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You dream of location independence – but where does your partner fit in?

Vahine Island Paradise

Island Paradise


You want to work more flexibly- but where does your partner fit in?

A stumbling block for many people who want to experience a more ‘location independent’ lifestyle is their partner. Travelling overseas for extended periods can definitely work better when you take your loved one with you- (unless you were hoping to leave them behind!)

So how can you make this work?

You might not have the answers now but that won’t always be the case

If you want to work with your partner but are unsure how, don’t worry. You don’t have to have a fully mapped out plan. Just have an idea what it is you want eventually and every decision you make will take you a little closer to it. It’s like knowing you want to lose weight or get fit; every choice will have a consequence in relation to that goal (e.g. fries or salad? Stairs or escalator?)

When Chris and I first got married we talked about how great it would be to work together but couldn’t quite see how it would work. This week we have talked to another couple who felt the same, yet both in both cases there was a way round the obstacles we had initially struggled to see past.

Laure and Terence on Vahine island

Laure and Terence on Vahine island


Work with what you’ve got

We met Laure and Terence on a tiny island resort in French Polynesia which they have been running for ten months. With all the appearances of a dream job, they work very hard but also benefit from living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Like us, Laure and Terence didn’t have a clear plan which brought them to this idyllic destination. Both of them have spent the last ten years gaining experience in the hospitality, tourism and business industries, and the career decisions they made meant that when an opportunity to run the Vahine Island Resort presented itself, it all seemed to fall neatly into place.

How do you create a lifestyle which allows you to explore the world with your partner?


  • Accept that it may take a while

    It took four years from Chris and I deciding we’d love to work together before we started to spot opportunities for us to make this possible. If there is a long term goal, sometimes the shorter term decisions may not seem like they are supporting that, yet they are. For Laure and Terence their career choices were leading them in the right direction, even though up until that point some of them kept them physically apart. Keep the vision in mind and don’t worry about the small details. Your career choices may not even seem like they are complimentary, but over time it may become more apparent that they are.

    paddling in the right direction

    Are you both paddling in the right direction?


  • Be open to opportunities

    When Laure saw the advert in a tourism journal she jumped at the chance to apply, despite not being that sure that they had enough experience. All their different career decisions had led them to the point where they knew they could do the job, but it still seemed a little too good to be true. They applied anyway.

    It’s worth taking risks sometimes, giving things a try. Sometimes it may seem like other people get all the breaks and that opportunities don’t come up for you but it’s amazing what you see when you start looking and you start saying ‘yes’. If it doesn’t work out you will learn a lot in the process but maybe it will work out really well. Nothing is forever and if you take a wrong turn just steer yourself back on course. But if you don’t set off, you’ll never get anywhere.


  • Figure out what you are both good at and play to your evolving strengths

    The great thing about being part of a team is that you don’t have to be good at everything. You can share the load. At Vahine Island Terence is technically the manager but with his training as a Chef and Michelin starred kitchen experience it makes sense for him to spend the most time in the kitchen. Laure takes over the customer care and managing her team because she speaks English and French fluently and has a welcoming and friendly approach. When you start to look for ways to earn a living on your own terms you may find that the roles you expected evolve over time. When we began our company Chris handled customer support and we outsourced web development; now we outsource customer support and Chris develops our websites himself.

    French polynesia overwater bungalow

    Had we not been open to opportunities we would never have
    experienced this


  • So how do people manage to work, live and travel together?

    So what is the biggest challenge for working with your partner, particularly when you are travelling overseas without your normal support network? Often it is where to draw the line between work and personal time. Work conversations spill naturally into downtime, and when you share your goals, objectives and plans it can be difficult to put them to bed, even for a while. Living on a tiny island and being on duty for so much of the time makes this even more of a challenge for Laure and Terence. The solution for them is to prioritize time together completely away from work at least once a week. That’s where they can remind themselves how to be a couple and put their work roles to one side for a few hours.


Final tips


  • Live in the ‘now’

    Recently we have been asked ‘how long do you plan to continue to live and travel like this?’ and despite being pretty big planners, we really don’t know. Laure looked equally as stumped when I put the same question to her. ‘It’s difficult to predict, I live very much in the here and now. It depends very much on what opportunities come up. Until then it is hard to say’.

