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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.
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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.
When I started doing this in 2007, I didn’t have a business in mind. It was more of a hobby. I practiced law during the day, and I was a bored with it. I wanted to do something different.
We’ve all gone on vacation and fallen in love with a place. You promise that you will visit again…but really you wish that you never had to go home at all. But of course you do have to go home, even if it’s just to quit your job or close up your house. And while these thoughts are going…
Michael and Grace Cummings moved to Costa Rica two years ago and now have a profitable income selling the New York-style cheesecake.
For Leonie Whitton and David Westbuy, the biggest advantage of being in Puglia, at the heel of Italy, is access to fresh, delicious food.
For grilled squid, lavender ice cream, and a glass of chilled local white wine, I know a waterfront terrace restaurant at Cassis that’s perfect.
I’ve always been one of those people who won’t settle for “ordinary.” Sure, I have done my share of everyday things…but if I can find a way to step beyond the run-of-the-mill, you can bet I will! One of the ways I left “ordinary” behind was with my career. I spent many years working as a tax accountant—I knew there had to be a better way to spend my time.
I stayed at the best resort on the island where I lounged on their spectacular man-made, white sand beach with infinity pool, and shopped at Le Marché Municipale—the public market which covers a city block labyrinth of bargains.
Life moves at a much slower pace now. It’s very different from how things were three or four years ago. Today I wake up to a beautiful blue ocean view from my home on the Mexican island of Cozumel.
Dedicating your life to the service of others can open up a world of possibilities. You could become an activist to save small family farms. Maybe live in Nicaragua for a year. When you can bake to-die-for pies, you might even open a restaurant in Cuenca, Ecuador
Years ago I decided that before I ever settled down I wanted to live in five new cities around the world. But when I originally imagined this “jet-setter” lifestyle I believed I would need to sell a company or save hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it a reality.
In 2008 I moved to Cusco, Peru, the gateway to the spectacular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. For 25 years, I had dreamed of living abroad, exploring ancient cultures, and possibly opening a business in tourism.
I had just arrived at the little Spanish town near Alicante where I’d be spending a couple weeks, so I would have plenty of time to taste test each one.
By the end of April 2010, I received the first ad deal for my blog. After that, ad deals started coming in once a month or more. I ended up making about $5,000 by the end of 2010. I never thought of blogging full-time, but I could feel something changing.
My husband Joel and I are no strangers to moving every few years—so in 2009, when the opportunity arose for us to venture to the island of Curacao, we jumped at the chance.
In 1971, I spent seven months traveling around Latin America…from Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. At some point, pressed among a crowd of Indians at the back of a dilapidated bus, I was traveling from Ayacucho to Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes…an endless two-day ride. Holes and stones in the dirt road shook the bus…
Two years ago I never would have imagined that I would be sharing the intimate details of my bikini-clad life on a deserted Caribbean beach.
Last May, I spent a week in Jamaica. I would wake up each morning, eat a long, leisurely breakfast, fire up my laptop, spend four or five hours working, and then head to the pool for the rest of the day, followed by a great dinner at night.
Shooting sunrise…snapping the guys catching the early waves…close-ups of the waves…boats on the water…and the beautiful landscape.
School children wave from their front porch as you glide through the watery neighborhoods of Bangkok, the “Venice of the East,” on your wooden boat.
When Cliff Wilson Jr. discovered that his parents were leaving San Francisco to move to Belize and set up a sailing business, he had just one reaction: “Can I come too?” At the time he was working as director of a ski resort in Tahoe, but the sparkling waters of the Caribbean were impossible to resist.
You could say Geoff Bailey owes his business success to peanut butter. The 55-year-old from Oregon moved to Colombia with the intention of slowing down and enjoying retirement.
Watching kids play at running imaginary businesses has convinced me that the entrepreneurial spirit is more inherent than we have been led to believe. They are such naturals at trading. They want to buy and sell because that’s one of the first activities they witness their parents doing. It’s engaging and creative. You can set up your stall and then draw in other kids and willing adults to act as your customers.
In March 2012, my wife Lindsay and I decided to quit our jobs, sell our cars, and move to the Philippines for a year. Lindsay would teach at a school for orphans called the Children of Hope School, and I would help the orphanage with their website. I knew that it would be a life-changing experience and a chance to see a beautiful part of the world. I also knew that it would be a time when we’d see a decrease in our income. But we had a solution.
Consumer trends in America have a very good chance of doing well in other countries. And if you can get in early enough, you can make a very successful business selling something that has already proved its worth back home. Food is a case in point. But rather than starting from scratch, how about working with someone who has more success than they can handle.
John and Ellen Lee consider themselves to be the luckiest people in the world running their small hotel and restaurant in the Belizean beach paradise of Placencia. Back in the U.S., John, who’s from Australia, and Ellen, who’s American, believed that because they had invested 20+ years in their careers, they had to stick to them.
Argentina is as famous for its economic and political woes as it is for the tango and its Malbec wine. Nonetheless, its booming wine industry offers countless business opportunities, especially for entrepreneurs who are sensitive to the needs of foreign tourists. I’m not going to recommend you plant a vineyard, build a winery, and export Argentine wine to North America or Europe—although there are people doing that successfully.
Sometimes the most successful ideas for setting up a business overseas are right under your nose. Sometimes they are so simple, you overlook them.The very easiest thing you could produce may well have a hungry market just waiting to snap up your output. And you could be well on your way to profits with the most basic product of all—American-style food.
There was a time when being successful in retail was all about having a bricks-and-mortar business in a good location. Not only would you be paying rent or mortgage on your store; you would also have to keep your stock in a large storeroom or warehouse. Your business was about bulk buying, stock control, and supply-chain management.
Everything that happens on Guatemala’s Rio Dulce happens because of the water. Rio Dulce translates as “Sweet River”…and life here is truly sweet.
There is so much more to you than simply the label of your job. You may have talents you haven’t yet tapped into—and there may be people out there waiting to pay for your services. The world is wide and there are so many opportunities for your abilities overseas.
Sometimes a dying business leads to a new life. It did for Tom Boylan from Denver. “Now I have this incredible sense of freedom that I can do what I want, go where I want and enjoy life how I choose,” he says.
My wife, Linda, and I hadn’t exactly planned on buying a vacation home. It’s not like we’re property moguls—I’m retired and my wife is on a one-year sabbatical.
Moving from New York City to a small town in the U.S. is quite a culture shock on its own. But Rick Macsherry, 60, and Christina Spilsbury, 58, did one better. In 1989, they moved to a small fishing village on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast.
Heading to a foreign country to teach English has long been the first taste of life abroad for many a young person fresh out of college, but now it’s a popular route for people of all ages.
It was something my grandfather said that made me decide to buy a vacation rental property overseas. A small-town barber, he said that the smartest/luckiest thing he did was to pay cash for a new car…just one month before the 1929 stock market crash.
Chances are, you were not brought up to think you could explore countless possibilities. Most of us who arrived after World War II were counseled to follow a narrow path in life.
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On our last day here in Panama in 2007, after the city tour, mountain tour and the beach tour we knew we had to commit or we would go home and probably not follow up and miss our opportunity to live in Panama.Read More Testimonials