When I was fifteen heading for sixteen I got my first job washing dishes and serving pizza which means, about this time next year, I’ll have been clocking in for half my life. Some of my jobs have been worse than others, many have paid very poorly, some have been dangerous but they all have one thing in common– they’ve been completely unsatisfying and went nowhere. This track record breeds resentment and contempt for myself and everything around me, but also a strange sense of hope.

There are people who escape the drudgery of a 9-5, 3-12, 7-10 whatever life. There are people who are in control of their destiny and live off their wits and abilities, pursuing their passions with no apologies to anyone. These brilliant and strong mentors earn, if not my full respect, at least my undying fascination. My latest observation is Paul Carr:

In Tim Ferris’s book, The Four Hour Work Week, he discusses a concept called “Geographic Arbitrage”, or Geo-arbitrage. In a nutshell, the concept explains how you can achieve a significant real-terms increase in your earnings by being paid in one currency, say US dollars, but spending that money on goods and services from a much cheaper foreign country. The concept has become more and more realistic in recent years as advances in technology mean it’s possible to work from anywhere in the world with a laptop, a mobile and a broadband connection.

Sure, it wouldn’t work for everyone – if you work in a shop or have to manage people in an office then you’ll struggle to do that from a South American beach. But if your work primarily involves computers, telephones or “creativity” – if you’re, say, a writer – then it’s ideal.

But what if you took the idea further? If rather than renting or buying a house somewhere cheap, you didn’t have a house at all? What sort of possibilities would that level of mobility allow? What if you really, really embraced technology – living in hotels and short term rental apartments and making your travel plans at the very, very last minute using hotel and flight comparison sites and online currency data. Using services like Dopplr and Twitter to find out where your friends would be each month to help you decide where to go next; using Skype to stay constantly in touch and Boingo to ensure that you had access to wireless almost – almost – everywhere you went. What, in other words, if you lived as a technomad?

There was only one way to find out. Less than a month later, I had sold almost everything I owned – my furniture, most of my clothes, my DVD collection, the guitar I’d never learned to play – everything, basically, that wouldn’t fit into a small suitcase on wheels. And I’d used the money to buy a plane ticket to New York to begin a ridiculous experiment. To see if it was possible to enjoy a ridiculously high standard of living on the road, at absolutely no extra cost, simply by embracing spontaneity and putting my faith in the power of technology. What I couldn’t possibly have predicted at the time is that it’s not only possible, but massively preferable. The adventures I had since February – more on them soon – are such that I literally do not understand why people who are able to work remotely, and who don’t have a spouse or children to worry about, don’t buy themselves a suitcase and hit the road.

Of course Carr, who writes a technology column for the Manchester Guardian, commits mortal sins. Galavanting across the globe on a whim isn’t responsible behavior in these ecologically fragile times, the concept of Twitter annoys me more than cellphones and people with no pressing obligations have a tendency to be flaky, but the fucking gall is amazing to me. Being able to embrace life as it comes, being open to new people and experiences, willing to try everything and waking up every morning without much of a clue where you’ll fall asleep are all qualities I wish I could count as my own.

It doesn’t hurt that he has a slick but intelligent writing style, rye sense of humour and loves to talk shit about everything and everyone. The new media whore lifestyle he espouses will never be my own but, like watching bad horror movies and listening to shitty hardcore bands, it’s a special kind of enriching entertainment.

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