4 Reasons You Should Choose a Location Independent Lifestyle

A Lifestyle of Choices

why choose a location independent lifestyle?

why choose a location independent lifestyle?

We were coming up to the end of first month living on the stark but beautiful Spanish island of Fuerteventura.

We had body boarded, surfed, explored, lazed on the beach and ate octopus, fresh sardines and tapas. It was a good life. In the middle of the European winter we were parked off the west coast of Africa enjoying sun and temperatures in the low 20s (around 7oF).

But Fuerte can be an unforgiving island at times. Sometimes the vast expanses of sand dunes leave you feeling a little giddy. Sometimes the landscape is too harsh, too unforgiving.

Taking a break from house hunting, we stuffed our day packs and jumped on a ferry that took us to the neighboring island of Lanzarote to the north. 1 hour later we were exploring the sea side cafes of this well appointed neighbor. We rummaged around the market in the marina, sat out and drank coffee by the sea and admired the colors of this beautiful island.

This is it, we thought in an instant. This is where we want to live. That evening back in Fuerteventura we scoured the internet for accommodation. We found a short term foothold to get us settled in Lanzarote and we were back on the ferry 3 days later, moving.

Location Independence affords us freedoms not normally found in the average person’s daily life. You choose where you can live. You choose the environment you want to live in. You choose the people and cultures you want to live with.

Life is pretty short. To not see the world would be a waste.

The first reason you should choose a Location Independent Lifestyle is travel.

But seeing the world requires more than a 2 week vacation every year. We need to spend time, we need to move around, we need to live outside of the scheduled existence.

I believe Location Independence means freedom. Sure there’s the freedom to travel but there are many other freedoms afforded by Location Independence.

I’ll explore those here

1) Freedom of Time

Being Location Independent offers you more freedom in how you use your time. You aren’t wasting 10 hours a week commuting. You aren’t wasting 20 hours a week in meetings or with company memos. You aren’t wasting time on watching TV, cleaning your car or Sunday at the home improvement store. You are out there, living.

So much literature these days focuses on getting more hours out of the day. The worst of its kind is the “how can I sleep less?” type hack article found everywhere on the internet. There is no long term sustainable answer to this problem. There are 24 hours in the day regardless of how much money or success you have.

What you can do is, however, use that time better than the average person. You can choose not to squander it on the distractions that keep the masses comfortable and numb. You can choose to slow time down. Stop, enjoy the moment with a coffee watching the locals, hang out in the market square watch the world go by. Those of us that spend our lives rushing to the next moment, fulfilling goals and bucket lists will be the ones that get old and wonder where all the time went.

2) Freedom of Market Independence

When you tie your life and your income to one place you place all your eggs in one basket.

The global economy moves so fast these days and governments continue to prop up failing industries that it’s difficultt o know what is working an dwhat isn’t.

Nobody saw the banks going bust. Remember that old saying “if you want zero risk, stick it in the bank”? Well that doesn’t hold true anymore. Remember that other saying “safe as houses?” Well what happened to all those homeowners that got wiped out by negative equity?

It’s the same story as all those factory workers who one day turned up after 20 years at work to find there was no work.

When you put your livelihood into one market, you expose yourself to the winds of circumstance. It’s an environment you have little control or freedom over.

True Location Independence means rising above the failed politics and economics of nation states. Spread your income and finances across many countries. That is freedom.

3) Freedom of Lifestyle

It seems inconceivable that you could live a millionaire lifestyle and travel the world. But you can do just that without being ever being a millionaire.

This is the ultimate freedom of Location Independence.

When most people travel, they do it as long term travelers or tourists. It’s an expensive business. Hotels are always as expensive as back home, if not more. Then there’s the flights, the taxis, the hire cars, eating out and so on. It adds up to a lot of money. You come back from your vacation and need to start saving up to do it all again.

But what if you could live like that, travel long term and actually save as much money as you did in the first place?

Why wait years to save enough money for retirement?

Why wait for the impossible to happen like winning the lottery to realize your travel dreams?

With the power of Arbitrage and a little Passive Income to boot, Location Independence offers it right now.

