Author Topic: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?  (Read 11463 times)

logjammin

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We're all aware you can live and travel across parts of Europe, South America and Asia (and really everywhere) very cheaply if you do it right.

This is of course awesome, but it comes with two huge trade-offs in particular --- 1. A loss of sense of community (or even total loneliness if you're single), and 2. The loss of large creature comforts, such as a big fluffy mattress or an 85" 4K UHD TV with surround sound.


I'm nearing my Retire Early time and have been incredibly torn about which route to go. I quit my job in my early 30s and traveled for less than one year, and it was amazing, but despite meeting other great travelers I definitely felt down from a sense of loneliness. One obvious answer seems to be a frugal nomad for as long as I feel up to it, and when the time to settle hits, then choose a place (whether it be my home in the US, the coast of Croatia, a major city in South America, the views of Asia.... who knows, TBD from my travels). But I feel quite certain I'd be counting the months or years until I just picked a place to live, similar to my time in the early 30s.


Clearly there's no "right" decision, and this is totally person-dependent and varies by lots of factors.

But ... any advice or thoughts on how to choose? For those of you already RE'd, how did you choose? Those of you about to RE, what do you think?

Has anyone who's RE'd settled down and rented their primary home to periodically go on very long vacations?

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2019, 06:00:18 PM »
We're full-time travelers for the last 7+ years and left work because we didn't want to part-time travel.

I know a few full-timers who have been on the road > 5 years and are still nomadic. From my observations, the common denominator seems to be that they also quit their jobs because they were sure they wanted to travel for a long period of time.

From reading MMM forums, those that "dabbled" into nomadic life after they RE as something they thought they'd be interested in, rarely stayed on the road for more than a few months. It was just a phase. Almost all eventually settled down.

I'm not saying you will be the same, but IMO if you are not positive you want to travel long term, best not to cut too many strings and keep a fall-back plan if you decide to return home. There's always an option of selling your home if you decide later on that full-time, long-term travel is what you really want to pursue.

cap396

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2019, 07:23:06 PM »
We FIREd about a year and a half ago, sold or donated everything including our house, and have been traveling ever since.  We spent the first year in South America and are now in Southeast Asia.  You cite two downsides of this lifestyle: 1) Loss of community, and 2) loss of personal possessions that bring comfort.  We have not missed our personal possessions one bit.  But we have felt the loss of community that you mention.  We didn't expect this to be an issue as we are both introverts, yet it has probably been the most difficult part of this lifestyle.

But we have learned from our mistakes and are adapting.  During our first year in South America, we would sometimes choose a location only because we found a good deal on an apartment.  Then we'd get there, there was no established expat community, our Spanish skills are not great so it would be hard to connect with the local community, and there wasn't a whole lot of sightseeing to do.  We would unpack our backpacks, say "now what?", and then be bored for a month.

We have changed our travel style this year in Southeast Asia to try to avoid this.  We are traveling faster through areas where it's harder to connect, staying just long enough to do the sightseeing (we spent two weeks traveling through Myanmar and stayed busy everyday).  But we are traveling slower  in places where it's easier to connect (Chiang Mai for two months, where it's super easy to connect with the expat community, many Thai's here speak good English, and there are enough activities and volunteering to keep us from getting bored).

We are much happier this year with our new approach to traveling.  But I still suspect at some point we'll want to adjust our lifestyle again, whether that means changing the way we travel or settling down somewhere more long term.  Despite the hardships at times, we do not at all regret our decision to travel the world, and it still beats the workaholic lifestyle we had back home.

So, that's our story.  My best advice is to be flexible in your expectations as much as possible.  Be prepared to have the whole nomadic lifestyle fall apart and return back home, or be prepared for it to be the best decision you've ever made and want to continue it indefinitely.  It's great that you already had the opportunity to do some long-term travel; use that experience to guide your decision, but also remember that restarting this way of life might not be the same as your previous experience, for better or for worse.

Shane

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 07:32:42 AM »
It doesn't have to necessarily be an either/or proposition. You don't have to either be completely nomadic or be constantly stationary during FIRE. You've got lots of time. Why not try both?

Just after we quit working, our family spent almost two full years slow traveling around the world. It was great! We saw lots of new places, met interesting people, ate lots of great food, and had many, many incredible experiences. One day, our 9 year old daughter told us she missed her friends and wanted to go "home." Since we'd sold or given away literally all of our material things, including our house, we emailed friends in the community where we'd lived for 20+ years before starting to travel and fairly quickly found a nice housesitting/caretaking gig that we ended up doing for 10 months. That was long enough for my wife and me to enjoy reconnecting with friends and family, eating out at our old favorite restaurants, going to the places we loved near our home and looking at them from a new perspective, after having literally traveled around the world and come back again. Our daughter got to spend an entire school year with her old friends she'd known since she was in kindergarten.

After 10 months, though, we were all ready to move on again. Our experiences traveling around the world had changed us. We wanted something more urban and less rural. So, we hit the road again and spent all last summer exploring the US Mainland, camping out in state and national parks, staying in cheap motels paid for with CC points, and visiting friends and family all over the country. At first, we'd thought for sure we wanted to live on the West Coast. As things turned out, we just bought a house near the East Coast last month. The small city we found is perfect for us. Our neighborhood is amazing! We live right across the street from a great, small craft brew pub. There's an incredible alternative art cinema, cafes, restaurants, parks, theater, shopping, farmers market, all within easy walking distance from our house. In May we sold some stock and bought our first new car, ever, in the 25 years my wife and I have been together. Now, our car sits parked in front of our house unused most days. We've been driving ~100 miles/month and loving it! It's great having the car in case we need it, but it's also great not needing it on most normal days.

