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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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Over the last few days we’ve talked about freelance assignment for work abroad travelers…and today I want to get right down to ground level to show you what this looks like. Let’s say you’re a school teacher.
When I speak at International Living conferences, many attendees are surprised by the wide variety of online jobs available for their specific skills set. In fact, most of them don’t really think they have much to offer in the area of online work because they don’t have training in all the “technical stuff.”
In my work with thousands of Baby Boomers over the last few years I have learned that most see a few barriers standing between them and their goal of earning an online, take-abroad income. My “New Year Income Challenge” will help you knock down these barriers in a fun, interactive way (details here) but the first step is taking a closer look at which barrier(s) might be holding you back.
How would your 2014 be different if you had a portable income? For a start, you would have a lot more choice and options for living overseas. You could decide to live by the beach or in a quiet mountain town in your favorite country abroad—part-time or full-time. Or, you could fund your travels around the world.
Jonathan Ahladas tells a great story about the day his Spanish-born fiancée sent him out solo into the streets of Madrid with a shopping list. It was just a few months after he made the big move across the Atlantic from America to the Spanish capital and at that stage, Jonathan had only a basic grasp of the language thanks to a few months of intensive classes.
There are people who plan carefully for the future—folks who weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of major decisions, then make life changes in careful, graduated steps… My wife Ann and I are not those people. When we announced to family and friends that we were selling our home and moving to the beach town of Salinas, Ecuador, they were—to put it mildly—shocked.
In many ways the Coffee Triangle is the heart and soul of Colombia. Even in the region’s modern cities, where you’ll find international cuisine, state-of-the-art museums, and innovative public transport, the country’s agrarian traditions linger. Farmers sporting traditional straw hats sit amongst college students in cafés, and hardware stores in trendy shopping malls display agricultural tools in front windows.
Five years ago, fun-loving Canadian cowgirl Blue van Doorninck was searching for a place to put down roots. “I had been living in Vietnam, but there weren’t good opportunities to own land. And I wanted to be in the same time zone as my family. I also wanted to be in a culture more similar to my own. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama all made my short list,” says Blue.
“I bought a hotel in 2000, because I didn’t know what to do with myself,” says Robbie. Hotel California, set in the rainforest on a hill high above the blue Pacific, was a bit run-down when she bought it. So Robbie launched a full-scale renovation before reopening. In Costa Rica, where construction often happens at a more relaxed pace, it took just five months.
Carl Segerstrale has always had a passion for surfing. “I remember doodling surf logos in notebooks and imagined making a living in the surf industry,” he says. “Even as I began a career teaching middle school English the fantasy lingered.” Seven years ago he traded in the familiar surroundings of San Francisco, California for the unexplored Pacific coast of Nicaragua—a surfer’s dream place to live.
Two years ago, my husband David and I broke the news to our friends and family that we would be moving to Ecuador. We enjoyed much about our life in the States, but we didn’t like the high-pressure work environment and focus on consumerism. We longed to break out of the corporate rat race and have the chance to work for ourselves.
Barbara Wilson, from Michigan, launched Mindo Chocolate Makers in Mindo, Ecuador in 2009, with no experience. Originally she and her husband, Joe Menza, ran a hostel and restaurant, but when Barbara couldn’t find good cocoa for her brownies, they decided, “Let’s make our own!”
Is 2014 your year to create your portable income? An income that flows no matter where you are in the world…an income that gives you the freedom to travel and live abroad…an income that taps into the knowledge and skills you have honed in your career and personal life. You can create this income by working online.
“Meet me at the sunset!” My friend called to me over his shoulder as he peddled his ancient bicycle past me on the little dirt road. Sounding more like the last line of a classic film than a concrete plan to meet up, I smiled at how poetic my life felt since moving to the tiny Mexican town of Sayulita. Even the name is beautiful.
