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Having been semi-location independent for 4 years now, I have come to a similar conclusion.

The theory of decision fatigue -- that you get exhausted by making a certain number of decisions -- seems to be true to me. And the thing is that when you are in a new place, there is a large number of decisions to make about petty things like where is the nearest supermarket, where can I work out, how do I get proper internet etc. Whenever I've set up in a new place, my productivity suffers severely for a week or two. After that, I'm okay but if you travel a lot, that becomes a real price. And it's not rewarding the same way that other guilty pleasures are, it's just annoying.

I remember walking to the "office" in Bangkok one day, having been there for three weeks. I pulled out my iPod for the first time since I arrived. It struck me that this was a sign that I was familiar with my surroundings. I didn't need the full mental capacity just to navigate, I could run that process in the background and allow myself to listen to music. I am not sure what you can conclude from this but I think that it's likely that I had consumed a lot of energy up until that point, which I then didn't have for programming.




Oh man, yeah, decision fatigue. I've been a freelancer (web work and later technical translation) since 1996 and we've moved, kids and dog and all, from Indiana to Puerto Rico to Budapest, at will - and the one thing that makes it difficult is that you're always asking, "Should we be staying here or going somewhere else now?" It never stops. The kids are having allergy problems? Let's move to the Caribbean! The Caribbean is too relaxed and the schools suck? Let's move to Europe! Europe has horrible winters? Back to the Caribbean!

It gets old. And expensive. And the business takes a major hit every time we move just because of the distractions - and it's a continual stress when we don't move, a stress that normal people don't even think of having.


It seems like there is no perfect place. New Zealand or Australia? they are in a difficult time zone.

One alternative is having two fixed locations and moving on winter.


I don't like the idea to escape winter. I was like this years ago, dreamed about being able to move to a hotter place during the winter. Now when I can do it, I don't want it. Coping with winter helps you learn things and makes you stronger. And winter has its good sides too (especially for the busy homesteader). It's a time to relax from the hot season activities, to enjoy different food and drinks, and so on. I like it. It's not my favorite time of the year, but I see no point to run away of it. And kind of regret people who hate it so much.


You don't live somewhere with 6 months of winter, do you?


Oh yes, I do. And we have -15 Celsius / 5 F pretty often.


Cagliari, on the southern coast of Sardinia, a southern big island in Italy, is the perfect place: startups, astonishing sea, tens of beaches, hot summers, max 2 winter days at near zero (Celsius).

I live there, I know how it is ;)


Italy is corrupt and has serious economic issues. It's probably a nice place to live otherwise though, I guess they "just" need to completely replace their government.


Indeed. But not as much as one would think. There are people hustling for change. Also, if you can work from south pacific, you can work from Sardinia.


Corrupt and has serious economic issues. This statement applies to most countries, however I agree that Italy has it fairly bad. In terms if work/life balance, it has a few major advantages however.


As a Sardinian expatriate, I must say that this would be a practicable course only when you have a stable and steady cachet of clients; and then only if you are content with having almost "remote-only" technological collaboration. While I recon this was the premise of the article, I still feel that this "isolation", lack of support and lack of recognition for your professional figure stunts most of the excitement.

There is almost no technological nor entrepreneurial growth in the area; although pioneering in diffusion and disruption of internet technology (Tiscali), and although many well-intentioned, huge (and ultimately empty) technological poles graciously built in the area[1], there is little interest in investing, outside of just grabbing the inviting national/european development grants and then leaving the island.

There is no real service or attraction to speak of. The very few attractions (mainly wooden kiosks at the beach) have been made close down or subject to numerous certification delays for "sonic pollution" in maybe the most frequented beaches in Cagliari proper. Endless diatribes consume most of the land in similar way, even though you'd think this place could otherwise easily top many of the most famous places worldwide.

Sardinia is a dream place if you're a scholar, or like cities full of down-to-earth and warm people; it's a microcosm of influences and it's hard to take even just a few steps outside the most modern places, and not be able to recognize traces of the many cultures that walked that very soil. The tradition is rich, and every few steps you encounter a different dialect or new colorful customs. It's a magical place.

