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Old 08-23-2009, 02:03 PM   #41
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One thing I learned is that it is pretty hard to make local friends, beyond a very basic relationship, if you don't speak the same language. As a result, my life and type of friends (all locals) in Colombia are totally different than Thailand. (this is the big negative about Thailand, the difficulty of the language and the lack of English speakers)
HI Kramer!

Great to hear from you! I’m sure I owe you an email - somewhere in my inbox…

I have to agree with you here on this point. We’ve been going to Thailand since 1999 and even after all this time, most of our relationships with the Thai are filled with pleasantries and sign language. Sure Billy and I both speak some Thai, but not at your level.

There are many subtleties that are missed and downright basics too, when language still presents a barrier.

OTOH, our Spanish is much better and we have more Latin local friends in Mexico than our number ever was in Thailand. It’s easier to go from Mexican state to Mexican state and make friends or get settled. The culture is more similar as well, so there are fewer faux pas all the way around.
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Thailand is definitely the cheapest of Phils, Thailand, and Colombia and it is safer, too. Colombia is the most expensive and the least safe. But all these places are a lot cheaper than the USA. And transportation is so much easier and more efficient, not having to have a car.
Not needing to have a car is a big plus. We don’t drive in any of the foreign countries we visit, choosing to hire a driver or take public transport. The stress and cost are both less than in the States.
 
DougViages
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Next trip after Chile will be our first to Asia. Recommendations are welcome.
Asia is exotic on many levels - food, culture, language, religion, approach to life, etc. It’s such a ‘Wow’ when we go there.

We’ve spent most of our time in Thailand but have also enjoyed Vietnam, China and Laos as well. If you can get out into the smaller villages, you will be transported to a different time.
Depending on how long you will be overseas, you might also want to visit Australia or New Zealand.

 
Kramer
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One of the keys to being a perpetual traveler is low overhead. Since I don't maintain a house or apartment in any country when I am not there, my overhead is extremely low.


Kramer, that’s an excellent point and a very basic building block to making global living workable.

Best,

Akaisha
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:19 PM   #42
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Just want to say thanks for all those who took the time to update on the life as travellers. I do have a couple of questions for you all.
1. Do any of you blog where I can follow your adventures?
Our responses crossed each other when we were posting.

You can follow our adventures and take advantage of our Global Lifestyle Wisdom by going to Retire Early Lifestyle. Be sure to take a look at our Preferred Links Pages for a comprehensive list of websites that will help you, inform you, and entertain you on your journey to early retirement.

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2. Financially has your travelling cost more or less than you had budgeted?

We don’t really budget, but to date, we still spend well under $30k net annually. We could probably do it for less, and we certainly could do it for more!
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3. Can you see yourself doing this for years to come or do you expect at some time in the future settling down to suburban life?

Billy and I have been living this Global Resident Lifestyle since 1991. We see ourselves continuing this approach to life and living until we can no longer physically do it. We have groups of good friends in many places around the world, so each place feels like home. We will often stay a year at a time in a location so it’s not necessarily hectic and chaotic. We have the best of both worlds (traveling and staying put.)

Best,

Akaisha
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Old 08-23-2009, 03:33 PM   #43
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So how did we miss you? We were there from late Oct till just before Thanksgiving 2008, and then again for a week-and-half mid March this year.

We will be there again this November! We stop there in late fall because it is the peak of the butterfly season and DH goes crazy with the photography. A lot of famous butterfly gurus and photographers are there for the same reason so he also enjoys the company. Lots of unusual Mexican species seem to appear, blown in by the south winds? All these gurus get excited when something really rare shows up. He'll be out 8 hours a day sometimes chasing butterflies - gosh like a real job! We usually stay at least a month and he is still not ready to leave!

The native landscaping at Bensten Palm Village means a lot of butterflies right at the RV sites, and the State Park has an awesome butterfly garden and 1/2 mile down the road is the NABA International Butterfly Garden. The weather in Nov is very nice - tropical, balmy, but not too hot and not too windy!, and awesome sunsets. And few "winter texans" have arrived, so there are lots of open RV sites!

So - you see why we are repeat customers!!!! LOL!

Audrey

P.S. Thanks for the tip about Lake Superior. There are some other things we want to do in the general area. One of these years!

Funny. I was there most of March. I was up near the front entrance with the Lazy Daze, the only one I ever saw around there. I guess neither of us posted about it on here! November sounds wonderful there. I too enjoy the butterfly park.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:55 PM   #44
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Funny. I was there most of March. I was up near the front entrance with the Lazy Daze, the only one I ever saw around there. I guess neither of us posted about it on here! November sounds wonderful there. I too enjoy the butterfly park.
Wow - so sorry we missed you! We were in the 500 circle from 3/10 to 3/22. We walked or cycled into the park almost every morning and/or evening. A few mornings we went in really early to try to catch the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. So if you ran into a couple looking for that it might have been us! John is tall and usually has a camera belt around his waist and some type of leggings. We both usually wear long-sleeved nylon shirts and nylon pants plus "Tilly" hats. We talked to some folks birding there and staying at the same park but didn't catch any names.

