Traveling Tips

Market 23, Cancun

How To Save More than $5,000 A Year On Groceries While Living Abroad

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

For those of you who are regular readers, the lowered costs of living in another country is a familiar topic. For those of you who are new to the scene, this might be something you aren’t aware of simply because you’ve never been informed of just how much money you can save by living abroad. But when you start spending more time in developing countries, the amount of money you can put back into your pocket is staggering in its scope.

Such as picking up produce at local markets as well as saving your grocery shopping for market days when you can pick up produce and fruits for a fraction of their normal cost…which means you can walk away with savings that are worth hundreds of dollars per month and thousands of dollars per year.

In the accompanying video you’ll see me give you a basic breakdown of the type of savings I enjoy by shopping at the local level while living abroad as an expat. While the average grocery bill for an American is $6,500 per year (according to the Department of Labor as reported by TLC ), I spend a mere $1,000 per year in comparison. That’s $5,500 savings per year, and yet I’m eating the exact same foods that I was when I was living in Colorado…it’s just that I’m purchasing things in a country where I’m not charged an arm and a leg for simple groceries.

Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in. I know it’s hard to imagine, because you (readers in The West/U.S./U.K.) are so used to paying such obscenely high prices for your groceries that it must sound like an impossibility to be able to save over five thousand dollars on your annual grocery bill. And remember, these numbers are from the U.S. government itself…and they only represent the grocery bill for a single, average, median-cost-of-living American. The grocery bill for couples double…and when you add kids into the equation you can see that number quadruple or beyond. (Assuming average, middle-class Americans. Remember that these numbers are the “average”; some people spend more, some people spend less, through coupons and smart shopping).

Now think about this: if the average household (family of four) is spending $6,500 per year, per adult, that’s $13,000 per year. Throw a couple of kids into the mix and you can assume a minimum of $20,000 per year on food alone. Now, compare that to living in a place like Mexico City or Cancun, where two adults can eat like kings on a mere $2,000 a year. Add a couple of kids into the mix and you are talking about around $4,000 a year.

That’s basic, grade-school math that anyone can see. $20,000 a year versus $4,000 a year for a family of four. For two adults it’s $2,000 per year versus $13,000 per year. For a single individual, it’s $1,000 per year versus $6,500 per year. The savings by living like a local are literally thousands of dollars a year back into your pocket.

Don’t believe me? Just check out the following video for the most basic type of evidence. I’m only going into tomatoes, mangos, papayas and onions…when you utilize local prices and market days you can get all of your produce for pennies (I mention broccoli in the video; you can find it as little as 6 pesos per kilo), you can buy whole chickens at the store for a mere one dollar (stocking up on 10 or 15 of them and sticking them in your freezer), you can go to the local fish market and get fresh fish for pennies per kilo…it’s absolutely mind-boggling the amount of money you can save by living like a local in foreign countries around the world.

Forget only saving pennies or a few dollars here and there by clipping coupons. You can save tens of thousands of dollars on your family’s grocery bill simply by choosing to live in another country and utilize the basic principles of living like a local.

And it’s not just Mexico where you find these local markets. While farmer’s markets might be a rarity in the U.S., and to a lesser degree in the U.K. and other Western countries where the almighty Supermarket Chains rule the world with their barcodes and government-affiliated buildings, in most developing countries they are the preferred way to shop. When I was living in Bulgaria it was the Women’s Market in Sofia, and the same while I was living in Bogota, Colombia. And visiting Greece, Italy, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and the variety of other countries in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

And let’s not even start with the gimmick that is “organic” food and produce. When you are shopping at the small, local markets you are getting farm-fresh produce and whole foods that are organic and pure simply by the very nature of the fact that the small farmers can’t afford to use the expensive pesticides and “government approved” fertilizes, so they are growing things as they have always been grown: in the dirt, using nothing more than sweat combined with Mother Nature’s guidance.

For example, in a recent trip to Chable, Mexico, the locals all have their own gardens as well as their own chickens, pigs and cattle. They grow their own produce and feed their pigs, chickens and cattle the same food they themselves are eating and growing in their gardens…and they aren’t using pesticides or chemicals. They can’t afford them! Instead, they are growing things straight out of the ground and feeding their animals the scraps from the table…which in turn ensures their meat is pure and free from antibiotics and other chemicals that mass-produced food contains.

