Jun 11

Permanent Beach Life? Oh my!Monday morning, 8am. Diiiiiiinnng! Is that your alarm? Wouldn’t it be nice to not having to go to work today? How about traveling in Guatemala, Mexico or Asia instead? Here is the news: You can! Just follow nomad4ever’s essential tips for self-sustainable permanent travel.

For permanent sustainable travel and living at a young age, you basically have to work on 2 sides of the book:

  • Income in hard currency (Dollar, Euro, Swiss Franc, …)
  • Expenses in soft currencies (Rupiah, Baht, Peso, …- this almost excludes Europe, the US, Japan or other high cost-of-living countries)

It helps as well to have a low demand for materialistic luxury goods. Consumerism is what we call normal today. Don’t let yourself fool into it as well.

Why do you need a Rolex Watch and your Armani Ties, when you can sit in short pants and flip-flops at a Perfect Beach in an Exotic Location? To get there you can try to Downshift, basically starting to live more with less.


It’s best to have several sources/streams of passive income (rent, dividends, interest) besides the option of your labour. This is what can make sustainability very easy!

You can generate Passive Income from a rented-out apartment in Europe, Australia or the US (aka Retire Young, Retire Rich). Another Income Stream can come from dividends of stable old-economy Dow-Jones/European Stocks, who pay out dividends regularly (quarterly) and with increasing amounts over the last past years.

One income stream is not enoughBut then – for that you need some savings or having worked for a couple of years already. It might not be a prerequisite to have savings to retire and travel; if you still plan to work while traveling.

Make sure your passive income streams should be in hard currency (having your Account/Portfolios in your home country or in Hard Currency) while for your labour you will mainly get local currency only. For most people even that can be enough to survive well. The key again is your level of demands.

Labour work you can do almost everywhere when traveling, at least for awhile. You are a rock climber/instructor? Great! I know that some people survive on that for instance in Thailand (Krabi), but it’s surely possible somewhere else as well.

Some people work in the tourism sector, as dive guides in tropical paradises or elsewhere. It is really easier to land such jobs than it sounds, it requires preparation of course.

I know a guy who works 3 months a year as an unskilled worker at a BMW plant in Germany and earns enough to survive the remaining 9 months of the year in his dream country India.

Work and Travel around the Globe!Working as a teacher is a great way to combine work & travel, as many travelers do that abroad! Just google for it, there are plenty of stories or even job options. In Asia for instance it’s very popular for British or American travelers to work as English Teachers for a few weeks. You can survive on that – really! – and see the country/live somewhere else, that can be a rewarding experience already. It just depends on where you want to travel. It’s more a matter of perspective or actively looking for a job in the country you travel.

If you like working on the internet – you can make money online (freelance writing for magazines, blogs, websites), but it will take some serious effort and time-consuming online networking, so I wouldn’t recommend to rely on that, if you are not that internet-affine yet. If you are already an Online Junkie, why not considering working abroad? You can work virtually from every corner of the planet.

Out on the ground – your western education and knowledge will come in handy everywhere as well, as most skills are truly in demand internationally.


A low demand in consumerism and materialism surely helps to reduce expenses. Living in a warm-climate country helps to reduce other expenses like clothes, energy, housing costs. Transportation can be a big expense as well, you might want to check, if it’s really necessary to *own* a car or other modes of transportation. There are many other ways to save money.

You have to find your destination, that depends mainly on your preference of culture, language, security level, region etc. Some countries in Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam) or Latin/South America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras,…) would immediately come to my mind to support lower expense living, but again – it’s all up what you prefer and where you feel comfortable or safe.

It’s a cultural thing as well.

Although I’ve been to the US many times during my work life and would love to live and travel there permanently – I don’t think I could afford it permanently with my present way of living. In most parts of Asia I can currently survive and don’t feel like a beggar on about USD 10.000 a year.

