Eleven months ago we were putting in what seemed like 20 hour days in the run up to handing over the house keys and flying off on our new adventure. All the angst, anxiety & excitement meant very little sleep and zero time for reflection. Almost a year has gone by and a lot has changed!!!
We are “working” our seventh housesit in Boquete, Panama and have had a couple of very quiet weeks as we recover from a very hectic travel schedule to get here. The huge covered patio with a sublime view of Volcano Baru is our favourite part of the house and where we have had some in depth discussions recently.
It will not surprise you to know that we are thoroughly enjoying our new lifestyle. Therefore the question is how do we sustain it indefinitely? (Or at least until we are ready to settle down)
It is very easy to see that Central America is a lot more cost friendly than Europe, looking back over the year it is easy to track our biggest expenditures.
Getting from A to B is the biggest drain on finances, especially flying or leasing cars, Europe’s toll roads add on a tidy sum too.
Our expenses over the last year averages out to $3000 per month, that includes 5 months in England and the European continent. It also includes transport, accommodation, food, wine, scuba diving, various tours and having the time to do what we want.
That may seem like a lot of money, however let’s put this in perspective…. how much did you spend on your last 2 week vacation? Probably more than $3,000? We were spending more than that on food, heating, power etc. in our home near Vancouver and that’s with no mortgage!
A very well-known travel blogger has just produced a book titled “How to Travel the World on $50 USD Per Day”
Doesn’t sound possible does it? It is, we have proved it, $3,000 per month is $100 per day as there are two of us that is $50 per day each. Even better is that we did not have to stay in dormitories or hostels, in fact we stayed in some very nice resorts. We only used local transit when it was convenient and for the longer hauls we used, planes, shuttles, taxi or the more upscale tourist buses.
Our European adventure lifestyle was not sustainable, however Central America certainly is. Nicaragua and Panama have excellent pensianado programs making it very easy to move and retire here.
The cost of basic supplies is a lot less, a 24 of local beer is only $11 (cold ones at that), chicken breast is less than $4 a kilo, a big bag of fruit & vegetable’s is just a few dollars. I paid $1 for a kilo of my favourite Passion Fruit yesterday.
Long term rentals are available throughout the area, starting as low as $350 per month. Houses in one very scenic Boquete neighbourhood rent out for only $800 a month, that’s 3 bedrooms, office and a stupendous view! Many expats live very comfortably here for less than $2,000 per month.
For us it is even cheaper as we get to stay here rent free in exchange for looking after a delightful home and pet. Needless to say we are planning on doing a lot more housesitting. In fact we have 4 of the next 5 months booked with housesits and will be caretaking a small resort in Belize!
Accommodation costs are going to be minimal over the next few months, if only we could get access to a Star Trek transporter………. Instead of “Beam me up Scotty” it would be “Two to beam to Belize, please”. The goal is to work on minimizing our transport costs as well and to get our expenses closer to our income.
We are also exploring other ways of supplementing our income…… ways that do not involve trading hours for dollars. We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions on how to do this.
We will keep you posted on our progress…. Who knows we might become professional caretakers, stock photo photographers, famous bloggers even?