Author Topic: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?  (Read 20274 times)

jim555

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Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« on: October 22, 2016, 06:34:33 AM »
The Plan:
Since I no longer need to work...
Live in hotels/rooms/room shares permanently.
Lighten up all possessions, sell house and car.
Rent a small storage unit for the few remaining possessions.
Stay out of the US for 330 days to avoid ACA penalty.
Self insure for medical in low cost countries.

Advantages
See new countries on a constant basis.
Able to do Roth conversions to fill up 15% bracket without having to worry about loss of ACA subsidies.
No state income tax since no longer resident.
No property tax or home maintanence.
Taking pension/Social Security early is now possible since loss of ACA subsidies no longer a concern.
Money from house/condo sale can be invested and earn a return.
Save on medical insurance.
Few possessions means one can be nimble for travel.
If not a US citizen you may never owe tax since you are never residing in any country long enough to be liable for tax.  US citizens must still pay tax no matter where they are.

Disadvantages
Must always be moving
Travel can be stressful
Airfare/hotels expensive
Homesickness
Being locked out if real estate rises and you want to come back home and can't afford it when returning.

Any thoughts on this plan?

Cottonswab

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 07:37:23 AM »
A few thoughts.

1.  If your remaining possessions are actually few and important, try to store them at a friend / family member's house for free.
2.  Living out of a vehicle (e.g., campervan) can be more cost effective for some locations.
3.  Don't underestimate the potential loneliness that can occur during log-term travel.  Not having long-term friends or significant others to share the experiences with can have a major impact on your happiness.   

fa

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 08:02:59 AM »
Quite a few people are doing this.  A well known couple is gocurrycracker.com.  Jeremy and his family are doing almost exactly what you are describing.

Just like a poor person experiences frugality differently than a middle class frugal person, being forced to travel to avoid ACA requirement, taxes, etc. may feel differently than wanting to see the world.  Do you want to travel or do you feel you have to travel?  I think the stress and loneliness of continuous travel would make this a plan for years, but probably not decades.  If you have a SO and they are on board with your plan would make a huge difference.

Rubic

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 11:52:19 AM »
I have a similar "plan", however plan is in quotes as I'm more geared
toward traveling opportunistically, but here goes ...

Live in hotels/rooms/room shares permanently.

AirBnB's or short-term apartment rentals, possibly house sitting.

Quote
Lighten up all possessions, sell house and car.

Sold my condo this month (yay!) and I'm down to a beater car with
a trade-in value < $500.

Quote
Rent a small storage unit for the few remaining possessions.

Except for my bicycle, my remaining possessions now fit into a small
closet, and will stay at a relative's.

Quote
Stay out of the US for 330 days to avoid ACA penalty.
Self insure for medical in low cost countries.

Similar plans, back in the US no more than 30 days/year.



Advantages

Quote
See new countries on a constant basis.

If I land in a place I like, I might consider applying for a residency
visa, if it's not too onerous.

Quote
Able to do Roth conversions to fill up 15% bracket without having to worry about loss of ACA subsidies.

I'd like to do a minimum of three year's worth of Roth conversions to
reduce my RMD.  Afterward I can start withdrawing directly from my IRA
accounts.

Quote
No state income tax since no longer resident.

My state has no income tax, so I'll remain a resident.

Quote
No property tax or home maintanence.

You don't need to leave the US to achieve this benefit.  Even when
I move back, I'm likely to be a renter for life.

Quote
Taking pension/Social Security early is now possible since loss of ACA subsidies no longer a concern.

Since I'm likely to move back to the US (most expatriates eventually do, even
if they don't plan on it), I'm deferring Social Security until the latest possible
date.  Probably age 70 unless circumstances such as health or taxes dictate
otherwise.
 
Quote
Money from house/condo sale can be invested and earn a return.

Funds will be in short-term treasuries to pay for travel so I can avoid selling
equities.

Quote
US citizens must still pay tax no matter where they are.

International travel won't affect my tax situation except for avoiding ACA
penalties.  A few years of this should benefit my stache.



Disadvantages

Quote
Must always be moving

As mentioned above, I may consider applying for residency if
I find a place I like.  Otherwise, movement will be in 90 day periods,
possibly extended to 6 month visas, where available.  I won't feel
rushed.

Quote
Travel can be stressful

It's certainly stressful pre-FIRE, when you have a schedule and
must accomplish everything according to schedule.  Post-FIRE,
I would assume it will only be as stressful as I decide it to be.

Quote
Airfare/hotels expensive

I've been stockpiling miles/points from various credit cards for
airfare.  In almost every place I plan to visit (including Europe),
my living expenses should be lower than my current situation.

Quote
Homesickness

Could be.  I'm sure to miss family and friends.  On the other hand,
I seem to make new friends easily.

Quote
Being locked out if real estate rises and you want to come back home and can't afford it when returning.

As a renter, I consider this pretty much a non-issue.  Rent too high?  Look
for a situation where it's cheaper.  With enough flexibility, I could probably
find an affordable place in downtown Paris.



Quote
Any thoughts on this plan?

My apologies for this long-winded response.  I think we share more similarities
than differences.  Further thoughts ...

