How to live the free life and maintain your income
Published: 13 February 2008 By Fergal Barry-Murphy Leave a Comment
Are you tired of the miserable winters, the long commutes, and the 9-5 drudgery? If so, there may be another way. With the internet and other modern technologies the world has become a much smaller place. Could you imagine yourself spending your winters on a tropical beach while still earning an income. If so, read on.
If you work in any kind of profession where your end product can be delivered over the internet there is nothing to stop you working from anywhere in the world. A quick look at websites such as Elance.com or GetAFreelancer.com will give you an idea of the opportunities out there for online workers. If you are in IT, graphic design, writing, data entry, there is plenty work available online. The rates paid aren't always high but spend a few months picking up jobs on one of these sites and you should be able to build up a good list of clients.
So, if you want to take of and try out life in some new countries or just get away during the winter months, it can be done. And the real beauty of it is that there is no limit to where you can go. You can spend your winter months on a beach in Thailand, stop for a few weeks in Hawaii, or chill out in Goa for a couple of months. All you really need is a laptop and a broadband connection.
To make this work there are a number of practicalities to contend with. First, you will have to commit to the freelance life. If you wish to spend some, or all of your time working and traveling you will have to pack in the day job and, most likely, settle for a drop in wages. However, this is offset by the fact that many of the most attractive countries to live in, such as Thailand or India, have a much lower cost of living.
Second, you will need a good and reliable internet connection wherever you go. This is rarely a problem in the cities, but it may limit where you can go. One, albeit expensive, solution is satellite broadband, while most countries now have CDMA broadband products (which provide access almost everywhere) available for reasonable prices.
You will also have to think about visas. Most countries will allow you to enter for two or three months as a tourist. Technically you should not work with such a visa, so you should apply for a business visa before you enter the country. This is okay in the short-term if you are moving from country to country, but is not really a long-term option. If you wish to spend extended periods of time in just one country you should get the proper visas and work permits.
Depending on how long you stay away from Britain each year, the tax implications of living such a lifestyle can get a little tricky. To be regarded as a resident in the UK, you must spend at least 183 years here a day. Unless you plan to move to another country full-time you should try to maintain this. This will also keep your finances simpler as you can make your yearly tax returns in Britain as normal. If you live abroad full-time you will most likely have to pay tax abroad.
If you do intend to travel and work, there are three essentials that you need – a credit card, good travel insurance and a Pay Pal account (or another merchant account). You should also bring a card to access your current account funds, and have all accounts set up with online banking facilities.
Finally, make sure to set your PayPal account up so you can send money directly to your current account. This is usually no problem but may take a couple of weeks to set up. With all of this in place, you should be able to manage your finances easily online.
So, if you are yearning for adventure and you have a job that will allow you to work and travel, it can be done. A little preparation and one big leap of faith, and you could be spending next winter basking in the tropical sun in the day and working on your laptop in the evenings.