  • Have a big vision and the detail will figure itself out

    It might sound a little contradictory but I think this is the key; have a bigger plan, a wider vision for your life, but within that focus on the here and now as your actions and decisions guide you along the path. That way you can enjoy what is right in front of you as the journey unfolds, rather than missing it as you storm, head down, towards your end destination.

dell laptop in paradise

Could you picture yourself here?

Laure and Terence do a wonderful job managing a beautiful, happy, welcoming place with delicious food, luxury surroundings and genuinely helpful staff. The only disappointing part is when you have to leave- lucky for Lauren and Terence they don’t have to!

If you ever go to French Polynesia, our tip is don’t go to the big commercial resorts in Bora Bora. Check out here first- www.vahine-island.com


What are you and your partner doing about creating your dream job?


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12 Responses to “You dream of location independence – but where does your partner fit in?”

  1. Hey Hanna & Chris!

    I´m sleepless of joy of having found your site!

    I´m sure you already know but you´re such an inspiration!!!! Not only that, your site is so professional with great content and also wonderful for the eye.

    Your pictures and the layout are mouth dripping!!!

    It may sound much, but it´s like coming home……:)

    I´m already living this type of life – but mostly in my head – and here I found you who do this for real. It´s real, it´s professional and it´s possible!!!

    You´re the proof and I want to say THANK YOU and tell you how much this means!!!

    Best from a grey, dark and cold Sweden! :)
    Sanna Hellstrom recently posted..What Is Fiverr And How Can You Make Money With It?

    • Wow Sanna, I’m not sure we have ever had such an enthusiastic comment! Thank you! We’re glad you like it and the photos are cheering you in Sweden- let’s hope soon you will have plenty of your own!

      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
  2. Thanks for this post – my partner and I are having this issue right now. We’ve been together for 12 years and at one stage did 18 months of long distance relationship because I wanted to live overseas and she didn’t.

    Am working on the location independence thing now. My partner is a technophobe but is slowly starting to realize how cool blogs are.
    30Traveler recently posted..Cheap Vacation Apartment Rental in Europe – Croatia Interview with Kurt

    • It can be a tricky area- we’ve met a lot of single location independent guys who assume they’ll have to ‘settle down’ if they want a relationship, which seems a bit drastic! There are definitely ways to make it work and it is a big deal to get it right, that’s why there is a whole module devoted to it in our program
      I’m not great with the tech either- doesn’t stop me writing and then passing blogs to Chris for ‘processing’…so watch out if your partner decides to start writing a few blogs too!

      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
      • lol – I’m a girl and my partner is a girl too. I write my blog anonymously. I guess 30traveler sounds masculine hehehe
        30Traveler recently posted..Cheap Vacation Apartment Rental in Europe – Croatia Interview with Kurt

        • hehe, sorry! So funny though because I took care to be gender neutral in my references to your partner as it wasn’t clear from your comment- but still managed to mess it up!

          • Hannah and Chris
          • Reply
  3. Love the blog post, Hannah – I agree that it’s important to have a bigger vision, and to focus on doing things, in the now, that lead you in the right direction. As you know, I’m very keen on the location independent business lifestyle, and my partner has pretty much been persuaded too. The problem is that the work he does is very much location-dependent, so he’s trying to figure out how he might earn a living doing something else. Having just spent a week together in LA – me with laptop so that I could do bits of work while I was there – we’re both more determined to make it happen, even if it takes a while. :-)
    Julia Barnickle recently posted..Finding Your Way

    • Woohoo Julia, I’m so pleased P is on board, it will make it so much easier for you both. It will all come together…just keep the questions present and an open mind to answers which might start to pop up. I love that you did a few bits of work in LA, it’s a great start for you guys!
      H x

      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
  4. This is the way we live too, my husband and I are together since 35 years, we met very young. We are now living/working over 3 continents: Europe, North America and Polynesia ! This allowed us to stay at the Vahine island and to meet Terence and Laure at the very beginning they arrived.
    We will be there next june. See you, we can’t wait to try your sushis ! :)

    • That’s an impressive track record! And there was me thinking we’d been doing this location independent thing for quite a while now! I’m curious! I can see why you would want to return to Vahine, you must be excited already

      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply

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