We watched a neighbor kill three chickens for dinner, and when we picked up 15 fish for the family to eat for dinner in the evening it was freshly caught from the Usumacinta River. The neighbors chickens were running around the yard behind the house in the morning. The tamales we had for breakfast were made with fresh-ground corn pulled straight from the merchant’s back yard. Our cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes for the salad were all farm-fresh and grown by the neighbors and sold at the local market. And for pennies in comparison to what you would pay in the U.S. and other Western countries for “organic” produce.

*The numbers presented represent total food costs per year, not merely groceries. The DOL statistics also take into consideration eating out. Those families or individuals who prepare their own meals rather than eating out spend considerably less. Also bear in mind that this post is written from a U.S. perspective. Those people already living here in Mexico or other countries where the cost of food is at the local level already know this fact!

If you’d like more information on how to get the most out of your hard-earned dollars or euros while living abroad, The Expat Guidebook details how I went from $3,000 a month in bills to less than $650 a month and how I live like a king in developing countries around the world. The above post is an excerpt from a larger section detailing local markets and negotiation for lowered costs of living.

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Hollywood

Jumping On The Bandwagon

Posted by | Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | No Comments

Something I covered in an interview I did last year with Cheap Cancun Rentals (video at bottom of the page) is the concept of “if they can do it, so can you”. In this regards, I am talking specifically about numerous corporations and entities in the United States who choose to operate outside of the U.S. for tax and production cost reasons.

Production studios are choosing to shoot movies overseas and in other countries rather than in the U.S. specifically so they can take advantage of tax breaks and cheaper production costs. Why? Because it costs pennies in comparison to produce movies on foreign soil, which allows movie production companies to save millions in taxes and fees.

If it’s O.K. for them, it’s O.K. for you. It’s a concept that is hard for many Americans to believe. After all, for years the IRS and the federal government have been telling them that tax havens and loopholes in the system is bad, that they’ll be penalized and go to jail if they use them. But bad for whom? After all, if the government is allowing corporations and Hollywood studios to function overseas to save money and utilize cheaper costs (not to mention their own senators and officials), why can’t you?

The reason the feds don’t want you using  tax havens and international investments/living abroad as an expat benefits only one person: you. Naturally, this goes against The Plan. They want you staying close to home, tucked away in suburbia, spending your tax dollars at home. As an expat or full-time traveler you are spending your money offshore, and paying less taxes. And while Hollywood/big business is certainly paying less taxes and utilizing cheaper labor costs, it’s all about money. Hollywood brings in billions of dollars per year of U.S. revenue…the average expat does not.

You can see the issue. The government is more than willing to turn a blind eye to companies and individuals based abroad and paying less taxes as long as they are still bringing in millions/billions of dollars of revenue to U.S. soil, but the moment you start talking about personal gain as a solo expat, most Americans have been trained since they were children to believe that it’s “bad” or “wrong” or “illegal” for you to use the same loopholes that big businesses use.

Go ahead. Just Google “tax haven”. The results are full of warnings about how you shouldn’t be doing it because you’ll get in trouble with the IRS. But Hollywood movie studios and production companies do it all the time.

Just look at the latest Conan the Barbarian movie, which was filmed in Bulgaria, along with The Expendables 2Fringe. Alcatraz. Person of Interest. Game of Thrones. Hell on Wheels. The Firm. The X-Files, the Stargate series, and just about every hot show that’s on today, such as Continuum, XIII, Revolution, The Borgias, Supernatural and beyond. These are just a handful of examples of TV shows that are/were filmed in Canada or abroad.

Why were they filmed abroad? Because foreign actors cost less than American actors, production costs are lower, and the production companies can take advantage of tax breaks. Just remember  the revenue those shows bring in is still U.S. income.

The same laws that apply to big businesses and Hollywood movie studios apply to you as well, it’s just that you’ve been discouraged from doing so because you don’t bring millions of dollars of revenue to the U.S. But here’s the thing: if they can do it, so can you.