I used to be like you. Sitting in front of a computer screen dreaming of faraway places…the sun on my face…lazy afternoons exploring forgotten seaside villages…or drifting through market towns in search of exotic indigenous rugs and hammocks to adorn my beautiful, colonial apartment. And then I decided to actually do it! In 2003, I chucked in my day job, bought a ticket to South America, and never looked back.
Three days a week, I take an early morning walk to a park near the beach, not far from my apartment. I sit in the cool morning air and listen to the birds rustle and sing in the trees above the park bench. I like to arrive a little early, before my first client of the day arrives to meet me. This is Latin America, so even though our appointment is at 7.00 a.m., she usually doesn’t arrive until about 7.10 a.m. She is a single mother, working full time and studying for her undergraduate degree. I admire her resolve to make a better life for herself and her children. And, I get to be a part of that.
My friend Ben lives in Panama City and wouldn’t live anywhere else. He thrives on the metropolitan vibe, the non-stop activity and being in a major commercial and business center. If you love city life, Panama’s capital has it all, with skyscrapers, huge shopping malls, live theater and music, and cuisine from all over the world. On a much smaller scale, the city of David, where I live, has the commercial and cultural advantages of a city, but in the countryside of western Panama.
“You’re starting a business where?” That’s the question you’ll get, over and over, when you tell your friends you’ve decided to pack your bags and move to Panama. They’ll likely know that Panama is famous for its canal. But they may also think of Panama as a Central American “Banana Republic.” Nothing could be further than the truth, of course. Thanks to the Panama Canal, this has long been a destination for international business. So Panama has always focused more on its business infrastructure than on luring vacationers.
Hi, I’m Dan Prescher. Want a great example of how to move your family AND career to a tropical paradise? Look no further than Jason Holland, who lives and works in one of the most beautiful spots in Costa Rica with his wife and two young children. Jason made his move abroad in the middle of a job crisis, a world economic downturn AND the arrival of his second child…
Like many, I have said that someday I would like to write a book. The idea remained just that for years. There was never enough time to squeeze anything else into an already hectic schedule, making it easy to keep on postponing. As
soon as I made way for a new freer lifestyle, I decided to see if I could be a writer.
In December 2012, I was sitting in my beautiful waterfront apartment in Malta, a small, hidden gem of an island in the Mediterranean, drinking coffee while soaking up the stunning views. The turquoise waters were glistening from the warm, morning sun, pleasure boats everywhere. That view was also my office view.
I first discovered Paris while studying in London. One weekend spent exploring the city of light and I was smitten. Whenever an occasion arose, I would return, to walk the streets that spoke of history, to sit in the charming cafes and watch the passing of time, in this, the most beautiful city in the world. Yes, I dreamed to live there. One day.
On a lazy weekend afternoon when I was 13, I thumbed through my school geography text book, pausing from time to time to admire the amazing photographs of some of the wonders of the world. I was inspired. So began my dream fantasy to visit these wonderful places myself. Today that’s exactly what I do.
“Follies are the only things that one never regrets,” said Oscar Wilde. Agreed. But travel writers needn’t look far to find excuses for their follies. After all, writers have a reputation for eccentricity. Whatever bizarre situation you find yourself in—and if any awkward questions arise—you can always blame it on the job. Why were you buying contraband from gypsies in the Czech woods? (“It’s my job.”) How come you spent half the night in a Berlin anarchist squat? (“It’s my job.”)
Outside the window of the condo I was renting, two huge pelicans sat nodding in the sun. Or so it seemed. Because in an instant, and in perfect synchronicity, they leapt from their perch, pulled in their wings, and dove headfirst to the emerald water below. No small feat since we were 20 floors up. Hmm, I wondered, what’s for dinner? Because, as the pelicans know, these waters are rich with a choice of seafood or every kind.
Although we had never met, the young man on the phone asked if I could help him. He went on to explain that he was in his final year of medical school, had discovered he didn’t want to practice medicine and was purposely flunking out. “What does your family think about that?” I asked. He quietly told me that they had disowned him. We talked a bit longer and I asked him if he knew what he loved. “Yes,” he said, sounding instantly upbeat.
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.
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