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<title>Is there such a thing as too much freedom? </title>
<p>
<strong>I've always used freedom as the compass to guide my decisions</strong>.
</p><p>
We moved a lot when I was a kid. Lived in 5 states and countries by the time I was 5.
</p><p>
I left home at 17 and went off to college as far away as I could.
</p><p>
I joined a circus for 10 years. <em>(Yes really).</em> Then I quit my last job in 1992, vowing to make a living making music and <strong>never have a job again</strong>.
</p><p>
In 2002, only 4 years into my company's 10-year history, I delegated all of my responsibilities, making myself unnecessary to the operations of my company, so that I was <strong>free to go live anywhere and do anything</strong>. <em>(Though I still chose to work on my company, I would work on future stuff not day-to-day stuff.)</em>
</p><p>
My email was filtered by the customer service staff. Hardly any needed my personal reply, so I was <strong>free to go days without checking email</strong>.
</p><p>
I gave nobody my phone number, and said no to all meeting requests, so I was <strong>free to work on my own schedule</strong> with no appointments to interrupt.
</p><p>
I gave away most of my possessions (including my entire recording studio!) to my employees. So all I had left were some clothes, books, and my laptop. <strong>Free to travel lightly</strong>.
</p><p>
I eliminated all physical mail, setting my necessary bills to electronic payments, and had tax forms go to my accountant. I was <strong>free to move</strong> without notice.
</p><p>
I moved to London for a year, just because I could. I hardly told anyone I was gone. Most people thought I was still in Portland.
</p><p>
Then I went to San Francisco for a few months, <a href="http://sivers.org/how-was-india">India</a> for a month, and <a href="http://sivers.org/iceland">Iceland</a> for a month.
</p><p>
Friends back home would say, “So what did you do in Iceland?”
</p><p>
I'd say, “Same thing as you. Same thing I'd be doing anywhere else. Just programming, working, writing, reading, flirting, living.”
</p><p>
<strong>Living the laptop life</strong>. Location agnostic. Switching countries was like switching rooms in your house. Why not go sit in the den for a while? Why not do some writing in the kitchen for a change? How about the back yard?
</p><p>
How about Berlin for a while? Brazil? Buenos Aires? Beijing? It's a big world. Why not do my work in each of these places?
</p><p>
<strong>I <em>could</em> be anywhere, but didn't <em>have</em> to be anywhere.</strong>
</p><p>
But even though I had freedom of location, I still had some responsibilities to my company. CEO/owner type stuff. And I was still the main programmer, so in all of these places, I'd still be working mostly on the backend programming, improving the site and service.
</p><p>
<strong>My company grew 1000% while I was gone</strong>, from 2002 to 2008. (And I came back to Portland for a year from 2006-2007.) But once I left for good in 2008, I really had no more responsibilities at all, and might never again.
</p><p>
<strong>I <em>could</em> do anything, but didn't <em>have</em> to do anything.</strong>
</p><p>
This is where it started to get a little overwhelming.
</p><p>
I had done it! I'd reached the final destination of my life-long pursuit of freedom!
</p><p>
And yes, it's awesome. So.... Wow. Now what?
</p><p>
<strong>Where do you go</strong>, when you <strong>can</strong> be anywhere, and don't <strong>have</strong> to be anywhere?
</p><p>
<strong>What do you do</strong>, when you <strong>can</strong> do anything, and don't <strong>have</strong> to do anything?
</p><p>
(( <em>Stop and ponder that for even a few seconds. What if you had no ties? Nothing holding you to any one place. What if you had unlimited plane tickets? What if you never had to work again?</em> ))
</p><p>
<strong>Is there such a thing as too much freedom?</strong>
</p><hr /><p>
This story isn't coming to some conclusion where I answer the question. I'm still living the question.
</p><p>
I'm starting <a href="http://sivers.org/">some new companies</a>, but they'll have no employees, no office, and are designed to run without me from the start.
</p><p>
I'm in New York City right now. But I'm learning Mandarin (<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071547363?tag=cdbaby">spoken</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/080483816X?tag=cdbaby">written</a>) and will move to China some day soon. Until it feels like home, then I'll move on to Brazil or anywhere else.
</p><p>
Some predict I'll stop moving when I fall in love with the right person, but I think the right person would also want to live around the world too.
</p><p>
I'm definitely happy and complete, so there's no sense of longing or lacking. Just a constant pursuit of learning and experiencing all I can before I die.
</p><p>
But those same two questions keep coming up:
</p><p>
<strong>Where do you go</strong>, when you <strong>can</strong> be anywhere, and don't <strong>have</strong> to be anywhere?
</p><p>
<strong>What do you do</strong>, when you <strong>can</strong> do anything, and don't <strong>have</strong> to do anything?
</p>
<img src="http://sivers.org/images/flyingcat.jpg" width="500" height="376" alt="flying cat" />
<p>
<em>(If the question interests you, I highly recommend reading “<a href="http://sivers.org/book/ParadoxOfChoice">The Paradox of Choice</a>”.)</em>
</p>
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