After Bentsen we went to Brownsville for a week and South Padre Island where we ended up staying 2.5 weeks at a small county park on the beach. It was awesome.

Don't feel bad! When we were staying near XXXXX CA at XXXXXXXX RV Park for a whole month, we were only about 1/2 mile from TromboneAl's house, and had absolutely no idea! We found that out several months later.

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Old 08-23-2009, 06:51 PM   #45
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Don't feel bad! When we were staying near [poster edit] CA at [poster edit] RV Park for a whole month, we were only about 1/2 mile from TromboneAl's house, and had absolutely no idea! We found that out several months later.
Whoops, Al, once this word gets out, there goes the neighborhood...
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:14 PM   #46
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Whoops, Al, once this word gets out, there goes the neighborhood...
Yep.

Al, you can't blame this one on me.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:39 PM   #47
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Wow - so sorry we missed you! We were in the 500 circle from 3/10 to 3/22. We walked or cycled into the park almost every morning and/or evening. A few mornings we went in really early to try to catch the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. So if you ran into a couple looking for that it might have been us! John is tall and usually has a camera belt around his waist and some type of leggings. We both usually wear long-sleeved nylon shirts and nylon pants plus "Tilly" hats. We talked to some folks birding there and staying at the same park but didn't catch any names.

After Bentsen we went to Brownsville for a week and South Padre Island where we ended up staying 2.5 weeks at a small county park on the beach. It was awesome.



Audrey
Hey, half the people were wearing nylon shirts and pants and Tilly hats, me included I did get to see the Pygmy owl, pointed out by a volunteer. Now I am not remembering his name, but he was a retired school teacher and did the butterfly and dragonfly walks. A couple of times I went out in the early evening with a woman named Barbara Jean to listen to the owls and the nightjars.

After Bentsen I went up to Mustang Island. Lots of warblers and buntings coming through up there, it helped my education tremendously.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:02 PM   #48
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Sorry Al - didn't mean to spill the beans!

Audrey
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:43 PM   #49
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You didn't think that tromboning in the distance was unusual?
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by kramer
I have been in touch a bit with HaHa. I am going with the girlfriend's family tomorrow to the rich uncle's finca (vacation home) in the countryside, located about 30 minutes outside of the city.

Kramer


So how did he get rich?
Good question. He is a hitman (sicario) but I have heard he does ex-boyfriends for free as a favor to the family No, he owns a successful tire refabrication business. They take the old tires from trucks and put them through about a 15 step process to refurbish them. Then they resell the tires for about $250, as opposed to what the new ones sell for, about $550 (I am using a specific example that was explained to me).

I don't even know if this sort of extensive tire refurbishing is done in developed countries? I am figuring it is only possible in developing countries because labor is cheap (it is a labor intensive process) and safety standards are lower in developing countries.

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Old 08-23-2009, 10:47 PM   #51
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Senor K,

Bon chance, mon ami.

I wish you well.

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Old 08-24-2009, 12:06 AM   #52
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Just want to say thanks for all those who took the time to update on the life as travellers.

I do have a couple of questions for you all.

1. Do any of you blog where I can follow your adventures?

2. Financially has your travelling cost more or less than you had budgeted?

3. Can you see yourself doing this for years to come or do you expect at some time in the future settling down to suburban life?
I blogged for the first 8 months or so but I just got too busy and I am not a big picture taker. I tell friends and family that if they want to know details, then come visit me! And several have done just that. In fact, my mom came to Thailand to visit me for a month and says next time she wants to come for 2 months!

My travel has cost about 25% less than I originally anticipated, if I remember my pre-travel budgets correctly. I basically eat all my meals out, go out for entertainment a lot, and so I could easily cut back (although I drink very little, a lot of expats spend a lot on liquor!). I track my spending by adding up my ATM withdrawals and fixed expenses. I average my flights and transport costs over the length of my trip. I actually spend less in the USA than in my travels since I am mostly resting there and helping family and not going out to eat so much. Basically, when I am in the USA my life is not as interesting, there are less activities, my standard of living is lower, and things are a lot less convenient (things are spread out, transport is harder).

As for the future, I am not sure at this point. It has been way better than I could have dreamed, up to this point. I am concerned that a lot of my activities are centered around being single and also being younger (I am 43). I had a girlfriend in Thailand and one now in Colombia. I am not sure how a real long term relationship could work. In fact, I just had a talk with my GF about this this weekend, who has known everything about me, within reason, from the beginning. And I am not sure how my social life would be in Colombia if I hadn't met my girlfriend, for instance (and what would it be like for a 58 year old single guy, for instance?). It is easier in Thailand, since I am friends with so many other expats there.

Surprisingly, I don't miss home in the USA. I don't miss any particular things about the USA when I am traveling except for the people that I know and maybe the great Mexican food.

Kramer
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #53
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Surprisingly, I don't miss home in the USA. I don't miss any particular things about the USA when I am traveling except for the people that I know and maybe the great Mexican food.

