I’ve always known I wanted to travel. New Zealand was a wonderful country to grow up in, but by the time I was a teenager I was ready for something bigger.
After studying my degree, which I’ve never used, I made my way to Asia on a whim. I spent three months backpacking through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before branching out to India.
My original trip stretched across continents and took up a total of 2.5 years. I worked along the way, teaching English in the Czech Republic, was an au pair in Spain and started a travel blog. Eventually the money ran out and I found myself broke, but still madly in love with travel.
I wasn’t going to let money get in the way of my dreams.
I started freelance writing online and in time my travel blog built up some momentum. Now, a few years on, advertising on blogs is enough to sustain my entire income. Despite building a relatively successful business from scratch, that travel itch has not gone away. On the 30th of July, my partner and I will be moving overseas, indefinitely.
We will become location independent.
I suppose, technically, we’re already location independent because it doesn’t matter where we are, we can earn a living. I feel like we’re not taking full advantage of this as there are so many perks to being location independent.
While we’ve still got a very long way to go to become financially independent, we’re loving the fact that we’re location independent and looking forward to the following perks when we leave New Zealand:
1) Not Paying Tax.
I am grateful to come from a country with affordable schooling, free public health care and excellent roads. However, I am not particularly interested in donating my tax money when I’m not in the country and thankfully I wont have to. The plan is to not be a tax resident of anywhere, set up our banking in Dubai – and perhaps set up a company there too – in order to remove our tax liabilities in New Zealand.
I pay about 30% of my income in tax, so this will be an excellent way to quickly boost the savings account and dramatically change our financial future.
2) Leveraging the Currency.
New Zealand is expensive. I read a lot of finance blogs and am consistently shocked at how affordable America seems compared to New Zealand.
My partner and I spend at least $1,000 a month on groceries and that’s not even including any money we spend eating out. Our small apartment is $360 per week. The list goes on and the expenses all add up really quickly. Thankfully we earn enough to live comfortably here, but I don’t feel like we get good value for money. Many parts of the world, including Spain, Portugal, Eastern Europe, Asia and Central America offer exceptional value compared to New Zealand.
In Asia you can eat out in a restaurant for a lot less than you’d pay to buy the ingredients and make the meal at home yourself here. In New Zealand an hour long massage costs $120, in Asia you’re looking at $6-10. I see many massages in my future.
Leveraging the currency will be a great way for my partner and I to increase our quality of living while decreasing the cost.
3) You get to see New Places.
I love exploring – there’s something so fascinating for me about wandering streets of a new town, getting lost in the new smells, sounds and sights. I really enjoy engaging with new cultures, learning more about the world and where I fit into it.
When you can work anywhere, you can explore anywhere without putting your career on hold or ravaging your savings account. This is a pretty big bonus for me.
4) Excellent Weather
While I know some people love winter, I just don’t! I would much rather be on a beach, sipping on a coconut waiting for my next massage while watching the waves crash. I often joke that I’m “solar powered” and require a certain amount of sunshine to function, but I think there’s some truth in that. I am much happier and more productive when it’s warm and I can soak up some rays. It’s coming into winter here in New Zealand and it’s my cue to leave.
There are lots of perks to being location independent and I’m very much looking forward to starting this new chapter in our lives. As you can see, there’s two pretty key financial aspects to being location independent that are going to help us save a lot of extra money. Considering I paid over $6,000 in tax last month alone, the savings my partner and I will incur from being non-tax residents of New Zealand will be considerable.
Throughout the coming months I’ll be posting updates on the process of becoming a non-tax resident, location independent, what I’m taking along on the road to work productively and a host of other topics. I’d love for you to drop on by and see how this exciting adventure goes.
Have you ever heard of location independence before?
Is it something you would like to pursue for a year or two?
Let me know if you’ve got any questions – I’d love to answer them.
Author bio: Christine Berry is a finance blogger at Wealth Way Online. You can follow her journey to diversify her income, become location independent, travel the world while volunteering and building up considerable personal wealth. In the month of May she made over $21,000 in online income.