There is nothing permanent except change. ~ Heraclitus

I’ve been meaning to write a post about location independence for a while now… mainly discussing how I’ve been combining work with travel in the last two years and how a PO Box is now my official residence in Australia after recently selling a lot of my stuff. However, I’m going to focus on transience and impermanence, rather than the resulting actions.

You see, I’ve been pondering about how my life has been evolving and the role of the digital world in facilitating this change. I’ve noticed my outer world isn’t as simple or straightforward as it once was – I don’t have a well documented formula to replicate (hello 9-5) and I can’t look around me for guidance. After all, I only know a handful of people able to freely choose their current location, especially at short notice. In a way, it feels those of us experimenting with these shifts are pioneers – prototyping plausible existences in public forums for what’s hopefully the benefit of others. And don’t get me wrong, I understand this position is a rarity and somewhat idealistic in approach – I certainly won’t crave this lifestyle if and when I’m a mother!

Firstly, I believe transience is coming about due to changes in our work, which are largely a result of advances in technology. As soon as flexibility and freedom from a physical world arrive, we are given the opportunity to decide on location for ourselves. I first got a taste for this flexibility when I started connecting with web developers – specifically the Ruby on Rails community. Here, these well-paid, mostly-male, mid-20’s programmers were deciding when and where they wanted to work. They seemingly had no problem travelling all over the world for some boutique conference or camp to enjoy some in-person time and global learning. While I wasn’t about to run away, clock up activity on my GitHub account and learn a cucumber isn’t just a vegetable – I was wondering how I could hack my life to make something similar work for me.

Working in a progressive area and on the web, I was fortunate to mash up a situation that’s allowed me to increase my awareness of the globe by seeing more of it. Working with companies that get it (especially travel-related) and creating something yourself has helped me to sustain my activities. Through these endeavours, I’ve journeyed through North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia in the past 12 months. I’m writing this post from a peaceful and tropical Port Douglas in Far North Queensland, before heading back to Melbourne via a Brisbane Fetch-launching stopover. I doubt I’d have seen as much as I have without having to quit everything to take time out for purely travelling.

One of the things I love about transience is it allows me to change and be agile in my existence. I feel like I’ve been growing so much as an individual in recent times, that having the freedom to take opportunities as they come or just be has allowed me to live more authentically in time and space. One of the things I don’t love so much is the impact of transience on relationships. I’m a fierce loyalist to my friends and circle, and it saddens me when I have to let go of a relationship. In my ideal world, we could all nurture each other and give attention to every connection. However when you’re on the go, the cherished face-to-face interaction dwindles and people soon forget about those not close by. In our often status-update-focused worlds, it’s now easy to have ambient awareness without ever having to ask a “How are you?”.

Above all, transience is about having no fear about what the future may hold. I understand what I am subject to now can change and change quickly, and what I thought were anchors and stability, gone. We’re all a target of this and even a 15-year commitment to one company doesn’t offer much security in the current economy. It seems I’m able to still arrive at the place I wanted to be though – with thanks to a vision and a rough plan. My energy and motivation levels flourish without having to fight an alternate path too.

The next steps for me involve embodying inner impermanence as a lifelong concept while returning to longer stints with my outer location. Thank you for listening and here’s to upcoming adventures and explorative living!


5 thoughts on “Transience

  1. You touch on this but for me location-independent life-style goes hand-in-hand with the Buddhist teachings of realizing the Impermanence of all things, becoming free from attachments and living in the present moment. I agree it is difficult to let go of certain things or people, and to trust in an unplanned future but the freedom that is gained can be very empowering and I think quite emotionally healthy.

  2. Great post Kate. I’m currently on my first, two month attempt at something similar.

    You’re right – there is an element of breaking new ground and defining your life for yourself. Challenges make us feel alive – whether personal, such as in communicating across language carriers, or professional, such as where to find good internet/a workspace/dealing with time differences!

    I would love to hear more about the practical aspects of your travel/work experience.

  3. Thanks all, really appreciate it and see you tomorrow night Liz!

    Simon – my next post is probably going to be on travel hacking, which might be applicable on how to cut costs and maximise income. Stay tuned!

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