As you may recall, I believe location independence is a must have skill in our world. It’s not a luxury anymore. Given the lack of predictability in recent years, coupled with increased authoritarian stances all around the globe, the ability to quickly switch from one location to another, with minimal cost and maximum benefits, might make the difference between freedom and slavery.
I know that for some the term “slavery” is a bit of an exaggeration. To some extent, it might be. If we compare apples to apples, modern slaves aren’t beaten, publicly humiliated and sold in open markets. And yet, they are forced to live in certain perimeters by lack of means to leave that perimeter (or by arbitrary lockdowns), they are isolated form each other and polarized against each other by various flavors of propaganda and they are constantly exploited for the profit of a few hard core corporations. In exchange, they receive stability and entertainment. For some, this is enough. But make no mistake, just because the cage is made of shiny stuff, it doesn’t mean it’s less of a cage.
So, let’s assume that we are in a place where we can afford location independence (the journey to this level is not easy, but it’s doable and you may find many resources in the location independence section of this blog).
Now, how do we maintain a certain equilibrium in this very liquid world? How do we even know that we’re going in the right direction, without the concept of “home”? How do we even know we took the right decision moving into that new place? What is guiding us?
Cultural References Versus Personal Values
One way to understand this new way of living is to try and make the difference between cultural references and personal values.
Cultural references are tied to a certain space-time continuum, being it a country, a religion spanning multiple countries, or some thought currents. For instance, the concept of “good” and “bad” is different in different countries. In some countries, if you are too “good”, or too willing to help, you may be perceived as intrusive (probably this is more present in Northern countries, and the opposite is happening in Mediterranean countries). In some religions, being “good” means rejecting “pagans”. And some thought currents, like communism, believe that being rich is a bad thing.
On the other hand, personal values aren’t tied to a certain system, and can be carried away and adjusted to external contexts. Being “good” or “bad”, in terms of personal values, is more about staying true to your internal compass, within the boundaries of the external context.
So, having a strong set of personal values will help navigate the location independence variety. Each place has constraints. Each place has certain limitations. Giving in completely to whatever that culture offers means we’re losing any sense if identity. Trying to enforce our inherited values over the local context means we will never adapt, or we will always try the “bubbles” of like-minded people or organizations, basically canceling the entire goal of location independence.
The answer might be a constant evaluation of what we want to stay true to (or values) and how this fits into the local culture. This means awareness. This means observing both the evolution of the place, and the evolution of ourselves. As we age, our priorities are changing. We may want different things.
This dance, this back and forth is the core of the location independence mindset and it takes a while to get good at it.
Once this is done, though, once we found a certain balance, the next step is to start contributing to the local culture.
After all, if we found a nice place, we want to keep it for as long as possible, so we might as well contribute to its functioning.