Living Abroad Part-Time – Part 1
I’m super excited to talk about this. Today is the first installment in a series where I discuss the concept of living a 100% location independent lifestyle, something I discuss in my book.
This series will not specifically be about traveling. Of course travel is a very strong component of this, and we’ll be talking about it a lot, but the issue of travel is a slightly different topic than what I’ll be detailing here.
This series will not specially be about living aboard or expatriation. That usually means you move from your country and permanently settle in a different country. I will be doing this (or a variation of this) in about 10 years, but this is still not what I’m talking about.
This series will also not specifically be about vagabonding or perpetual traveler. These concepts are very similar to what I’ll be discussing, but not quite. Perpetual traveler means you are literally traveling all the time, never settling in one place for more than a few weeks or months. This is very cool, and I salute men with the balls to live this kind of lifestyle. However a perpetual traveler has no “nest” or “home base,” and based on my age, lifestyle, personality, and the fact that I have children (and in the next decade, grandchildren), I still need a solid home base (even if I’m absent from that home often).
This series is about living abroad part-time. I shall explain.
Years ago, Tim Ferris introduced us to the concept of what he called mini-retirements. The idea is that it’s stupid to wait until your old age to retire. Instead, you should go live abroad for a month or two at a time and relax, or “retire,” then come back home and keep working. You should do this regularly. Of course this assumes you have a financial structure conducive to A) having location independent income and B) having a somewhat minimalist lifestyle, and C) being able to take a lot of time off without losing your regular income.
This is a fantastic idea and I agreed with it wholeheartedly at the time. The problem is that I didn’t like the idea of taking a “month off” my life. I know from experience that whenever I’ve taken a lot of time off from my work or my life, especially when I take a long trip, some or all of the following problems occur:
- I get behind on projects, both work-related and non-work-related, that are very important to me and my happiness.
- I start to feel listless, like I’m not doing the best I can. I like to work. Work makes me happy. Taking a few days off is great, and necessary for productivity. But if I take too much time off, my happiness suffers, at least a little.
- I fall behind on my Mission, at least a little. This is unacceptable.
- Perhaps worst of all, I gain weight.
Therefore, the new concept I’ve been operating under is:
1. My income (or the vast majority of it) is 100% location independent, thus I can live and work anywhere in the world I choose.
2. Whenever I travel, I play/relax and work. Both.
3. The costs of travel are either very negotiable or free because I will be generating income while I travel.
4. When I travel, even if gone for a very long time, all of my regular projects, tasks, work, and goals (including non-work goals, like fitness goals) are still worked on and improved, just as if I wasn’t traveling at all. In other words, I’m “living” just the same as if I was home, with no difference, other than I happen to be physically located in a different city.
So when I’m gone for a week, two weeks, or a month (like my upcoming trip to Asia which will be 27 days), I’m not on “vacation” nor a “mini-retirement.” I’m also not on a “business trip.” I’m just living my normal life, just as I always do, while physically located in a different city from my home base in USA Pacific Northwest. I’ve decompartmentalized the concept of “work” and “vacation” (decompartmentalization a key business concept I learned from the amazing Alan Weiss).
When I travel, my daily and weekly life and work routines are the same. So even if I’m gone for a month, when I return back home, I have still made all my usual money, lost all my usual weight, and am not behind on any important projects.
It’s true that when I’m traveling I’ll be a little more relaxed and won’t work the usual amount of hours per week I usually work, since I’ll be out seeing the sights and doing fun stuff. That’s okay. The point is the overall routine is not disrupted, key projects critical to my happiness and Mission are still getting done, and money is still being made.
That’s why most people who can afford it still don’t travel very often. They just don’t know how to integrate being gone for two weeks (or longer) into their lifestyle. Living the Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle, this is already all taken care of for me. The only thing left is a shift in mindset, which is what I’ve been working on over the last two years or so.
A great mini-example is one of the experiments I did this year where I went to Vegas while still maintaining all of my work and fitness goals. As I reported here, that experiment was a huge success. After that, I was in Washington DC for almost three weeks, and during that time I not only lost weight, but also increased my income, all as if I had never left home. Next up will be the month-long trip to Asia starting the 19th of this month. During that month away, I intend on continuing to lose weight, maintain all of my business projects, and grow my income, as always. I will also be doing extra things on the trip that will pay for most or all of my travel costs, rending my travel costs zero (or close to it).
If your real travel costs are zero, and your fitness, personal life, and income doesn’t suffer in any way when you travel, regardless of how long you’re gone, then you can literally travel whenever you want, whenever you want, and be gone for as long as you like. Literally! If you still want to maintain a nest or home base as I do, you can still do that. This is “living abroad part-time,” and what I’ll be discussing in detail over the next several blog posts in this series.
Here’s how I’m doing it:
1. Starting in 2015, I will be living abroad for one month, twice a year. Around April of every year, I’ll be gone, living abroad for one month. Then I’ll come back to my home base, then do it again around October. I will be doing this every year until around 2025.
2. In addition, and as always, I will also be sporadically visiting various nearby cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico whenever I feel like it. I will be focusing on my favorite US cities (Vegas, San Diego, Miami, etc) but will be visiting many new cities as well (I have a list).
What will I do after 2025? At that point, all I’ll do is move my home base from the US to some other country outside of the Western world (which sadly is on its way out). I will still be in the US a lot, since the US will just be another place I “live abroad part-time.” There will be no difference in the annual routine; just my home base will have changed location.
I was in Washington DC recently for three weeks, and next I’ll be in Asia for one month. During that time I will “living” in these cities:
Hong Kong (also visiting Shenzen, Macau, and possibly Guangzhou) – one week
Singapore (also visiting Kuala Lumpur) – one week
Sydney – 4 days
Melbourne – 4 days
Fiji – 3 days
I will be documenting here how I’ll be preparing for the trip, living and maintaining my life while on the trip, and planning the next month-long trips for around April next year (which will be Southern Europe) and around October next year (probably Asia again or Dubai).
More to come.