Millions of expats every year are living abroad with foreign bank accounts, utilizing tax havens and making international investments and establishing financial independence. It’s not illegal so long as you do things by the book, but it’s only natural for the government to be in a panic about more and more people choosing to move abroad every year, because unlike movie studios who are pumping money back into the economy, your unspent/saved dollars and commodities are helping you personally…and the last thing they want is for you to free yourself from the system.

So the next time you think about whether or not you want to register a business in another country, open up a new bank account or live somewhere where the cost of living is a fraction of what it is back home…go for it. After all, if Hollywood can do it, so can you.

Note that this article really only applies to U.S. expats and digital nomads. If you are from any other country on the planet you don’t have to worry about your worldwide income being laid claim to by a corrupt government on its last legs.

This post originated as part of The Expat Guidebook blog, and appears in expanded format within the eBook itself. 

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30 Ways in 30 Days

Looking for more information on a life of travel and how to live around the world, without a budget and zero plans? Check out our best-selling 568-page eBook that goes behind the scenes, complete with a laid-out map of how to achieve a life of absolute creative and financial freedom via full-time travel and location independence, in any corner of the world that you want to call home.

This isn’t a book about backpacking, being an international vagabond or living in bug-ridden hostels with no hot water or  CouchSurfing and budget-traveling on bread-crumbs. This is a book for professionally-minded people who want to establish themselves as independent global citizens utilizing the power of the Internet, social media, joint ventures and lifestyle management to achieve a life of absolute freedom free of The Matrix.

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Budget Travel

Hotels, Hostels and Apartments – Tips for Full-Time Travel

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

Lodging is a fairly emotive topic in the travel industry. It’s one of the primary wars waged between bloggers who continually battle each other with blog posts and books aimed at selling “the cheapest way to travel”. Whether it’s “How to Travel on $50 Per Day” or “How To Live on $40 Per Day” or “How to Travel Around The World on $25 Per Day”, there’s a continual stream of same/same information pouring down the pipelines. And while some of this information is good, a lot of it is basic, common sense knowledge that anyone with half a brain can figure out.

The funny thing is that you don’t need a budget to travel. You simply need to know how to prioritize, live frugally, and most importantly, have a passive income coming in from your blog, an online venture or some other source. But before we cover those topics, let’s talk a little bit about the most controversial and expensive aspect of traveling: accommodations.

The Face-Off

Hotels, hostels or apartments: which ones are the best for your travels? It’s a tricky question to answer, one that is more tied to frugal living and personal comfort levels than anything else. And contrary to popular belief it doesn’t revolve around spending X dollars per day.

Getting the best deal on accommodations relies more upon simple survival techniques than budgeting. Fluency in the local language is step one. Step two is simply learning how to live frugally and get the most out of your money. Step three is all about comfort levels and style of travel.

Hotels are best if you are traveling without a budget, spending just a few days per destination and you cherish your privacy as well as constant hot water, a stable Internet connection and Western amenities. Most hotels also have a generator in case the power goes down, as well as air conditioning, gym, breakfasts and often pools/a Jacuzzi.

Passive income travelers can afford hotels, as can those travel bloggers who are traveling on the sponsored dime. Backpackers, not so much.

Which leads to the second style of accommodation. Hostels. Some of them are nice, most of them aren’t. Hot water is a maybe. Stable Internet is a maybe. Private accommodations are a maybe. Having your reservation forgotten or simply not in the book when you show up is quite possibly a given. Bed bugs, questionable sheets, parties late at night, neighbors having drunken hostel sex at four a.m., a constant buzz of activity and people coming and going at all hours is probably a given. The prices are usually half of what a hotel charges, but the discount comes at a price in the sense that you don’t really have the stability and comfort of hotels.

Hostels are great for backpackers and budget travelers who are trying to get the most out of a limited time frame with a limited amount of money.

Then we have apartments and long-term accommodations. These are my favorite. Constant hot water, steady Internet, cable TV, your own private bed, private bathroom, lock on the door, space for storage, a home away from home, and prices that blow hostels and hotels both out of the water. While you might spend $50 a day living out of hotel rooms and $30 a day living out of hostels, once you make the transition to immersion travel (aka slow travel) and discover long-term apartment/condo/house rentals, you’ll never go back.