I would get back there in a moment if I could. But it's the epitome of Italian waste. I had been so angry at it, and everyone, but it also seems that the majority of the people really prefer to just soak it up, and then forget about it, or else spreading outside of the city to start the n-th unauthorized small town in the middle of nowhere, which is of course in a bad location that puts a strain on the few available transportation resources (almost entirely buses), with majors that play for power with/against neighboring towns, derailing the plans for highways (the "new" 125 anyone) which however is nothing compared to such jewels as the "A3 Napoli-Reggio Calabria".

Sorry for the impulsive rant but this touched a nerve. I would really, really love to go back to

[1]: I am happy for those. I worked there for some time, and these were nice, big buildings, with a nice internet connection, space for growth, and they were immersed in that classic beautiful bitter-sweet sardinian splat of vegetation. But while they were built for grandeur and all, no-one really came there, then various powers competed in the area, which resulted in this temple being connected to the rest of the world by a small dirt road which floods periodically with almost no public service to speak of.


Aha! This describes nearly everywhere I've ever lived and worked! The brilliance of working exclusively online is that you can live in places like this - you take your work with you. I would never have gotten to know Ponce, Puerto Rico otherwise - or reacquainted myself with my hometown of Richmond, Indiana.

From an economic standpoint, I couldn't have come to Budapest, for that matter. Finding a well-paying job here would be very difficult. (Not impossible, but difficult.)

If you do want a technical community around you in meatspace, I agree that these sleepier corners of the world are not for you. But they are definitely for me. I'll consider Sardinia. (I know a really nice Sardinian lady in Mayag├╝ez, Puerto Rico - she loves it and hates it simultaneously, just like you.)


http://www.startupcagliari.it/ and yes, yours is a rant :)


This is really how it's done. But requires wealth. It's what super rich people do. Homes in multiple locations and chase the sun.


Well, we kind of have that planned. You don't have to be super rich, just have to know your places pretty well and buy smart, maybe something that needs a little work.

We bought a house in Richmond, Indiana (more or less where I'm from) for $8000 - that was actually a mistake because it needed too much work, but the principle was sound.

Now we're looking for foreclosures in reasonable neighborhoods in Puerto Rico, we're probably going to build a house here in Budapest, and maybe we'll find something in Indiana in a few years. If you have modest houses in your places instead of putting all your real estate money into a new garage and a pool, it's totally doable.

A lot of not-so-wealthy people have a house in the North and one in Florida, after all.


Or you could sub-rent your place for a few months in winter and rent a place in a warm country. No wealth required.


I always wonder if there is a website to organize this. I have my own house but would like to stay here only 3 months a year and move for other 3 places elsewhere (fixed places). It would be a good idea for a startup.


There's quite a few websites that handle house swaps. Airbnb is also a good option if you have someone to manage the place for you while you're away.


I know someone who runs a hostel in New Zealand in the southern summer and travels in southern winter. Totally doable on a budget.


> One alternative is having two fixed locations and moving on winter.

In the States, these people are called "snowbirds". They declare permanent residency in some low-tax state state, then migrate to the sun in the winter and the cool in the summer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowbird_%28people%29


Exactly. I thought this was what I wanted. Now that I'm somewhat location independent, I keep thinking about where I should move to take full advantage of my freedom. It's exhausting! I want to settle somewhere but can't decide.


Excuse me if I don't feel sorry for you. Don't you think that's a pretty good problem to have?


It's certainly a luxury problem, but it's also a tough problem. Think about it: If you are location-independent, how do you even start to come up with a good decision on where to live? What are the factors you consider and the metrics to see whether or not your decision was good or not afterwards?

I'm in a very similar position and just thinking about the endless possibilities of choosing a new place to live can be very overwhelming.

But if you haven't been in this position, you won't know how it feels I guess.

I figured it is very similar to everybody joking about how they want more free time to do "their stuff". And if you ask "So, what stuff would you do, if you had all time of the day and still get your monthly paycheck?", the answer is often much less clear. Everybody dreams of having all day off, but when it comes to that situation, too much leisure can be frustrating as well.


