Networking wise, is there any way to hide/disguise your IP address other than using VPNs or proxies? I'm asking from an educational standpoint, is this even possible given the various networking standards, etc...? Thanks.
In theory, yes. There are ways to spoof your ip address in the means of "send tcp/ip packets that seem to be sent by another source address". But due to some restrictions (i.e. your provider won't forward/route those packets for you), you could hardly make any use of this in a real world scenario.
Your location is not provided by your IP address though. There are databases, mapping ip addresses to locations. The location information is usually retrieved by some kind of fingerprinting of previously seen ip addresses.