Location Independent: Live & Work Anywhere… even Indiana

May 6, 2012 in North America, Travelogue, United States

It’s been a week and a half since we left the cottage and we’re beginning to find our groove.

“Deep sigh… I’m so glad to be back on the road again Mom,” Hannah breathed; we all are.

People often ask us if our kids get sick of traveling. The answer: not so much. We get tired of moving forward sometimes, so we stop and rent a house. We get sick of a particular place sometimes, then we pack our backpacks and move forward. The whole reason we travel is the children and their educations, that they enjoy it is the whole point.

This evening we’re sitting in a cafe with fast internet, working.

After three days in the forest of Southern Indiana and a weekend of bridal shower party with family in Indianapolis we have plenty that needs to be done. 

People often ask how we fund the adventure. That’s a big question. The short answer: we work! 

We’ve organized life and career around our passionate wanderlust and any where we have internet we can make it happen. That sounds sexy and like the perfect storm of beaches, mai-tais and making money.

In reality, it looks more like this:

How do we support ourselves as we travel?

  • We spend a lot of time hunting internet. 
  • We sit in cafes and sip coffee while we work for a few hours.
  • We squeeze in paid work around travel schedules. 

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat outside campground bathrooms (where the best plugins are) and spent a sunset swatting mosquitos and tapping keys.

Someone asked me recently to blog more about the messy, sticky reality of what full-time travel looked like on a daily basis. Here’s a snapshot of any this exact day:

  • Our van is trashed. And I mean trashed. I’ve offered $5 for a thorough cleaning, and if you know me, you know that to offer a $5 job is rare. It’s that bad.
  • I did my morning online work in the van on the way to the in-laws after Tony picked Hannah and I up from the hotel where we were staying for the bridal shower on the south side of Indianapolis. 
  • We grilled all afternoon with the grandparents. The kids played baseball with a tennis ball in the back yard. Ezra batted imprecisely and knocked the ball through the sliding glass door into the kitchen… thankfully the door was open. Grandma was surprised.
  • We sipped wine while Hannah played music. Ezra practiced his new mandolin song.
  • I took a nap on my Guatemalan blanket in the shade of some big trees while the kids played.
  • We unwrapped packages of last minute items I’d had shipped to our very last American address and tried things on boys who were too slippery to want to be still for fittings.
  • We breathed a collective sigh of relief to find our passports with the Vietnamese visas we’d applied for among the packages delivered to Grandma’s.
  • We’ve got laptops and iPads and iPods and phones plugged into every available outlet while we’ve got a couple of days at Grandmas to recharge.
  • Kids are bunked on every available floor space in their sleeping bags.
  • Kids squeeze school work into the few hours in the van between houses, or the quiet hour between when they wake in the morning and when the adults are ready to move.
  • Hannah hits the Skype call for her online class from wherever she can find a slice of quiet.


We’re in our second hour of solid work at the corner table of Jan’s Village Pizza, on Union Street in Westfield, Indiana. Red checkered table cloths, little satin table lamps and a vase full of flowers grace each table. The walls are covered in art; much of it drawn from our lives: A huge portrait of our god daughter on a red bridge over a brook, two sunlit seconds illuminate our friend Cate in Guatemala, beautiful memories from Guatemala, Mexico and Tunisia. Grandpa paints from our pictures a lot. It’s like sitting in a roomful of quiet old friends.

We’re aware that we might not sit in this room for quite a long time and we’re soaking in the ambiance along with the best pizza in the world. You might accuse of us of being biased, since our Grandma makes it, but only if you haven’t tried it yourself.

I keep having this moment, where I look around at the completely familiar, and the faces we love most in the world and all of the sudden I’m in this out of body experience where I tell myself, “Pay attention, soak it in… your world is getting ready to change again in a very big way.” 

The scenery changes. The people around our dinner table change. We’re going to miss so many things. And yet, we’re being carried toward the people who will shape the rest of our lives in various ways, we know this, even though we don’t know them yet.

Ours is a life of change, on purpose. We like it that way. Our kids like it too.

What doesn’t change is work, the need to meet deadlines, create programs, talk with clients, attend meetings and deliver consistent, quality product. 

We’re not independently wealthy, in case you’re wondering. We work. But we aren’t defined by our work. I guess that’s the essence of “location independence,” the freedom to live life on your own terms and find a way to fund it as you go.