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Costa Rica Budget

March 29, 2010 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Costa Rica was definitely more expensive than a lot of the places we’ve been over the last year and a half. That being said it also offered the most convenience and more modern amenities than anywhere else… which I suppose could be a plus or a minus depending on what you’re looking for. For us it was just what we needed. After a year on the road, and a particularly busy three months we were quite happy to find a nice place to rent and stay put for six months.

Before I jump into the numbers part of this post I want to remind everyone that we’re not budget backpackers. Yes you can do Costa Rica a lot cheaper than we did, but since this isn’t just a vacation for us, it’s a lifestyle, we often make choices that aren’t inline with other travelers priorities.

A comfortable place and a decent internet connection are always first priority on our list of requirements, which often means we stick to more touristy places and don’t venture off the beaten track as much as other travelers. When we arrived in Costa Rica we both had a lot of work lined up and knew we’d be spending the majority of our days online, so it was even more important than usual. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

The result of a quarter-life crisis

October 22, 2009 - Filed under General

Last week, I was reading Shannon’s RTW (Round the World) trip blog and came across a post about the moment she committed to a RTW trip. She mentions that she was going through “what can only be described as my quarter-life crisis.” And I had to consider how much of what I’ve done this last year has been due to a similar circumstance?
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Posted by: Shim

The Long Term Travel Gear List

September 27, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Frequent moves are a part of life when you’re a nomadic freelancer and when we move from country to country we try to settle into a location for at least a month at a time, often staying for a few months in one spot. But sometimes we’ll move from place to place every couple weeks. Over time, I had hoped that we would turn into an elite team of baggage packing ninjas, but truth be told it still comes down to muscle and bullheadedness whenever we move our 70-80kg of gear. I’m still amazed that we have so much stuff, but there’s a fine balance between packing light, living comfortably, and being work efficient. I thought it would be interesting, or maybe even helpful for a few people to see what we haul along to live like we do.

Goodbye Vancouver
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Posted by: Shim

Malaysia and Canada travel budgets

September 27, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Continuing our series of travel budget posts, here’s the numbers from the last 3 months. We spent 2 months in Malaysia with 1 month spent in Penang and 1 month in Malaysian Borneo. Since this was the end of the Asian leg of our journey, we traveled around a lot more and took part in a few more costly activities like diving at Sipadan and a motorcycle tour near Kota Kinabalu. I also had to buy a new laptop in Kuala Lumpur to replace my busted computer. Then there’s the clothes budget. We had to prepare for upcoming Canadian weather and business meetings. Overall, it was a big hit to the wallet.

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Posted by: Shim

Philippines, Thailand, and Bali travel budgets

July 9, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Friends and family often tell us they’re jealous of our adventures and how lucky we are to be able to afford our nomadic travel lifestyle. We agree. We’re in a very advantageous position, earning an income working online while we travel. But how much is this costing us exactly, and how does the cost of living abroad compare to what we were paying back home in Vancouver, Canada?

You’ll notice that we spent significantly less in the Philippines on a per month basis than anywhere else. I primarily attribute this to being settled in a beach house with a full kitchen for a 4 month stretch and being fairly remote which limited restaurant expenses to local options. This illustrates my previous post about how to keep costs down by traveling slowly and minimizing food expenses. There’s also no international flight costs included in the Philippines expenses. I’m not sure if something like that should be averaged over the whole trip, or attributed to the arrival country. In which case, Hong Kong cost us $3400. :) Read More…

Posted by: Shim

100th post: Traveling vs Vacationing. 10 ways to keep costs down.

June 29, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

For the last 10 months, we’ve been long-term traveling or living abroad in Southeast Asia. I don’t use the word ‘vacation’ as what we do is pretty far from the usual two to three week action packed splurge. The major difference is that we are working while we travel, but also that our lives can take on a sense of routine even though we’re shifting from place to place. While it often lacks the escapism that a vacation implies, I think there are added benefits to seeing another side of a country by living in it.