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End of a Chapter

Nearly 18 months living on the island it’s coming to an end.

As one chapter finishes, another starts. I’ll be busy finishing up the editing of my new book published in August and then 2 weeks out before heading on to our new destination. What have I learned? Well, if you have a dream, follow it but don’t look to others for approval. It’s your story and your story alone to write.

fire your boss sell your car travel the world

fire your boss sell your car travel the world

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What is Location Independence?

The Location Independent Dream

The Location Independent Lifestyle

The Location Independent Lifestyle

The first time I went public with our Location Independent plans was over a beer with an old friends in a quiet bar one evening in London.

We both shared a history of starting and running our businesses but given the busy nature of our careers we had rarely seen each other the last 4 or 5 years.

“What are you going to do for work when you get to New Zealand?” he asked.

“I’ll do what I do now. We’ll leave Friday afternoon and be able to plug back into work Monday morning. My clients and my team, they won’t know any different. As far as they are concerned, I could still be in London.”

“That’s cool. If you have the opportunity, use it.” he replied then thought on the idea for a while before saying, “If that’s the case, then why stop at New Zealand? If you can find an internet connection, you could travel the world!”

Location Independence means living life on your terms, regardless of location, market or economy. You could be living cheap in Costa Rica but still running a business in Frankfurt. And the great thing is, nobody would know. They wouldn’t have to know. All those entrepreneurs back home in Frankfurt would be paying through the nose for their lifestyles and you would be on the beach, cruising the rain forests or just catching waves.

Location Independence is real

We have traveled the world and lived in various countries using the strategies for Location Independence laid out in my Location Independent Guide . We didn’t hop around like bucket listers trying to score points on social media but focused on actually staying and immersing ourselves in the countries. We lived, made friends with locals, put my son into local school, learned the language. Location Independence means you are not constantly heading to the next destination because your money or visa is running out. It means a life of quality. Stop and see the world before time runs out.

There are thousands of people out there living this life right now. They are all ages, all walks of live and all cultures. Their Location Independent lifestyle isn’t a product of their qualifications, their connections or their money, it’s a product of your bravery to get up and go.

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To Travel is to Live

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The 4 Cornerstones of a Location Independent Lifestyle

The 4 Cornerstones

Guide to Location Independence

Guide to Location Independence

1) Arbitrage
2) Passive Income
3) Infrastructure
4) Residence

Note: nowhere in my writings or in my Location Independent Guide do I state that any of the following factors are critical to Location Independence:

1) Language Skills
2) Savings
3) Experience

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is the ability to live in a cheap market but earn in an expensive one. You can live a millionaire lifestyle at a snip.

If you are location dependent, you are paying a premium for your lifestyle. You are paying double for your house, utilities and cost of living. You have to maintain an expensive car and travel to work. These costs all add up and are just an extra tax on your income.

Without these overheads you can not only save more money but live a better lifestyle. What if you could live in a luxury 4 bedroom villa by the sea with pool for the price you’re paying for a 1 bedroom apartment back home?

Now we’re talking. This is the power of arbitrage and I’ll explain how it works in my Guide to Location Independence.

Passive Income

Full Location Independence needs Passive Income. I mean the ability to make money while you sleep. If you have a well paid job, what happens when you stop working, take time out or want to travel? You lose the money. But Passive Income keeps on rolling.

In “Fire Your Boss Sell Your Car Travel the World” I’ll show you how to start building your base of Passive Income.

Using the internet there are many sources of Passive Income available today from online publishing to teaching. Use your existing skills to start building a small base of Passive Income right now and you also start your journey towards Location Independence.

Infrastructure

You will need access to the internet above everything else. Flights, shopping and entertainment are important but without the internet you are stuck.

Location Independence requires good internet connections but there are many places you could live.

In my book Fire Your Boss Sell Your Car Travel the World, I’ll show you where the best places for internet connectivity are, what to expect and how fast you really need it.

Residence

You can’t be Location Independent if the place you want to live won’t let you live there. You don’t want to be hopping around like a tourist, never connecting with the local culture. You might be able to live for a short term under tourist visa allowances, but the goal is to stay longer, enjoy the culture and immerse.

