By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 05/09/22 •  12 min read

I’m an incredibly nostalgic person, and the older I get, the more this statement becomes true.

So it should come as no surprise that on the 13th anniversary of starting Location Rebel, I’ve found myself doing some reflecting.

I used to do an update like this every year on my anniversary.

“I can’t believe it’s been two years!”

“It’s mind-boggling that it’s been eight years…”

Thirteen? Psh. I can barely comprehend it.

Nearly 1/3 of my life has been spent writing on Location Rebel.

Talk about longevity.

I’ve thought a lot about what this post should be?

Should it be another “13 lessons I’ve learned”?

“13 mistakes I’ve made?”

“13 reasons to start today?”

Any would work, but I’ve done variations of all of them before.

That’s one of the problems you run into when you hit a milestone like this (does 13 count as a milestone?)

But the problem is, how do you do anything new? I’ve written over a thousand posts since May 8th, 2009 when I first started.

So today, I decided I’m not going to do anything new.

I want to lean into the old and embrace the nostalgia.

I’m going to share a few thoughts on some of the moments that stand out to me as the most memorable and most impactful for me. 

If you’re new here, you may enjoy a little trip back to our roots.

And if not?

We’ll have more for you soon 🙂

Bucket List

On Top of a Mountain

“Climb a Mountain” – CHECK.

This was the very first thing I published on Location Rebel.

I’d met Chris Guillebeau for coffee, and he was the one that encouraged me to 1) start a blog and 2) use it to hold myself accountable for the things I really wanted to do in life.

Much of the early growth of the site was due to this. Not many people were publishing lists like this at the time, so it garnered me a surprising amount of attention.

It’s gone through a few refreshes since then, and I’ve knocked off dozens of items over the past 13 years.

May 2009: Bucket List: 100+ Things to Do Before You Die

“What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?”

Sean in a Suit

This post felt like a turning point for me, and it was the acknowledgment that I was in full quarter-life crisis mode.

The ironic thing about this post, is that looking back? I knew exactly what to do.

It was around this time I knew one way or another, I’d need to leave my job.

I didn’t know how it’d materialize, and I honestly expected it to take much longer than it did.

But if you’ve ever found yourself asking the question: “what to do when you don’t know what to do?” this post may be for you.

August 6th, 2009: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

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“My Last Day”

The short version of the story is that I pitched my boss on a remote work agreement. The idea would be to save the company some money (it was the height of the Great Recession), and I’d get to have some of the adventure and life experience I was looking for.

We met and talked about it.

We met again.

I really thought it was going to work.

“Sean, we’ve decided not to accept your proposal. But we will accept this as your resignation.”

There’s more to it, and I had a chance to save my job, but this became the kick I needed.

October 22nd, 2009: My Last Day

“I’m Moving to Thailand.”

This is when I truly began to learn the power of having a blog.

In thirteen years, I can’t tell you how many insane, incredible, utterly unbelievable life experiences I’ve had because of starting a blog.

This was one of the first.

I had a chance to move to Thailand to work for some random dude from the internet for $800/month. I’d work part-time, he’d teach me online marketing, and I could travel or work on Location Rebel in the process.

I’d never been to Asia. This was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.

But absolutely one of the handful of experiences that truly defined my life and led to what I’m doing now.

November 19th, 2009: I’m Moving to Thailand

How a Photo on My Desk Led to Me Quitting My Job

Phil Knight at Autzen Stadium

I had no idea this photo would be so motivating. It sits on my desk at home to this day.

I wrote this post during a daily writing challenge I had in 2018. It tells the story of the photo that I looked at every day while I was in the day job that motivated me to start my own business.

September 2018: How a Photo on My Desk Led to Me Quitting My Job

3 Life Lessons I Learned from the Guy in the 7 Up Commercials

Sowden House in Los Angeles, California

The Sowden House, where we hung out with Orlando Jones.

Of all the random experiences I’ve had because of this blog, this one ranks as one of the most memorable.

Read the story, but it involved a last-minute trip to a very fancy house in the Hollywood Hills and a celebrity encounter, that led to one of the best pieces of advice I’ve had to this day.

January 27th, 2011: 3 Life Lessons I Learned from the Guy in the 7Up Commercials

Launching Location Rebel Academy

We started Location Rebel Academy on July 26th, 2011 with a “beta launch” for 20 people.

I’d hoped to sell half of those in a week.

We sold 24 spots in 48 minutes.

It was one of those moments where you begin to realize just what’s possible with a little blog.

These days we’ve had thousands of members go through the course and hundreds of success stories in the process.

Join Location Rebel Academy.

10 Realities of Working from a Tropical Island

Work from Home Jobs

This was the week I officially launched Location Rebel Academy. I spent 2 months living in Bali while I did it.

One of my original bucket list goals from 2009 was to “work from a tropical island.”

I didn’t even really know what that meant at the time. During my time in Thailand, I spent a bunch of time down in Koh Phi Phi and other islands, so technically that probably counted.

But in the Summer of 2011, I spent 2 months living in Bali. This was where I officially launched Location Rebel Academy.

September 2011: 10 Realities of Working from a Tropical Island

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Jordan

Skydiving Jordan 1

In June of 2012, I got the chance to take my first of many “press trips.”

But this one was different. It wasn’t to some fancy golf course, it was to Jordan.

Like the country, Jordan.

