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No matter how affordable the destinations we talk about are, the simple fact is: You can't live anywhere for free...
But what if you had an income that went with you? An income that could give you the freedom you need to just pick up and go?
You could spend half the year in your own cottage on the beach… work in the mornings and snorkel and relax in the afternoons. Maybe spend the other half of the year up in the mountains where it's cool... and get paid while you're at it...
With this kind of flexibility, it doesn't matter where you're based. That means you can travel whenever you feel like it. You could rent a place in Paris or Buenos Aires for a month or two of vacation, work from home a few days a week and spend the rest of your time enjoying the city...
You could earn an income from back home while you go live someplace where the cost of living is much more affordable. That way you put dollars in your pocket, but you spend in a place where those dollars really stretch.
Sign up to Fund Your Life Overseas today, and we'll send you your FREE report Fund Your New Life Overseas With These 6 Portable Careers
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Canadian Andrew Blyth first came to León, Nicaragua, seven years ago to look after some properties his parents had purchased. The family had visited back in 2003 and fallen in love with the city. “Their eventual goal is to retire down here and open a bed and breakfast,” explains Andrew.
When David Hagerman went on business trips, he always kept a camera stashed in his briefcase. Early in the morning, well before his day’s round of meetings started, he would leave his hotel to take photos of local people and places, from women preparing bowls of noodles in busy street-side stalls to piles of brightly colored spices in bustling morning markets.
For us, the daily grind in the States had begun to require too much work for too little reward. Expenses were rising and both my wife and I had reached a level of dissatisfaction with our careers. It was time for a major change. It was time to slow down, work less, and enjoy more of life! This would not happen by accident. We made a plan. After some months of research, Ecuador emerged as the location for our next chapter. Having spent many years in Alaska…
Want to move overseas but not sure you can afford it? Good news: there are plenty of places in the world where you can live happily and comfortably on a small amount of income. Places where palm trees sway in the sunshine and where you’ll never again see snow. Sounds pretty decent, doesn’t it? But maybe you’re worried about that “small amount” of income—worried that what you have is just “too small”?
This has been quite a year. It started in January with a weekend in West Virginia riding all-terrain vehicles on the Hatfield & McCoy Trails…hand-feeding black bears…and dancing to bluegrass music. In February I drove a reindeer sleigh through a winter wonderland in Roros, Norway. I kept myself warm by sampling aquavit along the newly developed Aquavit Trail around Trondheim.
When a strike shut down the National Hockey League back in 2004, Minnesota Wild fan Georgia Pergakis booked a trip to Sweden to watch one of her favorite players play with a Swedish team. It turned out to be the most eventful trip of her life. To the surprise and delight of her friends, Georgia returned to Minneapolis and announced she had met her soul mate. After a long-distance courtship (thanks to Skype), she and Per-Erik Makitalo were married in Las Vegas three years later.
The breeze is gently swaying the hanging bed, perched over a terraced hill, with views of three islands in the foreground. The South Pacific, an intoxicating mix of jade, turquoise and cobalt, is just a few steps down the stairs. Behind me is the pool with a mosaic, blue starfish in the bottom and lounge chairs—farther back, a three-bedroom, three-bath house…each room with its own view of this unspoiled paradise.
When Karen McCrea, 56, and Axel Santana, 46, were looking for an ideal spot for their guest houses, they had a few criteria. The location had to be unspoiled, yet with amenities their guests might expect like hot water, high-speed Internet, and quick access to grocery shopping. The couple found their spot during a trip to the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in 2006. The region, also known as the Southern Zone…
My husband and I landed in the vacation rental world by accident. Fifteen years ago, we moved to our new island home with four suitcases, one black Labrador and a naive plan to stay for one year. The Turks and Caicos Islands were our top choice of destination because of the consistently good weather, pristine beaches, close proximity to the U.S., reliable Internet service, and lack of quarantines for dogs. It is a British Overseas Territory where we drive on the left yet the U.S. dollar is the local currency and Miami, Florida is only 90 minutes away by plane.
Six weeks ago, I left my luxurious, sea-view condo in Costa Rica (my second home) to return to my first home—Malta, a Mediterranean island, surrounded by turquoise waters. Relaxing with a glass of champagne in First Class on the way over to London, I knew I was going to miss the long, sandy beaches, stunning sunsets each night after playing beach volleyball, and the amazing wildlife and postcard-perfect scenery.
