BALTIMORE, Sept. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- "Here's a question for you to mull over," says Jon Sumple, International Living contributor, "Is it possible to travel the world and save money?"
"This was something my wife, Karen, and I began pondering in late January 2017. It all started when a college friend posted images of his travels throughout Central and South America.
"What the heck are you doing these days, Scott, that lets you travel so much?" I asked.
"Following an hour of back and forth texts, where Scott shared his remote business model and the choices he'd made to cultivate a traveling lifestyle, I went from dreaming of two-week vacations abroad every few years to pondering the possibilities of taking my freelance business on the road full-time.
"Scott forwarded photos of his rental home above Lake Atitlán in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala—a beautiful two-bedroom home in the shadow of majestic Volcán San Pedro with a patio overlooking the lake below. It was jaw-droppingly spectacular.
"When he asked me to guess the monthly rent for this upscale home, I expected he was setting me up to be surprised, so I guessed what I thought was a low-ball number: $1,200.
"Not even close.
"He was paying less than $600, which included utilities, water, trash removal, and internet, not to mention a maid and gardener coming over a few times a week. Then Scott texted the life-altering statement: 'You know, with your jobs, you and Karen could do this, too.'
"He was right. Since I was a freelance writer and Karen worked remotely for a company in South Florida, we could work anywhere in the world as long as we had reliable internet. We were already living the remote employee lifestyle since moving from South Florida to Seattle in 2009; we simply needed to contemplate the possibilities of living and working remotely outside the United States.
"The wheels were in motion, with one primary thought inspiring us: With a monthly rental budget of $600 like Scott's, we could spend a year abroad for the same amount we spent in Seattle in two months."
Within an hour of ending his conversation with his friend Scott, Jon had several windows open on his laptop, searching cost-of-living information for countries around the world.
"Depending on the country and city, we could reduce our monthly budget by up to 60% of what we were spending in Seattle.
"I was so excited; I could barely contain myself, but Karen suggested I keep digging, which led me to the second valuable resource: International Living's Annual Global Retirement Index.
"While neither of us planned on retiring anytime soon (I was 54, and Karen was 50 at the time), we were looking for information to help us better understand our options. We pored over the 2017 index to determine a potential landing spot, had conversations with expats, researched visa options, and watched numerous travel videos featuring Central and South American living. In October 2017, nine months after talking to Scott, we traveled to Quito, Ecuador, for a scouting trip.
"Our initial plan was to stay in a country for an extended period of time, and Ecuador allowed a three-month tourist visa followed by a six-month extension. We figured nine months in a country would allow us to ease into a long-term, slow-travel lifestyle, leaving plenty of opportunities to explore coastal towns like Olón, Manta, and Salinas; the Andean cities of Quito, Cuenca, and quirky Vilcabamba, and the outdoor adventure capitals of Mindo and Baños."
In addition to favorable visa requirements, he describes Ecuador as the ideal location to begin with for a number of other reasons:
- The currency is the U.S. dollar
- Four-hour flight to South Florida for Karen's biannual office visits (shorter than a six-hour nonstop from Seattle)
- It's in the Eastern Time Zone, which is the same as his clients and Karen's office
- Thriving expat communities in Quito and Cuenca
- Low cost of living
Read their full story on traveling the world—exploring Mexico, spending five months in Peru visiting Huanchaco, Lima, Ica, Cusco, and Arequipa, enjoying six weeks in Reñaca and Santiago, Chile, before discovering Scotland—and their tips for how others can do it, too, here: How World Travel Saves This Freelancing Couple Thousands
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Since 1979, Internationaliving.com has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. InternationalLiving.com has more than 200 correspondents traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.