I went with my friend Joel Runyon, and the creativity I was able to have while traveling three and writing about the experience helped change how I’d approach content in the future.

This was originally 5 posts that were condensed into one.

June 2012: Visit Jordan: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Jordan

Sudden Loss, New Beginnings, and Three Simple Words

Sean and Tate Wedding Day

My wife Tate and I on our wedding day.

In 2015, I got married.

I’d find out the next day that my friend Scott Dinsmore died the same day while climbing Mt. Killamanjaro.

It kind of messes with you to have one of your highest highs and lowest lows all bunched together in a 24-hour period.

But both of these things would shape how I approached my life from then on.

September 2015: Sudden Loss, New Beginnings, and Three Simple Words

Why I’m Killing Location 180

If you’re new here, you may not know that Location Rebel originally started as a site just called “Sean Ogle.”

Not long after, I changed the name to Location 180.

Basically, I wanted to make a “180 degree turn in the direction of my life.”

Yeah, not the best name.

But in 2016, we ditched it all together to embrace Location Rebel – which used to be on a separate domain and changed the name of our community to “Location Rebel Academy.”

May 24th, 2016: Why I’m Killing Location 180

How I Teetered on Top of a Waterfall and Blew Up My Desk

Years later, this is still the best thing I’ve ever created.

My friend Jamie, my dad, and I traveled all over the place to prove that you really can work from anywhere.

It was a ton of fun, and the behind-the-scenes process is actually pretty cool to see.

24 Things Learned in a 2 Month Global Sabbatical

Sabbatical 7

In 2017, wife hit 10 years at her job, and with that came the opportunity to take a 6-week sabbatical. Tack on a couple weeks of vacation time on top of that, and we had two months to do whatever wanted.

So we made the most of it:

November 2017: 24 Lessons Learned from a 2 Month Global Sabbatical

I Lost My Passport in Japan

I’ve made some stupid travel mistakes over the years.

None of which came anywhere close to losing my passport in Japan.

Well, I didn’t lose it.

I left it on the dining room table at our hotel in Niseko. I realized this 90 minutes into our bus ride to the airport.

The ensuing saga just goes to show, that I’m a very lucky person.

March 2018: The Most Humiliating Mistake of My Life

Digital Nomad for A Decade: 33 Lessons Learned About Life and Business 

Courtney and Sean at Eiffel Tower

My sister and I in Paris after surprising her for her birthday.

The last time I remember doing a specific blogiversary update was in 2019 to celebrate 10 years.

The reason this was memorable is that my wife and I were able to surprise my sister for her birthday.

In Paris.

She and my brother-in-law were going for the first time, so my wife and I devised a plan to surprise her there.

It was only possible because of the flexible lifestyle Location Rebel has afforded me. I wouldn’t have traded that trip for anything.

May 2019: Digital Nomad for A Decade: 33 Lessons Learned About Life and Business

Turning 36, and Some Advice for New Parents

Sean and Elliot

The last 2 years have been the hardest, most fulfilling, most….bizarre years of my life.

I went from traveling constantly to not getting on an airplane for 20 months.

I went from being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, to being a dad.

COVID and fatherhood have made me adjust to a new way of life. Not better or worse, but different.

Last year on my birthday I reflected on that a bit.

April 2021: Turning 36, and Some Advice for New Parents

How to Avoid the “Glory Days”

In August 2010 I wrote a post about the idea of the glory days.

I’d just returned from Thailand and was trying to figure out what the rest of my life would look like.

I was (and am) terrified of the concept of the “glory days.”

You know where the high school quarterback and prom king, doesn’t do anything with his life – so all he does is talk about achievements from years prior.

I’ve never had that concern until recently. All of the change of the past couple years has left me reflecting on that.

I want to make sure the next 13 years are just as exciting, fulfilling and meaningful as the previous.

August 2010: How to Avoid the Glory Days

Some Final Thoughts

Punta Mita Sean Elliot

For the past few years, Location Rebel has been almost predominantly about online business, and specifically freelance writing.

I didn’t include any of those posts in here.

We have a few hundred published posts about how to build a blog, start affiliate marketing, or become a freelance writer.

That’s how I make money here.

But those weren’t the milestone moments.

Those aren’t the things I get nostalgic for.

As I write this 13 years after first beginning the site, I’m thankful that for so many years I did share the personal stuff. I’ve never been much of a journaler, but everything I’ve shared today is my journal.

It’s documented my journey and has allowed me to look back at so many wonderful memories and relive the events that have shaped who I’ve become today.

If you take one thing from this?


Then keep going.

It’s that simple.

You’ll have ups and downs. You’ll iterate, and reiterate.

But if you keep at it long enough, and put enough work into it, you’ll find the magic combination of things that makes you unique, and helps you stand out.

Whether it’s Location Rebel, Breaking Eighty or Slightly Pretentious – each one of those took years of iterations to really hone in on what makes them unique.

So if you’re still in the early stages of your thing: keep going.

You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you to everyone who has ever read a blog post here, sent a comment, watched a video, joined our community, or simply said hi on Twitter.

Thank you to Liz Froment for working with me on this thing for a decade. 

I’m so incredibly fortunate to do what I do.

13 years is a long time.

I have no idea what’s next.

Things are different now.

So different.

But with change comes opportunity, and I’m excited to see where those opportunities take both Location Rebel and myself.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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