For the sake of transparency, and to jump on the wagon of “spending X per day”, I spend, on average, around $21 per day for my life of full-time travel. I’ve gone lower, and I’ve gone higher. This is my average. I rarely use hostels or hotels: instead, I am a long-term apartment renter. Note: this $21 a day covers my entire cost of living, not just the accommodations.

If we are talking purely the rental fees, I usually pay around $400 USD per month for fully-furnished, fully-kitted out accommodations, with all utilities included. That’s around $13 USD per day in terms of how much I spend for accommodations, Internet and amenities/creature comforts. Food and entertainment are the extras that push me up to $21 a day. 

Cristina, Marginal Boundaries

Which One Is Best?

That depends entirely upon the individual. I’ve used them all in various situations. For example, on an overnight stay in London with a connecting flight from Denver, Colorado to Sofia, Bulgaria, I stayed at the airport hotel because I needed something close to the airport with stable Internet and comfort so I could get a good night’s sleep and plenty of work done.

When I stayed in Veliko Tarnovo for five days I went with a bed-and-breakfast hotel, and then when I was in Varna I stayed at a large house with the group I was with. When I took a weekend trip to Villa de Leyva while living in Bogota, Colombia I stayed at the Colombian Highlands Hostel, one of the best hostels I’ve ever clocked in at in my travels around the world, and just about the only one I’d actually recommend after all these years on the road.

Before I left Cancun, Mexico for Bogota, I stayed at a local hostel for the night before, since I had moved out of my apartment the day prior and only needed a place to crash for about five hours before my flight. And when I arrived in Bogota I stayed at a hostel for three days while I went and looked at apartments before choosing one for my time there. When I got back to Cancun I stayed at the Xbalamque Hotel in Centro for a week while looking for a new apartment. It just depends on what I need at any given time.

As a general rule, if I’m not in “work mode” and I’m either traveling as a backpacker without my laptop or I’m in mid-transition mode upon arrival or leaving a country, I’ll kick it at a hostel, as long as I can ensure it’s a good hostel. Nothing pisses me off more than cold water showers and shitty Internet.

Sorry, but I make a living online, and if a place can’t provide me with a solid, stable and fast Internet when I need it, then it’s a place I won’t recommend, nor will I stick around. As far as the water goes…well, we all have our little things that we “need”, and for me that’s one of them.

Then again, there are times when I’ve been on the road without my laptop or the need to stay connected or worry about creature comforts (camping, weekend trekking), and for those trips I’m fine if the Internet connection is crap or nonexistent. But funky sheets and constant noise/bustle/strangers are a huge turn-off to me, so I tend not to do hostels if I’m going to be focusing on getting work done, or if I need to ensure a solid night’s rest.

On the flip side, hostels are a great place to meet fellow travelers, which makes them ideal if you are looking to network with others and meet some of the groovy people of the world. You don’t get that in hotels or apartments since it’s more private accommodations. So there’s that sacrifice to consider.

Pros and Cons

Hotels

Pros: Free, solid WiFi, breakfast usually included, gym and pool, room service, TV, fluffy towels, soft pillows and concierge are all a great luxury when it comes to staying in hotels. There’s usually not a per-person charge, and you have peace and tranquility due to the fact that it’s private accommodations.

Cons: Most hotels lack a kitchen for you to prepare your own food, as well as other living space to move around, which means things can feel a bit claustrophobic. If the hotel does offer food or a restaurant, it’s usually on the pricier side. Hotels are also the most expensive in terms of accommodations  but the level of privacy and luxury is unparalleled.

Hostels

Pros: Hostels are typically central with friendly staff who are bi-lingual and generally helpful and you’re more likely to mix and mingle with other travelers because hostels provide that social setting that some people crave. You can also hang out with the bohemian crowd if you are into pot smoking and general revelry. Some provide kitchens, which means you can cook your own food while staying, and others have simple breakfasts or dinners included, usually served in a social setting so you are once again rubbing shoulders with your traveling companions of the world. Hostels are more affordable than hotels, and most people who are traveling on a budget find hostels to be the best fit.

