My friends Chris and Cherie of Technomadia hosted a session at SXSW entitled, "Technomadism: Becoming a Tech Nomad." They've been living a location independent lifestyle as long as I've known them, about three years. They are part of a growing community that take their work on the road whether as independent workers or employees. It sounds like a blast, but there are some challenges of going location free for long periods. Here's some tips they shared for making it work on the road:
- Check out their iPhone app, Coverage?, which gives cell phone coverage information for major carriers in one handy application. It helps you plan travel with staying connected in mind. US focus.
- XCom Global provides international voice and data coverage plans. Designed for the global traveler.
- Take only what you need. The more you take, the higher the cost and hassle. Moving stuff takes energy, time, and money. This goes whether you travel by foot, bike, or car.
- Instead of keeping sentimental stuff, take pictures. Keep a digital or online album of the special stuff in your life.
- Check out the Freelancers Union for healthcare plans for independent workers.
- Set up your own business to get group coverage. This is also a good strategy for those with pre-existing conditions who often can't get coverage as individuals.
- You need a permanent address and / or a drivers license to access a wide range of services. This is a challenge when you're mobile for long periods. And then there's the question of income tax. Where to you file if you don't really live anywhere? You can fix both problems by going to states where there are low to no barriers to getting a drivers license and have no state income tax. Check out Texas, Florida, and South Dakota. Chris and Cherie chose South Dakota and use a service called MyDakotaAddress.com that gives them a permanent address. It also registers their car for them!
- Being on the road often means being off the grid and relying on battery power. Chris suggested monitoring power carefully using a product called Kill A Watt.
OK, this really just scratches the surface. Check out Chris and Cherie's e-book covering all the ins and outs of their style of location independence.