Live Abroad or in US for Cheap


Ack! Recently, the stocks market has been up. The FED is expected to raise rate, and some sectors are entering the bear. I’m waiting for the bear, for that I’m building my cash position. I’ve been working on a few articles, I’ve been trying to link them to make them flow more fluidly.

Okay, back to Retirement Destination for Cheap. Recently, I was reading an article on GoCurryCracker, they advertised the Changmai apartment for $375, and $1 for pad thai, etc. It sounds very affordable.

Why you shouldn’t do it?

  1. Miss the early earning and compounding years. In our 20s, we should work hard to obtain a college education, get on the jobs and hustle hard. Use the money to invest. Compound interest is a great way to accumulate wealth, the earlier you invest, the earlier you can obtain wealth. You don’t really want to waste your younger years just to make end meets at these free options. In your 20s, that’s where you should do the bulk of the work to accumulate wealth.
  2. Don’t have a coming back plan or option. When you come back from these trips, you should have enough to afford basic American lifestyle. You don’t want the trolls to laugh at you when you come back broke. You don’t want to be stuck in the situation where you are too old to be hired, too young to retire. 😛

Why you should do it?

  1. Why wait until your net worth to grow an arbitrary $1M, $3M or $10M before pulling the trigger? Why not drop everything at $200K? Dividend Portfolio can yield 4%. That’s $8000/year. That’s $667/month. With some small jobs, you can make living aboard work, while allowing your portfolio to continue to grow if you can get Room and Board close to free.
  2. Experience different culture, food, scenery, life outside of America, or even exploring all of America is cool.
  3. Miss the golden age. With a blink of an eye, I was 17 years old, now, I’m 34 years old. I’m afraid if I blink again, I’ll be 68 years old. I don’t want to regret not trying anything.
  4. My biology teacher once told me, she traveled to Africa, some people in the group couldn’t *poop for a whole week because they don’t have the modern toilet. You have to learn to adapt early, traveling to a third world country is the best way to learn to be humble, to really appreciate what luxury we have in America.

So I did my searches. Here are what I found:

  1. Live In The South Of France and Get Paid 500 Euro/Month
    This Runaway Retreat is Antibes, France

    faire du camping in antibes france

Room and Board: Campsite. Temperature can go down to the O degree Celcius, so 6 months of summer, maybe? You can eat for free at local social service, or cook your own at camp.

Bathroom: Shower on the Beach

Excursions: Beach, walking, hiking, boating

Making Money: Hustle to work on a Yatch and boat, odd jobs.


Tutor English To A Family In France -This position you have to apply for it. But it’s worth a chance. :P. Position is for 1, 2, or 3 months. I guess, you move from family to family?!!
Experience life in France and immerse yourself deep into the French culture. Live with a host family and tutor them in conversational English up to 15 hours a week in exchange for free room and board, making this one of the best volunteer abroad opportunities possible. Spend your free time experiencing the culture by traveling and exploring the area. This program has a focus on cultural exchange and host families are not only excited to learn English but also love to share the characteristics of their country, culture and cuisine.
Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free
  2. WOOFING (
  7. SERVAS (

There are some volunteer position you can take:

  1. Conservation Volunteers, Australia and New Zealand
  2. Appalachian Trail Conservancy, USA – maintain trails, it’s a very scenic trail in on the East Coast
  3. Sudan Volunteer Program, Sudan – teach English in Sudan, but there are also country like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, China, etc.
  4. Peace Corps, Worldwide – One of my ex-roommate used to work for the Peace Corps, she had a great time. She wants to get back into doing it once she has some money saved up after she get back from the Corps.
  5. Plum Village – Buddhist Monastery. You can camp or share some small cabin with other people. The work program can go 3-5 years, or you can apply for a short term program

**Some of these places, you’re required to do some work in exchange for room and board. You can learn more from here

Retire In Vietnam With $200,000 Of Savings? Rent in Vietnam can be $150/mon, food, transportation can go another $150-$350, depending on how luxurious you want.
Live in Thailand on $500 per month – This couple spent about $650 per month in Chiang Mai and a trip to Bangkok. I think the key is cost of living is less expensive when you share with people.
Here is a summary of their expenses in Thailand for 2 months including 7 days in Bangkok, which is much more expensive.
  • Rent $630
  • Hotel (6 nights in Bangkok) = $180
  • Return Airfare: Bangkok to Chiang Mai $280 for 2 people
  • Thai 60 Day Visa for two: $80
  • Food and Entertainment: $1141
  • Local Transportation: $124
  • Other: $305

You can feel down, and the world might look like it is collapsing, but there are always choices and things you can do for relatively with little or no money spent. Any of these options sound like an epic adventure to me. :P.