Our tentative plan is to stay here for the next 7+ years, until our now 11 year old daughter starts college. Then, my wife and I would like to take off slow traveling again. If our daughter decides to go to college in the town where we're living, maybe we'll let her find some roommates and/or manage short term rentals of our house through Airbnb/VRBO. If she goes to college in a different US city or a different country, we'll probably sell the house and put the money back into VTSAX/VBTLX...

OP, Just do what feels right to you now. If you want to travel, travel. If you want to be stationary, enjoy community, your fluffy bed and big screen TV, then do that, for now. None of those decisions has to be forever. If you sell everything and go traveling for a couple of years, you can always go back to the community you came from. It'll still be there. If you decide to stay put, for now, you can always decide a year or 10 years from now that you want to travel, sell everything and take off. It's great having options, isn't it?

Malcat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 08:53:43 AM »
We plan on doing a hybrid.
Our primary residence is so affordable that we can do it without having to rent out our "home base" if we don't want to. And, yeah, we don't want to.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 09:26:18 AM »
I chose nomad because I had a burning desire for it. It was my plan for years. It affected what clothes I bought, what foods I ate, what kind of jobs I went for. It's what made me want early retirement before I heard of ymoyl, ere, or mmm.

When I had enough money, I had a month to month sublet, so it was easy to get rid of my minimal belongings and hit the road.

Less than a year into it, I missed having a community, and I chose a new city to stick with. If I hadn't tried out perpetual travel, I might still feel like my life was missing something. I might still be in my old city, which wasn't serving me anymore. And I did enjoy it for months, so it wasn't a waste.

I didn't have to deal with renting out a home while I traveled, but if you want to travel, it will be worth the logistics. If it's not worth it, maybe you've already satisfied the itch and can be content in one place.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 09:27:58 AM by MonkeyJenga »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2019, 09:49:55 AM »
Interesting thread!

Like others have pointed out, the incredible wanderlust has driven our decision to pull the plug mid-career and take a year or three off to travel. We're planning on checking off three rather large boxes prior to settling down somewhere and establishing ourselves within a new community. Right now in the process of selling/donating our possessions to travel Europe/SE Asia for a year, followed by a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and then a year of traveling around the USA by van, before ultimately finding a place we like enough to settle down for a few years.

We are not quite FI, with only ~20x annual expenses saved, but close enough to know that we don't want to put this off any longer. Even median household income for a few more years will get us to our "number" once we find a place we love to live.

In all of our research, that's the number one complaint amongst full time longer term travelers, it's almost impossible to put roots down, unless you travel to the same places year after year....which I could see us doing. Spending winters in SE Asia, summers in Eastern Europe, and using the shoulder seasons to explore uncharted adventures.

Hirondelle

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2019, 11:27:26 AM »
Hi OP,

You say you've done the long term travel thing before, so you know how it feels for you. As some already mentioned, there's no need to choose one or the other. Being FI means you can just head off for months at a time while renting out your house or getting a home sitter. You can settle wherever you want and roam wherever and whenever you want.

Also, realize that community doesn't have to be in the place you call home. One of the best communities I ever had was traveling Asia. Not right from the start, but after 2-3 months I had found a handful of people that I would meet up with once every couple weeks. I think I've seen these people about 4-5 times over a course of 3/4 months. It actually made me stick to Asia rather than moving on to Australia, because SE-Asia felt like I could just head off to see a friend whenever I wanted (both travelers and some locals I'd met). I even decided to settle down for a while (with two of the aforementioned traveling friends!) and it was probably the best community I've ever had, better than anything back home. 

I'm not attached to my TV (I don't have one!) and switching beds regularly ensured me of getting one I liked at least every couple days. I happen to like relatively hard matrasses and futons so Asia was a great fit for me bed-wise. I also never booked anything longish in advance, always 1 night to start with and I'd only stay longer if I liked the place enough. Doing this made me end up doing long term stays in only two places of which I loved the first one genuinely for the town and the 2nd one for the socials/community. I'd never book a full month rental in a town I've never been.

TLDR: Traveling doesn't mean you can't have a community and material possessions while traveling may actually fit your needs.

Ragdoll

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2019, 12:37:25 PM »
I was thinking about an alternative... keeping our main home but getting together with a few mustacians that are in the same predicament and are interested in exchanging homes a few times a year. I know there are home exchange clubs that exist but Iím thinking of something a little more exclusive in that it would be a small group where you could really get to know one another and not be uncomfortable with what might be going on during the stay.

My hubby and I own (not financed) a lake house that is his retirement dream. We share a private stocked fishing lake with 70 other members and have our own dock, idyllic beautiful cabin, surrounded by woods in east Texas. It is purely a fishing lake, no jet skis or fast speedboats allowed. We have a fishing pontoon boat and a small row boat. The catch is that you can only spend up to 6 months a year there due to the way it is taxed. There are some definite pluses to this situation including a safe community where everyone chips in on maintenance and minimal taxes. If it were a full time residence it would be another crowded lake. It is safe, gated, and we donít have to worry about theft or someone making meth in the cabin next door.

