As we were preparing to leave, friends we don’t often see asked: are you still living in Oxford? At work, when colleagues heard that we’re leaving, we were asked: what are you going on to do? The mobility so central to what we’re doing made the answers hard to formulate. In a way, they still are. House sitting around the world? Taking some time out? Working remotely? It isn’t quite the absolute freedom travelling or the limitations of a sabbatical from a job. It doesn’t have the stability of moving abroad for work and we’re perhaps a little too old for a gap year. The best way to sum it up is location independence, but that often necessitates a definition and an explanation.
Defining ‘location independent’
Being location independent, or how we’re approaching it, means that we have decided not to have a permanent home base. This decision seems to go against where our lives, apparently, should be going. Recently married; building careers after long years in education, the end of our good child-bearing years on the horizon, starting to acquire (through gifts) posh glassware and a coffee maker: the path is well trodden, ‘setting down’ seems inevitable, desirable. Or at least, we’re told it should be. And yet, the 9-to-5 quite doesn’t suit us: too many years of being able to set our own schedules. And after years in the same city trying to make something work, the feeling of being stuck fed a desire for something new. So, unable to face signing up to another year’s lease on an expensive flat, signing up to another year in suspension, we decided to become ‘location independent’ and live in different parts of the world through house sitting. We chose mobility over fixity.