  • In both of our situations, we've probably realized that we can live cheaper
    abroad than we can in the US.  This is a great advantage.
  • I don't see travel as a permanent condition, as I'm likely to land somewhere
    long-term.  If I do decide to live in a foreign country, there's always a possibility
    of returning back to the US.  But I want to travel now (soon), while I have the
    health and inclination.
  • Based on the experience of other ex-pats, you should probably consider the
    possibility of returning to the US and how paying into the ACA will affect your
    FIRE plans.

It has been pleasant to share this discussion with a similar traveler-in-waiting.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 12:30:59 PM »
You don't have to plan the rest of your entire life out right now.  Just make the next right move.
806228541398102 is my referral code for Questrade and 48650126S1 for Tangerine.  Hey, why not?

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2016, 12:36:18 PM »
We are doing pretty much what you describe except we are currently on the road in the USA.

Sold our paid off home for near $300,000 and since that is money that has already been taxed, it affords us with plenty of spending money while adjusting our MAGI to whatever floats our boat.  Currently our boat is being floated by having a MAGI at $23,000 a year to enable a subsidized silver plan with cheese.  I suggest you look into something like this rather than self insure.  It is very very cheap (talking less than $100 a month with a $250 a year deductible for a single person in their 40s).

Advantage:  You are paying nearly no tax, so when XXX or YYY says they have a big plan to spend and need to raise income/property tax, you can just laugh it off.   So much to be said for being able to laugh at taxes.

Dexterous

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 09:34:02 PM »
Can you not just become a resident of a state without income tax before leaving?  Some states have simple requirements.

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2016, 09:43:47 PM »
All sounds good to me.

I'm with those who don't worry about being "priced out" of real estate. I mean, I AM largely priced out of owning in places like Vancouver BC, but I also have no desire or need to return there, so it's moot. So many great places on the planet to live :)

re: Human contact, you mentioned you seem to make friends easily. Might you also have a community that's spread across the world? i.e., Service club, faith group, forum, etc?

SERVAS, WWOOF, etc, are also ways to get some free nights, contribute, and connect more deeply with some really groovy people.

Exprezchef

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 10:09:29 PM »
Here is the story of a couple that has done just what you are looking at. I read their book a while ago when it was first released. While somewhat interesting, the book was meh. I was looking for more substance and numbers broken down for each country they lived in.

http://homefreeadventures.com

Looks like fun. I threw out the idea of that type of lifestyle to my wife and she just looked at me with a blank stare and walked off without saying a word. :)
Good luck with your adventure.



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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 10:17:22 PM »
Here is the story of a couple that has done just what you are looking at. I read their book a while ago when it was first released. While somewhat interesting, the book was meh. I was looking for more substance and numbers broken down for each country they lived in.

http://homefreeadventures.com

Looks like fun. I threw out the idea of that type of lifestyle to my wife and she just looked at me with a blank stare and walked off without saying a word. :)


That's a good thing, right?  I usually get a pathetic smile and then muttered at in a foreign language...
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

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EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 12:32:43 AM »
My wife and I have been on the road traveling around the world for the last 4.5 years. A bit different than what you're planning since we're overlanding on two motorcycles. But basically we sold everything and we live in a tent or in cheap AirBnBs, sometimes we rent an apartment for longer stays.

It's an amazing lifestyle if it's truly what you want to do.

Have you tried being nomadic for a shorter period of time? Say couple of months to a half year? Is it possible for you to sample this lifestyle without committing to selling everything first? That way if it isn't what you thought it was, you could go back to your life with little impact.

We know a young couple who tried Perpetual Travel/Slow Travel and they called it quits after 1 year. Turns out they were very driven people with goals and aspirations very much tied to work. They came to view their year on the road as wasted time and that it set them back wrt home equity and career.

If you're already retired, this may not be a concern, but the main point was that Perpetual Travel may not be everyone's cup of tea and it's always better to dip your toe in instead of dive headfirst.

We did some longer travel stints (over a month on the road), before we permanently cut the strings. By that time, we had a very good sense that Perpetual Travel was what we really wanted to do, and almost 5 years later, we're still moving.

Some thoughts about:

Cost: you list "hotels and airfare" as being expensive. How often were you thinking of moving? If you stay in one place for longer, you can rent apartments much less than the cost of staying in a hotel. Plus you also get a kitchen so you're not forced to eat at restaurants, saving you more costs.

If you plan your journey strategically, flying to a continent and then using ground transport (buses & trains) to get between cities and countries is way more economical. Staying for longer periods of time (one month+) also cuts down on transportation costs.

Must always be moving/Travel can be stressful: Why always be constantly moving? We stayed 4 months in Thailand last winter. Cost of living and medical were peanuts. When we felt ready to hit the road again, we picked up and left, which is the best part of being light and free: stop when you want, go when you want.

Homesickness: Yes. This is the biggest concern for us. Friends and family, definitely. But also a familiar language and culture. We spent a couple of months in the British Isles and it was so odd being able to eavesdrop on background conversations... and actually understanding what they're saying! :) Haven't been able to do that in a few years. Little things like being able to read the labels on groceries, signs on the road, ask for directions, etc.

