If You Could Write From Anywhere In The World, Would You?

One of the most attractive benefits of freelance writing is the ability to be completely location independent.

It’s not one of the benefits that first attracted me to freelance writing, but the more times goes by, the more it becomes appealing.  I mean, can you imagine one day waking up in New York, firing up your laptop to carry out some work, before jumping on a plane and starting to do work again in Paris 12 hours later?

A tropical, paradise-style beach

Could you tear yourself away from this to write for your clients?

In a few weeks, I’m heading off on holiday and although I’m not aiming to carry out any type of work for the two weeks I’m away, things have been a little hectic lately and it has crossed my mind a few times in the last couple days that I could potentially take my laptop with me.  I don’t have to work everyday, but having it there to be able to open up every few days, check my e-mails and catch up on some  bits and pieces is tempting – if not for the fact it will ensure I don’t have a few hundred e-mails to come back to.

But then I thought about the reality of this.  Am I just humouring myself thinking I’d work when I was away?

I always say that people need full breaks from work and this holiday is the first lengthy break I’ve had in 18 months.  Yes, we’ve had the odd weekend away and I took time off over Christmas, but this fortnight holiday will be the first ‘real holiday’ we’ve had since early 2011.

It’s because of this why when I think about the reality of working whilst away, I don’t think I’d do it.  I don’t think I have the discipline to tear myself away from relaxing on a beach.  I’m strict with myself when I’m working normally, but I’m not certain I could wake up one day and decide to do work.

And I guess this is the reason why as much as it could be great, I don’t think I could be location independent.  I talked a while ago about how I found the transition from salaried role to full-time freelance more difficult than I first thought it would be and although I’ve grown to love it, I’m not 100% sure I could trust myself to work as much as was needed if I was travelling around the world.

Imagine if I decided to work whilst I was away in the next few weeks.  It would mean that I wouldn’t be as pressed to get up-to-date with all of my work before I go, but it would mean I have to work whilst I’m away.  There would be no two ways about it – even if the weather is absolutely glorious each and every day and my friends and family are off enjoying their holiday, I would have to work.

If you were in this situation, do you think you could it?  I honestly don’t think I could.

About Dan Smith

Dan Smith is a seasoned freelance writer, currently working as the SEO Specialist for digital media agency Zine.  With a strong focus on developing strategies that are based heavily on high quality content, Dan always has one eye on the customer experience and has a distinct (dis)ability of being unable to say no.


  1. Dan,

    Last September, I took a cruise to the Bahamas. I actually took my laptop with me. That was a joke because I never turned it on, not because I couldn’t get internet access from the ship, but because I was having too much fun and work had to take a back seat. On the other hand, when I visit New York (twice a year), I’m inspired to write – still it’s not work related, but I find myself pecking away about something interesting. Enjoy your time away!

  2. I usually check email every other day just so there’s not too much to wade through when I get back, Dan. Last year, I had a long weekend away where I didn’t check in at all and it was refreshing.

    I like the location independent lifestyle, though. A couple of years ago a relative needed someone to stay with her after surgery and I was able to pack up my laptop and visit while continuing to run my business – that’s where it’s really useful.

  3. Katherine says:

    I live in Germany! I think that counts. That is what I love about being a writer and online entrepreneur. 🙂 I loved reading your thoughts.

    • Forgot to say… finding balance is tough. It is too easy to take advantage of the whole “location independent” thing and work all the time. I’ve worked on vacations before, mainly because I am a procrastinator. Or was. Until I changed my focus.

  4. Years ago I went sailing on small boats in the S. Pacific – it was before computers believe it or not. I took paper and pen that delighted me along saying I would only write if I were moved to. I was and when I got back after 5 months was able to get it all typed and sold.

    Would do the same today with a laptop or even my iPad with a better keyboard.

  5. Yes, I would and do. I don’t see any problem with working from wherever you want and still taking a vacation. I don’t mind writing if I get a bit of time on vacation. But if others like having 2 full weeks off that is great too. But being able to just travel around and work is awesome.

    For those interested there is a good subreddit for those looking into it http://www.reddit.com/r/IWantOut/

  6. I lived on Kauai for three years in the 1990s and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    I gotta say, the warm ocean and stunning scenery definitely distracted me from my writing projects.

  7. For anything more than a couple of days, it’s really tough for me to remove myself completely from work. There’s always something, like moderating comments on my blog, even if it doesn’t have to do with a client specifically. The same can be said about responding to emails, particularly when it comes to rate quotes and that sort of thing. It’s just that intense sense of guilt for not working when I know that I could.

    At the same time, you’re right, it’s so tough to tear yourself away from the vacation to get work done. I was in Cancun recently and, well, not much real work got done at all.

  8. Hi Dan, To be honest the whole reason i started internet marketing and blogging in the first place was because i wanted to work from where ever and whenever i wanted.
    Even though i make a full time wage it’s nothing like i thought it would be, I take my laptop on holiday with me and still end up working at least 2-3 hours a day with the rest of the time stressing how my campaigns are going, are there any important emails i need to reply too etc… Because I am only 19 im probably not as burnt out yet compared to most but i do currently work rougly 17 hours a day 7 days a week.

    if you really want a great lifestyle you need to have income online that doesn’t have to be monitored or at least hire somebody to do it for you.

  9. When reading the topic my thoughts went mad – With all the places I’ve seen and would really like to visit again. That’s where I would start. Any place; familiar or unfamiliar that is a source of inspiration or possibly could be.

  10. I do. My husband’s family has a ranch in middle Mexico- no internet, no piped in hot water, no telephone, no TV, no English 🙂

  11. Good morning Dan!

    Most definitely I write whilst I’m away – it’s why I go away!
    No phones (the mountains block the signal); no internet (I’m too mean to have it installed); no TV (satellite doesn’t do it for me); no money…..

    Oh yeah, that’s the reason I have to go away.

  12. I plan to! My other half has family in Malaysia and if my blogs make me enough some day I plan to work from out there for at least a few months of the year 🙂