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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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The first time John Morgan set foot on Little Corn Island, he was under its spell. “The moment my feet sunk into the soft, coral sand where the captain beached the water taxi, I had an overwhelming feeling of being home.” John came from Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was working as a freelance photographer and field technical advisor for Fuji Film. When he discovered Little Corn, it was the beginning of a 15-year love affair with the island that saw John try his hand at running a dive shop before finally establishing the Tranquilo Café, which he owns and operates today.
The worst part of my week used to be Sunday nights. That’s when I’d sit in my pajamas in front of the TV, a pint of ice cream in my hand, and desperately try not to watch the sun set outside my window. To me, that great orange fireball descending behind the mountains felt like sand in an egg timer bringing me closer to going to work on Monday.
Among the advantages that Uruguay offers to businesses from around the globe are its various Free Trade Zones (FTZs). FTZs are specific geographic areas within the country that are not considered Uruguayan territory for customs purposes, and where you can avail of important tax exemptions.
Buga is one of Colombia’s oldest colonial towns, and a place tourists pass through on their way from Cali to the coffee region. It has a hot, humid climate where a good beer wouldn’t go astray. At least that’s what Stefan Schnur thought when he first visited. Stefan, 43, is originally from Germany but had lived in the United States for 20 years—most recently in Port Townsend, Washington.
At the end of the calendar year, we hear a lot about goals and resolutions. Television reporters with slow news days on their hands take to the streets to inquire about changes folks are planning to make in the coming year. A few weeks later, the same reporters will share statistics of all the health club dropouts and other abandoned resolutions.
Tom Vercillo is paid to know the best places to wine, dine, and sightsee in the beautiful cities lining the Mediterranean…from Turkey to Italy and beyond. Regularly sampling the region’s finest offerings is just one of many perks in a career that sees him cruising around the Med’s warm waters seven months a year, stopping at exotic new locations almost every day.
Surfing is one of the most popular reasons travelers flock to Nicaragua. The beaches in the south Pacific region benefit from an average 330 days per year of off-shore winds funneling in from Lake Nicaragua. These winds—along with almost constant deep water swells—make for near perfect surf conditions year-round.
One of the ways to reduce the uncertainty of moving overseas and setting up your own enterprise is to buy into a franchise—an already proven business model. The advantage of a franchise is that it has name recognition, provides you with the necessary “know how,” and much of the groundwork has already been done, which will increase your chances of success.
When a serious health issue and the loss of my job occurred at the same time as the international financial collapse, we took a huge hit emotionally and financially. Our family’s income was instantly reduced by 65% when I lost my job. Saving for a rainy day had been tough enough…but we were ill-prepared for the several “rainy years” that followed.
My husband and I have been traveling full-time for a little over three years. It started in 2010 when we sold most everything we owned and moved into a 30-foot motorhome. We spent 14 months traveling the East Coast of the U.S., while running our marketing and technology business from the small dining room table—you know, the one that also converts into a single bed.
The ocean breeze blows in through the open door as I sit in my rocking chair—a surprisingly favorite Nicaraguan furnishing. Sunlight glitters on the ocean, almond and coconut trees sway in the wind. This is my office for today, a four-bedroom house right on the beach that we rent for $350 a month. Previously we spent time on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, beneath the shadow of three majestic volcanoes…swimming in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, shopping in the local markets, and interacting with the indigenous people who still wear their traditional clothing and speak Spanish as their second language.
If you already like taking photographs on your travels, taking short 30-second to four-minute video clips in addition to those still pictures is a great new way to profit. You don’t need fancy equipment and it’s a lot easier to get started than you might think. It’s the next big thing. When I first started looking into this opportunity, I had no idea the market was so big. Hotels and resorts want these short 30-second videos.
Malaysia is on the rise. The middle class is growing, disposable income is increasing, and it is one of the easiest places in the world for a foreigner to set up business—ranked 12th of 185 by the World Bank. In my experience of observing start-ups here in Malaysia, franchising is a very feasible business opportunity in this economy. English is widely spoken among the population of more than 28 million—70% of which is urban based. This offers a good consumer base to potential franchisees considering locating here.