You need to know about visa and residency requirements beyond the standard tourist visa. Some countries are easier than others. Some are downright headaches. I’ll share with you what I know about the processes and pitfalls of living beyond the tourist visa in my Location Independent Guide.

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Are Bucket Lists Making Us Sick?

In our social media age of travel bucket lists, are we missing the point? Has travel become a point scoring exercise to impress others?

Flying out of Auckland to Fiji I sat next to a young lady traveler who told us about her journey around the Polynesian islands.

Coral Beach, Fiji

Coral Beach, Fiji

From Fiji she’ll make her way across the islands through Tonga to the Cook Islands and then on to the Marquesas. The latter being little known islands out on the eastern arm of the Pacific.

In all, she’ll make 12 stops in 20 days. She said she didn’t have enough time off work and would have to complete the other islands next year.

“Sounds like quite a hard schedule,” I said a little surprised.

“I want to do them all by the time I’m 35,” she said.

“Why?”

The young lady thought for a moment, having not really considered the answer to this question, then replied,

“Because it’s my bucket list”

In this world of social media, bucket lists are everywhere. There are websites and apps devoted to the subject. But just because it’s common does it make it the right thing to do?

Bucket lists are powerful ideas. We set ourselves a goal then go full tilt to complete that goal.

My life, I guess, was once a bucket-list.

“I’ll be a millionaire by 30!” I told myself (and others).

I didn’t happen.

“I’ll own my own company. I’ll be successful etc”

I had my own bucket list of things I’d do from skydiving here to climbing up there.

After some time, I found the appeal of the bucket list wear thin. I completed the items I set out to achieve and then thought “what next?” I realized that the list wasn’t lived for our own happiness but because of our fear of what others think of us.

Those who live for the approval of others will also die by their rejection.

Bucket lists compel us to live other people’s agendas. We build our lives in the image of what we think other people will think of us. We think other people will respect us more if we travel 30 countries by aged 30.

This social pressure forces us to value quantity over quality. What happens is we become obsessed by completing the list rather than enjoying the completion. We achieve the things we wanted to achieve but we deny our happiness in achieving them.

It is difficult to be so robust to the social pressures around us. We are social animals. In our social media age we surround ourselves with the lives of others. We are under constant pressure to impress.

Bucket Lists are a great idea. They motivate. They help us find the energy and enthusiasm but Bucket List culture is also making us, as a society, sick.

We have to be brave enough to take time out to value quality over quantity.

The young lady on the plane is like many of us – compelled to complete a bucket list for the sake of others.

She knows, deep down, she would have much more fun, have much more of a rewarding travel experience by visiting just one or two of those islands. She could stay for a while. Rather than rush madly around she could integrate and learn something about the culture by being part of it.

When you focus on quality not quantity each experience becomes special. You discover things that aren’t supposed to happen.

But then what could she share on Facebook? What would she blog about?

When it comes to travel, quality time is happy time. Don’t be afraid to take it slow, to do less. Don’t feel compelled to travel everywhere, see everything because it’s “on your list”. You will blaze through your destinations and think “so what was that all about?”

Rather, understand that less is more.

Take time out to allow the unexpected to happen. Magic happens in the gaps, especially in travel.

In life, like travel, there are no prizes for doing the most or finishing first. All that matters is you did it on your own terms.

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Location Independence: 8 Factors to Consider when Choosing where to Go

View of Sky Tree from Asakusa Dori, Tokyo

View of Sky Tree from Asakusa Dori, Tokyo

Download the Shareable PDF version of this article:

1) Arbitrage opportunities

Whenever we think about the next chapter in our adventure, the first question is always,

“How much arbitrage opportunity exists?”

If you set your work and business up in a way that you can source your income from different markets, you can leverage arbitrage. There are many places to live that are cheaper than what you’re used to. The challenge is changing where you live, not where you work.

If you were earning in San Francisco but living in Spain, you would be leverage arbitrage. You could be living a luxurious life on a small income.

A question to ask is,

“How much will $1,000 last here?”

$1,000 is less than a week in London or Oslo.
$1,000 is 2-3 weeks in Istanbul, Turkey and up to 2 months in Chennai, India.