Iíve been thinking I would like to find a trustworthy couple or two to exchange yearly vacation time. I think it would work best to interact with other retired or FI couples. They could enjoy a week or two (or more) at our fishing cabin in exchange for us spending time at their home... something different maybe a downtown loft or in a mountain area, etc. It could be a win/win for both to enjoy an inexpensive vacation and a different environment.

Iím not interested in an air BnB type situation but one where we could get to know and trust the people who would be staying in our home. Possibly become friends.

What do you think?

ItsALongStory

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2019, 10:04:06 PM »
I was thinking about an alternative... keeping our main home but getting together with a few mustacians that are in the same predicament and are interested in exchanging homes a few times a year. I know there are home exchange clubs that exist but Iím thinking of something a little more exclusive in that it would be a small group where you could really get to know one another and not be uncomfortable with what might be going on during the stay.

My hubby and I own (not financed) a lake house that is his retirement dream. We share a private stocked fishing lake with 70 other members and have our own dock, idyllic beautiful cabin, surrounded by woods in east Texas. It is purely a fishing lake, no jet skis or fast speedboats allowed. We have a fishing pontoon boat and a small row boat. The catch is that you can only spend up to 6 months a year there due to the way it is taxed. There are some definite pluses to this situation including a safe community where everyone chips in on maintenance and minimal taxes. If it were a full time residence it would be another crowded lake. It is safe, gated, and we donít have to worry about theft or someone making meth in the cabin next door.

Iíve been thinking I would like to find a trustworthy couple or two to exchange yearly vacation time. I think it would work best to interact with other retired or FI couples. They could enjoy a week or two (or more) at our fishing cabin in exchange for us spending time at their home... something different maybe a downtown loft or in a mountain area, etc. It could be a win/win for both to enjoy an inexpensive vacation and a different environment.

Iím not interested in an air BnB type situation but one where we could get to know and trust the people who would be staying in our home. Possibly become friends.

What do you think?
We used to do a lot of home exchanges and never had a bad experience. Due to circumstances we haven't been able to "collect" on our reciprocation but that was not the other party's fault.

We were still considering doing this but as we are planning to sell our us property and move abroad it won't be an option any longer. One thing currently being considered is the house/pet sitting combo that is coming up more often.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


spartana

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2019, 01:09:00 PM »
I've done both since FIREing and both were great. Did 2 years solo nomadic backpacker overseas when I first FIREd, then "settled" because of a relationship with a working guy,  elderly parents, friends, pets, activities and sports I was involved with, etc. So I just travelled for about 2 months at a time a couple of times a year.  Eventually tried full nomadic again but discovered that, while I prefer it to a settled life or semi-nomadic life, the part time travel life had a lot of things I liked and didn't want to give up - especially as a single person who is travelling alone. I think that's why couples who FIRE together with the focus of FIREing to travel and/or live nomadicly will find more satisfaction long term then singles do.

So now just do it part time. Have a paid off house and a roommate who's rent covers all my house expenses and then some. That works better for me then renting the house out so that I can "go home" when ever I want and stay as long as I want. I found I like that. Roommate is cool with me being gone for months at a time too. Now that my pets and parents have passed away I'm a lot freer to travel overseas and be gone longer.

As far as costs - it is just going to depend on what you want to do and how you want to live. When travelling full time I just did the grungy backpacker thing and used public transit and stayed in hostels, shared rentals or camped. Very cheap.

With a home base in the US (and when I had pets and family obligations)  I just did long term camping road trips so I could take my dog. Again, very inexpensive and I could mix it up with budget motels, AirBNBs, or vacation rental homes (monthly and off season is much lower cost in most places). It could be much cheaper if I had a travelling companion to split costs but like the solo thing. I don't miss anything material at all.  I actually travelled because I wanted to get away from all the those trapping of modern society like cell phones, tv, internet, etc.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 01:10:44 PM by spartana »

aloevera

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2019, 02:36:12 PM »
Quote
Has anyone who's RE'd settled down and rented their primary home to periodically go on very long vacations?

Sort of. I'm not FIREd but I work online so am location independent. My adult kid had a flood at his place and needed to move so he and his roommate took mine and I spent most of 18 months on the road. Great time, a mix of international travel (SE Asia for 3 mos, an out west driving trip, some other places plus a pretty regular house sitting gig in a major city).

But it can get a little lonely.

I've been back home for about 6 weeks now, and am already feeling a little restless.

spartana

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2019, 03:03:32 PM »
Hi OP,

You say you've done the long term travel thing before, so you know how it feels for you. As some already mentioned, there's no need to choose one or the other. Being FI means you can just head off for months at a time while renting out your house or getting a home sitter. You can settle wherever you want and roam wherever and whenever you want.

Also, realize that community doesn't have to be in the place you call home. One of the best communities I ever had was traveling Asia. Not right from the start, but after 2-3 months I had found a handful of people that I would meet up with once every couple weeks. I think I've seen these people about 4-5 times over a course of 3/4 months. It actually made me stick to Asia rather than moving on to Australia, because SE-Asia felt like I could just head off to see a friend whenever I wanted (both travelers and some locals I'd met). I even decided to settle down for a while (with two of the aforementioned traveling friends!) and it was probably the best community I've ever had, better than anything back home. 

