Anyway, the questions was "why are you leaving for a third world country now?" While my crystal ball is probably about as fuzzy as anyone else's and I don't have any "secret insider information", there have been a number of things that have happened that just sort of ended up culminating in a rather sudden and drastic change to my lifestyle. Including:
- I have known more than a dozen people who died or become medically incapacitated this year. They always said "when I retire I'm going to..." fill in the blank. Only they never got the chance to. Since I and the spouse are both healthy and while not retired, able to take months or years out of the work force at a time, we decided that now is as good a time as any to hit the road and travel as we have been planning to do.
- One of the major contracts for my business which required my actual presence is terminating at the end of the year. Although my income will take a hit, I now have the freedom to not have to be anywhere which is great when it comes to traveling. I will still make money through other business endeavours which don't require my presence.
- The housing market continues to decline no matter what you hear on the news. My house has lot a ton of equity, however at this point, I am still able to get an OK price for its sale and still get money out of the sale which will fund our lifestyle for the next few years. The market may eventually come back up but I don't want to wait around that long. (Note: I told a friend this and he wondered if he should do the same, however since he has a fairly secure job that he loves and four small children I told him that his best bet would probably be to ride out the market since he is in a much different place than I am).
- I am a fan of minimalism and have been paring down my life for about the last five years. Although the spouse would disagree, I don't need much "stuff" to have a happy and healthy life (compromises are still being worked out at this writing). For once in my life I want complete freedom. No mortgage, no car payments, no need to earn a large income, no responsibilities for work/staff/community commitments/etc. Freedom.
- We own property and a business in Southeast Asia (said third world country). We visit often but have yet to actually "live" there. And while I don't intend to stay there for years at a time, we do plan to stay for longer intervals such as months instead of weeks. And no, this place isn't any safer, free-er, or better than the US...quite the contrary. But I think that learning how to get along in a foreign culture is definitely a skill worth having.
- I do have some concerns about the socio-economic-political situation in the US at this time. Minor concerns but concerns nonetheless which make me think that being as portable as possible is a good idea (again, I don't recommend this for everyone).
- Of course there is the whole "the world is going to end in 2012 thing". Do I think the world will end? No. Could there be significant changes that will impact every one of us? Yes.
- My life is making me bored silly. Same old thing. Everyday. Now that I have the opportunity to be un-bored on a daily basis, I'm going to take it.
- We don't have the things that usually tie people to one place and the job treadmill. Namely, the kids are all grown and settled into their own homes and families, we have no debt, we have no need to keep a big house, our parents have all died (no need to care for aging relatives as many others do), we don't shop and buy stuff like we used to, retirement is already funded, etc.
- This is the perfect chance to explore new personal and business opportunities. Among the plans this year: a month-long+ bike ride, maybe an appearance at Sturgis, attending a couple of conferences that I actually want to attend instead of HAVE to attend, more time for shooting/backpacking/fishing, extended time with the kids and grand kids, etc.
So that's it in a nutshell. Nothing is forcing us to "head for the hills" excect for the opportunities that converged to make it possible.
p.s. Hope you all have a great Christmas!