One of the great things about living the location independent lifestyle is the freedom to choose where you live. The world is your oyster as the saying goes.
The case for locating yourself in Thailand:
A large group of people that are living the location independence lifestyle choose Thailand as their homebase. There are numerous reasons including beautiful beaches, warm weather, and low costs.
Even after choosing Thailand you need to decide if you want to make your home base the hip Bangkok, the beautiful southern beaches, or the cooler Northern mountain area.
Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai.
Over at Thrilling Heroics there is a very nice write up by Erin about the 18 reasons why you should choose Chiang Mai – in the north of Thailand – as your digital nomad headquarters. Here is just one of the 18 reasons is the low cost of Chiang Mai:
One of Chiang Mai’s biggest attractions is the high quality of life that’s possible for very little. With apartments starting from $160 a month, a delicious meal at the market for $1, a fresh fruit shake for $0.50, monthly motorbike rental for $60, laundry for $1 a kilo, and a large beer for $2, it is possible to live comfortably for well under $1000 a month, or even just $500.
What about living in the Philippines?
Lewis Quartey, Lewis Q to his friends, makes a pitch for the Philippines. He helpfully offers 4 tips to those thinking of jumping over to the islands. He also discusses the low cost of living in this tropical islands, but there are some other benefits that you might not be aware of:
Staff options: If you are looking to grow your business in some way, say you have coding or programming requirements, need staff to work your SEO process or just need a good PA, there are few places that I can think of that match the Philippines in terms of potential. I recommend checking out Chris Ducker over at Virtual Business Lifestyle for more info here.
So you can see not only would you have low living costs, but additionally you can find good talent to help grow your business.
Bali: the real up and comer.
Bali is fast becoming the favorite location for the location independent entrepreneurs. And leading the rally call to relocate to Bali is Dan Andrews (along with his business partner Ian) from Tropical MBA (check out his great podcasts at lifestyle business podcast).
He has posted several times about why Bali is the perfect place for your lifestyle independence business, but the one I found most interesting is the one in which he compares Thailand vs Bali vs the Philippines. He discusses internet bandwidth, business, staffing, adventure – everything.
In another post he goes into more specific details of why he choose to live in Bali, and base his entrepreniual headquarters from.
Bali is the first place I’ve lived since San Diego that really competes with the “completeness” of some first world cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York) but with all the access to adventure, nature, and Asia in general that I crave. Although I love places like Saigon, Hanoi, Dumaguete, and Bangkok, it was ultimately difficult for me to imagine staying in those places for a 3-5 year term. With Bali I have no such problem.
I feel like the amount of places, people, services, and activities I can access within 15 minutes of my front door (on a speedy fun motorbike no less) is unmatched, anywhere.
Dan also supplies the nuts and bolts of the costs, and describes the lifestyle he experiences in Bali.
What is my choice of where to live for my Lifestyle Independence?
For two months I lived in China, and learned a great deal. I am currently spending two month in Thailand, but my visa is running out at in the beginning of January. Both Bali and the Philippines tempted me for all the reasons mentioned above, but I have decided a slightly different route.
From the Tropics to the Cold North: Riga, Latvia
Sometimes it is good to shock your system a bit. So on Dec 31 I flew to the Baltic country of Latvia to live in Riga. Riga is becoming a burgeoning tech hub, and techcrunch is holding a startup conference there in February. And while it will be very cold there in the middle of winter Riga offers a number of reasons for a lifestyle independence person: low living costs (roughly comparable to Thailand), very fast internet, and a rich European culture. Not that an European culture is any better than any where else in the world, but it has its own uniqueness. As for internet speed Latvia offers some of the fastest average speed in the world.
So call me crazy for jumping from the tropical beaches of southern Thailand to the frozen Northern European climate – but it will be an experience – and that is what we are all here for.
Will Latvia become a new ‘hotbed’ location for the lifestyle independence world travellers? Probably not, but it might offer many interesting opportunities and a new option.