Advice & Help

Next Stop, Jamaica – One corporate employee’s perspective on Lifestyle Design

Written by Akilah Richards

Don’t think of ways to escape your life; think of ways to enhance it.

Seriously—have you ever considered the absurdity behind the idea of a “vacation”?  

Essentially, most of us have bought into the idea that being a “responsible adult” means letting go of longtime dreams, getting a “real job” (hello, cubicle nation!), and taking a few weeks off per year to laze about in a new city, trying to forget about what we do with vast majority of our time.

But what’s the alternative? Be a beach bum, or worse yet move back home with your mom so you can mooch off of her, and get by in life with minimal effort?

Far from it.  Take a peek into the daily goings-on of an accomplished research engineer who currently calls IBM her primary employer.  She’s a firm believer in the “life’s too short not to” philosophy, and she’s putting her money (and her luggage) behind that idea too.  April’s lifestyle offers a valuable reminder that it is in fact possible to design a life that feeds you, paychecks and passions included.

Corporate Desk or Kola Champagne?

How exactly does a research engineer with a great career in IBM’s marketing department end up sipping Red Stripe beer in Jamaica and veggin’ out on the beach?

Don’t ask April D. Thompson, because the travel writer and marketing consultant may be living in Jamaica for a 3-month period, but she’s got plenty of work to keep her occupied in between capoeira classes in Kingston.

“My time in in JA isn’t just one big vacation. I’m still working…on several projects (a girl’s gotta eat), but taking every opportunity to explore and learn more about the island and its people.“

April’s business savvy and proven track record allowed her to negotiate a remixed version of her role at IBM that allows her to work primarily from home.  That means she can globe-trot to hear heart’s content, as long as she’s getting her work done—and that she does.

As a lifestyle coach (and as a Jamaican!), I was absolutely drawn to April’s capacity to design a life that fit her need to embrace a 100% location independent lifestyle, particularly because she’s spending nearly the full first quarter of 2012 in Jamaica.

Sounds like the stuff of the dreams-only zone, right? Not for April—and she’s definitely not alone.  There are a growing number of twenty and thirty-somethings that ditched the suit-and-tie/picket fence life for the welcomed cacophony of experiences that come with location independence.

What does it mean?

Location independence, life-hacking, life outsourcing, … the list of synonyms goes on.

Author Tim Ferriss penned his much-celebrated New York Times Best Seller,The 4-Hour Work Week

, back in 2007, and that’s when the term “location independence” first hit my radar.  Since then, I’ve come across dozens of bloggers, entrepreneurs, and writers who’ve adopted the lifestyle.  At its core, the concept is pretty simple:

Being location independent is a concept, a lifestyle and, more than anything, it’s a mindset. It’s not just about being nomadic and travelling the world to exotic destinations. It’s a lifestyle based on the freedom to choose the kind of lifestyle that works for YOU. From wherever you choose to be.  

– LocationIndependent.com

In 2010, April made the decision to “quit the life” and commit to the ultimate goal of full location independence.  So far, April has worked and played in 19 countries, and she doesn’t plan to stop there.  Her work-life flow allows her to prioritize her personal and professional goals, and she’s etching out a fine name for herself as an emerging travel writer as well.

Is This Sustainable?

Well, April’s not scrubbing floors to fund her lifestyle.  Neither are Chris Guillebeau, Tim Ferriss, and the myriad other “responsible adults” who swapped their daily commute in highway traffic for coach class tickets to new countries.  

Not convinced?  Luckily, this article wasn’t meant to inspire you to walk into your job tomorrow and dare your boss to do or say one wrong thing.  Instead, it’s simply meant to remind you that if your current life isn’t feeding your deepest needs, then perhaps you can take one step in the direction of a life that does.  

Be it location independence, a better 9-to-5, a healthier body, or a happier relationship, you play an integral role in that life. So go ahead, give it some thought, check out  April’s blog , and see if you can release the need to vacate your life in order to truly enjoy it.

Curious about how other Location Independent folks earn their dough?

Check this out for starters:http://www.corbettbarr.com/64-ways-location-independent-people-earn-a-living

About the author

Akilah Richards