Location freedom may seems like a dream. While there is a lot of positive, we’ve met some challenges as well! After one year of experiencing location freedom, here are our pros and cons.
As a family, one of our goals is to reach location freedom. In April 2021, we moved out of our rental in Calgary, Canada for a few months in France. In January 2022, we decided to leave France, after 8 months of enjoying our families to discover life in Mexico!
We are working on real estate opportunities there and thought it would be nice to know more about the country, the culture and meet our partners.
Location freedom is one of the 3 freedom concepts we are aiming for.
When we decided we wanted to live in different places and travel more, we had to sacrifice some things, change our thinking and the way we see our finances and logistics. The biggest change was to sell our house so we wouldn’t have unnecessary costs to cover while traveling. Renting your main house could also be an option, it was not for us for several reasons.
Our definition of location freedom
For us, location freedom means being able to travel and live where we want. It means being able to grab any opportunities and not be held back in a location for any reason. While it is very exciting and interesting, it is not all rainbows and unicorns.
We want to reach location freedom to be flexible and go where the opportunities are for our family and our business. This brings me to pro #1.
In the summer of 2021, my sister was supposed to get married (the wedding got postponed because of covid) so we decided to go to France and spend the summer there. Presenting our 5 month-old baby was a big reason for this trip as well. We were supposed to go back to Canada for a real estate project in September 2021 but the project fell through so we decided to stay in France. Tessa started school and we found a great little flat in the mountains. We were very happy to see our kids create memories with their aunts, uncles and grandparents.
Our next project is in Mexico so after a few months in France, we decided to book a plane to Cancun to get a better feel of what living in Mexico really means. And we will be going back to France for the postponed wedding in August 2022.
This is what location freedom looks like for us, the flexibility to go where the important events are happening for our family and our business.
It also gives us the flexibility to leave a place if we don’t like it or can’t get used to it or stay longer if we really love it!
Con: You don’t have a “home” per se
After we sold our house, we often said that we were “homeless” in the sense that we don’t own our own house and don’t have a place that we call “home”. We’ve downsized a lot of our belongings and put most of them in storage in Canada so we could travel with as little luggage as possible.
Not having a “home” to come back to can be challenging mentally but we like to think that our home is where our close family is. As long as we are with each other and our kids, we are home.
Pro: Adventure and new encounters are always on the menu
One strong pro is that we get to discover new cultures and meet new people all the time. We love to discover new foods, new ambiances and get to know like-minded travelers and digital nomads. Is there a better way to do all that than living in a different country for a few months?
Con: Logistics can take away your productivity
Getting settled somewhere new is time consuming (especially if you are traveling with kids). Since we moved to Mexico, we had to find a new place to live, get new groceries and cooking habits, find a new nanny, new places to work from… As I am writing this, we are trying a new coffee shop to work from and the internet connection is not very good. This means that our productivity this morning won’t be as high as expected probably.
While all this is fully part of getting to know a new country, it can take time and create a lot of distractions from work (considering that you still have to work).
Pro: Saving money
Because you can choose where you want to stay, you can choose a location where the cost of living is more affordable. But be careful, you have to do your homework… Coming to Mexico we thought that we would lower our expenses. Yes, some things are way cheaper than in France or Canada but some other things are more expensive or the same. It all depends on what you are used to and your choices. Overall, I think location freedom gives you the chance to choose to live in a more affordable city, and if you are not happy with your choice, you can easily change your mind!
Con: Disrupted routine
Changing time zones, weather conditions and cultural habits can throw your routine out the window.
We’ve experienced that moving from the snowy French Alps to a sunny and warm Mexican beach city. When 2 pm was the perfect moment to go outside for a walk, it is now time for a nap in an A/C regulated room. When 8 pm was our work time after the kids’ bedtime, it is now shower and diner time because we are only coming back from the beach or our afternoon walk…
You have to adjust to grocery stores and restaurants opening hours, find new habits, new places to work from, new meetups times for networking… The solution to this issue: stay for a while, a few weeks to a few months in the same city, in the same neighborhood even. It will allow you to create a new routine everywhere you go.
Pro: Saving time
When you don’t have to “go to the office”, you don’t have to commute and that is a huge time saver! When you choose your rental, do your research and book a stay that is well located, from where you can walk to digital nomads friendly places (coffee shop, co-working space, etc…).
Within our first 10 days in Playa del Carmen, we’ve already discovered 4 different amazing places to work from and met so many people living a similar lifestyle.
Con: Less time with family and close friends
The biggest con for me is that when you are “on the go”, you are not with your family and closest friends. Loneliness can be hard sometimes, you are in an unknown environment, you don’t know anybody and reaching out to family and friends is hard because of the time difference.
To prevent ourselves from loneliness, we usually try to connect with people living where we are heading before we arrive through Facebook or WhatsApp groups. Expats and digital nomads are usually very friendly and happy to help! We are all in the same boat, far from our family and wanting to meet like-minded people!
Conclusion: You can create the life you want
Overall, being location free, not having to go to the office everyday and having the luxury to choose where you want to live allows you to create the life you want.
You can go with the flow, follow your instinct and honor each season of your life.
No kids and craving adventures? Leave with your backpack and laptop.
Just got married and want to celebrate? Work for 3 months from the most amazing Indonesian beaches.
Having a baby? Go back to your hometown for a few months to get support.
Need to learn Spanish for a specific project? Go live for 6 months in a Spanish speaking country.
The options are endless, you truly become the architect of your own life.
Does being location free excites you? Where are you at? Let us know in the comment so we can support you in the process!