The million dollars question is “Would I do it now?” I probably can. But I won’t for now. Two big reasons:

Both Mr. and I have elderly parents. Mr. WRI’s Mom health condition isn’t very good. It is our responsibility to take care of our parents. Short trips are okay for now, but we can’t take months on out.

When we went to Puerto Rico, we saw some beach bums, that are either too poor or have no money to go back to their country. I don’t want to be in that position. I know I have the money to retire, but I’m someone who is more comfortable if I have a clear plan.


Update on Rental: 

  1. I’ve install a new commercial grade gutter and gutter guard on both my properties. So, I’ll save $140 x 2 per year on gutter cleaning. And any additional damage due to water not draining property.

What drama?

  • I asked the guy to do it, he keeps stalling, and stalling, either because of rain or his other boss take priority before my property. I was excruciatingly painful to deal with the ordeal
  • There is some movement on my roof. I’m going to have to spend extra money to jack it up and brace it. Getting ready for the stormy snowy season in the Northeast. Yikes!

2. One of the unit, one tenant is graduating, so she wants to sublet her room. One thing having a property with good fengshui is people advance faster. When they do, they want to move on. 😛 The dilemma is the roommates want another student to move in, and they want to choose their own roommate. But they haven’t gotten any luck, and they were concern that the girl is listing an ads on Craigslist. I haven’t heard back, as it is still a month away from her moving out. The roommates want the girl to honor the whole lease, as it is to their incentive having less people in the apartment.

Update on Vacations: We will take three vacations for this winter-spring.

One of the thing on my bucket list is to learn to ski. For the first time in my life, I would like to embracing the winter to its fullest – the snow, the cold, and the sports of the winter. Yes, I’m tired of scraping off snow off my car, or having making snow each time I breathe out. I take it if I embracing it, maybe the winter would go away faster? Maybe? 😛

So for this, we will take two long weekend trips. I’d like to buy the season pass, and spend the long weekends until we “master” skiing. (*I use master loosely, as for us, our goal is probably not to fall down, and ski in straight lines, have some control when we make turn. That’s it!!)


Photo Credit:

One trip to Caribbean Islands – I don’t know which island yet. My wishlist includes Grand Cayman, Belize, Dominican Republic, Sint Maarten (if I make it here, I’ll take day trip to see surrounding islands) as I can’t shop for airline ticket ahead of time as the tickets are still in the $600 minimum, last year we scored the Puerto Rico ticket for below $300. I’d like the same equal deal, perhaps?! Crossing my fingers. I’m learning French, according to, I’m progressing at 44% fluency. (I’m still not comfortable yet, still struggling with the French “R”. I’ve been watching French movies, tv show, listening to song, read children stories, subscribe to Francophone bloggers. The next step is to go to French speaking country such as Sint Maarten to practice.




Would you try any of these option? Have you back pack to Europe or to South America, Asia or Africa before? 




  1. Sounds like you have a great plan there – skiing, vacation in Caribbean. Fun. I remember the first year I tried skiing I spent all the time on the baby hill just falling and getting up. Did not like it at all….but eventually got a good hang of it.


    • R2R,
      A little R and R will keep us motivated to keep cranking for passive income, right?

      Rabbit hill is probably where I’d spend most of my time too 🙂 Man, you must be an advance skier by now, I wish to get some pointer from you if we live closeby. That way, we can save $100 for ski lesson 🙂

      we’ll see how this one will go. I don’t like the cold weather and the entourage that comes with it, but this year, I’ll embrace it to the fullest. LOL 🙂

  2. Learning how to ski is a great idea: it’s like cycling, once you learn you never forget. It can be tough on the body if you do not regularly exercise, but I’d have to say this is probably my favorite sport!
    Backpacking is also something that I’m glad I did when I was younger, through parts of Europe and Asia, and it was always a wonderful life experience to see how people are happy with a tenth of what you have. But as soon as you get married and have kids, this whole concept of backpacking becomes somewhat tricky.
    I think going abroad for retirement is a great idea and that is probably what I’ll end up doing. We will plan to retire comfortably in the US or Europe, but having a house by the beach in Mexico is a very tempting idea.
    In any case, that’s a great way to keep motivated to reach FI!

