In the post below I wrote about 43 Things – the website that allows you to record your goals and progress toward them. The very first goal I wrote down was “living in another country” – something I’ve always wanted to do, but my husband did not. Now I can – and I’m actively planning for how to get there. Here are the steps as I see them:
Get more of my income streams online – I’m looking for ways to increase my online income streams to the point that they could support some level of lifestyle in another country – preferably a much less expensive country. This would supplement whatever capital I would have from selling my house here in the US. Currently I have some income from writing books, doing online tarot readings, and teaching online classes. I have recently been doing piecework editing and writing on Guru.com, which pays quickly and efficiently through PayPal – another indispensible resource for international living.
I’m looking to supplement these with an online mediation business, and perhaps increasing the amount of editing work I do on Guru.com. I’ve been trying to get a job with SquareTrade, the company that does online mediation for eBay and PayPal – still in the works. I’m also looking into more far-out approaches, such as providing dispute resolution services within virtual worlds such as SecondLife – something I actually have experience doing. If I can maintain a US bank account, no-one will ever have to know where I’m really living or vacationing at the time.
Learn Spanish – The more I travel in Mexico, South America, and Central America, the more I like it. I’ve pretty much settled on this area as where I want to live. I don’t know where yet – but that’s another piece of the puzzle. First, I have to learn Spanish. I have several strategies for doing this. I’ve got one complete set of tapes for listening to and working with in the car, and some interactive CDs. I’ve just joined an online microlending organization that posts a lot of their journal entries in Spanish, so I plan to try to read those, since I’ll be interested in the material. Most effective will simply be to spend a lot of time in Spanish-speaking countries. To that end, I’ve just purchased a timeshare condo in Puerto Vallarta (!) and one of the reasons for that was to give myself more opportunities to learn Spanish and explore other facets of living south of the border.
Research the practicalities – The next step is to begin researching practical issues. How would I purchase health care and can I get the medicines I need? What kinds of climate can my body tolerate long-term? How much money do I need for living expenses and how what does the host country require in terms of assets? What kinds of visa and citizenship options are available? What about living options – purchasing real estate vs. renting? Again, I hope to look into some of these things through spending real time in the countries I’m interested in. Another source of information is International Living, a magazine and website devoted to living abroad. And, I can benefit from the experiences of others on networking sites like 43 Things.
Look for work – As noted above, I could do all my work online, or what I really hope to do is something meaningful locally, like conservation work in Costa Rica. This requires learning Spanish first, but once I’ve done that well enough to start, it might be a really good way to ease into living somewhere – maybe take a 6-month internship at one of the cloud forests or other natural areas that are always looking for researchers. If I could get room and board onsite, it wouldn’t even be that expensive if I had to do it as a volunteer. That would be a good test of living somewhere and I should come out of it with a much better command of the language and some good connections for the future.
I’m pretty dedicated to this goal, so wish me luck!