We go back to Canada once every couple of years. Seems to be a good way to refresh our thirst for travel... and renew documents like drivers licenses, passports, do bank stuff, etc.
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

Metric Mouse

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 12:41:46 AM »
My wife and I have been on the road traveling around the world for the last 4.5 years. A bit different than what you're planning since we're overlanding on two motorcycles. But basically we sold everything and we live in a tent or in cheap AirBnBs, sometimes we rent an apartment for longer stays.

It's an amazing lifestyle if it's truly what you want to do.

Have you tried being nomadic for a shorter period of time? Say couple of months to a half year? Is it possible for you to sample this lifestyle without committing to selling everything first? That way if it isn't what you thought it was, you could go back to your life with little impact.

We know a young couple who tried Perpetual Travel/Slow Travel and they called it quits after 1 year. Turns out they were very driven people with goals and aspirations very much tied to work. They came to view their year on the road as wasted time and that it set them back wrt home equity and career.

If you're already retired, this may not be a concern, but the main point was that Perpetual Travel may not be everyone's cup of tea and it's always better to dip your toe in instead of dive headfirst.

We did some longer travel stints (over a month on the road), before we permanently cut the strings. By that time, we had a very good sense that Perpetual Travel was what we really wanted to do, and almost 5 years later, we're still moving.

Some thoughts about:

Cost: you list "hotels and airfare" as being expensive. How often were you thinking of moving? If you stay in one place for longer, you can rent apartments much less than the cost of staying in a hotel. Plus you also get a kitchen so you're not forced to eat at restaurants, saving you more costs.

If you plan your journey strategically, flying to a continent and then using ground transport (buses & trains) to get between cities and countries is way more economical. Staying for longer periods of time (one month+) also cuts down on transportation costs.

Must always be moving/Travel can be stressful: Why always be constantly moving? We stayed 4 months in Thailand last winter. Cost of living and medical were peanuts. When we felt ready to hit the road again, we picked up and left, which is the best part of being light and free: stop when you want, go when you want.

Homesickness: Yes. This is the biggest concern for us. Friends and family, definitely. But also a familiar language and culture. We spent a couple of months in the British Isles and it was so odd being able to eavesdrop on background conversations... and actually understanding what they're saying! :) Haven't been able to do that in a few years. Little things like being able to read the labels on groceries, signs on the road, ask for directions, etc.

We go back to Canada once every couple of years. Seems to be a good way to refresh our thirst for travel... and renew documents like drivers licenses, passports, do bank stuff, etc.

Ahh! I was thinking of your blog; I couldn't remember it, as I was going to link you as the perfect example and resource for this thread. Thanks for showing up!
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

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EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 12:52:38 AM »
Ahh! I was thinking of your blog; I couldn't remember it, as I was going to link you as the perfect example and resource for this thread. Thanks for showing up!

The blog is slightly (...okay, very much) behind. We've been constantly moving the last few months, so very little time to write and edit photos. Should have more time soon to catch up, since the riding season is winding down in Europe.

If anyone is interested, you can find us here: http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

financialfreedomsloth

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 02:07:22 AM »
Somebody mentioned WWOOF but that is very much farm orientated. There is also helpx and workaway which offer a much broader choice of work. And it can reduce your accommodation and food budget to zero for the time you are helping somebody out. House sitting is also a possibility that lets you stay somewhere cheap.
Airtravel should indeed only be used to make big hops. All other transportation should be done over land. For Europe you have cheap bus companies connecting all the big cities (eurolines and flixbus, Berlin to Brussel for 40 euro!)  and also car share services like Blabla car that can get you around cheaply. Inside a country there is public transportation. Slow travel can be done very cheaply you just have to be flexible.
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Rubic

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 06:42:55 AM »
One interesting resource, written by a MMM forum member:

https://www.theearthawaits.com/

No affiliation, I just think it's a useful resource for investigating
travel destinations.

fa

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2016, 06:58:58 AM »
We go back to Canada once every couple of years. Seems to be a good way to refresh our thirst for travel... and renew documents like drivers licenses, passports, do bank stuff, etc.

Does that mean you don't see friends and family for years on end?  Or do they come and see you?  Or Skype regularly?  My wife would never agree to not physically see her family for years, so I wonder if you have found a practical solution.

Thanks!

EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2016, 09:47:29 AM »
Does that mean you don't see friends and family for years on end?  Or do they come and see you?  Or Skype regularly?  My wife would never agree to not physically see her family for years, so I wonder if you have found a practical solution.

We returned to North America last year to attend my brother's wedding. He moved to Illinois from Toronto about 20 years ago. Goes back to Toronto every year to see our parents for Xmas. His father-in-law thought that was the oddest thing in the world - to be *so* far away from family and only see them so infrequently. His entire family lives 10 minutes away from each other - three generations all in the same community. They all see each other pretty much every single day.

Then I show up to the wedding. Just arrived from the other side of the planet. Only seen my parents twice in the last five years. That blew his mind.

So I understand how your wife feels. But we're from a different culture. My wife left the Eastern Bloc for a better life in the 90s and only returned every 3-4 years to visit her mother and grandparents. My whole family moved from SE Asia to Canada and my dad only visited "home" every few years as well. We just stayed with my aunt in England this summer, she's got a son (my cousin) in Singapore that she only sees a couple of times a year.