Margaret and Rhys Shelton from South Africa moved to Malaysia 18 months ago, following their lifelong dream to open a café. They’re just two of the expats taking advantage of the ease of doing business in Malaysia. In fact, the World Bank recently ranked it number 12 (out of 185 countries) on that score. Foreign Internet entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, jewellers, hoteliers, and language school owners are all setting up and thriving here.
With a 16-hour work week…a month-long winter vacation…a huge number of well-paid jobs…and all the Chinese food you can eat…it’s no wonder so many people of all ages and backgrounds are heading to teach English in China. More than 300 million children under 18 begin learning English in classroom settings as early as age three…but it’s not just the young who are learning English. China is a world player and millions of college students and adults enroll in English courses to help them get better jobs.
I never envisioned myself teaching English. Perhaps you feel the same way. But soon after I started my five-year career in this field, I found that I enjoyed it, largely because the students are so enthusiastic and wonderful to teach. They need English to enjoy more opportunities in their life and career, they are grateful to have a native speaker as their teacher, and they apply themselves to learning.
Location is a huge part of success in business…particularly when you’re dependent on foot traffic. When Cody Leigh Brown of Montana decided to set up a tea shop in Ecuador, she chose Cumbayá, a fashionable suburb of Quito, as her location. It just happens to be home to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where more than 5,000 students are enrolled.
There are communities in many parts of the world where arts and crafts are still made by hand…and markets in other parts of the world ready to pay good money for them. Bringing them together is the perfect way to create an income for yourself while enjoying a life of travel or living overseas at a lower cost than back home.
While American expat Bill Bryson was toiling away at a London newspaper, he was dreaming about becoming a freelance writer. With a wife and family to support, he convinced himself this was a risky and selfish dream. So Bill continued to drag himself to a job that was growing more loathsome by the day.
Changing nutritional preferences and the restructuring of society are leading to new consumer trends in Colombia—and creating opportunities for expat entrepreneurs in the health-food market. BioPlaza is a chain of four outlets in Bogotá—three of them franchised—that is seeking to exploit this demand and is now looking for franchisees. The man behind it is Alex von Loebell, 49, who came to Colombia from Germany, where he had studied marketing and advertising, and worked in the media.
Each October, the German town of Munich celebrates its beer festival. The Germans dress up in traditional costume and there is fun on the streets every evening. When we arrived it was like a giant party with large beer tents lining the streets. A huge Ferris wheel dominated the middle of the town and the people were out to party. Munich is a place of old brick architecture and paved stone streets. The older buildings have intricate stone and brick work which is perfect for photography. And that is what I had come to Germany for—to take pictures.
I love to travel. And I try to live like a local when I visit new places. Of course, it takes time to discover how the locals live. Some people are really good at doing research before they arrive. I prefer to scout out my new neighborhood and figure things out as I go along. One trick that makes this both fun and rewarding is to carry a camera. Putting the camera up to my eye slows me down and helps me see the details.
My former attorney colleagues and I used to joke that there were three kinds of closing arguments you could make to a jury: the one you carefully prepared, the one you actually delivered, and the one you wish you had given. Few things ever happen as planned. Nevertheless my “life” plan (the one I carefully prepared) was to practice law until I retired at 65; then I would pursue photography and maybe make a little money on the side.
“Come on, get up, get up!” Cocooned in our sleeping bags, we knew the sun was up, and the light on the lake was going to get intense—fast. So we pried each other up, grabbed our cameras, and ambled down to the shore.Frost coated everything—including our life jackets. But the scene was too good to miss: a thick, white fog blanketed the lake’s surface. As sunlight reached the water, the fog started dissipating. But we worked quickly…taking turns photographing each other paddling our kayaks through the mist.
You’re already well on your way to a portable, lucrative income…even if you don’t realize it yet! But every time you convince a friend to join you at the restaurant you like…get your choice when you head to the movies…or talk someone out of the house on a lazy Saturday…you’re practicing the one skill that makes it possible for you to make a comfortable income anywhere you want.
My wife and fellow writer Suzan Haskins and I moved abroad 12 years ago…and took our work right along with us. We were writers back home, and our job now is to write about the places expats go and the things they do when they move overseas. And since we’re expats ourselves, we’ve always had a special interest in the ways other expats earn a living abroad as well.