Cons: Sometimes you really do get what you pay for and trying to save a few dollars comes back to bite you in the ass. All the horror stories that you’ve ever heard about regarding staying in hostels, I’ve come across. Coed bathrooms with shit-stained walls and clogged toilets. Lack of privacy. Hostel-mates who don’t clean up after themselves in the kitchen. Dorm rooms where people snore or copulate all through the night, even though it’s in a public setting. Loud, drunken, singles looking for a good time. Unreliable WiFi. Cold water showers. Or worse yet, lack of water completely.

Apartments

Pros: Home away from home. You have regular neighbors, you can live like a local, shop at the local markets, cook your own food rather than spend money on eating out, and best of all you have your own place that is completely private in a secure setting where you can store your gear. Set up a base of operations in a local environment and then explore from there for a few months, allowing you to fully uncover every hidden nook and cranny of a destination.

Or as I put it, read the whole novel as opposed to only skim-reading as a backpacker. Many apartments come with 24/7 security as well as maid service. Fully furnished, and fully kitted out, with all utilities included. Cheaper than hostels, and more cozy than hotels.

Cons: Some of the best rates are often apartments on the outskirts of town, not necessarily in centro. You don’t tend to have access to a gym or a pool unless you get lucky. Finding a furnished apartment in the centro/downtown sections of cities can be expensive. You generally have to sign a contract/lease, which means staying in one place for a set amount of time. Security deposit + first month’s rent required, which sometimes means forking over up to $1,000 USD to move in, a problem for many poverty-stricken backpackers.

How I Roll

I am about 95% long-term apartment/condo rentals, and have been for the entire time I’ve been full-time traveling (since January of 2008). I tend to stay in one location for a minimum of three months before I move on, which means I sign leases, pay deposits and have a local base of operations to explore the areas where I live.

If you’ve been following along for a long time, you’ve seen the escapades; if you are new, I’m currently based out of Cancun, Mexico and you can see some of the places we’ve been exploring in March and April of 2013, including Chichen Itza and the Cenote Ik Kil, the ruins of Palenque as well as the famous El Panchan eco-hotel, the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, the waterfall of Misol Ha and the cascades at Agua Azul, the quiet coastal town of Campeche, the beaches of Akumal, the beaches and coast of Isla Mujeres, and just last weekend the hidden Maya ruins and off-the-beaten-path Cascadas Reformas in Tabasco, Mexico.

I don’t always travel by hostel and hotel…but when I do, I’m very picky about my accommodations, not merely from a price standpoint, but mostly because I’ve got gear to worry about, and I’m a stickler for a good night’s sleep as well as privacy.

Destination Freedom Group

While cold water showers and bad Internet can put me off, I find drunken, classless hostel travelers far more off-putting, and I would rather spend money on a hotel than deal with rabble-rousers at 3 a.m. when I’m trying to get a good night’s sleep so I can go ruin-hiking or city-exploring the following day.

As far as exploring a destination goes, I don’t travel short-term as a backpacker. While I do travel light, I prefer to have a base of operations where I can stash my laptop + gear and then go from there on weekend or week-long treks into the surrounding country, fully immersing myself in the environment. If I enjoy a country enough to stick around beyond the 3-month passport stay, I get a residency visa and continue exploring.

I also don’t have a travel budget because I travel on a mixture of passive and active income streams, which means even if I’m out and about in the jungle for a week, I still have income coming in from my various websites and online projects. While Marginal Boundaries is my primary source of income, I prefer to follow the “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” route, and thus rely on multiple income streams. Free Agent Which is also the main determining factor when you are traveling. While budget travelers are those who have a job back home in an office working under someone else’s thumb, and thus a limited time frame and a limited amount of money to travel with, thus limiting them to hostels and budget travel, passive income allows you to pursue a life of full-time immersion travel, going where the wind takes you and staying for as long as it takes for you to explore a destination to its fullest.

Sponsored travel is also another way to roll. I personally haven’t to-date, but I’m considering it for some upcoming plans we have for Spring of 2014. The limitation there is that you don’t always have the flexibility to see the sights you want to see because the businesses who are sponsoring you want you to cover specific elements, which means you are writing on their dime, and thus spending your time as they decide. Granted, you can negotiate this on a per-case basis, and while you can get some nice digs out of sponsored travel, it does restrict you in some forms.