To be far away from family for long periods of time is normal for most immigrants.

But yes, Skype, Facebook and e-mail helps to keep in touch.
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

flyingaway

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2016, 07:50:27 PM »
Ahh! I was thinking of your blog; I couldn't remember it, as I was going to link you as the perfect example and resource for this thread. Thanks for showing up!

The blog is slightly (...okay, very much) behind. We've been constantly moving the last few months, so very little time to write and edit photos. Should have more time soon to catch up, since the riding season is winding down in Europe.

If anyone is interested, you can find us here: http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw

Glad to see you showed up here. I was worried about you since your blog has not been updated for a few months.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 11:02:29 PM by flyingaway »

StetsTerhune

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2016, 10:56:34 PM »
Another "permanent traveler" here. My wife and I just hit 2 years since giving up our apartment. The first year and a half were in the states, and the last 6 months we've been in Europe and southeast Asia. Stayed in the states while I still had my 9-5 job (remote) and left now that I'm semi-FIRED, planning on doing 330 out of every 400 days out of the US.

I could write a book on the subject probably, but since I'm on my phone (sitting overlooking the ocean in Thailand, waiting out peak-sun), I'll just throw a couple of random thoughts in to complement what's already been said.

The key with permanent travel is that you get to find your own balance. I think that's the answer to most of your questions, but I don't know where you'll end up, and neither do you before you try it. 

For example, costs: the novelty of travel makes it easier to stay cheaper, crappier places, but there's a limit to that, I'm not a 23 year old backpacker (anymore), and long term super cheap is not sustainable. So I balance free (friends, family, hotel points) with cheap (rooms on airbnb, crappy bungalows in Thailand, etc) with expensive (hotels, house rentals) and even some ludicrous splurges (slopeside skiing). It's been fairly comparable to what I was paying in Chicago, though I've been doing very well since I left the states.

Loneliness: Ive seen my family more in these years than I have since I was a kid. More quality too, now I can come for a week or two and hang out instead of just stopping by for the day. That said, it's not clear if you're single, if you are I think it'll be tough. Having my wife here day to day and then getting to see friends and family for extended periods occasionally works great for me. But everyone is different on this one.

Stress: I'm all about variety. Sometimes I actively travel for weeks, sometimes I just sit around for weeks in one place, mostly I'm in between. The best part about this is that if I'm bored, I can go somewhere new, if I'm stressed, I can just cool my heels where I am.

I love this life and may never stop, but it's certainly not for everyone. Be realistic, so much stuff online talks about "geographic arbitrage"like it's a budget panacea. Realistically, long-term any budget anywhere mostly depends on you and what you're willing to live with and without. That said, try it out, it might be for you.

jim555

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2016, 05:09:43 AM »
For those who are doing it, what do you do for heath insurance?  Thanks.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2016, 06:18:33 AM »
For those who are doing it, what do you do for heath insurance?  Thanks.

ACA, specifically silver plan with the subsidy and cost sharing is not bad.  Get BCBS for wide network.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2016, 07:41:57 AM »
In Ontario, we are covered by our provincial health insurance (because we are a socialist country - yay!) for a period of up to two years out of the country.

Since we've long since passed that mark, we've gotten third party medical insurance. Some companies offer greatly reduced premiums if you exclude certain countries: U.S., Canada, China,. Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore, and Taiwan. Since healthcare is so expensive in those countries, if you exclude them, the premiums can drop by 50%.

In some countries, the cost of healthcare is so cheap that it's more cost-effective to just pay-as-you-go instead of continuing coverage. A friend of ours broke her arm in Thailand. Cost to get it X-Rayed and casted: $50. And the quality of healthcare in that country is top-notch, as is evidenced by their medical tourism industry and ex-pat retiree population.

When we were traveling through Central and South America, we opted for Emergency Medical Evacuation and repatriation insurance, which flies you back to your home country in the event of a severe incident which requires surgery and/or hospitalization. The quality of healthcare in those countries was not up to par with most first-world countries.

We dropped the Emergency Medical Evacuation insurance once we were in Europe, will probably reinstate it when we reach Africa.

My advice for shopping around for insurance is not to look for the lowest premiums, but to research what the process is like to make a claim and Google how many claims have been denied in the past due to frivolous reasons (ie. denying coverage for a broken arm because you listed asthma as a pre-existing condition, or because you failed to list that one time you went to the doctor's office to get a plantar's wart removed 15 years ago).

Insurance companies don't stay in business by paying out claims, so you'll want to find a company that is fair in whether or not they honour or deny your claim.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 07:44:07 AM by EndlessJourney »
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scrubbyfish

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2016, 09:07:43 AM »
In Ontario, we are covered by our provincial health insurance (because we are a socialist country - yay!) for a period of up to two years out of the country.

Whoa! Is this different from BC's? (I mean, I know lots of things are different in health coverage from province to province, but this sounds like a biggie!)