I do think this is an interesting discussion and question. For me the answer is simple and clear -- live where my family and friends are. It is interesting to me that other people take such different approaches. Of course one can make new friends and perhaps create a family, but I'm surprised at how little family and friends are even mentioned in the following discussion.


Been there, done that. My recommendation is, find your family. Think about your contribution to the future.


I can also relate, we should start a Moving Around Anonymous. I find that we don't always consider all the costs before choosing to hop off to the next location, cost in time and energy, but also financially. That said, it doesn't feel like we can settle.


> Moving Around Anonymous

or perhaps Digital Nomads Anonymous. I feel like it's in my DNA.


I'll be in Budapest for a week from the 8th of October with my wife. It would be nice to meet for a coffee and discuss our gypsy lifestyle problems :)


Hey, cool! That would give me a great excuse to go into town! My email is in my profile, so let's definitely hook up.

Neat venture you have there, by the way - social reservations, I like it! I just did the Craigslist thing in Budapest a couple of years ago (before we moved more permanently) and it worked out nicely - but I think we got lucky. A little more triangulation would have been nice, and it looks like that's what you're doing. Neat!


great! I sent you an email.

It's funny you label it as social reservations. Did you see this page? http://www.adormo.com because we also launched a test project (italan only for now) http://social.adormo.com/ where it's much more social. I just wonder what site you did visit :)


The main site (www) - I call that social, probably because I'm a dinosaur. But you've got a kind of ... well, curation thing going, and a personal contact locally. It's not just ads.


you are right. The local Manager visits most the apartments and meets most owners so he's able to help the guests and guarantees that there are not fakes/bad actors.


>>Whenever I've set up in a new place, my productivity suffers severely for a week or two.

The language you are using here - specifically the word "suffer" - is indicative of a certain type of (generally Western) mindset where productivity plays a big role in a person's happiness and satisfaction.

I went on a two week vacation to my home country of Turkey back in July. For the first few days, it felt really odd to not work. I would wake up in the morning, have breakfast, fire up my laptop on the patio of my parents' house, and then... stare at the screen. After screwing around on HN and other sites, I would realize that it was 2pm and that I had "wasted" half my day. And I would feel bad about that.

After a few days though I realized how absolutely ridiculous that mindset was. I was on vacation and I was not supposed to be producing anything. I was supposed to be relaxing. It was like flipping a switch - I made a paradigm shift and spent the rest of my vacation "doing nothing." It felt great!

If I ever find myself in the author's situation where I have sufficient savings and am sitting on a beach in Thailand, instead of trying to continue working and getting stuff done, I'll just check out mentally and enjoy life.


Well, there is vacation, and there is "digital nomadism" that kristian and bartek are talking about.

If you go for holidays, you can tuck away your laptop and just rest, but if you plan a year long work&life scenario where you work remotely from another country, your productivity matters.


This is why all my vacations are "zero technology". I bring absolutely no electronics except for an old non-smartphone in case of emergencies. This way I don't have to feel guilty, because I can't be "productive" anyway.


>>And the thing is that when you are in a new place, there is a large number of decisions to make about petty things like where is the nearest supermarket, where can I work out, how do I get proper internet etc. Whenever I've set up in a new place, my productivity suffers severely for a week or two. After that, I'm okay but if you travel a lot, that becomes a real price. And it's not rewarding the same way that other guilty pleasures are, it's just annoying.

It's almost like you should get together with a travelling companion who's job is to just figure out your new location and you'll pay for food, fun and expenses. Maybe they're an FWB too :) ? It's like a deluxe travel agent "arrangement" for nomad geeks. This could be a thing if it got going. I can see the 2015 New Yorker Headline now "FWB gets upgraded to Personal Concierge and Travel Agent W/ Benefits for wandering nomad supergeeks in surprising new trend".


"Boy you guys, wouldn't it be neat if a software development career entitled you to a concubine on top of everything else?"


Not just a concubine, but a personal assistant and housekeeper, too.

Frank Reynolds is not supposed to be a role model, people: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028239/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_3


There is a word for a friend-with-benefits for hire, and it's illegal in many places. For good reason.




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