7 Unconventional Ways to Become a Location Rebel

One of my favorite photos from Ken Kaminesky, who makes a living from his travel photography.

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear when it comes to the idea of becoming a Location Rebel and working from anywhere is that you have to have a big blog, with a big audience in order to do it.

This could not be farther from the truth, and the reality is, the vast majority of the people in the world who are successful at working from anywhere actually don’t have big audiences.

Every single day I get emails from people who want to live an unconventional lifestyle, but aren’t exactly sure how to do it it.

“Should I do something that I’m passionate about, or should I just find something to pay the bills?  Should I learn a bunch of new skills, or should I leverage what I’m already good at?”

The fact is, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.  In Location Rebel I’ve outlined a strategy that has worked for me and others, but the reality is there are a limitless number of ways you can build a business.  To illustrate this, I wanted to point out a few people who have done an excellent job creating lifestyles that allows them to travel and work from cool places, but are doing it in ways you may not expect.

Notice the obvious ommissions here of professional blogger, affiliate marketing etc.  I wanted to look at people who had done this in their own unique way to get you thinking outside the box of how you can reach your travel goals.

Fitness Expert: Clay Rodgers.  Clay’s body resembles something closer to a Michelangelo sculpture than an actual human body.  He’s taken his love for health and fitness and created a system that others can replicate to achieve what he calls the “Hollywood Physique“.  I’ve mentioned that I’m considering doing his program, but I think I might hold off until after this upcoming trip to Mexico – which Clay will actually be joining me on.

Cost of Living Surveyor: Alan Perlman. In all fairness, Alan is no longer working as a Cost of Living Surveyor, but I had to include it because it’s such an interesting way to see the world.  Alan used to travel around for 6 weeks at a time to sweet destinations like Albania, Nigeria and Thailand to check out the costs of everything from beer to diapers.  He got to see places that most of us would never consider going, as well as some major travel hotspots as well.  This proves that you don’t necessarily have to work for yourself in order to make your dreams of location indpendence come true.

Stock Trader: Cameron Fous. Cameron and I went to high school together, and while I haven’t talked to him in awhile, I’ve been following along with his stock trading website with great interest over the last few years.  Not only does he have a ridiculous gift for choosing small cap stocks, but he’s turned that gift into a business where for a monthly fee you get access to his trades. I’ve joked on occassion that he’s the only person from my high school that’s had more success online than me – but if you check out how much he’s made with trades alone, you’ll understand just how much of an understatement that is.

Self-Published Author: John Locke. We live in a new world now – a world where technology has given a voice to anyone who wants one.  There are a few people who are leveraging this on a very grand scale.  People like John Locke or Amanda Hocking have sold over a million Kindle ebooks since they started publishing their own books.  Ever wanted to be an author? What are you waiting for?  Now I don’t know what kind of lifestyles either of them live, but based on the money they’re making off of these books (even if it’s as little as $.35 each) I’ve gotta imagine they can do it from just about anywhere they want.

TV Producer: Brandon LiI’ve known Brandon for a little over a year now, and he’s not only a very cool guy, but he’s also very good at what he does. Brandon is a producer for the MTV show True Life.  He travels around filming stories about sugar baby’s and narcoleptics, but he also has a lot of time to work on various other projects that allow him to do things like take “air-cruises” or trips to Thailand.  Brandon and I have spent time together in just about every corner of the US over the last year, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to take our travels international here in 2012.  Andrew Todd is also an excellent example of someone who is using film and video to live an unconventional lifestyle – more on him soon.

Freelance Photographer: Ken Kaminesky.  Ken is probably without a doubt one of my favorite photographers out there. Whenever I look at his photos I’m always amazed at the quality of his work – and he also does some HDR photography which as you might know, I’m all about.  He travels the world doing various types of photographic work, but the main point here is he gets to do two things that he loves on a regular basis: take photos and see the world.  While it’s really difficult to make a living as a professional photographer, there are numerous ways find a niche within the industry and make something happen.

Web Developer: Evan Lovely. Evan initially found me on Twitter and is one of my favorite examples of this lifestyle over the past year.  Evan is a front end web developer for a firm here in Portland.  He works with a group of about 8 people, and as long as he gets is work done, they really don’t care where he is.  So he took off to Bali.  Then Thailand. Then Europe. Oh, and now he’s in Argentina with his boss and half of his office.  There were at least a couple times where we would literally be on the beach and he’d have his computer out working away on a deadline.  It’s amazing what’s possible in a “real job” if you just work to think outside the box.

As you can tell, there’s really no shortage of ways to live an unconventional lifestyle.  Be willing to think outside the box when deciding what you want to do with your life, and if someone tells you that you can’t do it, well then that’s all the more reason to prove them wrong.

Another post worth reading is this one about 5 Awesome People with Unconventional Lifestyles.

Denny January 16, 2012 at 10:26 am

This is so encouraging. I’ve got to find my way onto this list.

Jeremy Brown January 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Any examples of musicians???

Sean January 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm

@markpowers is the man when it comes to that!

Dan January 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

If you want to be a grey hat location rebel, I’ve met a lot of folks on unemployment!!! 🙂 Could be used for runway to build up other sources of income!

Turner January 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

A good list no doubt. Learning how to leverage tech. so that you can turn a job into location independence is probably more tenable solution than starting from scratch…at least at first. Sean how long were you blogging before you started SEOing it and getting more heavy feedback? I know and liked your post on dont even think about SEO or anything until you have at least 6 months of content.

Cervezas y Paz from Mexico,


Tristan January 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Great to see some more examples to identify with, and from a wide range of skill sets!

Mike Cook January 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm


Way to list some alternatives to the usual blogging, affiliate marketing, etc. You’re right in that SO many things can be done remotely nowadays.

But as you’ve stated before, your #1 piece of advice to moving to location independence is to start a blog, and the #1 skill set you see in location independent folks is writing. But obviously, a blog can be used for many things, and writing can be used in anything you do.

Cheers on pulling a nice list together!


Mark Mayhew January 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

the “cost of living surveyor” doesn’t do that any longer? is it safe to assume that he went out of business (he actually travelled to the places, instead of using the much more cost-effective internet? o_0

Sean January 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Haha nah you assumed wrong. He did it for a company that actually really wanted him to stay on board. He got burnt out on doing so much travel. I’d imagine it’s quite a bit more stressful traveling to a place like Nigeria on a somewhat frequent basis than it is to go to say, Bali.

Also I’d think the internet is a pretty bad way to find out the true cost of things like toilet paper in Nigeria…ha

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

Ken truly is a genius with the camera! And the nicest guy as well.

Deacon Bradley January 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Cool list Sean! I appreciate the reminder to think more creatively when plotting my course to location independence. I’m building a coaching business and making sure I establish it in a wa that I can do it all online. Step-2: hit the slopes! hah

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