BC recommends getting private insurance upon leaving the province, even if just for a day. It has (limited) agreements with other provinces, and will pay for a certain amount of some stuff elsewhere too, but anything falling outside of these is left with the patient to pay. I got caught in that difference once (Europe), so I do buy private insurance when travelling out now.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2016, 10:01:11 AM »
Whoa! Is this different from BC's? (I mean, I know lots of things are different in health coverage from province to province, but this sounds like a biggie!)

BC recommends getting private insurance upon leaving the province, even if just for a day. It has (limited) agreements with other provinces, and will pay for a certain amount of some stuff elsewhere too, but anything falling outside of these is left with the patient to pay. I got caught in that difference once (Europe), so I do buy private insurance when travelling out now.

Sorry, I should have clarified.

OHIP provides "very limited" coverage once out of the province. They mention a number like $50CDN/day which doesn't really cover anything. But what it does afford you is the ability to apply for travel insurance like Blue Cross which "tops up" OHIP to cover anything above and beyond that $50/day.

After that two-year OHIP base coverage is over, supplemental travel insurance will stop covering you and you will need to buy third party medical insurance like something aimed at ex-pats vs short-term travelers.
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

jim555

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2016, 11:01:28 AM »
For those who are doing it, what do you do for heath insurance?  Thanks.

ACA, specifically silver plan with the subsidy and cost sharing is not bad.  Get BCBS for wide network.
I am on ACA too.  But in order to get a reasonable price I need to make sure the MAGI is low.  The advantage to travel outside the US is the ability for a higher MAGI which would allow for Roth conversions.  330 days outside the US and no worry about penalty for no health insurance.
So I guess self- insure in a LCOL area like Mexico or Thailand.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2016, 11:20:21 AM »
Is the point of all of this to lower the cost of health insurance and taxes? Or to see the world and experience new cultures?

If it's the former, than just relocating and finding an ex-pat community is probably your cheapest option. In most ex-pat-friendly destinations, there is often a retiree visa which you can apply for if you can demonstrate self-sufficiency. In Thailand, it's something ridiculously low like having $20K USD in the bank. And then it's just Pay-As-You-Go hospital visits.
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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2016, 06:29:32 AM »
I have a Cigna global health insurance policy. it doesn't meet US standards to avoid the penalty, so I have to be out of the US to avoid the penalty. I think I'm paying something like $80 a month for the two of us. I've literally never had a medical expense in my life, but don't feel comfortable without insurance on this. Sure, day to day care is expensive here, but if something actually goes wrong, then it'll still be very expensive to get the treatment I will want to have.

I started full time travel for the sake of it. Now I'm staying outside the US to lower taxes and health insurance. I'm planning on visiting some ex-pat areas this year to see if any appeal to me as options in the future, but if I stop traveling at some point, I'm expecting to return to the US.

usoverseas

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2016, 08:35:03 AM »
Posting to follow.  We will be doing something similar;however, are already working/living overseas.

Regarding state income tax, be sure to look at the rules of your state.  As you won't be working probably won't be too big of a deal, but as an expat working overseas it can make a big difference.  We were in California prior to our move and you need to be out of the country for 18 months to not have to pay CA taxes (you still have have your 30 days of the 365) but for Virginia residents no matter how long they lived outside the country, if they had any ties (driver's license, maybe storage unit?) they still paid state taxes.  We talked to 2 CPAs who interpreted it very differently, so make sure you understand it so you don't run into tax issues. 

Also make sure you understand that 330 days.  Again if you have little income not a big deal, but the US is VERY strict on how they count those days for the foreign income exclusion.  Cruise ship work, etc might not be counted....

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2016, 10:29:34 AM »
Most of what is driving you seems more geared toward expat living in a lower cost of living area, not a real desire to travel or be nomadic.

Cons for nomadic living -

Culture shock
Loneliness
Instability from always having to be in "planning" mode or thinking of the next step/place
Limitations in where you actually can go to based on visa/residency rules (there are good places to land, but there are entire countries and regions that are not doable indefinitely)
Hard to build meaningful friendships or relationships
Hedonic adaptation in travel

There are easily dozens of blogs of people doing this (and additionally there are forums/posters devoted to various types of nomadic living). Start searching and reading. See what people like, see what they don't, see why they choose to STOP living nomadic lives and at what stage. Some people feel like 6 months is "enough," some at 6 years. Some keep going and couldn't imagine any other way of being.

Then start somewhere knowing that it may or may not be what you want to do long term.
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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2016, 02:35:28 PM »

Currently our boat is being floated by having a MAGI at $23,000 a year to enable a subsidized silver plan with cheese.  I suggest you look into something like this rather than self insure.  It is very very cheap (talking less than $100 a month with a $250 a year deductible for a single person in their 40s).

This! I don't understand OP's fixation to avoid ACA? With low income, it's super cheap anyway. If not, you can still get a cheap high-deductible plan that would cover your self-insured ass in the event of a disaster.

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2016, 03:11:52 PM »

Currently our boat is being floated by having a MAGI at $23,000 a year to enable a subsidized silver plan with cheese.  I suggest you look into something like this rather than self insure.  It is very very cheap (talking less than $100 a month with a $250 a year deductible for a single person in their 40s).

