The concept of being ‘location independent’ may be a recently coined term, but it describes something that people have been doing for millennia – spending most, if not all of their time, travelling.
The main obstacles to living this kind of life, unless you happen to be a travelling salesperson, a sailor or else independently wealthy, is how to earn a living while you travel.
All the recent interest in location independence stems from the fact that, with the internet and portable digital devices, you can now do all sorts of work and sustain all sorts of careers without being chained to one place – hence the idea of becoming a Digital Nomad.
There is, however, another way you can cast off the shackles and live life on the move – retirement. Not having to worry about work at all, as long as you have enough put away in pensions and savings to fund your nomadic lifestyle, retirement is arguably the ideal time in life to take travel seriously and commit to it long-term.
Which is certainly food for thought if there is ever any suggestion that a person in their 60s or 70s might be ‘too old’ to leave the ties of heart and hearth behind.
But what about my health?
One factor that does have to be taken into consideration as years advance is health. Even if the mind is willing to upsticks and become a ‘silver nomad’, with time gradually taking its toll, there may be physical reasons why it becomes problematic. That said, many people do travel long term with all sorts of medical conditions. But it does take that extra bit of planning and preparation, and the certainty that the condition is well managed.
There are two reasons why becoming a full-time traveller in later life when you have a long-term medical condition might be tricky. One is the need for regular check-ups, including getting any prescription medicines you need signed for. For this, you need a regular doctor, and that is not something you get when you are globetrotting 365. Short of making regular trips home, there are not too many ways around this, although the wonders of digital communication and the emerging field of ‘telemedicine’ may change this quickly.
The other reason is travel insurance. Travel insurance for anyone with pre-existing medical conditions is absolutely essential, as without it you are liable to pay for consultations, prescriptions and any treatment needed. For foreign nationals in many countries, that can become extremely expensive, even for basic levels of care.
If you have a medical condition, you need a specialist policy which will cover you for any healthcare you might need. But you also need to think about the length of each trip you make. While annual travel insurance allows you to make as many trips as you like within 12 months, there are limits on the total length of a single trip, and restrictions on the total number of days you can be away for each year.
Specialist providers will offer bespoke open-ended policies suited to your needs, but with a pre-existing medical condition to factor in these become difficult to find and expensive. Perhaps, then, the answer is that there is no upper age limit on living a location independent lifestyle. But when your body starts giving the tell-tale signs, perhaps it is best to stick to part-time travelling.