Check out the Ultimate Travel Cheat Sheet for more information on cost of living

2) Accommodation

Quality and availability of accommodation is a major factor in your travel experience. In markets with little competition, landlords overcharge and under-service their properties.

In competitive AirBnB markets, you can get some real bargains.

Consider that in Singapore you’re paying $220 a night for a decent 2 bed AirBnB apartment. That won’t include much more than the 2 rooms. By comparison, next door in Kuala Lumpur you can find bigger apartments for $120 a night. If you want to go even further, you can find a luxurious paid in Hanoi for just $40 a night.

3) Internet Connectivity

Internet is your lifeline for long term travel, especially if you are working remotely or running a Location Independent Business.

The best connections aren’t where you think they will be.

Sure, Asia leads with Hong Kong offering an average 83MBps per connection. But It’s cities like Bucharest in Romania that stand out as unique. The average Romanian internet connection is 56MBps, higher than the American equivalent of 25MBps.

Some countries are slow. New Zealand for example offers an average of 20 MBps, South Africa 6MBps and the Philippines just 3!

4) Ease and Cost of Flights

Some parts of the world are just expensive to get to. Cost often has little to do with how far these places are away. Almost always, a lack of competition allows national carriers to charge extortionate fees.

South America and Africa are expensive to travel to with a limited number of routes available.

By contrast, cheap travel hubs should feature in your travel plans because they give you easy access to other cities in your itinerary.

There are many cheap flight hubs in Europe and Asia. Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, London, Istanbul, Oslo and Amsterdam all offer a wide range of cheap flight options.

Using cheap travel hubs allows you to build cheap Round the World tickets. Don’t go buy a group RTW ticket (e.g. One World etc) or those packaged by travel agents. With the right tools you can tailor-make one yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Mainstream planners offer tickets in the region of $4-6,000. I have built my own RTW itineraries for less than $2,000.

5) Visas

We often overlook the importance of visa planning. When most people only know short vacations, visas aren’t an issue.

But long term travel requires careful planning.

If you plan to stay anywhere long term you will have to be mindful of the visa rules.

Visa rules are never uniform. Opportunities exist. Working Holiday visas are an excellent opportunity for younger travelers. University students aged under 25 can spend 6 months in Singapore. Under 30s 12 month in Australia. Canadians under 35 can stay in Costa Rica for a year. And various country citizens under 35 can stay in France for a year.

These are just a handful of examples. There are many types of visas available – from Working Holiday to Work Permits to Entrepreneur Visas.

6) Weather

Weather is an important factor in determining lifestyle options. If it’s cold and damp in your destination you’d better enjoy sitting indoors reading a book. But, I guess like most people you seek the good life – warmth and sunshine.

Most weather information available online provides daily hi/lo temperatures. But simple hi/lo can be quite deceptive.

One of the most important indicators of climate pleasantness is sunshine hours.

LA for example gets 3,200 sunshine hours a year. Cape Town 3,000. Madrid 2,800. Year round sunshine. At the other end of the scale Stockholm gets 1,500 and London 1,400.

There are many factors beyond hi/lo that shape the weather. The number of rainy days (rather than the amount of rain). Wind and wind chill. Daily and seasonal variation of weather.

7) Food and Culture

Food and Culture should be the reason why we travel. We live to eat, not vice-versa. By eating locally you can literally taste the culture.

Eating out varies in price by city.

Oslo is one of the most expensive cities to eat out in. Expect to pay $30 a head for a standard, “inexpensive” lunch. New York you’re paying $15. Hong Kong, although expensive to rent in costs $10. If you want real bargains go to Bangkok ($4) and Goa ($2)!

8) Health and Safety

Health and Safety isn’t a reason why you should go somewhere but it’s a reason enough to put you off, especially if you stay long term.

You may be able to get away with risky locations for a few days, weeks even. But, for longer stays you are exposing yourself to risks you may not be familiar with.

There are two diseases to pay particular attention to in your travels – Malaria and Dengue Fever.

Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are two good examples. While sophisticated modern cities, they are hot spots for Dengue Fever, a disease which has no known cure. Both have their own government prevention programs. I have highlighted them because it indicates how clean, developed may lull you into a false sense of security.