Earlier this month, I spent a long weekend watching birds and Monarch butterflies. I took part in a few hikes, went on a boat tour, and attended a few lectures—all centered around birds. Being close to hundreds of birds and thousands of butterflies was a thrill…but also how I make a living. Being around animals and interviewing experts about animals is joyful. Then sitting down to write about my findings allows me to relive the experience all over again.
You know the formula. Get an education. Get a job. Do the job for decades. Retire exhausted. The single lifetime occupation may be convenient, but it overlooks a simple truth: human beings grow and change. Challenging the conventional wisdom that urges us to settle down in one spot and work at one occupation takes a bit of courage, of course. But once the desire to shake up your life hits, it’s a call to action. Today we have access to an amazing number of resources and information that can speed up the process.
I don’t think I could have afforded to make this work in the States,” says expat Britini Port. “It is just too expensive and the high cost of living would make this dream unattainable.” But on a cobbled street of the colonial town of Antigua, Guatemala, Britini’s dream of a thriving business selling her own boot and handbag designs is a reality. It started in 2012.
People come to live in Panama for lots of reasons. It’s one of the world’s best destinations for retirees, and if you’re keen on running your own business, it’s got much to offer. But if your dream is to establish a winery, then most folks will tell you to look elsewhere. David Feinstein and Kersti Landeck are not most folks.
Water sprayed along the sides of the narrow panga as it sliced the water’s surface. Jungle-cloaked islands emerged in the distance…beckoning us to greet their shore. We anchored at the small, undeveloped island of Chichaemae and a small dingy took us in to the powder-white coast. The water gently kissed the sand…skimming fallen palm trees, abandoned canoes, and coral reef. I made it to San Blas.
Before I became a travel videographer I studied Tourism Management in the UK. I then worked as a research assistant in Costa Rica, a hostel manager in New Zealand, and a travel consultant in London. Naturally consulting other people on the best travel options was not quite as satisfying as traveling myself, so I finally came up with an idea that would allow me to work while traveling around.
After doing some research online, which included International Living, I moved to Cuenca at age 54. I planned to travel throughout South America, but I just loved it here, feeling no need to go farther south. Then, six months later, at age 55, my teacher’s retirement kicked in, so I could qualify for a pensionado visa, living off my retirement income.
A freelance opportunity to photograph Paris presented itself over drinks at a cocktail party. The president of a small publishing company complained to me about a freelance photographer who did not obtain shots needed to complete a French language textbook. The project deadline was fast approaching. I asked what was required.
There are few places on earth as romantic as Buenos Aires. At night, in the backstreets, couples dance the tango. Old men sit outside the bars, playing the accordion. Sad music that tells of loss, longing, and the complications of love. I’d come to Buenos Aires with two prized possessions: my dog-eared copy of the poems of the blind poet, Jorge Luis Borges, and my folded and torn certificate for teaching English.
It’s a weekday morning in the early fall and I’m standing on a mountaintop in the Swiss Alps. I’ve been hiking all morning, passing through tiny villages with dark-roofed homes and small chapels whose bells sing out every hour to remind us of the precise time. I’ve walked through fields of wildflowers that overlook snow-capped peaks and past a dozen waterfalls both small and large. And for the past hour I’ve been navigating thin pathways that wind across a barren high-altitude landscape dotted with leftover snow.
The organic food industry is growing steadily each year, as consumers across the globe demand access to healthy and pesticide-free produce, meat, and other foods. Thailand is no exception to this growing trend, especially in the country’s urban, high-population areas of Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Malaysia is on the rise. The middle class is growing, disposable income is increasing, and it is one of the easiest places in the world for a foreigner to set up a business—ranked 12th of 185 by the World Bank. In my experience of observing start-ups here in Malaysia, franchising is a very feasible business opportunity in this economy.
The first time John Morgan set foot on Little Corn Island, he was under its spell. “The moment my feet sunk into the soft, coral sand where the captain beached the water taxi, I had an overwhelming feeling of being home.” “I had never traveled to Central or South America and had certainly never heard of these remote undeveloped Caribbean islands off the coast of Nicaragua.
You know the formula. Get an education. Get a job. Do the job for decades. Retire exhausted. The single lifetime occupation may be convenient, but it overlooks a simple truth: human beings grow and change. Of course, there have always been renegades who challenged that plan, but they were in the minority.