I'm not attached to my TV (I don't have one!) and switching beds regularly ensured me of getting one I liked at least every couple days. I happen to like relatively hard matrasses and futons so Asia was a great fit for me bed-wise. I also never booked anything longish in advance, always 1 night to start with and I'd only stay longer if I liked the place enough. Doing this made me end up doing long term stays in only two places of which I loved the first one genuinely for the town and the 2nd one for the socials/community. I'd never book a full month rental in a town I've never been.

TLDR: Traveling doesn't mean you can't have a community and material possessions while traveling may actually fit your needs.
This was my experience also on my 2 year trip and really loved it. I would enjoy doing that again. However I do find a lot of the enjoyment is age related. Being ia solo nomadic traveller in your 20s or 30s and living the backpacker travel life makes it easy to meet new people doing the same thing because that's a common age. Being in your 40s or 50s it's less common and some loneliness and feeling like an outlier may creep in. But I do think living longer term (a few months) in one area and getting involved with people and things locally can totally alleviate that feeling.

ROF Expat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2019, 06:14:44 AM »
logjammin,

I don't think you need to limit yourself to a choice between long-term nomadic travel (which didn't work very well for you the first time) and settling down.  There are a lot of in-between options and completely different options if you think outside the box. 

For example, have you thought about Peace Corps?  You go out for a year or two, get in-depth knowledge of a new culture (and probably a new language), and have a real connection to a community.  All your living expenses are paid and you get a payment when you finish to help get back into your previous life.  If Peace Corps isn't for you, but you have other in-demand skills, there are a lot of NGOs and other groups that can give you opportunities to see the world.

dude

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2019, 07:21:51 AM »
My original plan was to keep the home base and slow travel for 3 months at a time, broken up by 3 month stints at home. I've traveled a bunch since retiring in May, but now my original plans have changed quite dramatically as a result of an impending divorce (in hindsight, it was a long time coming). As a result, I'm "homeless" so to speak. So I've decided to go all-in on #vanlife. Just bought a Ford Transit 250 HR Extended length. Plan to start building it out right after the holidays. I'm wildly excited about it, but there's plenty of trepidation as well. Already I've been away from Boston quite a bit in the past few months, and I do definitely miss the connections -- the regular schedule of going to the climbing gym, training jiu jitsu, seeing friends regularly. But circumstances are forcing change on me, and I'm okay with it; I see it as an opportunity for growth.  So I'll hopefully do the vanlife thing for a couple years and then re-assess. Life is good.

spartana

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2019, 02:49:48 AM »
Hey @dude  so sorry to hear about the divorce (been there, done that and while it sucks it does get better).  Hope you enjoy the van life. My own experience ended being too hard and confining with my dog since I was solo and I ended up staying near my sister so she could pet sit. That seemed to work well for me and I still do some longish road trips in the van but am looking forward to spending more time overseas next year. I think you'll enjoy it and it's easy to just stop somewhere you really like and rent an apt or long term AirBNB for awhile. Several people here (myself included) would hole up somewhere for the winter and summer,  often in different places each time, and travel in spring and fall when it is both cheaper, less crowded, less buggy and more temperate for camping. That's what I like to do.

Good luck with the new life!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 03:30:12 AM by spartana »

FIREby35

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2019, 07:54:05 AM »
I read the OP and the first few responses, all of which were full of great advice.

My family is definitely in the "hybrid" category. For one, I have a family of five and my children are in elementary school. I also have a job, as a self-employed independent lawyer, that I like and it provides a very good income and a lot of flexibility. So, we use our mid-seized LCOL midwestern town as a home base. We have lots of family and community here and I absolutely love that.

Also, I'm 35 now. But, over the years I've taken a lot of trips. I even lived in Mexico for an entire year and became bi-lingual in my 20's before I had kids. So, the wonderlust that once moved me so powerfully is more subdued nowadays. It's okay if that process happens for you (or doesn't). It's not good or bad, it just is what it is.

But, the winter in the midwest is still a long slog!

We have spent 5 to 8 weeks in a different Mexican city each of the last four winters. Before that, we went for two weeks each year. It is great to leave a northern winter for some southern sunshine. Not to mention the power of the dollar in Mexico.

One of the places in Mexico we have returned to multiple times. We have stayed there enough that we have a sense of community when we visit. I'd suggest that returning to a place you have enjoyed and building a secondary community slowly is a possibility.

logjammin

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2019, 07:00:21 PM »
I just wanted to post a huge sincere thank you to everyone for your responses -- it may look like I was a 1-post'er and disappearer, but I've been checking this every day, multiple times per day. There's so much perspective and help in this thread I feel like I should reply individually to every post.

Among other things, it's helped me realize I should reframe this less as the "which way" choice I'd been thinking, and more towards a flexible either/or situation where there truly is no wrong answer. I sometimes have a tendency to think the grass is greener on the other side, and I'm realizing now the grass will be plenty green no matter what I do, and if I want to move to new green grass at any point, that'll always be my prerogative.

