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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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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.
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.
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