How much money do you need to live abroad?

 In Travel

I get asked often… “so how do I make the money to support myself and travel at the same time?”

I got a call from Geoff, one of my old time friends in Adelaide, Australia. He to asked me about how I’m actually doing this “laptop lifestyle” or “digital nomad” thing. The last time I saw Geoff was a year ago, he was exhausted from working non-stop for years, business, mortgage, etc… and he was super keen to free up his life a year ago!

One of the things I often suggest as a first step is to get a taste of a different way of living. Relocate somewhere low cost and super easy to live, like Chiang Mai in Thailand, or San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and try out a new lifestyle for a couple of months.

Both those places are hot destinations for expats looking for something exotic, but with most of the comforts of home.

You can save around 75% of your living costs in these kind of places. And because they are filled with expats, they are very traveller friendly.

And so that’s what I told Geoff to do about a year ago.
Take 1-2 months out and try it, see if you like it.

Why do I think it’s so important to get out of living in a super expensive country, and try some place completely different?

Because in the past 12 months Geoff hasn’t progressed his plan very far. He’s still in Australia, he’s still stuck paying his mortgage, all his insurances, all his bills… nothing has changed!

I know how hard it is to break free from that. That’s why I suggested just taking a few weeks or a month or 2 out and breaking free, even if just for a little while.

The main reason to do this is, its’ very difficult, if not near impossible, to actually create freedom for yourself while you are actually living in an expensive Western country.

All your time gets chewed up just making ends meat and paying the bills.
There’s very little head space for being creative and working on the projects that would actually set you free.

How do I know… because I’ve been there!

Now I know this sounds almost impossible, but in Chiang Mai you can rent a brand new, modern, full facility studio apartment with a gym and pool for about $1,500 A YEAR. Yes… a year!

Then add to that about $7 a day for eating out 3 quality meals, you never have to cook or clean, and you’ve got a budget of around $200 a month, $2,400 a year for food! Plus the $1,500 for the rent. Then add in some extras… and I’m telling you that you can live very very well for between $5,000-$10,000 per year in an amazing exotic location like Chiang Mai in Thailand.

So imagine if you were to save up $7,000 and move there for a year. Yes you’d have to cross a border every 3 months – but it’s not hard to go visit beautiful countries like Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia for a couple of days.

If you want to see a map of the world that compares the cost of living, check it out.

And in that same year that you’d take off, you’d have the space to learn, test and create a number of online businesses and find one that works!

Hey, with $15,000 saved up, you could take 2 years out (maybe 3 if you prepared to trim back) to do nothing else but learn about what it takes to create an online business by actually doing it! You’d give yourself the space to make the mistakes. Even if you launched 5 different businesses over that time, you’d find something that would work!

And once you find what works, and you start making $500-$1,000 per month, you’re set. You can continue to live like a king or queen in these type of countries, without all the crazy expenses of living in places like Australia or the US or Europe.

Now compare that to what you have to make when you live in one of these expensive countries! You can’t even get you’re head above water to think straight about what kind of online business to build without having to work like crazy.

And even if you’re clear on what to do, do have the time to actually do it? Not likely.

I couldn’t do it. I had all my projects half done. I was too busy just getting by to get them finished. That’s why I left, to give myself the space and time to work on the projects that would create the sustainable income that would enable me to continue to live a free life.

In total contrast to Geoff, my other friend Roger who was also living in Adelaide for 12 years, got tired of it and wanted to get back to NYC. So one day, without any planning or prep, he just left. Roger just walked out the door in May from his house in Adelaide, leaving his place exactly as it was. He was tired of it all. Since then he’s been living in NYC and creating his dream business!

I’m not recommending that kind of drastic action… but it’s an interesting story to think about!

So if you haven’t moved yourself very far with your goals of being free in the past 12 months… and if things look as difficult as they did this time last year, when is it actually going to be a good time to try something new?

Does everything have to line up perfectly before you can set yourself free?

As we get closer to this new years eve, think back over this past year and see just how far have you actually gotten in creating incomes that will set you free, rather than keep you tied down.

Remember, not all money is equal. Some comes with strings. Some ties you down. And some actually hurts. My advice, always aim for the money that enables you be free and feel good.

And if you find yourself stuck… perhaps it’s not your fault.
Perhaps it’s not that you’re lazy, un-focused or ill informed.

Perhaps it’s just that you’re not living in a supportive situation (location) that will enable you to fly and set yourself free.

Because there really are other alternatives.
There really are so many other options these days, you just need to look.

Now… coming up I’ve got a lot more to share to help you do this!

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