“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe” ~Anatole France
How To Leave America and Become a Vagabond
So you have been working the 9 to 5, just getting your paycheck and saving as much as you can for that amazing vacation. Finally you are able to save $ 5,000 dollars for your 10 day dream vacation to Spain.
Next thing you know you’re sitting at the air port looking at a great big sign that says, “bienvenidos” (welcome), and regretting that you did not pay attention in your Spanish class. You go to the curb, wave down a taxi and tell him “el centro por favor” (downtown please).
You unpack your things, grab a tourist map in the hotels lobby and out you go. The next few days are filled with: La Familia Sagrada (Church of the Holy Family), more amazing churches, extremely modern architecture, paella (Rice Dish), the Olympic Stadium, Gaudi Park, a drunken night at Las Ramblas, and the Picasso Museum.
While I love to take vacations, the problem I have with them, is that a vacation like this one is almost like a drug-induced high. In only a few days you have radically shocked your system by exposing it to a completely foreign environment.
Ten days are not enough time to make sense of it all. When you arrive home and think about your experiences, your mind is flooded with imagery. After a few months go by being able to recall those feelings of joy become harder and harder to do.
In order to really have a fulfilling and truly educational life experience, you need to get off the tourist path and onto the path less traveled. I feel that to really get a decent feel for a new country about 1-3 month’s of normal day to day living is about right. What I propose is that instead of taking a 10 day retreat, use the same five thousand dollars to set up shop in a foreign country for 6 -12 months.
This will be enough time to really absorb the nuances of a new environment and culture. If you are committed you can really get creative in supporting your self (food, housing, entertainment) and below I will list a few possibilities.
Who this would be good for:
- Someone who needs a change.
- Someone who has not figured out a long-term career.
- Has little to no obligations (married, kids, big financial liabilities)
- Someone who is burned out and needs some time to explore their inner self while exploring the world.
- Someone who has never left the states.
Before You Make the Leap Things to Keep In Mind:
The Vagabond lifestyle is not without its difficulties. If you have never left your country for an extended period you may end up having problems adjusting. You may think that it’s no big deal to pack up and move as long as you make prior mental preparation, but culture shock is very real and can affect your ability to deal with your new environment properly.
Some possible issues you will run into include: language barriers, transportation, cultural and religious differences, financial infrastructure, climate, loneliness, politics, access to medical care, and food are all things you need to consider and prepare for as best you can.
At the same time just remember that all the challenges I listed above are part of the adventure and a matter of perspective. Just be open to the challenges and opportunities along the way. Keep reminding your self that this is a major life learning experience and one day will be one of your greatest memories.
Getting out of your comfort zone in retrospect will be one of the most fulfilling things you will acknowledge. Once you make it through some major hurdles you will be proud of your ability to stick it out and adapt anywhere.
“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes sight-seeing.” ~Daniel J. Boorstin
Starting a new life and some potential ways to make it happen:
You have a job or business that’s not bound to a location: Many companies have chosen to increase productivity by outsourcing jobs to people who want to work from home. All that is needed is an Internet connection and the discipline to be productive from home.
If you have something that you love and that your good at, research all the possible ways on how you could make money doing it. If you want this lifestyle bad enough, you can make something work, or at least discover new opportunities.
If you would like to know how to start a “Freedom Business“, check out my buddie Mark’s Guide “Escape Plan”. The guide is composed of the essentials of living and traveling abroad, and practical online business ideas to make your dream a reality.
Teaching English: Teaching English is one of the easiest ways to support your self while living in a new country, and helps to integrate you into the society. Teaching English will also help you meet new friends who will be happy to show you the ropes to your new city. Don’t expect to get rich from teaching English, however if you find a good program or school it will usually be enough to live very comfortably. Many teachers supplement their income for luxuries and travel by teaching private lessons.
You can find potential students in your city’s newspaper classified ads and online as well. If you do plan on teaching English, a good thing to get under your belt is to get certified to teach in a foreign country by getting your TEFL. You can complete most TEFL courses through intensive 4-8 week programs. Many teachers decide to get there TEFL through a language school in the country where they want to live. This is usually a good choice as most schools will help you find a job when you finish the program. You will also meet new people who you can potentially be roommates with.
While being in another country it’s also a smart thing to try and learn your host country’s language. It will really make your life easier and much more enjoyable and can also open up many new opportunities.
Volunteer: Volunteering in a new country can also be a great way to see the world while also contributing. Many volunteer programs will help you by giving you food and a place to live, so you simply bring money for travel and entertainment. Volunteer to gain a new perspective:
Find a job with a multi national corporation: Good way to build up your resume by adding international work experience, and many times your company will help you with obtaining your work permit and visa.
http://www.transitionsabroad.com a great resource if you plan to work, study, or live abroad.
Study Abroad: Overseas Universities and Schools can be a great way to further your education while having a very fulfilling cultural experience.
Freelance Your Skills and Knowledge: If you have a skill that you can freelance or be able to consult on, you are no longer bound by location. If you are a graphic designer, computer programmer, writer, etc. you can find people hungry for your services. Post your profile and look for jobs on:
Flexible Jobs and Companies: If you are not really the entrepreneur type, but would love to work from home to save on commuting to living a fulfilling lifestyle, you will find resources below on how it can be done.
I just want to thank you for reading my article, I hope I encouraged you to make the jump into the land of unknown and provided some options on how you can make it happen. Start making your plan and work towards it; I am very confident it will be one of your best decisions in your journey to experiencing life.- Ivan Campuzano
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http://www.meetup.com When you get to your new destination, you are going to want to make some friends as soon as possible. Use this site to find people all over the world who share the same interests as you.
http://www.gridskipper.com/ Gridskipper is the decadent guide to the best in worldwide urban travel-hotels, restaurants, clubs, flights, and sights.
http://www.worldtravelwatch.com/ Stay informed of world events and odd happenings before you take flight on your adventure.
Tax Planning Make sure you keep Uncle Sam happy while you are traveling or living abroad.
Free Worldwide Housing:
www.couchsurfing.com I had many friends who let travelers on a budget crash on their couches. It was a great way to meet new and interesting people, making worldwide connections.
www.globalfreeloaders.com This is an online community, bringing people together to offer you free accommodation around the world. Save money and make new friends while seeing the world from a local’s perspective!
www.skype.com Stay in touch with your friends and family with this free Internet Phone.
(editors note: this post contains affiliate links for “Escape Plan,” if you decide to purchase you are directly supporting my blogging efforts, thanks a bunch in advance)