You can also look into house-sitting if you don’t mind being restricted to specific locals, but the problem I find with most house-sitting gigs is that the vast majority (and by vast majority I mean 90% or more) of house-sitting gigs require you to also mind a pet…or two, or three, or four…along with the garden, the house and all its possessions, which means you are limited in how often  you can get out of the house. But if you don’t mind being strapped down to a single location, house sitting is a great gig for blogging/working and saving money while living for basically free.

At the end of the day, I still choose to use long-term apartment rentals as I travel. I have enhanced flexibility, it perfectly suits my location independent lifestyle, it’s the most affordable way to roll, and I can sleep easy every night knowing that I don’t have to deal with drunken idiots, semen-stained sheets, tourist-oriented tariffs, shit-stained walls and clogged toilets, bad Internet and issues with hot water.

In short…I get to travel in comfort and affordability, all at the same time.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

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Net Worth Fail

Going Nomadic and Living Free of Credit

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

You have two choices in life: live free and nomadic, or live as a slave, chained down to one locale and a suburbanite cell. It is literally that simple, and everyone has a choice.

Entrapment

Back when I was still living in Bulgaria, I had a very interesting series of conversation with one of the neighbors. This was in 2008, a year after they had joined the European Union, and credit had come full-force into Bulgaria. Up until that point the country had been existing in a state of post-Communist bliss where free enterprise and hard work had been allowing a previously-poor people to prosper in a cash-rich environment.

The interesting thing about Bulgaria is that roughly 98% of families own their own homes. Mortgages were, up until 2007, almost nonexistent. This is because the homes were given to the families during the Communist era, and those same homes and properties have been handed down since then. But the lure of credit is incredibly strong given the fact that the average monthly wage is roughly the same as Mexico: 400 to 500 USD per month, and when you turn on the T.V. or log into the Internet or go anywhere in the city you are bombarded by images of “the good life” of The West, with brand new cars and SUVs and big-screen televisions and XBoxes and Playstations and widescreen gaming computers and beyond.

But what many youth of today fail to realize is that this is nothing more than an illusion, a mirage feigned by marketing companies to lure people in and get them to sign over the next 40 years of their lives without realizing what they are doing. The daughter of said neighbor was one who had fallen prey to the lies of the credit system, and within a few short months had already signed up and been approved for several credit cards, which she then proceeded to use to buy a smartphone, new clothing, a computer for her home…but most importantly, she had gone out and gotten a car with credit.

Within just a few short weeks she had suddenly put herself in a position where she had literally just signed away the next 25-30 years of her life to paying off the debt for material possessions she had been pressured into believing were “necessities”. And much to the dismay of her father (who was in his late 40s at the time and completely debt free, like most Bulgarians, despite what most Americans sneer at as a poverty-level income due to the fact they lack basic comprehension of how livable wages and costs of living around the world work; they fail to understand The Myth of Net Worth and Net Income), his daughter had, as he put it, “signed her soul over to the devil.”

“My country is going to hell in a hand-basket,” was his lament, “and my daughter is now a slave.”

All I could do was nod my head in agreement and reply, “Why do you think I got the hell out?”

The Lie of Credit

Credit is an illusion. The material possessions that you think you own when you purchase them with credit are not yours, and many people who are looking from outside into the U.S. fail to grasp this concept. Instead, they see a country where people are living a “life of plenty”. What they don’t realize is that if the vast majority of people from the U.S. miss more than a couple of bank payments or are late too many times, all of those shiny things suddenly go back to the bank…and all of your years spent working to pay off your debt is for nothing.

Everyone has a choice as to whether or not they rely on credit to make their way through life. The tricky part is realizing this hidden truth, because from the time you hit grade school in the United States they are already hard at work with the campaigns and slogans. It starts off with standardized tests to fit you into a certain mold and determine exactly how they can lure you in. Then you get into high school and the recruiting companies start hitting you hard and fast, offering you credit cards and school loans and credit so you can “get that degree you’ve always dreamed about and have to have in order to succeed in life”.