    • TMM,
      Traveling when you were younger probably make it easier for you to live frugally so you can save the bulk of your money to invest.

      Experience third world country or country with less amenity outside of America can really put us in perspective. Mr. and I probably have to try camping in America first before “backpacking” anywhere outside of America. As much as I brag about being frugal and leading a frugal lifestyle, we are kind of brats and high maintenance. 🙂 I’m just hoping my learning curve is not as wide, and I’d soon get used to it. LOL 🙂

  3. I’ve been to Belize and I thought it was great! I didn’t stay in a tourist area though, I had been for work a few times and knew of some rentals at very low cost outside the tourist area. If you’ve scuba dived or have any interest Belize has great spots. Which reminds me Malta is pretty cool too, also with great scuba diving. Malta is a great place to visit.

    • Staying out of the tourist areas is the best kind of traveling. I’d love to do it. I checked out the pictures of Malta. Wow, beautiful place!! I can only dream of going there. For now our short vacation of 10 days, I don’t want to spend the majority of the time on the plane or adjusting back to the time changes. Maybe in the next few years when we’re settling down. But I’ll add Malta on my bucket list!

      Do you have a post on Malta?? I’d love to read more about real life traveling experience.

      • Sorry, but I don’t have a post on Malta. I was there for roughly 6 weeks for work during the filming of a movie. I worked as a bodyguard and was fortunate to spend time in several countries while working that job. As far as real life experience the thing that stands out in my memory from Malta was that they eat a lot of “rabbit” there, because most food is flown in and they don’t have farming – cattle, chickens, etc. so they raise rabbits for food. Strange piece of information I know, but something you probably wouldn’t see in a travel brochure.

  4. Nice vacation plans! And very noble of you to take care of elderly parents. Good karma will reach back to you in your time of need.

    As regards the “live abroad for cheap”, I have a cautionary tale. A friend went on a multi-month back packing trip to South America with base of operations being a town near a major city…awesome experience for first couple weeks and suddenly his wife got sick. The locals and my friend could not communicate properly and where they could, the local doctors had no idea what they were dealing with. The wife was the local language expert (more than my friend). So, after a stressful couple of days and some wonderful help by the locals, he managed to rent a van and drove all the way back to a big city and the doctors barely got his wife out of the woods…some kind of insect bite leading to some nasty reactions. One could argue that he should have had access to his personal van, learnt the language fluently, etc etc but then is such a life a simpler one? cheaper one? The risk reward ratio seems skewed towards a high risk scenario.

    When things go well, any country int the world looks cheap and looks good. But, when things go bad, it still can be made cheaper, but is it worth it? The younger one is, the greater the ability to handle risks…so, perhaps, one should live abroad cheaply when one young and healthy and more importantly when one has less liabilities.

    I like your idea of short trips and also your method of learning French (local language) before a stay in France…atleast you give yourself a better risk-reward ratio. Once you visit a few times and reduce the risk, then longer term visits would make sense to me. Ofcourse, knowing somebody local helps enormously but that is another big dependency.

    Hope that helps.

    • We have to repay our debts to our parents. My Mum passed away when I was 13 yo. Mr. WRI’s Dad passed away when he was 9 yo. So both my Dad and his Mum were playing Mom and Dad rolls. They scarified so much for us to be here. Both of our parents were working into their 80s. I like the idea of having multi-generations in the same household. We’ll see how it would work out for us.

      The story of the couple above is true. I definitely use it as a reminder. Thank you for sharing.

      We might have to face it somehow. That’s why it is difficult to leave a job with great benefit. In fact, majority of people couldn’t retire early because they don’t want to give up health insurance benefit. On top of language barrier, etc. We are all stuck in the job that paying us too little to retire early, too good to give up. That’s why secondary income or tertiary income come in. The point of early retirement should be we’ll be able to afford American lifestyles should we decide to be in America. The whole point is to be location independence.

    • Do I hear you’ve just bought a rental? Congrats, bro!! It’s a lot of work but it’s also very rewarding. The number of hours would be less than what I spend at my full time job, but the money is equally as good if not more per hour! I’m looking forward to your write up on rental.

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