Next February will mark three years since we sold our business and left Japan. It seems like such a long time since we first made the one year plan to change countries and careers back in 2009. Here is an update on what is happening in our lives and some of the lessons learned over the past few years.
Today, we’ll be headed back to Asia for the winter. We will spend most of our time in Chiang Mai again, but also have some shorter trips planned to Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and possibly some other nearby countries. This will probably be our last trip to Asia for a while, as we haven’t been to Europe for a couple of years and we still haven’t made it South of Mexico.
This website has finally gotten a redesign. You’ll notice (I hope) that the site is simplified to make it easier to navigate and find past content. It is not 100% finished yet, but I wanted to get it up before I leave. I’ve lost the count of the Twitter shares, but everything else seems to have went well in the migration.
I’ve been blogging for four …
The current summary tag line of this site is “Celebrating Global Citizens in Search of an Excellent Life.” The pursuit of a better life has been an important focus for me over the last few years, there is an important question which I haven’t really addressed to any great extent – what is an excellent life? What does it take to be successful, fulfilled or personally satisfied in life?
On your deathbed, when you look back on your life, will you be happy with what you’ve accomplished? That is the ultimate question most of us will ask ourselves. The problem is that the question is too often asked when it is far too late to do anything about it.
Travel and living abroad are fantastically enriching experiences on many levels, however, I don’t travel to make the world a better place. I do it entirely to satisfy my own interests.
I also enjoy playing guitar, reading, exercising, eating and other activities that are of no benefit to the outside world. I think that is okay, we all need to follow our own interests and do the things that bring us happiness, but I believe there is …
Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job and selling everything to move to paradise? Nadine Hays Pisani and her husband did exactly that and are now living in Costa Rica on $1000 per month. Paradise doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may think. Nadine shares her story in this interview.
I moved to Costa Rica four years ago. We only traveled here a few times before deciding we wanted to retire there. We didn’t know anyone, just knew that this was the type of lifestyle we were dreaming about. It was a big leap of faith but thankfully it worked out.
We didn’t do too much planning. We sold everything and figured we could live for 10 years on our savings. It was important to have enough money that we were not rushing into any businesses since we knew nothing about how to set up one in Costa Rica. By taking our time, we were able to see where different opportunities exist. I think that’s the most important thing about moving to a foreign country, not rushing into anything.
I have written previously about how my wife and I need routine in our lives. While it is great to live in new countries, constant travel is very time-consuming and stressful. We have been consider setting up roots again and having a more stable lifestyle.
The big problem with settling down is that it costs a lot of money. It actually costs a huge amount of money to have a normal western lifestyle.
Here is a rough breakdown of monthly expenses that we would expect to incur if we permanently relocated to my home city of Calgary.
We don’t have to spend that much money of course, but it is hard not to when all of your peer group does. Expenses of $5,000 per month are normal for a professional couple in Calgary. It doesn’t matter how independently minded you think you are, we are all influenced by society, …
Don’t have enough money to travel? Raam Dev went on a six month trip after bankruptcy, living on about $500 per month. He then went on to coordinate an ebook, Small Ways to Make a Big Difference, with 40 contributing authors that has been downloaded 27,000 times. He is another great example of what can be accomplished with the right mindset, talent and hardwork. Raam Dev is a fantastic writer with thoughtful and inspiring blog posts. I highly recommend subscribing to his blog at raamdev.com.
In my late teens I decided to skip college and focus on building a career in the IT industry. Self-directed education wasn’t new to me: I had been home-schooled my entire childhood and began teaching myself at the 8th grade when my parents became too busy with the growing family business.
Technology has always come naturally for me so a career in the IT industry seemed like the best opportunity. I have since held titles like Lead Support Engineer and Software Developer. Although technology is what I’m good at, what I truly love is spending time outdoors, exploring the natural world, and traveling.
For most of my life, …
I have been back in my home country of Canada for about four months, now I have two more weeks to go before I leave again. It has been great to be back home, but I think I enjoyed it more because I know it is not permanent. My wife and I have not made any roots and have not anchored ourselves to a lifestyle we don’t want. The greatest insight I have discovered is that life is fantastic.
Sometimes it is easy to forget just how good we have it. Several friends and relatives have recently undergone major medical surgeries. I have heard many complaints about how far they had to drive to get to the hospital, how long the waiting lists were to get a hospital bed, how many times their surgeries had been postponed, how late the doctor was, etc.
I understand people under-going life threatening operations are under huge amounts of stress and want to get out the hospital as soon as possible, however I think they may be over-looking how lucky they are to be in a rich developed country with amazing technological advances and medical knowledge. Canadians in particular should …
I am constantly discovering people who are not happy with their careers and are looking for something more interesting to do with their lives. Jason Demant and Sharon Duckworth are two people that share my philosophy on life. The time to experience life and travel the world is now. As Jason and Sharon have found, once you begin you may never want to go back. They share some of their experiences and advice in this interview.
We’re both 26 and originally from northern California. We met in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz (go slugs!). We both graduated and independently moved to the Silicon Valley. Jason worked for Seagate Technology for almost five years in a few different positions: project manager, finance and finally marketing. Sharon worked at a gym teaching kids motor-development skills originally, but ended up selling out and joined a commercial real estate company.
We always knew we wanted to travel, but weren’t planning on leaving until October 2010. When the economy started going downhill, we started really pumping up our savings to leave sooner rather than later. Last October we left and have been traveling around …
In a recent email, a reader of this blog asked me how I became so successful. He read in one of my posts about how I moved to Japan on one week’s notice with no job, no work visa and only $1000 to my name and later became a jet-setting global rock star celebrity. (Okay, I added the ‘jet-setting global rock star celebrity part ‘ for added effect. :-))
The short answer is … I am not successful. Most people, myself included, tend to glamorize or even exaggerate successes and hide set backs or negative aspects of their lives. Don’t believe everything you read or hear because you are only getting the positive side of the story.
I am not rich. I am not famous. I am not particularly smart or talented either. I am just an ordinary person that is not afraid of hard work. When I arrived in Japan more than 13 years I worked a lot to save money and pay down debt. I worked two English teaching jobs and a bar job.
A couple of years later I started teaching private students in my …
My wife and I made it out of Japan. It has been almost one year since my wife and I made a one year plan to leave Japan and begin a new career. We did it!
It was a lot of work and will still require a massive effort to keep moving forward but we committed and made it happen. We sold our business and car. Got rid of most of our possessions. Cleared out our house and started to get it ready to rent out. In particular, the last few weeks prior to departure were extremely busy and stressful.
Getting all the necessary paperwork, finishing up everything in Japan and liquidating all of our possessions was a phenomenal amount of effort. It was much more work then we imagined. The last week was the most stressful. So many things had to be done that we were sleeping for only a few hours per day. After a couple weeks of sleep deprivation and a 9 hour stop-over in Tokyo, it took about a week to get back to a regular sleep pattern. I will be more regular with my …