Can you imagine a life in a cell for years, only to learn that the cell door wasn’t even locked? This happened to me and I feel embarrassed that I didn’t even try to think outside of my fictional prison.
During the last 9 years of perfect remote working capability at Skype I only moved twice. First, from a tiny island in Estonia to Silicon Valley, and then about four miles south from my old place in Palo Alto to Mountain View. The first move increased my compensation, while the second move saved me close to ten thousand dollars annually in rental costs. Both might sound like smart moves, but were they?
Last week I did some math on what it would cost me to stay at random Airbnb places close to beautiful nature and paragliding sites around US, since these are the kind of things I care about on the weekends. Turns out roaming around on Airbnb is substantially cheaper than what I pay in Mountain View right now.
Since I can work remotely I could have spent the last couple of years being a true digital nomad, moving from place to place every month, discovering new locations and exploring the world while at the same time continuing my work as it was. I could have saved serious amounts of money too.
This is a harsh realization. With no family of my own yet, having that sort of freedom and not using it almost hurts. Instead of supporting the economy of small places I was doing my part in keeping the prices in Bay Area high and squandering my freedom through conforming.
So far I have lived in six countries and tend to think that moving from place to place has been one of the most enriching parts of my life. It is likely that the decisions to move have had more impact on my life than any other. Learning new languages and perspectives has put me ahead in the job market. In a sense those experiences of moving define me. The realization that I have missed out on so many more moves is heavy on my shoulders and the pain brings me here.
I’m here to remind you that in the future most of our jobs will be information processing and thus free of location constraints.
I’m here to ask you to rationalize on why you live where you live and what are the consequences of those often socially driven emotional choices.
I’m here to apologize for those who could not afford a place in Palo Alto or Mountain View because of me.
And finally, I’m here to build Teleport, so that the Minecraft generation would know their freedom to move, so that they could understand the impact of their choices and so that they would not need to apologize.
Co-Founder @ Teleport