Similarly, it’s worth knowing where the Malaria hotspots are. Preventative medicine has a limited effect and this disease is one of the biggest killers n the world

These diseases impact travelers too. Unlike tourists they tend to take more risks, become blase and forget about the risks. Big mistake.

This isn’t a vacation. Stay informed. Know the risks.

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The Ultimate Location Independent Cheat Sheet: How many days can I live in [INSERT COUNTRY] for $1,000?

Download the PDF here

How long can I stay for $1,000?

I’ve traveled the world a fair bit, lived a few places and done plenty of research. One of the questions people ask me about my travels is how much does the Location Independent Lifestyle cost? Well, it depends on where you’re going. But here’s a brief overview of how far 2 people can get on a $1,000 US in the following countries. Prices are for accommodation and daily living expenses.

Less than a week

* Geneva
* London
* Oslo
* Zurich

7-10 days

* Abu Dhabi
* Amsterdam
* Brisbane
* Brussels
* Cairns
* Christchurch NZ
* Copenhagen
* Darwin
* Dubai
* Dublin
* Edinburgh
* Florence
* Frankfurt
* Helsinki
* Honolulu
* Hong Kong
* Kobe
* Los Angeles
* Lyon
* Manchester
* Melbourne
* Miami
* Milan
* Moscow
* Munich
* New York
* Paris
* Perth
* Queenstown NZ
* Reykjavik
* Rome
* San Diego
* San Francisco
* Singapore
* Stockholm
* Sydney
* Tauranga
* Tel Aviv
* Tokyo
* Venice

10 days – 2 weeks

* Athens
* Auckland
* Barcelona
* Belfast
* Caracas
* Chicago
* Havana
* Kuwait
* Las Vegas
* Limassol
* Madrid
* Montreal
* Naha
* Osaka
* Panama City
* Portland
* Rio de Janeiro
* Seattle
* Seville
* Seoul
* Shanghai
* Toronto
* Vancouver
* Vienna

2-3 weeks

* Arrecife
* Beijing
* Belgrade
* Belize
* Bogota
* Buenos Aires
* Cape Town
* Funchal
* Istanbul
* Johannesburg
* Koh Samui
* Las Palmas
* Lisbon
* Ljubljana
* Malaga
* Montevideo
* Phuket
* Prague
* Riga
* San Jose CR
* San Juan PR
* Santiago, Chile
* Sao Paulo
* Taipei
* Warsaw
* Windhoek
* Zagreb

3-5 weeks

* Ankara
* Bali
* Bandung
* Bangalore
* Bangkok
* Bucharest
* Budapest
* Cancun
* Cebu
* Colombo
* Dhaka
* Goa
* Guangzhou
* Guatemala City
* Hanoi
* Ho Chi Minh
* Jakarta
* Kuala Lumpur
* La Paz
* Lima
* Manila
* Mumbai
* Nadi
* New Delhi
* Penang
* Phnom Penh
* San Salvador
* Sofia
* Vientiane
* Vilnius
* Yangon

By: neiljs

6-8 weeks

* Chennai
* Kathmandu
* Kolkata
* Yogyakarta
* Thiruvananthapuram

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Why Decluttering is the best thing since sliced bread

one of the few items of stuff I own - a bike helmet and a bike (which I need to sell)

one of the few items of stuff I own – a bike helmet and a bike (which I need to sell)

As a middle aged male, I hold up hand. Guilty as charged. I used to buy a lot of stuff.

Mainly gadgets. Stuff made out of carbon. Stuff I found on Ebay.

We accumulate a lot of stuff in our lives. More than we realize.

When we sold everything and traveled the world to live our Location Independent Lifestyle, we spent a whole summer decluttering our house. The boxes of stuff we found were endless. A whole Pandora’s box of toys, clothes, shoes, books and so on. Most of it gathering dust.

Now, as we prepare to leave our island onto our next adventure, I’m faced with the challenge of packing my whole life into two cases.

Why don’t we live minimally?

It’s hard work.

We accumulate “just in case”.

We become attached.

