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Old 12-23-2009, 10:02 AM   #166
AustinDude
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I am a resident of Costa Rica, and spend about 50% of my time there. I live in Austin, Texas about 40% of the time. My primary motivation is not necessarily to minimize my cost of living. Here are a few observations:

Life in a third world country is very different. It isn't for everybody. Probably half of Americans who move there don't stay.

The cost of living in Costa Rica can be around 30% less than the USA. This is HIGHLY variable, depending on your lifestyle.

If you are not interested in learning Spanish, you are probably making a mistake going here. If you don't like the Costa Rican people and culture, you are certainly making a mistake.

An excellent book called "Choose Costa Rica for Retirement" is highly recommended for anyone considering this move.

Most Americans don't bother applying for residency. The alternative is to take a bus ride out of the country for a couple of days, every three months.

I dislike the capital city of San Jose, and prefer the suburbs, west coast or some of the interior towns. I live in a highly touristed area on the west coast called Manuel Antonio, where I have invested in a tourism related business. We have friends who have a very nice life style living on small farms in the mountains.

Many of the Americans who move to Costa Rica consider themselves either "unwanted" or "unwelcome" in the USA. An interesting bunch of misfits, like me.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:12 AM   #167
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinDude
Life in a third world country is very different. It isn't for everybody. Probably half of Americans who move there don't stay.
could you elaborate on why you think they don't stay?
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:21 PM   #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywr969
now that really hits the nail on the head!
that's what this thread is about -- lying low on the cheap!
are you sure that you don't own a KLR?
because you definitely have potential!

Now I'm insulted!

I'm expecting/hoping to go back to workin' professionally in a few weeks, but the last year or so has been tough. And looking around at the various RV parks where we have been at we are clearly among the lucky ones.

Case in point: There are plenty of folks around that have fancy diesel pushers but can't afford the fuel to get anywhere.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:41 PM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinDude
I am a resident of Costa Rica, and spend about 50% of my time there. I live in Austin, Texas about 40% of the time. My primary motivation is not necessarily to minimize my cost of living. Here are a few observations:

Life in a third world country is very different. It isn't for everybody. Probably half of Americans who move there don't stay.

The cost of living in Costa Rica can be around 30% less than the USA. This is HIGHLY variable, depending on your lifestyle.


The conventional wisdom with living in Mexico is that you can live there cheaper than the USA if you wish to live as the Mexicans do. Insist on US foods, a US auto, etc., and it's actually likely to cost you more than if you were back in the States.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinDude
If you are not interested in learning Spanish, you are probably making a mistake going here. If you don't like the Costa Rican people and culture, you are certainly making a mistake.

An excellent book called "Choose Costa Rica for Retirement" is highly recommended for anyone considering this move.

Most Americans don't bother applying for residency. The alternative is to take a bus ride out of the country for a couple of days, every three months.

I dislike the capital city of San Jose, and prefer the suburbs, west coast or some of the interior towns. I live in a highly touristed area on the west coast called Manuel Antonio, where I have invested in a tourism related business. We have friends who have a very nice life style living on small farms in the mountains.

Many of the Americans who move to Costa Rica consider themselves either "unwanted" or "unwelcome" in the USA. An interesting bunch of misfits, like me.

One thing that I don't believe has been discussed is that in most of these countries it's very, very tough for a gringo to work. Without the proper residency permits (see above) allowing you to work (very hard to obtain, at least in Mexico) then you can't hold down a legal job.

And being an entrepreneur often requires permits that a non-resident can't easily obtain. Many of the folks that go to Mexico and "own" restaurants and bars (my dream ) have Mexican silent partners or romantic relationships that hold the paperwork.

Consequently, there is more than one gringo who has come back to the USA bitter that they have been screwed overseas.

We are down here on the border and I am trying to get us/girlfriend into the food service bizness. Nothing would make us happier than to find some products that we can sell inside Mexico, and we are working on it. Wish us luck.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that every ex-pat is unwelcome in the USA but I have certainly known my share of ex-pats who were overseas (including lots of furriners who moved to the USA) because they could NOT return to their respective countries. A word of advice here - if you are wanted in the States and don't have Mexican citizenship then the Mexicans are going to send your butt back. They don't want any troublemakers. That's the logic behind most folks having to return to the border at least once every 6 months to renew their permits.