Thank you!!

aloevera

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2019, 03:30:28 PM »
I'm at a bit of a crossroads too. Had 18 months of slow traveling when a family member needed to sublet my house. Easy call for me to do (I work online).

This family member is moving on very soon, though. I've been here at home for a couple of months now and am already feeling the urge to go again. This time, I believe I'd have to give up my house to do it as frugally as I did before. I am really nervous about that step, it feels BIG, even though I rent (do not own).

Mr. Green

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2019, 09:16:48 PM »
One thing that has worked out really well for us is sharing a house with some friends. We knew we wanted to travel and having a house sit empty while we were gone wasn't appealing, but we also wanted a home base so we weren't coming off of travel having to look for a home. We're lucky that we have some very close friends with a house large enough that we rent a bedroom from them. When we're home, it's like having our own place but with more people, and when we're on the road the rent isn't so much that it seems ridiculous to be paying for a place we aren't living in at the moment. We were gone for 3 months this year and we may be gone for 6 months next year. This might not be very reproduceable but if your have some close family or friends with a little extra space it might work!

texxan1

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2019, 03:24:03 AM »
i think living nomadic can be pretty kewl, but still feel you need a home base.

im kinda thinking of going split myself.... I have a condo in Chiang Mai, Thailand and my home in texas.. If my investments prove themselves early, i will spend more on another place somewhere.

My condo in thailand cost me 30k, paid cash.

I love to fish, and after the fishing season in texas.. I generally am bored with the weather, the cold and such.. So thailand is always a warm place.


So 3 to 4 months a year in thailand, and travel southeast asia.. then back home for the summer and fall fishing season.

Ive contemplated moving somehwere that the annual housing taxes ar very low, like Tennessee.; which would make FIRE easy ... after all besides health insurance, my second biggest cost is Taxes on my texas home.

Tex

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2019, 11:35:48 AM »
A lot of votes above for having a home base.

So to make a case for the alternative, my experience is that cutting all ties really allows you to immerse yourself in where you currently are. You're also more engaged and invested in a place if the entirety of your existence is all around you. I remember living through the drought in Cape Town back in late-2017, having to take 60-second showers while collecting grey water between our feet so we could use it to flush the toilets. There was never a sense of, "Well, this sucks. But it's temporary, we can go home anytime we want to." That was our life. I researched the economics of desalination and the politics around Day Zero (when the taps would turn off and all water would be brought in by trucks) and felt like we participated and advocated in water conservation efforts with a passion that would be lacking if Cape Town wasn't our real home for that period of time.

Renting out your home base, or having to deal with the logistics of maintaining a place that you've left empty takes up a little bit of mental real estate and there's always this "astral connection" to home that will always make you feel like you're just on a long vacation instead of being truly nomadic.

For me, the allure of nomadic life is mobility, flexibility but most of all uncertainty. You can get the first two to some degree by maintaining a home, but having an escape hatch takes away that excitement of, "crap, what are we going to do now?" when things don't go according to plan.

Because they never do.

Haha, just re-reading the above, I'm not sure if I've actually made a case for or against nomadic life... :D

But if anything I wrote resonated with anyone out there, then you and I would be fast friends.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 11:42:03 AM by EndlessJourney »

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2019, 12:17:34 PM »
Just to add a few more cents (since this is a Personal Finance forum), I believe that selling up and investing the proceeds to travel might potentially yield more than renting out.

Not sure about the rest of the world, but in Canada, rental income is taxable. The first $12K falls under Basic Exemption, but the rest is taxed the same as employment income.

In Canada, we have a Dividend Tax Credit, which combined with the Basic Exemption shelters the first $50K of dividend income from taxes.

Per person.

So a couple could potentially earn $100K and not pay a single cent of tax if they take the proceeds of their home and invest it in dividend stocks. And also, there is no capital gains tax on the sale of a primary residence, so that transaction is tax-free as well.

I'm sure there are a lot of other variables: rental yield vs dividend yield, RE vs equity appreciation/volatility, property management fees vs MER, time + energy spent performing landlord duties vs passive income, etc. but the taxable scenario might be a compelling argument that tips the scale from a financial standpoint.

aloevera

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2019, 12:36:07 PM »
I have family here I can stay with when I'm home, and store most of my things, too. So not a complete break, just not MY place. Be rather like moving back home, to be honest, which doesn't appeal to me even for short stays. But it's there.

flyingaway

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2019, 10:02:19 PM »
i think living nomadic can be pretty kewl, but still feel you need a home base.

im kinda thinking of going split myself.... I have a condo in Chiang Mai, Thailand and my home in texas.. If my investments prove themselves early, i will spend more on another place somewhere.

My condo in thailand cost me 30k, paid cash.

I love to fish, and after the fishing season in texas.. I generally am bored with the weather, the cold and such.. So thailand is always a warm place.


So 3 to 4 months a year in thailand, and travel southeast asia.. then back home for the summer and fall fishing season.

Ive contemplated moving somehwere that the annual housing taxes ar very low, like Tennessee.; which would make FIRE easy ... after all besides health insurance, my second biggest cost is Taxes on my texas home.

Tex

Do they have property tax in Thailand?

Malcat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2019, 04:00:01 AM »
A lot of votes above for having a home base.