100th Post!

We do have a standard of living that is comparable to our life back home in most facets, staying in rented apartments or hotels. We don’t stay in hostels or crash on peoples couches to save money, but try to maintain a sense of frugality and ‘live like a local’ where possible. We stretch out our resources and take advantage of the lower cost of living in a developing country while working online. Additionally, traveling smarter by comparison shopping for flight and accommodation deals has kept our trip inline with our budget expectations. We typically estimate $1000 per month for accommodation and $1000 per month for food and entertainment expenses for the two of us. We budget flight expenses separately. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 21: Making Plans

January 27, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Weekly Report

After spending an entire afternoon at the travel agent we finally have official plans for phase 2 of our crazy nomadic life. On Feb 24th we head to Kuala Lumpur, after spending 8 hours in the Manila airport. Apparently the later flight, which would leave us with only 5 hours in Manila would be cutting it too close, according to our travel agent. I know Cebu Pacific is notorious for late flights but I kinda thought 5 hours would be enough. I guess not. So if anyone has any suggestions on what to do in the Manila Airport for 8 hours we’d love to hear ’em.

We’ll be spending 4 days in Kuala Lumpur, before heading to Thailand. After much research detailing horrible experiences with the Thai Embassy in Manila, we decided to try our luck with the Thai Embassy in KL instead, as most people seemed to have pretty positive reports from there. We’ll be applying for a 60-day tourist visa, with an optional 30-day extension, which will give us 90-days in Thailand. If we decide we want to stay longer, we’ll have to leave the country and come back in. But for now we’re thinking 3 months will be a good start. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 18: Hello 2009!

January 5, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Weekly Report

I can’t believe it’s 2009 already, and that in a week I’m going to be 30! We rang in the new year on a beach, with a couple bottles of champagne and some of the friends we’ve made over the last 4 months here in the Philippines.

2008 has been a year of change. It was back in January that we started planning this crazy adventure and pretty much everything we’ve done over this past year has been in anticipation of this. In March Mike quit his job and went freelance full time. I spent most of April getting my loft ready to sell, and finally listed it in May. We made trips to Vancouver Island, Kelowna, and Edmonton, to make sure we saw all our family before we left. I gave notice at work in June, but stayed on till just before we left. August is a bit of a blur, what with packing, planing, organizing, and an endless amount of good-bye drinks, it all went by so fast. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

How we moved to a tropical paradise

November 5, 2008 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Some of our readers have asked us, “Why did you move to the Philippines?” To which we often laughingly reply, “Why not?” Kelly and I both had a serious case of the travel bug shortly after our trip to Brazil a year ago and we had decided that we would (and could!) turn nomadic freelancing into a full time reality.

The real answer is; it came down to almost a year of planning and research. Weighing the best locations to live long term and cheaply in a tropical destination with reliable internet access. Many of our original preconcieved expectations were adjusted over that period. I remember initially thinking, “I can live like a king for next to nothing!” and “Wouldn’t a hut with sand floors, right on the beach be perfect?”… and while both of those are still ideals we’re searching for, we’ve settled for a more realistic situation combining the right measure of cost and comfort together with the necessities needed to carry on business in a country with substantially less IT infrastructure than we have at home. Besides, who can type in a hammock?
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Posted by: Shim

Goodbye Vancouver

September 9, 2008 - Filed under Planning

Our last two weeks in Vancouver went by faster than I ever thought they could. Reality started to set in that we were leaving and the magnitude of all the things we still had to do, finally started to hit. Vaccinations, health insurance, visas, packing, getting rid of the last of our things, and of course connecting with everyone before we left.

Between our going away party, and many nights out with close friends, we’ve managed to say goodbye to almost everyone on the list. It’s been great to spend our last few days surrounded by good friends and family. And I think I’ve come to realize, that the thing I’m going to miss most about Vancouver is just that – all of you!

So long and thanks for all the drinks!

Posted by: Kelly

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