On debt:

Bad Debt - Debt to Income RatioThere is basically good debt and bad debt. Good debt works for you, i.e. a mortgage for a house which is rented out, where the rent is higher than the mortgage/costs. Bad debts only amasses negative interest and is like a growing burden. Especially when your Income is low and your debt is already quite substantial – it can take virtually forever to pay off what you own the banks. Credit Cards are very tempting as well to amass bad debt.

If you have bad debt – work on it first!

This is a big expense and usually grows over time. So get rid of it as soon as possible.

If you own a home/house, evaluate if it’s good or bad debt! If the return from rent is lesser than the mortgage payments and other costs, it could be better to sell it off completely and put the money into fixed-income assets/dividend stocks, thus converting bad debt into a passive income stream. I *would not* bet on an increase in real estate value over time, that’s gambling. But you have to evaluate your situation and decide on that yourself. It doesn’t necessarily pay off to own a house in a developed country.

No Savings yet?

If you don’t have savings which would support your traveling right away, why not combine working abroad with traveling, as mentioned above?

It’s definitely a rewarding experience and will open your eyes to many more options and opportunities to live a fulfilling life. Tyler Durden said: “You are not your Bank Account!”

That’s how it also worked for me: I traveled around in Asia and visited a subsidiary of my former company in Singapore (during a stopover). They needed people and hired me in Singapore. I’d never knew that this was possible hadn’t I tried. It was a great 3 years, where I lived in a new country, new culture and could travel extensively in the surrounding region.

Maybe that’s a way to go for you too? Still better than rot away in your Office Cubicle.

So how to start?

Travel Exotic LocationsJust leave the fears at home. What can happen anyway? You will learn something new. Start to live simple!

People survive in countries around the globe every day on a few Dollars per day. You even have the advantage of better knowledge and education compared to 90% of them.

You can survive on the skills you have right now everywhere. You just need to jump and do it. 20 years from now you will regret that you didn’t.

Believe me, you can’t make it wrong, except staying in the old regime and believing you will feel happier again. Happiness is a journey– not a destination. ;-)


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written by Chris

39 Responses to “Essential Tips For Self-Sustainable or Permanent Travel”

  1. MikeNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    I am three months in and have no regrets with my decision to quit my job and go traveling. I am even managing to save money now.

  2. The Boomer Chronicles » Blog Archive » Quit Your Job and Be a Nomad UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Check out his essential tips for “self-sustainable or permanent travel.” Share this story These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  3. robmeyerNo Gravatar ECUADOR Says:

    Great post! I think a lot of people are under the wrong impression that extended world travel is only an option for those with huge bank accounts. As you correctly pointed out, that is just not true. Hopefully your post will inspire and motivate all of us to think outside the box when it comes to getting out and exploring the world!

  4. Links O’ the Day « Tayloropolis UNITED STATES Says:

    […] People who know me won’t be surprised when I say that I have a very real and very strong desire to do nothing but travel for the rest of my life. I have a fierce wanderlustyness that I struggle to suppress, and generally do a good job of it. But, still, sometimes I read articles like this one, about how to sustain long-term travel, and it makes me all itchy and daydreamy. Really the only things that keep me from doing this is that I am actually very happy with my life, and I know that they only places I could actually afford to do something like this are all crawling with snakes, which is certainly sufficient to keep me the hell away. *heebies* […]

  5. JackNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I loved this post. Every now and then I think about just taking off.

  6. JennDZNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I am feeling motivated! That is why I am working my butt off online – I am building my future as we speak! :)

  7. Ed KohlerNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Great tips. Especially on the costs of living in a warmer country with a lower cost of living. That’s much easier to do than people realize, unless they want to continually travel back to their home cities.

  8. Travel the world - forever! « 123 Travel UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Posted by 123travel on June 26th, 2007 Just read a great post about jetting of a holidays – forever – on the blog Nomad4ever. […]

  9. oakleyNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Bad debt. That’s the death of me right there. Heh.

    Ahh…the American dream…not!

  10. CarlNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    The secret is to find ways to do what you love to do, that you would do even if not paid for it. My wife and I have worked for ourselves for nine years, using multiple streams of income. It is very doable. Just need flexibility, imagination, patience, determination, and a strong work ethic.