So to make a case for the alternative, my experience is that cutting all ties really allows you to immerse yourself in where you currently are. You're also more engaged and invested in a place if the entirety of your existence is all around you. I remember living through the drought in Cape Town back in late-2017, having to take 60-second showers while collecting grey water between our feet so we could use it to flush the toilets. There was never a sense of, "Well, this sucks. But it's temporary, we can go home anytime we want to." That was our life. I researched the economics of desalination and the politics around Day Zero (when the taps would turn off and all water would be brought in by trucks) and felt like we participated and advocated in water conservation efforts with a passion that would be lacking if Cape Town wasn't our real home for that period of time.

Renting out your home base, or having to deal with the logistics of maintaining a place that you've left empty takes up a little bit of mental real estate and there's always this "astral connection" to home that will always make you feel like you're just on a long vacation instead of being truly nomadic.

For me, the allure of nomadic life is mobility, flexibility but most of all uncertainty. You can get the first two to some degree by maintaining a home, but having an escape hatch takes away that excitement of, "crap, what are we going to do now?" when things don't go according to plan.

Because they never do.

Haha, just re-reading the above, I'm not sure if I've actually made a case for or against nomadic life... :D

But if anything I wrote resonated with anyone out there, then you and I would be fast friends.

For me, maintaining my medical care here is pretty critical.
Otherwise I would happily go fully nomad.


Cassie

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2019, 09:23:08 AM »
When we retired we thought we would travel for a year in the used motor home we bought. A month was all I could stand. It was good that we could take our dogs with us.  We are going to Europe for a month and it will be a long time to be away from the dogs. I also miss family, friends and my creature comforts.

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2019, 11:11:01 AM »
We're only half-assed nomads. We really live in two locations, half the year each. One in Europe, one in Canada.
This works really well for us because:
-rural Europe (not farms, just little villages) can be incredibly cheap. A house there can cost like a 2nd car in NA. But life is very different! And big-city access can be very easy from villages.
-we started spending time in the 2nd place years ago, at first just a month here or there, so we now have a community there.
-travel within Europe is also cheap, so our "nomad" desires are met with little 2-week or one-month, or even long-weekend trips taken from our home base there. We have no huge desire to travel elsewhere.
-our Canada house is also cheap to hold on to, and we have a house-sitter friend who looks after it.
-this system (6 months at home) allows us to maintain health-care access at home, which isn't really a huge deal now, but may be someday.
-we're just too lazy to figure out a more optimized and super-efficient way to do the stuff we like, so far. This is easy and covers our bases.

People who don't want to buy overseas (which means paperwork etc.) can look into rentals--Italian or Spanish  condos are cheap! And you can sublet in high season. Or even small self-catering places, in France called gites, which you could rent every year for a month or so, without having to tie up your funds. Though not as cheap, this could be like a "2nd home" that you don't need to own. We know folks who've done this for ages. We might have done this, if we'd realized the possibility existed. But we're happy anyway.
So you can actually tick some of the nomad boxes--varying ways of life, different food, language learning, etc.--while still enjoying the comforts of home, or homes.

texxan1

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2019, 12:01:03 PM »


Tex
[/quote]

Do they have property tax in Thailand?
[/quote]

No Sir, no property tax on non commercial places

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2019, 03:38:56 PM »
For me, maintaining my medical care here is pretty critical.
Otherwise I would happily go fully nomad.

Is the cost of healthcare keeping a lot of Americans from long-term travel?

Healthcare is actually pretty cheap outside of the US. Even without insurance.

If you break your arm in Thailand, examination, X-Rays and a cast will cost you $150.

My wife had a skin growth on her back removed and biopsied in Germany. Cost us Ä80.

We both got our teeth cleaned and my wife had a dental guard molded and fashioned in Mexico, cost us less than $80 total.

If you do need insurance, ex-pat coverage will run you about $1300 USD per person per year and will cover $5,000,000 in medical costs including surgery and hospital stays.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2019, 03:41:58 PM »
We're only half-assed nomads. We really live in two locations, half the year each. One in Europe, one in Canada.

You own two houses, one in Europe and one in Canada?



I own a tent...

Malcat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2019, 04:31:26 PM »
For me, maintaining my medical care here is pretty critical.
Otherwise I would happily go fully nomad.

Is the cost of healthcare keeping a lot of Americans from long-term travel?

Healthcare is actually pretty cheap outside of the US. Even without insurance.

If you break your arm in Thailand, examination, X-Rays and a cast will cost you $150.

My wife had a skin growth on her back removed and biopsied in Germany. Cost us Ä80.

We both got our teeth cleaned and my wife had a dental guard molded and fashioned in Mexico, cost us less than $80 total.

If you do need insurance, ex-pat coverage will run you about $1300 USD per person per year and will cover $5,000,000 in medical costs including surgery and hospital stays.

I'm Canadian and I have a serious illness, it's not the cost, it's the 11 specialists I see on a regular basis. I'm also a medical professional myself, there's no fucking way I'm being treated by any doctor who is trained in a country that doesn't have equivalency with mine.

EndlessJourney

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2019, 04:42:12 PM »
I'm also a medical professional myself, there's no fucking way I'm being treated by any doctor who is trained in a country that doesn't have equivalency with mine.

ok. have a nice day.

