It’s a necessity. I know it sounds blunt, so let me try to explain.
Until now, being able to live in whatever location (read: country or state) you wanted, was perceived more on the privilege side. Like only “rich” people could afford it. But now, you can think of it more like the next level of freedom.
There’s a type of freedom, the one that we knew until now, which is bounded by a specific context. Like f you live in a certain country, which observes human rights, then you are living “free”.
That definition of freedom is obsolete now.
And that’s caused by the increased social and political uncertainty (soon to be followed by some economic downturn as well) generated by how the Covid-19 pandemic was managed. Even countries with a proven record of observing human rights are slipping now into authoritarianism. And countries which were until recently avoided, are starting to attract more people. It’s a very rapid flow of events, a continuous change that is in stark contrast with the relative stability we experienced for the last 20 years (at least in the Western part of the world).
So, just because you made it in a traditionally “free” country, it doesn’t guarantee your freedom for the next 1, 2 or 5 years. The next lockdown can hit anytime and other social restrictions may be enforced.
Instead of trying to find “the place”, it’s more feasible to generate the flexibility to join whatever space must be good for you at any given time.
It might seem, again, that this flexibility is reserved to a few privileged people, but that’s not true. A subtle change in the post-black-swan events of the last couple of years made this way more affordable than you think.
On one side, the physical restriction measures made it very difficult and unpredictable to generate income in a fixed place, but on the other side, the remote-first workplace that was created, as a result of the same restrictions, made it much easier to use geo-arbitrage as a form of survival. You can now generate decent revenue remotely, so you can then pick a more suitable location (country / state) to live in (until it gets better somewhere else, or worse in that place, that is). And you don’t have to be millionaire for that, on the contrary. The budget for a location independent life can be way lower than a traditional one (think mortgage, loans, cars, etc).
Of course, this freedom comes at a cost and this cost is predominantly psychological.
You Need Remote-First Skills
First of all, in order to generate revenue remotely, you need remote-first skills. These may come in many forms, but if you weren’t exposed to any of them before, it may be challenging. If you generated revenue based on your geografic location (as a farmer, for instance), learning a new skill can be daunting.
The alternative, though, is to be trapped in a restrictive system, where your current skills are not in demand anymore.
You Need To Redefine The “Home” Concept
We all have attachments, and one of the most powerful is the notion of “home”. This was, until now, linked to a certain physical location. I know it sounds strange and counter-intuitively, but we need to reinvent this concept, loosening the coupling between the geographic location of “home” and the security and comfort we derive from it.
“Home” can be anywhere now, so we need to adjust. Home is not necessarily where WiFi is, but it is where you can get at least the freedom to walk on the streets, to meet people and have casual conversations. I find it very hard to believe that we came to describe freedom in these terms, but when facts change, our views must change too.