A Tale of Location Independence: Why Live This Life?

Grand Canyon North Rim
Grand Canyon North Rim

People often wonder what the great benefit is that I reap from location independence, or why on Earth I’d give everything up, home included, to live life as a digital nomad. Most days, as I’ve explained, look fairly similar, with many hours of work under my belt, and perhaps the chance to explore something local and awesome in the late afternoon. Typically, this means heading to Key Biscayne in Miami to watch the sunset or taking a hike in the Santa Fe hills. But some days? Some days are pretty damn spectacular.

In our final stretch in Utah, we debated hitting the Grand Canyon’s North Rim for a day trip; it’s located just 3 hours from our sublet. Now, 3 years ago on our RTW travels we had hit the crowded South Rim, and it was a doozy — just gorgeous. Still, lots of travelers we’ve met had told us the North Rim was far more isolated, and by some accounts even more breathtaking.

We hemmed. We hawed. We ultimately decided to axe the North Rim trip in lieu of working because, well, we are stupid sometimes.

On our second-to-last day in St. George, I was toiling away online, and began craving an iced tea from Starbucks. We decided to take a quick break, bought the tea, then hit a nearby bakery where the ridiculously kind and friendly woman working began asking if we had made it to the North Rim. “Oh, you MUST go!” she admonished, plying us with macaroons and cupcakes. “It’s the prettiest! And there’s a donkey statue whose nose you pet for good luck!”

Eh, it was a sign. Of all the bakeries and all the bakery workers we found the one who talked obsessively about the North Rim. We exited the bakery, looked at each other, and just knew: we had to go to the Rim. Immediately — as in right that minute.

Because we could.

Grand Canyon North Rim
Grand Canyon North Rim

You see, when you’re location independent and spending 3 weeks mere hours from one of North America’s most mind-blowing natural wonders, and you decide at the last minute — at 3:30pm on a Wednesday to be exact — that you’d like to catch the sunset over the freaking GRAND CANYON that very afternoon, well, you can just … go.

The worst consequence? I was tired in the morning because we didn’t get home until 11pm and I wake up with the birds.

And so I drove through national forests and park land, shaking my head in wonder, repeatedly, at my world. A world where a half-hour iced tea break can turn into an 8-hour trip to watch the sun slip below the grandest of canyons. Shaking my head because, yes, it’s all possible.

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