Malcat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2019, 04:45:36 PM »
I'm also a medical professional myself, there's no fucking way I'm being treated by any doctor who is trained in a country that doesn't have equivalency with mine.

ok. have a nice day.

Sorry, I'm cranky today, specifically about medical care.
My illness is complicated and even Canadian and American doctors fuck it up on a regular basis. I have to be careful who I let treat me, and my main doctor is on mat leave, so all hell is breaking loose.

If doctors trained at the top schools in the world are a risk for me, there's no way I'm going near anyone trained to a lower standard.

ItsALongStory

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2019, 07:33:52 AM »
I really wonder if this perception that American and Canadian doctors are better is true. They certainly seem to prescribe more meds and tests here but not sure if the effectiveness.

Caveat of course is that I don't have any diseases like you are describing. I just wonder where the line is between perception band reality. If we measure by life expectancy the us is definitely behind others but that's probably more diet related.

Anyone ever see stats on post-diagnosis life expectancy for high volume diseases like cancer?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


Malcat

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2019, 08:12:25 AM »
I really wonder if this perception that American and Canadian doctors are better is true. They certainly seem to prescribe more meds and tests here but not sure if the effectiveness.

Caveat of course is that I don't have any diseases like you are describing. I just wonder where the line is between perception band reality. If we measure by life expectancy the us is definitely behind others but that's probably more diet related.

Anyone ever see stats on post-diagnosis life expectancy for high volume diseases like cancer?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

For me, it's about them being trained in the same way so that we're all speaking the same language when it comes to a team of specialists coordinating to treat a complex illness.

Different countries with different accreditation processes can have schools that teach things differently. Heavy Leg Syndrome is a classic example of this. The US/Canadian differences in terms of diagnosing Lyme disease are another.

I'm personally talking about my own case, my own care, and my own expertise as a medical professional myself within this world. I'm not making recommendations for others, and I don't need cancer treatment, nor do I treat cancer, so I can't speak to that at all.

HenryDavid

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2020, 10:19:15 AM »
We're only half-assed nomads. We really live in two locations, half the year each. One in Europe, one in Canada.

You own two houses, one in Europe and one in Canada?

Yup! Two houses! But as I said, village houses in rural Europe can be the cost of a car in Canada. Not even a super expensive car. You can find little houses starting as low as $45k in Canadian money.
However, once you have such a place, you build up a community there, and you have a base for short trips. Works for us. The Canadian is house is also ďcheapĒ by Canadian standards, with low tax, insurance etc. (I mostly agree with MMMís post somewhere syaing itís really dumb to have 2 houses! Itís sure not necessary. But the fact we can do it easily on what counts as a moderate Canadian income just shows the power of thinking a bit harder about where you spend, on what, and what you actually value.)
Nomads, I think, would travel on annual circuits following game or grazing. So setting up a kind of loop between multiple homes is one kind of nomadism.

spartana

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2020, 12:43:54 PM »
Is snowbirding the same as nomading? I guess it could be...sort of. I always think of being nomadic as just wandering without a fixed home base. In olden times for food, shelter and to meet hot chicks/dudes from far away tribes. In later times to see what was "there" (wherever there was at that moment or beyond the horizon) and have unusual unique adventures. And to meet hot dudes and chicks at the various beach bars. I still think that's true but I can see wandering nomadicly between point A and point B (or just point A to point A) if going various ways each time and seeing or experiencing new things enroute.  But I think of a true nomad life as homeless/baseless wanderer. Although if someone has a home base they are leaving from with plans to be gone a fairly long time to travel, then I'd probably consider that living nomadicly even if at some point they plan to return.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 12:49:10 PM by spartana »

HenryDavid

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2020, 02:03:58 PM »
I can see wandering nomadicly between point A and point B (or just point A to point A) if going various ways each time and seeing or experiencing new things enroute.  But I think of a true nomad life as homeless/baseless wanderer. Although if someone has a home base they are leaving from with plans to be gone a fairly long time to travel, then I'd probably consider that living nomadicly even if at some point they plan to return.
We do thisóvary the routes there and back, add stopovers to the annual flight to see different spots. Then make say 2 week loops out from the Euro base, to Spain or Italy or the UK or whatever.
But who knows, this could all change soon. Thinking about carbon footprint. In Europe the warming effects are so dramatic, though not like Australia. Yet. Makes you think.

spartana

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2020, 02:21:57 PM »
I can see wandering nomadicly between point A and point B (or just point A to point A) if going various ways each time and seeing or experiencing new things enroute.  But I think of a true nomad life as homeless/baseless wanderer. Although if someone has a home base they are leaving from with plans to be gone a fairly long time to travel, then I'd probably consider that living nomadicly even if at some point they plan to return.
We do thisóvary the routes there and back, add stopovers to the annual flight to see different spots. Then make say 2 week loops out from the Euro base, to Spain or Italy or the UK or whatever.
But who knows, this could all change soon. Thinking about carbon footprint. In Europe the warming effects are so dramatic, though not like Australia. Yet. Makes you think.
That's one big reason I like the longer term overlanding thing (by public transit or bike if possible) as you can eliminate a lot of back and forth air travel and reduce your carbon foot print. It also seems to be less expensive.  But if you are just flying twice a year (with different stopovers each time) It is better then flying to multiple destinations through out the year and staying a week or two. I haven't flown in years and when I do next I will not be coming back or flying elsewhere for a long time.