In my line of work there’s no such thing as a typical day. One recent Tuesday, my partner and I sat side by side on the beach, sipping morning coffee in our swimsuits and flip-flops…our two dogs lounging in the sand beside us. I was translating a presentation for an advertising company…she was working on a set of by-laws.
For almost three years while teaching English abroad I also imported and exported goods between North America and Asia, mainly China and Thailand. It was the perfect supplement to my teaching income and a good way to enjoy some local travel. Here’s what I learned and how you can get started:
Wally and Hazel Mountz thought they had their retirement all figured out. They were building a lakefront home in Georgia when the real estate crash of 2008 shattered their plans. Unwilling to continue working and unable to afford their new mortgage, they started looking abroad. Italy was their first choice, but what they could purchase there would leave them in a rural village without expat companions.
Talk to anyone who has relocated to Ecuador and you will find that each person’s story, motivation, and experience is unique. Some are here for economic reasons, others for the climate, others still for the adventure and excitement of living in another country…and many for all of the above. I came to Ecuador at the age of 24. My assignment with the Peace Corps brought me here, so Ecuador was not my own choice…but I’ve come to realize what a stroke of luck it was to land in this amazing country.
Each morning Jerry Bruner wakes up on his farm in Uruguay. He checks in on his animals…Jack the Labrador…Carbon the tiger-stripe cat…the chickens…the geese…and half-a-dozen beef cattle who roam a fenced-off, green pasture. The farm covers 27 acres of greenery and is a world away from Jerry’s native Nevada. What Jerry loves most about Uruguay […]
A train ticket and a TEFL certificate were all I had when I traveled the 1,000 miles from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. As we rode through the endless flatness of Patagonia—past broken railway sheds and the silhouettes of wind-bent trees on the horizon—I wondered what I was getting into. I had no job. I’d never been this far south. I knew no-one.
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I were married in Costa Rica 14 years ago and have been back for business and pleasure almost every year since. We also lived in Panama in 2006 and, like Costa Rica, have returned nearly every year for International Living events, editorial trips, and vacations. So it is inevitable that…
The thought of my hot shower every morning—as I cross the Spanish style courtyard on my way to the bathroom—is a delight. It has to be a quick one though, because my housemates need their hot water too. Then, I hear the church bells begin to ring in the tower of the old colonial church in front of our house…it’s time to go. I grab my backpack and head for the door. I like to walk to work. The others share a taxi, which affords them an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning.
Hi, I’m Dan Prescher. Building a business from the ground up is a challenge no matter where you try it, but Ralph and Renda Hewitt managed to do it in beautiful San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and now they operate one of the most popular inns on the bay. But that’s not the only iron Ralph and Renda have in the fire, as you’ll hear…
Hi, I’m Dan Prescher. Seven years ago, Warren Ogden relocated to Granada, Nicaragua, but not to retire. In fact, Warren is a few decades away from retirement age, so kicking back was definitely not on his radar. He saw Granada as a new home, not only for him, but for his health and wellness business as we. Now Warren’s gym, spa, and yoga studio, Pure, is a fixture of the Granada scene staffed and used by expats and locals alike.
Sihanoukville wasn’t on Joe Royle’s list of semi-retirement destinations when he came to Southeast Asia looking for a new life in 2005. In fact, he didn’t even know that Sihanoukville, a beach town of 250,000 some 140 miles southwest of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, even existed.
“There was a hole there. There was no place to get good bacon and eggs,” says Andrew, who explains that there are many other opportunities in León for quick-thinking entrepreneurs. “There’s still very little here. So anybody who has a big idea— it’ll work.” His investment of $5,000 got things off the ground. And although there were some struggles in the beginning—he had no previous restaurant experience and the local bureaucracy proved tough to navigate until he hired a local accountant—his business has taken off.
If you are working an average job in the U.S., you might be just like I was a few years ago. I was working a 9-to-5 desk job at a bank, spending what little daylight hours I had running errands, cooking and cleaning up, and preparing for it all to start over again. Like most people, I had a yearning for adventure deep in the pit of my stomach, and didn’t know how to “fix” it.
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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