This! I don't understand OP's fixation to avoid ACA? With low income, it's super cheap anyway. If not, you can still get a cheap high-deductible plan that would cover your self-insured ass in the event of a disaster.
If you avoid the ACA you can do Roth conversions without killing your subsidies, so that is one reason to avoid it.

gerardc

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2016, 06:01:28 PM »
If you avoid the ACA you can do Roth conversions without killing your subsidies, so that is one reason to avoid it.

Sure but even with no subsidies, the high-deductible plan is still cheap AND covers you in cases of disaster, so it's worth it.

I don't think it's worth altering your plans to adhere to the 330 day rule. At some point, you'll want to come back to the US most likely. Even until then, keeping a US base is useful. Did you know Vanguard freezes your account if you become non-resident (depending where you go)? You can bypass this by using a friend's address, but it seems hacky. You at least need a US mail forwarding service.

I know going completely nomad is enticing, but in practice you'll run into issues with your credit cards, driver license, phone plans, investments, etc.

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2016, 05:10:06 PM »
If you avoid the ACA you can do Roth conversions without killing your subsidies, so that is one reason to avoid it.

Sure but even with no subsidies, the high-deductible plan is still cheap AND covers you in cases of disaster, so it's worth it.

I don't think it's worth altering your plans to adhere to the 330 day rule. At some point, you'll want to come back to the US most likely. Even until then, keeping a US base is useful. Did you know Vanguard freezes your account if you become non-resident (depending where you go)? You can bypass this by using a friend's address, but it seems hacky. You at least need a US mail forwarding service.

I know going completely nomad is enticing, but in practice you'll run into issues with your credit cards, driver license, phone plans, investments, etc.

High deductible plans cheap?  AFAIK, most of these plans don't cover you outside of the US.  So, if I'm out of the US for 330+ days per year, I don't want to be paying $350+ per month (2016 prices before the 25% increases) for coverage I won't use because I'm not in the US.  But, I am willing to pay $200 a month for an international health care plan with MUCH lower deductibles that covers me everywhere but the US.   My monthly budget is $3000 for everything so no way I want to pay $350 more than I need to. 

In my case, I'm getting some deferred comp pay that might price me out of subsidies (and I have a moral code that makes me not want to accept what I see as welfare).

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2016, 12:08:18 AM »
We're in the "sold everything and became nomads" camp.

Let me tell you... it's awesome!

It's all it's cracked up to be.  :)

I have a Cigna global health insurance policy. it doesn't meet US standards to avoid the penalty, so I have to be out of the US to avoid the penalty. I think I'm paying something like $80 a month for the two of us. I've literally never had a medical expense in my life, but don't feel comfortable without insurance on this. Sure, day to day care is expensive here, but if something actually goes wrong, then it'll still be very expensive to get the treatment I will want to have.

I started full time travel for the sake of it. Now I'm staying outside the US to lower taxes and health insurance. I'm planning on visiting some ex-pat areas this year to see if any appeal to me as options in the future, but if I stop traveling at some point, I'm expecting to return to the US.

I could have written this post, just changing the word "two" to "three."  :)

Ditto to all of it!
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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2016, 02:21:30 AM »
I travel overseas for two months at a time. By the end of two months I am really missing Australia. I can travel in Australia for a lot longer. It's not just family and friends. It's the culture, and the place. Everywhere else is so exotic - has such different plants and animals and geography. It's good to visit, but no way would I LIVE elsewhere!



gerardc

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2016, 12:40:39 PM »
For those permanent travelers: how much do you spend in slow travel compared to staying at home?

I know it depends on a lot of factors so please summarize those factors along with your answer :)

arebelspy

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2016, 01:19:07 PM »
For those permanent travelers: how much do you spend in slow travel compared to staying at home?

I know it depends on a lot of factors so please summarize those factors along with your answer :)

After 1.5 years of travel, I can say we spend approximately the same now as we did settled in the States.

Though in the States our job covered health care, and now we'd be paying.  So being out of the US saves us ~5k on that (6k in the US versus 1k for international coverage).  And because of FEIE, we save another ~7k on taxes.

So we spend about the same now as we did before on "base" expenses, but were we in the States now, we'd be spending an extra 10-15k.  This is not counting some things being cheaper overseas. In other words, if our budgets were exactly equal, and we spent the exact same on food, lodging, transportation, etc., (same dollar amount on everything), we'd end up paying about 12k more in the States due to taxes and health insurance--powerful incentive to travel, when that would up your spending by 25-50%.

Slow travel isn't expensive.  Renting an apartment on AirBnB is the same, or cheaper, as in the US.  Food is the same, or cheaper.  You spend more on the "travel" part of the budget (even with travel hacking, some flights just make more sense to pay for) and "transportation" (need to get around cities, sometimes, even if you walk a lot, or over to side trips), and more on the entertainment part, likely, but that's offset by cheaper stuff elsewhere.

This is assuming you balance cheaper places (S. America, SE Asia, Eastern Europe) with more expensive places (parts of Western Europe.  Some parts, like Spain, are cheap, but some like France or Germany can be expensive).  Obviously if you spend it all in an expensive area, it'll cost more, and if you spend all your time in a cheaper area, it'll cost less.