The vast majority of sheep are led willingly to the slaughter, none of them even realizing what’s going on until the gates close behind them, nipping at their heels, locking them in with 150,000 dollars of school loans, a 200,000 dollar mortgage, a 30,000 dollar car loan and credit card debt to boot. Only to end up with a minimum wage job that guarantees they will spend the next 50 years of their life indebted to the system and working their fingers to the bone.

Don’t believe me about those numbers? Just ask the students who were interviewed for Yahoo News last year.

The Sad Truth

It is a tragic story, one that is born out of ignorance in regards to global options for expats, as well as reliance upon a system that force-feeds school-loans, higher education and the credit system as the “only way to succeed” down the throats of every high-school student in the United States. Each year, the culpable minds of the American youth are brainwashed into believing that the only way they will ever be able to achieve anything in life is to jump through the hoops of the system.

“Go to college,” they tell you. “Don’t worry about the costs. It’s required. If you don’t go to college you’ll never be able to get a job. Don’t worry about the money. We’ll loan it to you. It’s the only way you’ll ever amount to anything. Trust us. It’s the way the system works. You can’t survive in the system unless you do what we tell you. Watch your reality TV and go to sleep. Sign on the dotted line. Let us take care of you.”

Students are told that they have no other options; it’s this way or starve, they are told. Trust us. Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you. Sign here. Four years later, they wake up feeling the cold steel wrapped around their wrists, suddenly realizing they have become prisoners in a jail cell that was being built around them without them even realizing what was going on.

This is the result of reliance on the system. Of putting your faith in The Matrix. Of allowing someone else to dictate your future to you. And this is why record number of expats are choosing to simply unplug from The Matrix and explore global opportunities abroad, free and clear of the shackles and the chains that bind the vast majority of the ignorant masses who blindly put their faith in a system that is so flawed, so broken, so undeniably corrupt that the only way to ever achieve any resemblance of freedom is to completely sever all ties and make your own way in life.

Illumination

The modern entrepreneur is living a life completely free of corruption, free of debt, free of the system and free of wage slavery. I’m only one of thousands of digital nomads who are making their way around the world, working from their laptops and pursuing their passions and dreams while living the swashbuckling lifestyle we all dreamed about as children. Take a look at Niall from Disrupting the Rabblement. Or Travis from over at Techno Yogi. Or Ryan and Angela from Jets Like Taxis. Or my friend Ismael from PSD2HTMLPros. Or Janelle from Virtual Assistant Info. Or my buddy Chimi from Snail Adventures. Or Justin from The Lotus and the Artichoke. Or anyone who is on my list of Other Resources, and the thousands of others who I haven’t listed but are nevertheless living the dream life.

It’s entirely doable. Anyone can accomplish it. All you have to do is make a conscious decision to unplug, to disconnect, to rise up and take what is yours by human right as a universal entity with unlimited potential and infinite possibilities at your fingertips. It doesn’t matter where you were born, what language you speak or whether or not you have what you think is an impossible amount of debt already weighing you down.

Just take a look at the people who are down here right now as part of our Spring 2013 Destination Freedom retreat where we are teaching blogging, brand building and social media management to establish passive income and absolute creative and financial freedom.

When you unplug from the so-called “American Dream”, there is an unlimited number of possibilities laid out in front of you. I cut my bills from $2,500 to $3,000 a month in Colorado down to $650 a month in Bulgaria, Colombia and Mexico…and yet I have exactly the same standards of living. Actually better, considering I only work a few hours per day instead of 60+ hours per week…and I’ve got disposable income to boot.

And yet we all have access to first-class medical care. In fact Dave, one of our Spring 2013 retreat members is working on a series of blog posts as previously mentioned in Living Off The Grid in Cancun, Mexico, talking about how he got 12-15k USD worth of dental work done for a mere 2k…and the work was superior to anything he’d ever seen or had done before in the U.S. Or check out his blog post on the cost of goods here in The Riveria Maya.

Others, such as Niall and Travis and Sophie, one of our retreat members, have chosen to kick it over in Thailand, where the costs are even cheaper than what I’m spending in Mexico. Did I mention we also have high speed Internet? And air conditioning. And 3G and 4G networks and IMAX movie theaters and same-day international premiers on movies and tablets and smart phones and everything the Western world has but at a fraction of the cost.