Stuff is our lazy way of finding happiness. It never works. What you own ends up owning you.

Accumulating stuff is like a hunger, an ingrained reflex that gets the better of us. You know what’s good for you, but somehow you aren’t able to throw that stuff out.

I think there is a sense of being afraid of letting go. It’s like riding your bike for the first time. When your Dad takes the support wheels off, there is that few seconds you feel like you are flying, giddily heading towards a crash. But it doesn’t happen. You keep pedaling. You are moving. You are in control.

Throwing out stuff is the same. It requires a leap of faith. You have to commit. We don’t like that moment when we aren’t in control, giddy and flying.

But if you are to travel far, you need to travel light.

You’ll be surprised how little stuff you really need to be happy. Funny how the least stressful travel experiences are the ones you had the least luggage. You didn’t have to line up to check in your hold luggage. You didn’t have to wait at the carousel, hoping your bag would appear. You had less to worry about, less to pay for, less to lose.

Decluttering helps us remember what’s important.

Think of it like a detox for the mind.

Sure, you’re a little wobbly at first, but after that, it’s like being back on your bike; that feeling of exhilaration.

Freedom.

When you travel you are forced to make choices. You think twice about buying and owning things. In our world of stuff, more stuff is just an Amazon or Ebay click away. We don’t need to think about the consequences of our behavior. And we get lazy.

For centuries, fasting has been employed by holy men and lay people alike as a way of strengthening the immune system and the mind. Anyone who’s fasted will remember that sense of clarity and often high levels of energy that comes from giving your body a break.

Decluttering is like a powerful mental fast too. You can free up the space to grow. Breathe out. Freedom.

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Why Island Living will Change Your Life

Looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, off the south of Lanzarote island

Looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, off the south of Lanzarote island

In our travels, We’ve visited a few islands.

I love islands. Don’t know exactly why but there is some island thing going on in my soul.

We’ve lived here on this island off the West cost of Africa for 18 months now. It’s been an adventure. At times challenging and frustrating but always rewarding.

The rhythm of island life is a different pace of life. Life slows down from the lonely sprint of the mainland to a more convivial saunter. In the mornings, life is unhurried. People go out walking along the promenade next to the sea before the afternoon heat picks up.

I guess the reason why islands are attractive because you have no choice. Surrounded by the sea, there is nowhere else to go. There is no place extra you can build, just miles and miles of ocean.

In some cases, islands are the wild west. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an island Pollyanna. Islands can be madly frustrating. I feel the Canary islands are the poorer cousins of mainland Spain. Sometimes, with poor internet connection, we live in the lazy recesses of Spanish consciousness. Manana, manana. Life ticks over here, sometimes forgotten.

Inconvenience too can be a benefit.

Since moving here I have been unable to order anything on Amazon. We tried once but our package never arrived, so that was the end of that experiment. I wonder if that’s a bad thing after all. In ways, it’s changed us for the better. I mean, we were always ordering stuff on Amazon. Want something new? Order it on Amazon. Need new socks? Amazon. Thought of something? Amazon.

Now, however, we don’t have such luxuries and that’s changed us for the better. We stopped consuming like we used to. Now, lack of availability means you have to think twice about buying. Anything that’s beyond your day-to-day shop could need a 1 hour car drive. Consuming doesn’t become the default reaction to daily living. You start asking “do I need this?”

When you’re not consumed by consumption, you create time and space to focus on what’s important: a long, lazy lunch with friends; a weekend by the sea; a siesta in the heat of the afternoon.

Sometimes we need to change our environment to check our priorities. We can get caught up in the way of the mainland and the city and think this is the only option in life.

Who knows, perhaps if I am to return to the hustle of city living, I’ll snap back but I’ll always carry that feeling with me. As mad commuters and office workers hurry to their airless offices, perhaps I’ll sit for a while in the morning sun outside the coffee shop and watch the world go by. Perhaps I’ll go for a walk just for the sheer hell of it, with no destination in mind, see where it takes me. Maybe I won’t keep looking at my watch as I sit in a cafe with a friend one afternoon, wondering when I need to get back to the office.

This is the essence of island life and it’s changed me for the better.

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