For me, the appeal of living in Mexico is the adventure and getting to know (and ride in and travel in) a new place. A tropical place. Other folks have different motivations.

Pretty early in his career Jimmy Buffett recorded a Steve Goodman tune called Banana Republics that gave a sobering perspective on many ex-pats:



Down to the Banana Republics, down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated Americans, hopin' to find some fun
Some of them go for the sailing,
caught by the lure of the sea
Tryin' to find what is ailing, livin' in the land of the free

Some of them are running from lovers,
leaving no foreward address
Some of them are running tons of ganja
Some are running from the I.R.S.

Chorus:
Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senioritas while they dance beneath the stars
Spending those renegade pesos on a bottle of rum and a lime
Singin' give me some words I can dance to
Or a melody that rhymes

First you learn the native customs
soon a word of spanish or two
You know that you cannot trust them
'Cause they know they can't trust you
Expatriated Americans feelin' so all alone
Telling themselves the same lies
That they told themselves back home

Down to the Banana Republics, things
aren't as warm as they seem
None of the natives are buying any
second-hand American dreams

Chorus:
Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senioritas while they dance beneath the stars
Spending those renegade pesos on a bottle of rum and a lime
Singin' give me some words I can dance to
Or a melody that rhymes

Down to the Banana Republics, down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated Americans hopin' to find some fun

PirateJohn screwed with this post 12-23-2009 at 01:19 PM
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:14 PM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven
Getting killed riding somewhere is way better than getting muched by a soccer mom in rushhour traffic on the way to a cubicle.
This is an awesome philosophy and thread.

Subscribed.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:46 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywr969
could you elaborate on why you think they don't stay?
It's all the little things that add up to frustration. You either adopt the local life or you don't. I heard frustration defined as the difference between what your brain expects and your reality. Some people will never be able to totally switch into life in another language, too. My foreign wife does well in the US, but still can't play trivia games and gets frustrated by my US sense of humor about everything. The humor's a US trait and she has no idea of the culture that led to a lot of the questions.

The problem is that you're still who you grew up as in the US. When I lived overseas doing field service for an airplane maker, we'd refer to coming back to the US as going to the land of the round door knobs. Little things suddenly make a huge difference.

It's cute when you are ordering dinner in another language a time or three. It's totally different when you've taken yet another shower from a cold hose (or had to take a cold bath or no bath AGAIN), and you realize you're tired, cold, and frustrated because you're not able to follow the conversations around you and you're still an outsider as you try to get breakfast.

Something else mentioned that most people in the US don't appreciate is what somebody wrote about the need to LIVE local. I still travel a lot for a living and know that most Americans just don't realize that you can get your Walmart/Starbucks/etc in much of the third world. I've been to beautiful shopping malls in Mexico and China. But while in Mexico again a couple of weeks ago I was paying more than I would've in the US for US-style products. (Most of which were made in China anyway.)

There was also a very appropriate post about how hard it is to make a living outside of the US, due to the local governments. Between the paperwork & local mordido..... whew They want your money but NOT to compete with you for a job.

Good luck to PirateJohn & AustinDude for making a go at it. If you can, it's a much more laid back lifestyle and my hat's off to you.

Checks
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:06 PM   #172
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Jesus, this is the Holy Grail of posts. I have thought a lot about this and I'm not sure I could pull it off but, like anything, there are so many ways to go about it and the life changing experience could do me nothing but good. Very appreciative for this post and everyone who tells it like it is, not somebody trying to sell you land in Panama.

I've got a good buddy living in Negril Jamaica. Now that is a tourist town and he runs a small cottage based resort. But you could sure live there cheap. 80 degrees year round so you hardly need anything but shorts and flip flops. Not much in the way of motorcycling roads. But it is third world. I thought about working with him down there in '95 to promote his business. I realized that part was not for me when it took me days just to get some copies made. I'm sure it has progressed some, but it still is a much different place to do business in than the US. Attitudes are very different too, which will impact anything you try to do business wise. "Jamaica time" they called it and it is pervasive. Don't even think about trying to get people to keep "appointments." They did not understand that concept at all.