Shane

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2020, 10:41:11 AM »
Is snowbirding the same as nomading? I guess it could be...sort of. I always think of being nomadic as just wandering without a fixed home base. In olden times for food, shelter and to meet hot chicks/dudes from far away tribes. In later times to see what was "there" (wherever there was at that moment or beyond the horizon) and have unusual unique adventures. And to meet hot dudes and chicks at the various beach bars. I still think that's true but I can see wandering nomadicly between point A and point B (or just point A to point A) if going various ways each time and seeing or experiencing new things enroute.  But I think of a true nomad life as homeless/baseless wanderer. Although if someone has a home base they are leaving from with plans to be gone a fairly long time to travel, then I'd probably consider that living nomadicly even if at some point they plan to return.

In early 2018, we spent some time visiting Tibetan "nomads" in far western Sichuan Province. From what I gathered, they pretty much only move back and forth between two locations. In the winter, they live in houses down in the valley. In late spring, they empty their houses of everything of value, take their yaks and move to living in their big tents up on the plateau, so their yaks can fatten up on the warm season flush of grass. In the fall, they move back down into their valley houses.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2020, 05:30:18 PM »


Tex

Do they have property tax in Thailand?
[/quote]

No Sir, no property tax on non commercial places
[/quote]

Texxan1

My understanding was non-Thai, or at least Americans couldn't 'OWN' in Thailand and could only long term lease. I have thought about this and planned to check out Chiang Mai and Southern Thailand (various areas) when I go. The trip was supposed to be right now but had to change my plans. Just curious as I didn't do a ton of research yet on this just know what I had been told by someone else that looked into it.

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2020, 07:36:41 PM »
Mostly posting to follow. I'm thinking about the same trade offs myself even though it is years down the road. Lots of interesting ideas and alternatives in this thread!

I like the idea of just renting a small bedroom at home base for an amount that doesn't significantly affect the monthly budget. Besides the fact that I always enjoy coming "home" after a trip, that would give me a permanent place to have mail sent . . . I supposed you could get a PO box for the same purpose, though.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2020, 03:21:18 AM »


Tex

Do they have property tax in Thailand?

No Sir, no property tax on non commercial places
[/quote]

Texxan1

My understanding was non-Thai, or at least Americans couldn't 'OWN' in Thailand and could only long term lease. I have thought about this and planned to check out Chiang Mai and Southern Thailand (various areas) when I go. The trip was supposed to be right now but had to change my plans. Just curious as I didn't do a ton of research yet on this just know what I had been told by someone else that looked into it.
[/quote]

I think you can own condos but not land.

Read this guyís story: https://onestep4ward.com/buying-condo-thailand-mortgage-free-20s/
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 03:34:54 AM by MrThatsDifferent »

Shane

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2020, 03:52:47 AM »
Mostly posting to follow. I'm thinking about the same trade offs myself even though it is years down the road. Lots of interesting ideas and alternatives in this thread!

I like the idea of just renting a small bedroom at home base for an amount that doesn't significantly affect the monthly budget. Besides the fact that I always enjoy coming "home" after a trip, that would give me a permanent place to have mail sent . . . I supposed you could get a PO box for the same purpose, though.

Another option for dealing with mail while nomadic is to use a company like Traveling Mailbox.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2020, 04:40:05 AM »
That mail service looks awesome! As someone who is taking off for the next year, mail is a big concern of mine. I don't necessarily want to inundate a family member (nor deal with privacy concerns) by having it go to my parents house.

Any other experiences with such mail services anyone could share would be helpful.

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #46 on: January 20, 2020, 04:51:46 AM »
Posting to follow and for ideas.  I'm one year REd, and I feel a strong pull to being nomadic or at least do very long term travel.  My partner does not have this itch, so we're figuring that out as we go along.  Our compromise solution so far has been that he stays put at our (lovely) home base and takes care of everything, and I take off for periods of time, either solo or with like-minded friends and family.  That's what we did last year and it worked out pretty well. 



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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2021, 10:44:13 AM »
How about visa requirements in Europe or Thailand - is there requirement to renew each 6 month or so for USA citizens? I wonder how people deal with being non-citizen in these countries.

Shane

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2021, 11:07:57 AM »
How about visa requirements in Europe or Thailand - is there requirement to renew each 6 month or so for USA citizens? I wonder how people deal with being non-citizen in these countries.

Europe is divided into Schengen and non-Schengen zones. US passport holders can stay for up to 90 days in Schengen Zone countries, during each rolling 180 day period. It's possible live continuously in Europe, without visas, if you don't mind hopping back and forth between Schengen and non-Schengen Zone countries. Non Schengen European countries like Albania and Georgia offer US passport holders 365 day stays with no visa required. Thailand only allows Americans to stay for 30 days without a visa.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Nomad vs. Settling down - How to choose and can you cheaply do both?
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2021, 02:15:41 PM »
How about visa requirements in Europe or Thailand - is there requirement to renew each 6 month or so for USA citizens? I wonder how people deal with being non-citizen in these countries.
Thailand only allows Americans to stay for 30 days without a visa.

The most recent updates I've seen, Thailand switched to a 90 day tourist visa w/ 14 day quarantine on arrival, you can extend for an additional 90 days, twice!