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September 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm #79765
Author Mike Elgan
August 20, 2009
Welcome to this new blog on ITworld.com. I'm your host, Mike Elgan.
The Brains Without Borders blog is about the growing location independence movement, which is nothing more than the skillful use of technology to free yourself from having physical location dictate what you can and cannot do. A location independent professional (or, what I call a "lippy") is a digital nomad, but one who gets paid.
Don't look now, but YOU are a location independent professional. If you've ever worked at home, played at work or answered e-mail while standing in line at the DMV, then you're a lippy.
That didn't used to be possible. When your parents were your age, they probably did work and only work while on the job, personal stuff at home, and they daydreamed unproductively whenever standing in line. They took vacations, and retired or are still planning to retire.
If you're skillful, motivated and lucky, you can work, take vacations and retire all at the same time, rather than serially.
The Internet, laptops and cell phones enable garden variety location independence. But this blog is about taking it all to the next level. For example, as I write this, I'm in a car traveling north on I-15 in Southern Utah (I will have posted it at the next Starbucks). I'm driving across the country to visit my cousin in Washington, D.C. (I live in California). No, it's not a vacation. Neither my wife nor I are taking vacation time off. We're working while driving across the country. Last year, we lived in Greece for four months. Again, no time off. Three years ago, my wife and kids were on vacation, but I wasn't. Still, we toured Mayan ruins in Southern Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala and I worked all the while.
"Wait a minute," you might say! "I'd love to do that, but a) I'm not a freelance writer, but instead have a respectable job that requires me to be on-site; b) that sort of thing is obviously very expensive; c) I have kids in school and can't just take off; or d) all of the above."
These objections are precisely the point of this blog. These are challenges to be overcome for those of us who want more freedom and independence. Brains Without Borders is all about figuring out how to make location independence a reality. I'll cover career choices, financial and lifestyle decisions, and productivity techniques, as well as products and services that enable the location independent lifestyle.
Besides, location independence is not an either/or situation. It's a matter of degrees. Here are situations where being skilful at location independence can really come in handy:
1. You have to travel on business, but have noticed that productivity drops during travel.
2. You spend too much of your so-called "time off" working to meet deadlines, instead of spending time with family.
3. Your spouse has more vacation time than you do.
4. The cost of living where you live is too high.
5. Your career would benefit from being closer to clients and customers.
6. You do work on a project basis, and each project is headquartered at a different location.
7. You want to spend more time traveling.
8. You want to spend all of your time abroad or traveling.
9. You want to go anywhere you please and still make a living.
The skills, knowledge, habits, lifestyle choices, products and services of location independence can help you meet all these challenges and more. And if taken to an extreme, can transform your life into a daring adventure.
Welcome to Brains Without Borders! This is going to be fun! (Now, if you'll excuse me, it's my turn to drive.)
September 6, 2009 at 4:59 pm #79767
Escape the Cubicle -
I totally love this! You see, I home schooled my children for a few years, I completed most of my education online, I have owned a number of small businesses over the years, and I have completed a number of free lance projects online for people all over the country. I did all of this while moving, traveling, or working from home. I have never been able to see why more people have not embraced this wonderful technology we have now. You don't need to be in a traditional classroom to learn the history of Europe. You can be in Europe while taking a class from a school in Ohio. I have never been able to figure out why people think you can't work in CA without moving there. I can write a paper at 3 am and send it in by morning to CA while I am sitting in my home in TN.
While I home schooled my children (and yes they are fine – my son has a full ride as an Engineer, and my daughter is a Marketing major) we did things that other parents thought were “weird”. We went skating in the middle of the day for exercise, we went camping in our yard to learn about nature, and we enjoyed meteor showers all night when other children were in bed preparing for a boring day in a cedar block building.
I admit, I am kind of a free spirit. I have adapted to the society norm of working normal days, normal hours, in a closed building. But, I also have my home office where I can complete my personal projects, which allows my mind to really work.
I think if more people look at the 1800s you will see, children were schooled at home, and later they accepted apprenticeships with people in their field. Most people were small business owners who worked from home. Chemists, Farmers, and even Merchants, all worked from home. Many times the family worked with them, side by side. Most people I met, while home schooling my children, had no idea how much my children learned from staying at home. They truly believed my children were missing out on the education society thinks all children should have. But, at the time, I owned a Coffee Shop, and my children would spend some days helping me count inventory, ring up purchases, and invent flavors of frozen drinks. My daughter and son invented a frozen drink, which became so popular I put it on the main menu. They still remember this time in their life when they were “learning” from home.
Working outside the office is the same way. You learn a lot more by engaging all your senses, compared to sitting in a cubicle and staring at a monitor. It is very possible to work on the road, at home, or on the beach. The quality of work will be the same as if it were written in the office. Because of less distractions, sometimes the quality of work is actually even better completed outside the office. Not everyone knows how to stop what they are doing to complete a project at home. So, the Libby life for some would be overwhelming. But, for those of us who do enjoy working from home, or on the road, the technology available today is something wonderful.
My problem I am facing is this; I know how to do all of this, but I am having trouble finding companies who are willing to trust employees to work on their own, from anywhere in the world. When I find a company who encourages this type of work, I will be their new employee and embracing my inner LIPPY.
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