Work from anywhere

When I worked for a big company, I dreamed of working for myself so I could set my own hours and work schedule. My salary increases would be linked to how hard I worked, not how well I was able to game the HR department.

If I could set my hours and work schedule, perhaps I could work from anywhere in the world. A park bench, library, the beach, even another country. At least this is what I thought would happen to me. However once I stopped consulting work, and was truly location independent, I was reluctant to move anywhere. Why is it that when given the freedom to move my choice was - do nothing?

Thinking about it. When friends have moved to another city or country, it wasn’t their idea. Instead their work gave them the opportunity and paid relocation expenses. But in the scheme of things relocation costs aren’t that high, certainly not prohibitive enough to deter someone determined for an adventure. It seems strange that a person would happily up and move somewhere a business had chosen in return for some relocation costs, but not move to a location of their own choosing if given the opportunity.

So we decided to move to Sri Lanka. Melbourne is a very expensive city to live in and it seemed crazy to continue to pay so much when I didn’t have to. One of my goals in moving was to save money relative to what I would have paid living in Melbourne. Now that a year has passed since we came back, here is a breakdown of what we paid living in Sri Lanka - and travelling to Germany, and what we pay living in Melbourne.

Description Sri Lanka Melbourne
rent 2200 7800
credit 4700 6100
cash 5400 4100
flights 3700
total 16000 18000

I am surprised. While I was travelling, and handing over physical cash, it felt like money was draining away so fast. The reality was quite the opposite. Despite the expense of travelling through Germany, flights, paying for storage here in Australia, overall we saved some money compared to business as usual here in Melbourne.

We won’t be doing this again any time soon I don’t think. The experience was great but now with two kids it seems more appropriate to live near our extended family than some random location in the world.