Imagine the place you want to be right now. Maybe it’s swinging in a hammock overlooking turquoise waters, your toes dug into silky-soft, white sand…perhaps you’re sipping wine in a sidewalk café in Paris…or you’re walking in the path of the ancient Incas in an Andean mountain valley.
If you’ve dreamed of traveling the world and getting paid to do so, try this… One of my favorite things is to lead creativity tours in Paris. Together, this group of avid travelers explore all kinds of off-the-beaten-path things that inspire us to be better writers and artists and to enjoy life more, once back home.
In 1991 Patricia made the move to the town of Cascais, Portugal, just 30 minutes up the coast from Lisbon. Here each day begins with a long, leisurely beach walk, her two poodles at her side. “I never had pets when I lived in the U.S. I was too busy working. But when I first moved here, I noticed that everyone had dogs and birds, and I thought, yes, it’s so full of life. This is what I want.”
“We decided we needed another start,” says expat Hellmut Pedersen. “Our lives in Washington were becoming too complicated. Prices kept going up, bureaucracy became more difficult, and the stress was too much. So we sold just about everything and arrived in Panama in 2005 with five suitcases.”
The town of Arenal is home to many Americans, Canadians and other foreigners who enjoy living and working in one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular regions. The natural beauty of this area relies on an active volcano that overlooks a beautiful tranquil lake.
One of my favorite stories is about a retired school teacher I know. Right now, she’s living in Mexico…and is earning what she calls “M&M money.” It’s not for the candy. It’s money for massages and margaritas.
Seven years ago Kristin Gilbert Ramirez was living the American Dream. She had a full-time teaching career, health benefits, a home, a car, and fancy electronics. And she was pursuing her master’s degree in the beautiful countryside of Maine. Only it wasn’t her dream.
If you’re planning to make the big move abroad, you can create a new occupation for yourself right now—something you will simply love doing and make money from at the same time.
It’s not necessarily about having specialist training or qualifications. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of thinking outside the box.
The earrings are from Hong Kong’s jade market. I bought the fedora hat at a Christmas market in Berlin, the boots from Malaga in Spain, and the shimmering scarf at Otavalo market in Ecuador—one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. You might call it eclectic fashion indulgence. I call it research.
Bangkok, Thailand is No. 1 on Time magazine’s 2013 list of the world’s most visited cities. Maybe the tourism ministry was right…going with the slogan “Amazing Thailand.” So what is it about this country that’s so alluring? Beyond the temples and beaches, it is my everyday existence. For example, the daily commute to work…
Sometimes a business idea appears as if by magic. Rich Westcott worked full time as a magician in the U.S. for 20 years, performing over 700 times a year at the peak of his career. As the economy took a downturn and his work began to wind down, he and his wife Patricia realized they were facing a dim future.
Patrice employs local seamstresses to create her original aprons, handbags, table napkins, baby bibs, bathrobes, and other popular items, combining textiles in contrasting patterns. Her collection is sold to foreign tourists and Mexicans who vacation in San Miguel, and internationally through museums, airport stores, and boutiques.
Nicaragua is not the first place many people think of when planning a vacation…but things are looking up. There were 1.2 million visitors in 2012, a 14% bump over the previous year, according to tourism officials. And the country has garnered glowing mentions in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and other publications.
Combine your creative talent with the craftsmanship and designs of another country and you could find an opening for an interior design business. In Jacó, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, Lynn Gensemer, 56, of Chungo Interior Designs, eschews expensive imported furniture and fixtures from the U.S. in favor of working with local craftsmen to create custom designs.
Despite his many years working as a car-insurance salesman in Portland, Oregon—and making good money— Caelan Huntress always considered it a temporary gig. Today he has thrown out the cubicle, tie, and daily commute…and taken his sales skills online. He lives and works from his home in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone—a region on the southern Pacific coast, near the border with Panama. The beach is 45 minutes away. Shopping and quality medical care is just 15 minutes down the hill. And the verdant green mountains of the interior are an even bigger draw.
In the spring of 2010, our family of four sailed around the world—25,000 miles, 110 days, 11 countries. We were hired by Semester at Sea, a University of Virginia program that allows students to spend a semester traveling internationally by ship, to coordinate spiritual life for the shipboard community and plan programming for the 18 children onboard. Our son Andrew was then eight years old and our daughter Lizzie was five.
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