But if you balance the two, there's no reason your spending traveling should be any more than not doing so.  And if you want to save, you can purposefully target lower COL areas, and stay in them longer.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2016, 01:37:42 PM »
I travel overseas for two months at a time. By the end of two months I am really missing Australia. I can travel in Australia for a lot longer. It's not just family and friends. It's the culture, and the place. Everywhere else is so exotic - has such different plants and animals and geography. It's good to visit, but no way would I LIVE elsewhere!

This is kinda how i felt while I was traveling.  Just something about that one country where everything makes sense. I just never felt settled anywhere else; after a few years of homelessness right after I FIRED, I found it was time to come back and have a base for which to travel from if I ever felt the urge. Best thing I've ever done.
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gerardc

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2016, 12:00:05 PM »
If you live abroad permanently, do you try keeping your investments in the US? I know most US brokers will freeze your account if you become a US non-resident. Do you just use a remote mail service / US relative address, and connect via a VPN to bypass their checks?

EndlessJourney

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2016, 12:40:43 PM »
For those permanent travelers: how much do you spend in slow travel compared to staying at home?

Over the last five years, we've spent an average of $30/day per person. When we had a house, cars, fridge, closets, etc., we spent 5-6 times that amount. We were not very Mustachian back then...

I know it depends on a lot of factors so please summarize those factors along with your answer :)

Factors:

- We travel by motorcycle, so gas is a lot cheaper than a plane ticket or even by RV.

- We live in a tent. Well, sometimes. Also AirBnB and long-stay apartments. Many people around the world have contacted us through our blog (the motorcycling community is very tight-knit and passionate) and provided us a place to stay as well as a home-cooked meal, which is *very* generous!

- Location, convenience and creature comfort are the biggest factors determining how much you'll spend. I think if you set yourself a budget, you can scrimp in one area and splurge in another. Sometimes we stay far outside of touristy areas where the accommodations are cheaper. Then we ride in to town and feast like royalty! :)

- Sometimes, location will determine everything. In Norway, it costs $45 for a campsite. One (1!) red pepper costs $6 at the grocery store. We're in Cambodia right now, just outside of Angkor Wat, staying at a suite in a luxury hotel for less than a price of a campsite in Norway. $6 will buy both of us a nice dinner with drinks.

If you live abroad permanently, do you try keeping your investments in the US? I know most US brokers will freeze your account if you become a US non-resident. Do you just use a remote mail service / US relative address, and connect via a VPN to bypass their checks?

In Canada, as long as you don't declare non-residency, I don't think the brokerage firms really care where you do your web banking from. We just keep a Canadian address (technically we live in my parent's basement in Toronto), and as long as we keep paying income tax and the banks and government have a CDN address to send our statements to, everyone's happy.

Once in awhile the bank's web site security algorithms will kick in: "We noticed you are coming in from a different IP address than you normally do. Please verify your identity by answering a few additional questions". That's just what happens when you're in a different country every other day.
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

arebelspy

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2016, 02:26:43 PM »
Sometimes I use a VPN if blocked. Usually isn't an issue.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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gerardc

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2016, 07:32:09 PM »
Everytime I start daydreaming about long-term international travel, I end up worrying about logistics: health care, banking, investments, visas or immigration, phone, addresses, taxes, possessions/storage, car, etc. I already immigrated to the US from Canada and I know it can be a huge pain to coordinate everything and I wouldn't want to go through that everytime I move. You could end up not even enjoying your trips!

I should probably let go of optimizing the details after a while... Did any of you go through that? did you overcome it?

arebelspy

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2016, 08:13:08 PM »
A few brief answers for you on what we did.

I added numbering in to your quote for ease of reference.

Everytime I start daydreaming about long-term international travel, I end up worrying about logistics: 1 health care, 2 banking, 3 investments, 4 visas or immigration, 5 phone, 6 addresses, 7 taxes, 8 possessions/storage, 9 car, etc.

1. Sign up for an international health insurance plan.  Pay most stuff out of pocket in silly cheap medical tourism style.

2. Schwab checking account reimburses you all ATM fees worldwide (not only doesn't charge any, but also pays you back what their ATM charges you!).  Just show up, hit any ATM, and withdraw money in local currency.

3. Yup, they keep accumulating, no matter where in the world you are.

4. If you have a US passport, most places are no visa required or visa on arrival.  Only a few places are a hassle where you have to apply at their embassy somewhere ahead of time.  I keep the following bookmarked in my travel folder: Visa Requirements fro US Citizens

5. Google Fi.

6. http://www.TravelingMailbox.com

7. IRS still wants you to pay them.  If you're outside the US >330 days/yr, you can exclude foreign earned income

8. Dump em.  Keep a backpack of what you need.  If necessary, save a box of stuff in a friends/relative's garage (my wife's mom, for example, has our box of stuff w/ wedding album, birth certs, etc.).  The rest is in backpacks on our backs on travel days, or unpacked in our AirBnBs.

9. Sell it.

It's really a lot less of a big deal than you'd think.  The big thing is getting rid of everything.  You'll end up taking so much stuff to Goodwill, because you don't want the hassle of selling.  Besides that, the logistics are surprisingly minimal.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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terran

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2016, 08:25:48 PM »
1. Sign up for an international health insurance plan.  Pay most stuff out of pocket in silly cheap medical tourism style.