  11. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    As soon as I can make my own savings, I probably would do the same…

  12. Life Insurance Lowdown » Blog Archive » Carnival of Life, Happiness & Meaning #14 UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Chris presents Essential Tips For Self-Sustainable or Permanent Travel posted at nomad4ever. It’s best to have several sources/streams of passive income (rent, dividends, interest) besides the option of your labour. This is what can make sustainability very easy! […]

  13. My Money Thinks » Blog Archive » Carnival of Smart Money #1 UNITED STATES Says:

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  14. Nomad’s Snippets - De-Clutter your Life, Travel Story Sites | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

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  16. digitalnomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    You guys are too much. I hope I can pull this off as well. Is it possible yo plan too much?

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I would certainly say so. Sometimes planning too much is more contra productive than just doing.

    People learn by doing. Planning surely helps, but it is a good excuse of not doing anything as well.

  18. SallyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    A great article. I can’t tell you how many people I know who say they would love to travel but don’t know how to free themselves from their old lives and do it sustainably.

    I have successfully left the rat race, although I don’t travel. I just picked a beautiful place that had everything I wanted and moved there!

  19. The Best of Nomad4ever in 2007 | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Essential Tips for Self-Sustainable or Permanent Travel was the most successful post in June and deals with things like Income, Expenses, Savings and Debt – as they are the factors you can influence most, if you are planning to travel for a longer period or quitting your work life completely. […]

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  21. Cost of Living Chart - Bali (in Rupiah, Dollar and Euro) | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

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  22. AnnaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    If you like working on the internet – you can make money online (freelance writing for magazines, blogs, websites), but it will take some serious effort and time-consuming online networking, so I wouldn’t recommend to rely on that, if you are not that internet-affine yet. If you are already an Online Junkie, why not considering working abroad? You can work virtually from every corner of the planet………………

    Any suggestions on how I can find a job like this in Indonesia??

    PS-I love your blog and left you a message on your youtube page, but I think youthink is still blocked in Indonesia…

    Look forward to hearing from you.


  23. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Anna – these jobs usually don’t exist in Indonesia but on a global, international scale. Indonesia’s companies pay based on local standards, so you wouldn’t probably be able to make a living from it.

    The trick is to have your income in hard currency, but your expenses in local currency.

    These kind of Online Jobs you have to pursue online as well, or via connections you made during your working life. It all depends on what you want to do Online. Then you have to find companies/websites who are in need of your qualification and willing to pay for it. To land such a job can be as easy as writing a paid guest article for a website/travel magazine, but it will be definitely more difficult to find a steadily-paying job comparable to an office job in the offline world.

  24. Cost of Living Chart - Philippines (in Peso, Dollar and Euro) | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Good for you – if you can earn an income in a country with less inflation and your base currency is stable or appreciating, you still save more or spend less over a year – even with rising prices in Peso. […]

  25. AbbyNo Gravatar HONDURAS Says:

    Hey everyone. I was working part time and living at my parents. I didnt know If I’d ever survive. All I wanted to do was get out of there. Sick of winter, and the advertisements every where. Ya I would think oh my crime and oo bugs. I landed a job through a non profit to teach abroad in Honduras. Unlike some other teaching abroad programs I get all expense paid. They are out there. I didnt have any money saved up and they really don’t pay me a whole lot in american money. I get free housing. The crime isn’t too bad and I may see a spider once in a blue. The beach is less than a mile away. Its nice all year round. 1 dollar to 20 lempiras and you can get a cab to town for a buck. Also I had experience with kids but no degree. Anyone can really do it. Its just sucking it up and going out there. Also for those who suck at spanish, so do I,but I am still out there away from the 8-10 hour day shift.

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Abby, I can only agree with you. Just live your life how you want it and how it makes you happy! It doesn’t necessarily need the big dollars. And Honduras is a beautiful country. Been there in the early 90’s and made my PADI Open Water course on Roatan. Great Caribbean atmosphere!