Anyway, an enjoyable post.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:30 AM   #173
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Let's not forget that you don't have to leave the country for good.
After a while in another country like Costa Rica, you'll hopefully understand enough about the culture to use your knowledge to make money.
You can work as a moto guide for riders who want to motor around that part of the world.
Imagine making a living riding from Dallas to Machu Pichu and back a couple of times a year and then living in Argentina or Costa Rica 3 months at a time doing local rides for tourists or running someone's scooter business under the table.

Where there's a will there's a way. I bet you could become a sponsor here on ADVrider and after a handful of trips have a big enough word of mouth clientele to stay as busy as you like, provided you stay sober and don't get greedy.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:36 PM   #174
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My wife and I have set a date of the fall of 2011 to just leave. We both want to travel and live outside the US for a while. You really thing there is a clientel for that sort of work...??

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven
Let's not forget that you don't have to leave the country for good.
After a while in another country like Costa Rica, you'll hopefully understand enough about the culture to use your knowledge to make money.
You can work as a moto guide for riders who want to motor around that part of the world.
Imagine making a living riding from Dallas to Machu Pichu and back a couple of times a year and then living in Argentina or Costa Rica 3 months at a time doing local rides for tourists or running someone's scooter business under the table.

Where there's a will there's a way. I bet you could become a sponsor here on ADVrider and after a handful of trips have a big enough word of mouth clientele to stay as busy as you like, provided you stay sober and don't get greedy.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:53 PM   #175
MadMax
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Thumb Attitude and Spirit

My Father retired to Punta Banda, B.C. Mex. 17 years ago. He has since traveled all across Mexico and South America. He even went to Spain and lived there for a year, because he became so fond of the Latin culture.

He tells me that besides the inexpensive living, he loves the attitude and spirit of the general population. Case in point. 3 workers hired on with his landlord to dig a septic tank hole. He said these guys worked with some old shovels and one pick axe. No backhoes or jackhammers. Yet each day they came to work, laughing and singing. The work was grueling, but they were happy and worked harmoniously with each other.

My Dad loves the fact that 90% of the people he meets in Mexico are friendly, happy with their lot in life, and truly enjoy their lives. So, the secret to chucking it all may be just as Jimmy Buffet said: "... changes in latitude, changes in attitude...". JMTC.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:08 PM   #176
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This thread is getting better and better. Thanks for posting your ideas, wishes, knowledge, and plans. Keep it coming.

Meanwhile, I'm doing a "survey" in Baja California until new years.

Life is good in Baja.

SS
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:30 AM   #177
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SuperSuz lives!

Enjoy the trip and we'll have more soup at the bus when you get back.
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:32 PM   #178
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I suppose you could live cheap in the UK. Camp sites will charge you about $7 a night. Buying cheap food from supermarkets is possible. Fuel is a killer - $7 a gallon. Medical care would be pretty good - there is no doubt that you would get it. You could make a living selling crap / art / whatever at car boot sales & markets which every town has every week.

I have to admit that the weather is shite though.

Spain & Greece used to be cheap but now you have to go to Eastern Europe - Romania or Bulgaria - if you want to live off low-bucks.

Morroco is cheap - as is most of Africa, I believe. Somalia probably offers the most bangs for your bucks
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:43 PM   #179
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryn1203
I suppose you could live cheap in the UK. Camp sites will charge you about $7 a night.
what about boondocking?
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:55 PM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywr969
what about boondocking?
I dont know about the UK, but here around Bishop CA, all BLM land has a 14 day no fee limit. You can buy a " Season Pass " for $300 that lets you stay in one of four campgrounds between Lone Pine and Crowely Lake. One of these is Crowely Lake Rec Area Camp Ground, right across from Crowely Lake from 1 May thru 1 Oct ( depending on snow). Check with the local Ranger Districts that you are interested in visiting for good deals. The actually advertise this special here on the Radio. Most of these are no hook up spots with brick pit tolites, but very close to dump and water stations. By rule you are allowed to leave your camper unattended in the site for 72 hrs with out permission, loger with the ok of the camp host. Also, campgrounds all around Bishop are looking for "Retired" people to take jobs as "Camp Host". Usually with some small pay around $50 per day, plus full hook up spots in exchange for a few days a week of "Hosting"

Hope this helps.
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