This question has been really digging into my brain, lately. But for some reason, I keep putting off the research. Yesterday, I was reading a few travel blogs for inspiration when I came across “How I Afford A Life of Constant Travel, and You Can Too” by This American Girl.
“The secret to affording a life of constant travel, is simply deciding to.”
The post is long, and totally worth reading, but this line got stuck in my head. I spent the day with a friend recently who has known me about 19 years or so, and he asked me where my confidence had gone, why I wasn’t fearless anymore. When I read this line, I realized that I had chosen not to be fearless anymore and it was time to make a different choice.
Testing out My Dream
See, constant travel is my dream. Living in a Spanish-speaking country (which I only speak in the most tangential manner so far) is also a dream. Costa Rica, with its Spanish-speaking natives and large ex-pat American community, seems like the place to get started.
Most of the traveling I’ve done has been in tourist mode and I’m looking to change that. Instead of a weeklong vacation, what about a 3 month stay? Or longer? Yes, that’s still playing it a bit safe, but it’s at least a way to stick my foot in the water and see if I could make the dream work.
Why Costa Rica?
First, they speak Spanish and English there, so my language skills can get a workout but not to the detriment of my health or anything else. Second, Costa Rica has everything a girl could want…beaches on two sides of the country with mountains and jungles in between. The cost of living is lower, they don’t tax money earned outside of the country (so my online work could continue), it isn’t *too* far from home if I need help, or my family needs me to come home. Sounds like the perfect testing ground, right?
Oh, and my daughter has her passport, so she could come spend winter break with me 🙂
Waiter, Can I Have My Reality Check?
So what would all of this cost?
Camille from This American Girl gave a breakdown of her monthly expenses in Costa Rica:
“Two Years Ago Living in Costa Rica:
$300/month for a one bedroom apartment
$20/month unlimited internet and cell phone
$200/month for organic, local groceries
$200/month for eating out, drinking, fun extras
$80/month for yoga classes
Free transportation by walking and riding a bicycle
Total expenses: $800/month“
My totals look a bit different because I would only be going for the 90 day stay, instead of spending a year as Camille did.
- I would still have expenses in the US (car insurance, cell phone, student loan, IRS, web hosting) that would come to approximately $900 a month. ($1,800 for three months)
- I would have one time expenses before I left (passport, flight, medication, pet food for my dog and cats that would stay with my mom that would equal $1,050.
- And finally, I know myself… I would spend a bit more each month on eating out and stuff than Camille did. I haven’t learned to live that simply yet. So I estimated about $1,200 a month in Costa Rica, for a total of $3,600.
That adds up to approximately $6,500 needed for this test of my dreams, or $2,200 a month.
That sounds…. doable, right? Like most of us, I’ve always assumed that living abroad would be astronomically expensive, but I’ve paid more than that to live in some of the places I’ve lived in the US.
I would give you ideas for how you can make this kind of dream a reality, but Camille said it better. Go over and check out her site.