed #1, but it was specifically related to my love life: I wanted to create a life whereby if I met someone I was interested in romantically, I would be able to go to that person so that we could try things out. Again – without necessarily putting my beloved job in jeopardy.

In April of 2017, these two seeds fully blossomed into a life of location-independence. I did this by transitioning from a full-time employee into self-employment…and then about a year and a half later I gave away (almost) all of my belongings – and ‘let go’ of my (rented) flat in London – to become a full-out digital nomad.

In August 2018, I met my now-partner (Nick) at a Catholic monastery in the middle of nowhere in the American Midwest, and I was able to reap the benefits of (the now fully blossomed) seed #2. I simply went to him. And in July 2019, I was able to reap the benefits from the (also fully blossomed) seed #1 and I set up shop in Paris for a month, so I could be present for my sister giving birth to her miraculous daughter, Céleste. I was able to simply go to her.

The final seed in my journey to becoming 100% committed to location-independence played out at the end of 2020, after a conversation with a CV-writer that I had hired to help me create an updated CV / resume that represented all of the skills that I had gained over the past three years as a digital nomad and remote professional. I told her that I was for the most part (say 90%) only interested in location-independent roles, but that I wanted to remain open (say 10%) to location-dependent roles if I found something that was an exceptional fit. She suggested that I downplay all the skills that I had cultivated as a digital nomad – the ones that I was the most proud of and excited about – so that I could be ‘appealing’ to the latter 10%. She framed it as if I could not have it both ways, and by golly, if I was going to be forced to choose, I was going to go all-in on the former. I ended up ‘letting her go’ as my CV-writer, and I accepted a different gift from her instead…which reared its head as seed #3: I wanted to create a life whereby I boldly own exactly who I am and express that to the world. And in this case, it was this: I want to be location-independent.

Seed #3 pushed me from 90% to 100% --> location-independence or nothing.

And here I am. Working at Growmotely – a company that is a bold pioneer when it comes to creating the Future of Work. A Future of Work that celebrates – and revels in – location-independence.

If you are already location-independent: what did your journey getting there look like? If you desire a location-independent lifestyle: Where are you at in your journey? What are the experiences you have had so far in your life – the seeds – that are pushing and / or pulling you in that direction?

Here at Growmotely, we each have our own story about how we evolved into being location-independent remote professionals – and why living and working this way is important to us. We see the Future of Work as a place where anyone who desires to work this way – for whatever the reasons are – has the opportunity to do so.

We love it, and we would love for you to join us!

Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely’s Creative Writer and your Remote Work Cupid) – who is staying with her mother as she puts this piece out into the world… (Thank you, seed #1!)

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One thought on “The journey to becoming location-independent…

  1. Clare says:

    I love this article, it’s so nice to hear stories from others embarking on this journey.

    I’m in the middle of my own journey towards location independence. My family and I are emigrating from London to Sweden – and as I don’t speak Swedish (very well … yet!), my chances of employment there are very very very slim. So, with that in mind, I figured it’s time to put my big girl panties on and set up my own Virtual Assistant business. It was something I had considered in the past but never thought I would be brave enough to do it – the security of being employed by a large, established corporation was just too comfortable.

    So here I am, my new company is up and running and we’re thriving – all the while travelling regularly between the UK and Sweden (and other countries in between!) . I’m loving every minute of this new found freedom!

    The long term goal is to actually learn Swedish properly and take part in the Swedish business community, maybe even capitalise on my native English speaking to help Swedish businesses branch out into the English-speaking world. That’s the long term plan anyway, and it may well change – who knows. But just having the option to change my plans is SO liberating.

    For now though, I’m focussing on keeping my business up and running while we get through the emigration process which is taking a painfully slow course.

    Thank you to Growmotely for your inspiration, guidance and pioneering spirit! The future of the global workplace is so bright and exciting!

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