Cristina and I just got back from a trip deeper into the heartlands of Mexico. Her sister has a small little home in a pueblo called Chable on the border of Tabasco and Chiapas that she paid a mere 3,500 USD for. It’s a one bedroom, one bathroom abode with a small yard in front and in back. Here in Cancun you can pick up a one-bedroom place for as low as 10-15k; two bedrooms run up to 30k; three bedrooms from 25 to 40k on average, or up to 100k if you want higher-end.

We ourselves just looked at a small home in Emiliano Zapata, Mexico over the weekend where we are thinking about moving in 2014. Massive yard in back, two-bedroom, one-bath place with additional room for a garage in a quiet little town on the Usumacinta River for only $16,000. The same river that winds its way down past the Yaxchilan and Bonampak Maya Ruins, and the same which allowed the conquistadors access from the Gulf all those years ago.

Try finding a quiet little 2-bedroom place for 15k or so in the U.S. And I’m not talking about some hole-in-the-wall, run-down, bug-infested hovel. I live a middle class life: gotta have my Internet, AC, big-screen TV and a few other Western amenities that help me run my business and enjoy life.

The difference is, I own my possessions because I’ve paid for them with cash money…not with credit. I’ve been debt-free since I was 29 years old. I’m 33 now…and I did it all by going nomadic and taking advantage of the low cost of living that developing countries provide. As did just about everyone listed in the above section.

Impossible is a word the weak use to justify giving up. Are you one of the weak?

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!

Startup Cancun

Startup Cancun – A Gathering of Entrepreneurs

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Mexico, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | No Comments

Local is dead. It’s all about being international these days. If you want to be relevant as a business owner you need to be able to speak multiple languages, be everywhere at once (across all social media platforms as well as have a website, newsletter, products, services and beyond), but more importantly, be the master of your own universe and network with other masters who are working just as you do.

It’s a topic I write about frequently, not just on the blog with posts such as The Importance of Networking With Others and Partnerships Versus Competition, but also in The Expat Guidebook and more recently in Beyond Borders – The Social Revolution, where I delve into The Greedy Bastard Syndrome and the importance of working with the karmic principles in mind. That is, share and share equally and evolve beyond a competitive  imperialist and capitalist viewpoint and instead work together with everyone on equal footing to establish a network of mutually beneficial working relationships from which all may benefit.

There is a difference between self-reliance and networking with others and dependence on the system. The first is a position of strength, while the latter is a position of weakness. One of the sheeple, still plugged into The Matrix, who is dependent on the system for their job, for access to their money, for their medicine, their livelihood and beyond, only exists at the whim of those who control the system. An independent entrepreneur, on the other hand, has the world as their fingertips.

One of the most important aspects of taking your life on the road so that you can establish absolute freedom is building a network of like-minded people who you can form working relationships with. Working together with others is not the same thing as relying on those people. Instead, you are forming connections with like-minded expats and fellow travelers who are all working towards a common idea: complete autonomy and freedom from the systems of governments and banking which are attempting to govern your life.

The important thing when building relationships with other expats like yourself is that you are not relying on them for your success, but rather you are building working relationships that are mutually beneficial. There are thousands of professionals out there. Part of your due diligence in becoming a financially independent and absolutely free expat is connecting with these people so you can maximize your returns.

With that in mind, myself and Ismael from the Pro Web Group are putting together an event called Startup Cancun, with the first meetup happening in early May here in Cancun, Mexico where I live and where he lives for six months out of the year when he’s not back in Montreal. You can read more about him in his interview with me from last year called The Secret of My Success: Pro Web Com, or watch the below video in all its 15 minute glory for more information on the power of entrepreneurship and what it means to be traveling the world and working on your own projects for your own benefits as opposed to working for someone else.

The purpose of the group is to bring together like-minded individuals who are either living here in The Riviera Maya or just passing through, and give them a platform to network on a global basis with other entrepreneurs in the digital arena. The eventual objective is to host these events once a month and see where it goes from there.

If you happen to live in the area or are here in The Riviera Maya on business in early May of 2013 and want to drop by, you can sign up at the Startup Cancun Meetup page, which is where we are coordinating the event from. Sometime next week we’ll be listing the venue and letting people know the exact time and date.

We hope to see you there!

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!