A common hang-up among would-be Revolutionaries is that living is just too goddamned EXPENSIVE! Do you have any idea how much rent is? Or my car payments? Or gasoline? At this rate, we’ll need over A MILLION DOLLARS to retire! That’ll NEVER happen!
And yes, I agree. Those things ARE expensive, I won’t deny that. I am amazed by how my friends who live in New York or Los Angeles don’t throw up every month when their credit card bills arrive (or maybe they do and they aren’t telling me). But those statements encapsulate a critically flawed assumption: that once you quit your job you must continue to live where you are now.
There are many reasons for choosing a place to live, but the most common one for Millennials like ourselves is work. Family and friends is nice, but at the end of the day you have to move to a city that will employ you. That’s just how life works.
And when Millennials choose a city to live, over time they tend to become attached to that city. It’s only natural. Soon, you can’t live without the Carmel Macchiatos from your favorite independent free-trade coffee shop, or bear to spend a Saturday night NOT at your favorite hole-in-the-wall jazz club smoking hand-rolled cigarettes pensively in the corner. We’re Millennials. This is what we do. And in doing so, we forget that the world is way, Way, WAY bigger than our trendy-as-heck neighborhood.
It’s no secret that those $3000-per-month studio apartments are invariably the ones across the street from Goldman Sachs, or the Google campus. They’re that price because the landlords know that the people who work in those companies can afford the ridiculous price tag. But if you don’t have to work anymore, why would you live there?
Think about it. Everyone knows the suburb phenomenon. The further away you are from “downtown” (i.e. “The Office”), the bigger the house, and the cheaper the price. Now imagine you’ve successfully pulled off the Millennial Revolution and you are Officially Free. What does “Downtown” or “The Office” even mean anymore? Nothing.
So as you drive up to the suburbs and watch your cost of living go down with each passing mile, you smile and wave to your former coworkers as they tend their lawns or shovel their driveways (depending on how close to the 49th parallel you are). Then you keep driving. The scenery just keeps getting nicer and nicer. Yet the cost of living keeps dropping and dropping. And when your driving hits an ocean, your wings fold down (your car is also a plane, I forgot to mention that part), you rev your engine, and you take off.
And this reveals the best-kept secret of the Millennial Revolution.
Once you’re free, you can live anywhere in the entire world!
And I know, I know. Many friends of mine balk at this idea. They say “Why would I want to live anywhere else? I live in America! The GREATEST country in the WORLD!”
To which I respond: Yes. Yes, you do live in the greatest country in the world. And that country is SO great and US dollars are SO valuable that the rest of the world really, really wants them! Whether you’re in Eastern Europe, or South Africa, or South-East Asia, America, and by extension the American Dollar, is in such strong demand that you can live like a KING by simply trading your kick-ass American Dollars for whatever the heck the locals use.
Let me give you an example.
You’re young, single, and (presumably) sexy. You’re living not quite downtown, but within committing distance of work, in a small but comfy 900 square-foot apartment in New York City. How much does that cost? Well. according to Expatistan.com, nearly $3000.
Now, imagine you followed the Millennial Revolution and no longer have to work. So, you decide to chill in a place like Budapest. Same deal, 900 square-foot apartment in a not-quite-downtown-but-still-commutable area. How much do you think that costs? $2000? $1000? Try $470.
And this is BUDAPEST. It’s one of the largest cities in the EU, it’s chock-full of history and culture, and the entire city is a giant hot-spring spa. Seriously. As I discovered when I traveled there, Budapest is built on top of a giant network of geothermal springs, so if you poke a hole in the ground, purified hot water comes out. As a result, the entire city is dotted with spa complexes that resemble small palaces, all of which cost no more than $20.
OR, you could be sitting on a beach in Thailand, watching the waves go back and forth. The sunset is beautiful, but not as beautiful as your rent check, which is a measly $380 a month!
These are just two examples, but my point is, and what I’ve learned in my travels, is that the cost of living in North America is INSANELY high! The rest of the world does NOT accept a $3000 rental cost. And unless you’re making SO much money that $3000 a month is chump change, you shouldn’t accept it either.
So yes, you can live wherever in the world you want, and living in that world is likely FAR CHEAPER than you think? Don’t believe me? Then ask the very website I’ve been using to provide my statistics, Expatistan.com.
Play around with it. See what other countries consider a reasonable “cost-of-living.” And above all, Be Curious. See what it would cost to live in Vietnam. Or the Czech Republic. Or Nicaragua.
The answer may surprise you.
And the answer may just set you free.