Ready to travel the World? Is it time to find that new, exotic place to live and settle down for a while? Or maybe it is time to do a first trip to test out the waters of a possible location for short or long term living or retirement?
The very first thing we must do is narrow down the near infinite destinations that we could travel to as somewhere we might live (if even for a short period of time). Even before that, you have to have taken the steps to have the available money and/or income to do so, the beginning steps are discussed here and here. Of course, you could just stay at home and watch episodes of House Hunters International (which my wife and I watch religiously), and choose whatever looks good. Mind you, the information presented in that show is definitely biased (why does everyone always want an American style mega-mansion?), often over-priced, and sometimes straight out fictional. Although it is a fun show to watch, with some completely ridiculous expectations and inevitable relationship breakdowns, it is not the best source of solid information for living overseas.
So where can we start?
There are a lot of different websites out there that give you pointers on how to be more frugal and save more money – and we will definitely do that in the near future. However, a good place to start is at the beginning of our journey, and what steps we took here at Marco Polo Money to pay off $40,000 in 1 year and 8 months (20 months).
But first a bit of background. We had left Taiwan in 2010, after living a very lavish lifestyle there where we would think nothing of dropping a couple of hundred dollars (CAN$) on a night out and do twice yearly multi-week long trips to tropical resorts where I would scuba dive ( a very expensive sport)! After a family health crisis, we left Taiwan in May of 2010 with $20,000 in debt. Upon arriving back in Canada, I found an entry level city job in a couple of months. It had great potential for long term growth, but I wasn’t making much above minimum wage at the time ($12/hour to start). My wife went back to school and we were very quickly living beyond our means. This wasn’t due to going out to eat all the time or anything, it was using the credit card to buy groceries and clothing. This was made even worse by the birth of our son in 2011 – who we loved to bits, but babies are expensive! In a 3 and a half year period (where I continued to work at the entry level job, but was constantly applying for a better one), we managed to add another $20,000 in debt. Things were bad, very bad and we needed to do something!
Sitting on white sand beaches, eating exotic curries, sipping a delicious cocktail, surfing on perfect waves, exploring picturesque mountaintops – all of these things are available to you. The best part is that these places do not have to be a once in a lifetime dream vacation either, once you have achieved a very moderate level of savings, living in your dream vacation home can be a daily reality.
In almost half of the world, living on under $30000 US ($37000 CAN) for a couple per year will give you a very decent lifestyle. Will this be drinking champagne and eating caviar every night? No, it most definitely will not. But will it be cutting coupons and eating cat-food to survive? It won’t be that either (not even close!)! In fact, many people are surprised at what level of comfort that $30000 US brings, and that it is on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to living overseas.