  27. LarsNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    great post. i feel compelled. still working on the details, but i’m getting there…

  28. adventuresaddictNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I’d like to add a few more points:
    1) regarding the ‘good loans’ part. I would add also that you should aim for small and short loans. The bigger the loan, the longer it takes to repay, the more uncertainties there are in your future ability to repay it and get the same return (eg. rental). If, for example, you can earn a rental income net of mortgage repayment of $1000 for a property with a much smaller or shorter loan, while you can get only additional $100 if you were to take a loan double in size and duration, it’s safer –if you want to have sounder sleep–to opt for the former property.

    2) One major reason why you will need to increase your expenses suddenly is poor health. So, you should ideally buy an insurance (maybe in Thailand or India if you could). But even if you don’t, you should go for annual health screening so that if you have any diseases you can discover them earlier and start to treat them as early as possible.

  29. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Wise words as usual, adventuresaddict! ;-)

  30. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    OMG! I’m still tied up in my own low-paying “rat race” :-/

  31. Cost of Living – Bali 2010 (in Rupiah, Dollar and Euro) » nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] above 9%. I would rate that inflation rate for goods and services in Bali much higher in reality. Good for you â€“ if you earn your money in a country with less inflation and your base currency is stable […]

  32. Nepal TravelNo Gravatar NEPAL Says:

    I have started saving for my Africa travel since a year. But i use the saved money for other purpose which is making my budget poor always. I need to follow the saving rule strictly, else my dream tour will fail.

  33. TomasNo Gravatar CZECH REPUBLIC Says:

    Hi Chris. I have an interest based income of $1.500. Do you think it is sufficient to start with (to retire) say … in Thailand? How far does this takes us in Asia? I am 47, my girlfriend 38. GREAT site, you work hard on it continually, ich muss meinen Hut ziehen, sir :) Tomas, CZ =D>

  34. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Tomas, from my perspective it would be enough.

    Depends of course, if it’s your only form of income, where in Thailand you would like to stay (Bangkok/Isaan/lonely island/tourist resort), what hotel/villa/house/shack/hang mat you want to rent/buy/lease, what form of car/bike/bus/bicycle/transport you use, what your entertainment preferences are, if you prefer to cook yourself/eat out/fine dine every day, if you need booze/smoke/drugs/3rd party sex to keep you happy every day, if your gf is high maintenance – you get the picture.

    I don’t know you and there are too many unknowns, so your mileage will surely vary. But in general, give it a try….you would only regret it, if you didn’t.

    For more details, you might want to check out the Cost of Living Charts on this website, one for Phuket can be found here. ;-)

  35. animeNo Gravatar PAKISTAN Says:

    Under normal circumstances, I have nothing against consumerism (in my opinion, global economic engine, and is key to many of our well-beings), nor did I agree with people to spend money on accommodation if it can afford. If you work your butt off, and are successful, there is no reason not to enjoy the fruits of that success. However, in the context of international travel, where travelers are really interested in enlightening themselves in foreign cultures, since the congressman was, you really have to choose what is more important: learning about people, or travel comfort.

  36. MelmanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    Do you mind if I ask a personal question? You mention splitting your time between Bali & philippines when this original post was written and spending around $10,000 per year. What has the expense range changed to since this is 2011 versus say 2007 when you originally wrote this article?

  37. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Melman, I currently don’t monitor my expenses, as I seem to be able to manage fairly well. Although prices have gone up quite some (more in Bali though, where they seem to have a hyperinflation the last 2 years) – it seems that I’m still able to spend comparable, as I made a long-term deal (5-years) for my accommodation and I also become more and more frugal…am happy with less luxury and splurging on useless items. Everyones mileage will vary at the start in that regard.

  38. TimorNo Gravatar UKRAINE Says:

    This is the first time I comment on your site, but I’ve been keeping up with your work for about a few months. I admire the passion with which you write the articles and hope someday I can do the same. Love

  39. JasonNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hi Chris,
    I’m currently 17 and will be leaving education in less than 3 months with the option to go to university or start a full time job. Would you recommend going to university and joining the rat race or working for a year and saving up to start traveling for the rest of my life.

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