Enjoy a Portable Career or Laptop Lifestyle



My grandfather worked for the same company for nearly 50 years, and lived in the same city for all of his adult life. Now, 15 years into the 21st century, he wouldn’t recognize my ideas of  “work,” “travel,” and “home.”

The old life plan to find a good job, get married, raise a family and retire — all in one community — hardly exists any more. Instead, we see older people retiring abroad, and younger people finding ways to travel and live overseas in ever-increasing numbers.

How can they afford it? Are they all independently wealthy?

Not by a long shot.

It takes some creativity, but almost anyone today can create a portable career or laptop lifestyle.

Some careers are inherently mobile. If you’re a writer or photographer, for example, you can work anywhere.

If you’re a native English speaker, then teaching English as a second language lets you indulge your wanderlust.

You might be surprised, though, at the wide variety of fields where it’s easy to set up virtual shop and work remotely, via the internet — many of them as full-time jobs with regular salaries and benefits.

Here’s a small sampling:

  1. Writing (includes copywriting, content marketing, marketing, advertising, technical writing, journalism and creative writing)
  2. Photography
  3. Design
  4. Programming
  5. Customer service
  6. Videography
  7. Video editing
  8. Music
  9. Teaching
  10. Life or career coaching
  11. Solopreneur
  12. Blogging
  13. Travel writing / travel blogging
  14. Social media marketing
  15. Sales and sales management
  16. Recruiting / Human Resources
  17. Database management
  18. Medicine
  19. And more… much more…

For more in-depth information about portable careers, download my e-book, Untether Yourself: 5 Portable Careers to Support You Overseas.

Now, if you’re a doctor or nurse, you can’t pack up, move to a different country, and expect to practice. Not without jumping through a lot of hoops, anyway. Depending on your area of expertise, though, there’s remote work available. For example, I’ve seen ads for doctors to review diagnostic images.

Here are a few examples of people I know who’ve found ways to support their travels.

Marty is from upstate New York. He lives full-time in a small town in Panama, doing video editing for a US-based company.

Wendy and David retired early from nursing careers in Tennessee. They live in Vietnam and travel throughout Asia. Wendy writes about the places they see, and David does the photography.

Emily and Mark travel full time. Until last spring, they divided their time between traveling the US with a fifth-wheel RV, and sailing around Mexico and the Caribbean. Now they’ve sold the boat, but they’re covering more of the US. Like Wendy and David, she writes, he takes pictures.

Vinny moved to Canada from Brazil in 2009. He works full time as a computer programmer and develops WordPress plugins.

Jane retired recently, but she taught English in Indonesia and China before relocating to Panama for retirement.

Lucy’s a copywriter. She’s British, but she’s lived all over Central America and Europe.

Paul and Vicki call themselves “perpetual travelers.” Neither has held a job for over 30 years, and they’ve lived in Argentina, Asia, and Europe. Paul’s background is in finance, and they both write.

Within SiteSell, I’ve spoken with employees from Romania, Poland, Spain, Germany, India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, England, Anguilla, and the US. Amy, Director of the company’s Advisor Team, has no fixed address. She travels wherever the mood takes her in a small RV.

I’ve lived overseas (and plan to again), and supported myself as a content writer, and by teaching non-technical people to use WordPress.

But what if you’re an engineer, electrician, or plumber? What if your profession is not easily portable but you’d still like to experience the freedom to live in another country, or travel more than a one- or two-week vacation allows?

It may take some creativity and careful planning, but you can find ways to generate an income online that will support you as you enjoy your overseas adventure.

Fortunately, you can make a good living, or supplement your retirement income, without having to deal with physical products, packing, shipping, and the like.

What you do will depend on your background, skills, and interests, but the variety of possibilities is endless. Here are two of the most common types of online business.

Teach What you Know

If you’re a plumber, woodworker, or other skilled tradesperson, shoot video of basic tasks and put them online. “How to” videos are hugely popular, and demand keeps on growing.

If you enjoy handicrafts like knitting, crochet, embroidery or quilting, teach others how to do them.

Are you a musician? Do you play the guitar, clarinet, piano or harmonica? Teach online. It’s easy to do with Skype or Google Hangouts.

You don’t have to be an “expert,” you just need to know more than the people you’re teaching!

Explore Your Passion

Today we’re seeing people making money online with subjects they’re passionate about. They create content, then earn from a variety of active and passive monetization sources like selling ad space, affiliate links, e-books, providing services, coaching, or consulting.

“Passion” websites include topics like raising rabbits, overcoming fibromyalgia, clean drinking water, quilting, coffee, tea… In other words, almost anything.

If this interests you, SiteSell has the tools you need to guide you every step of the way.

Susanna Perkins
Susanna Perkins is a writer who loves WordPress and travel. After several years in the beautiful Republic of Panama, she's back in the US (for now). She teaches non-technical people how to use WordPress, and writes about WordPress, expats and portable careers. Recently she's been working with a small team to create something insanely useful for WordPress users.