Kramer
This is so true for us. We are long term expats, I remember the first years as soon as I touched down in Sydney I would head straight to the snack machine for a packet of twisties and every lunch time during my stay I would consume a meat pie. Years later, I barely give these things a thought even when I am there.

The other thing we have noticed is we have become more disconnected from our fellow Aussies. Even though we share a sense of humour and will always be Australian no matter where we live, just the day to day life does not interest us.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:13 PM   #54
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You didn't think that tromboning in the distance was unusual?
If I had heard it, I might have investigated!

OR

You mean that wasn't the rare and endangered Redwoods Owl?

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Old 08-24-2009, 09:54 PM   #55
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You mean that wasn't the rare and endangered Redwoods Owl?
It may have been the exceedingly rare Tree Octopus.
Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:50 AM   #56
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I think it is important to pick a "home base" in a country that is centrally located in the continent you are interested in exploring. I prefer to live in the "Capitol city" as I lived in NYC most my life and become easily bored in the "sticks".

Large cities usually have the best /low cost "air service" to your own as well as surrounding countries. Road travel can be quite dangerous (especially buses)and although I have a car, I limit trips to less than 5 hours away.

Large cities will generally offer the best medical care in the event of an emergency.

International "health insurance" is major consideration as "air lifts" can easily exceed 50k. Most of us find it is cheaper to purchase that overseas as well.

Maintaining a "home base" overseas is cost effective either on a solo or shared basis. Some guys will rent an apartment and "sublet" to friends when not in town.

I think for most, Once you are awakened to the possibilities and opportunities, your life is forever changed and it is difficult to return to "normal life".

My friends "twitter" and are asking me to join "facebook" but I have no interest (other than being friends).

Although I must travel back stateside once or twice a year, I can't say I miss much and get that itch to leave again after a few days.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:33 AM   #57
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We cruised on a sailboat for 18 months, then traveled full time for 4 years. We found that our expense estimates were fine, even for such a wildly different lifestyle as cruising. I suspect that anybody prudent enough to FIRE can project travel expenses accurately enough to not get into trouble.

There are aspects of travel that make controlling expenses easier. If your spending starts to get out of hand, you can just go to someplace cheaper. Lack of knowledge is the big problem with travel. The internet helps a lot, but you still end up occasionally over-paying just because you don't know any better. When we arrived in a big, expensive city we would often stay at a "nice" place for a night or two, then move to cheaper digs (that still met our safety and cleanliness standards) after we scoped out the area.

You can take this to hilarious extremes. We once followed a two week stay in Cusco where we paid $75/week for an apartment with a 27 day cruise on the Prinsendam where the suggested gratuity was $70/week each. They were both wonderful.

For us, the key to making full-time travel possible was selling our house. Every dollar not spent on insurance, taxes, and upkeep is a dollar available for travel. I can't recommend this for everybody though: selling your home and belongings is traumatic.

We have since settled down, but in the inner city and not the suburbs. We are renting a small apartment near downtown in a "cool" neighborhood that we could never afford to buy into. We will probably buy a condo eventually.

We worried a lot about embarking on such a radical adventure, but it all worked out... and we are not any smarter or more knowledgeable than anybody else.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:45 AM   #58
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For us, the key to making full-time travel possible was selling our house. Every dollar not spent on insurance, taxes, and upkeep is a dollar available for travel. I can't recommend this for everybody though: selling your home and belongings is traumatic.

We have since settled down, but in the inner city and not the suburbs. We are renting a small apartment near downtown in a "cool" neighborhood that we could never afford to buy into. We will probably buy a condo eventually.

We worried a lot about embarking on such a radical adventure, but it all worked out... and we are not any smarter or more knowledgeable than anybody else.
Interesting to hear about your adventures. However, I have to agree with you, that for PT to really work it seems that it has worked best for those who have been able to pare there belongings. This is something that DH and I have been discussing, as we have far too much "stuff", none of which really matters in the big picture of life. Problem with "stuff" is it ends up owning you and not the other way around.

Curious as to why you decided to settle down? How did you find it socially being away? Have you managed to slot back in with old friends or did your adventures change your radically?
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:24 PM   #59
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Curious as to why you decided to settle down? How did you find it socially being away? Have you managed to slot back in with old friends or did your adventures change your radically?
A combination of the market downturn and health issues made settling down seem a good idea. And, surprise!, we have enjoyed being back. We never really lost touch with our friends. While traveling we sent almost daily emails with photos. (Most recently, from our iPhone. I wouldn't travel without it. My SO once paid our AmEx bill while in the middle of the Drake Passage.) During our travels we returned to Austin 4 or 5 times a year and stayed with friends, while being careful not to wear out our welcome.

Austin is completely different to us now that we are retired. We treat it like a resort (OK, it is really too hot now, but what place is perfect?) We have the time to shop when stores are not crowded and take advantage of everything the city has to offer. We can walk to almost everything, so we avoid Austin's awful traffic.

We seriously looked a place with better weather to settle in, but in the end, being close to our friends won out.
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:18 PM   #60
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It may have been the exceedingly rare Tree Octopus.
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