Great list! any suggested resources/companies for finding this one? Would I be right to assume this is something different than travel insurance you get for short term travel when you have insurance in your home country? Does the international insurance typically cover you in high healthcare cost countries (like the US) or are you self insuring during short visits to your home country?

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2016, 08:51:52 PM »
I know it can be a huge pain to coordinate everything and I wouldn't want to go through that everytime I move.

Good list from ARS above!

You only have to do all that once. And crossing borders is pretty standardized around the world. Once you have all your documentation and you know the process, it's as easy as crossing the street.

There are more ongoing logistics involved in owning a house and car: insurance, maintenance, registration, taxes, security.

We used to own a lot of things, and it's true what they say about the stuff owning you instead of the other way around. We sold/gave away/threw out 95% of our possessions before we left. The 5% that we stored had sentimental value. But these days, we don't even think about them at all. If that leftover stuff ever got stolen or lost in a fire/flood, we wouldn't miss them one bit.

Living a nomadic lifestyle really frees up a lot of physical and mental real estate and can be quite cleansing for the soul - if you're the kind of personality that likes new things and enjoys exploring.
Gene ♦ Five Years on the Road ♦  http://www.RideDOT.com

arebelspy

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2016, 08:59:06 PM »
1. Sign up for an international health insurance plan.  Pay most stuff out of pocket in silly cheap medical tourism style.

Great list! any suggested resources/companies for finding this one?

Depends on what country you're from, and probably your specifics.  Common ones worth looking into: Cigna, WEA, Aetna, UHC Intl.

Would I be right to assume this is something different than travel insurance you get for short term travel when you have insurance in your home country?

Correct, they are different.  International Health Insurance is the term, versus Travel Insurance.

Does the international insurance typically cover you in high healthcare cost countries (like the US) or are you self insuring during short visits to your home country?

You can get US coverage, but it adds a lot to the cost (and it still won't be ACA compliant, so you'll either need an ACA plan, or to be exempt anyways), because you'll need to have that extra expensive rider on the whole year.

The better route, IMO, is to get only international coverage, excluding the U.S., and then getting travel insurance just for the periods when you're in the US.  The most common one for US based people is World Nomads, but if you're a UK/EU citizen, I've heard good things about True Traveller.



If you have more questions, probably best to start a new thread specific to health insurance + travel (feel free to quote any/all of the above), but I'm betting should be enough to give you a good start.  :)
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terran

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2016, 09:05:16 PM »
Thanks so much! At this point it's a little more in the "someday"/daydream category for me, but great info that I'll enjoy looking into. Great tip on the travel insurance for visiting the home country -- makes sense since people visiting here (US in my case) need travel insurance too.

gerardc

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2016, 09:50:43 PM »
Thanks arebelspy. Especially I didn't know about Google Fi. Sounds like a good deal!

Re storage, I already have almost 0 possession, literally worth less than $1000 in my studio.

The thing that bugs me is, I just got a green card (I'm a Canadian citizen) which I'd like to hold onto in case I'd like to work in the US in the future (wages are better here in software). So, I'm basically chained to the US for 5 years, after which I could pursue US citizenship. I could travel a total of 2.5 years of those 5, but not be out too long at a time, something like 6 months maximum (no hard rule). But, I'm starting to wonder if I really want to keep jumping through USCIS/IRS hoops.

Another issue specific to my case is the complicated Canada/US tax treatment, and FATCA reporting requirements, especially if you have investments. I've dealt with it myself until now and learned a lot, but this is a huge hassle (coming from someone who doesn't mind hard problems). My investments are now in the US, which is a lot simpler, esp. with a 401k and Roth IRA. US brokers also charge lower fees than Canadian ones, AFAICT. Plus probably couldn't do the slow Trad IRA -> Roth IRA conversion ladder by moving to Canada, since Vangard freezes Canadian resident accounts.

So, I could probably do half-assed international travel in the next 5 years with the green card, or go all out right now by moving my "base" to Canada and surrendering the green card (which must have cost upwards of $15k to my employer so I kinda feel bad about that, but hey).
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 09:54:14 PM by gerardc »

arebelspy

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2016, 10:41:12 PM »
Depends on how much you want the US citizenship, but traveling 6 mo/yr or whatever for the next 5 years seems pretty good to me.

You won't get FEIE or ACA exemption for being an expat, but probably worth giving that up for a bit.

Or, like you said, you could just give up on the green card if you don't need it. If you'll eventually settle in Canada, and mostly travel internationally, and up to 6 mo. in the States, may not need it.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Metric Mouse

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Re: Sell everything and become a Permanent Traveler?
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2016, 03:30:39 AM »
I've got a friend who's doing this. 20-some years old, works 4-6 months every 3-4 years (though he'll likely be able to longer stretches without working as time goes on) and travels the rest of the time with his partner. His few possessions are stored at his parents place (not sure of his partners, don't know her very well, they're always travelling!) and he travels light. A different life to be sure, but one he fully enjoys.
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