Being “expatriotic”

So who is this article for?

Anyone who’s becoming disillusioned with the country that they’re in and wants to live somewhere else. Anyone who feels like they can’t save a dime living in a “civilized” or “western” country. The general message here is that, by leaving the US, UK, Germany etc., you gain something. That is, you gain a life that is potentially A LOT cheaper to fund. This can be a game changer for a lot of people. Is it your mission in life to travel? Why work for five years to go spend 2 weeks in Japan? What if you spent those five years travelling instead? This is a concept I borrowed from the AMAZING book “Vagabonding” that talks about how one shouldn’t say they want to travel if they spend all their life just working 9-to-5. It’s not intellectually honest. You’re essentially a wage slave at that point and your dreams have become disassociated from your reality. And yes, I can hear the retorts now, “but muh family!!!” and sure, that’s a factor. But does your family really want you to be miserable your entire existence so you can MAYBE do some traveling when you retire at 65?


Source: International Cost of Living Calculator

To vagabond or to expat, that is the question.

An expatriate is one who leaves their country to work abroad. Usually it’s not permanent. It differs from being an immigrant because expatriates (expats for short) usually hold short-term visas that are sponsored by their employee. Being expatriotic is like being a typical expat, except with a certain degree of scorn for the country of your origin. Of course you don’t need to become an expat. You could just stay in rural America and focus on your earthship, self-sufficient, Citadel. A la Mandibles. However if choosing to go abroad, it will come down to leveraging disparities in the global cost of living and desparities of income.

The Sovereign Individual, a book ahead of it’s time, predicted this outcome. A world where people could be paid in Bali for work done in Sweden, transcending geographical and fiscal contraints in exchange for autonomy and the ability to SAVE MONEY. But if you decide to go abroad, what are your options?

1. Digital nomad. Work remotely and become a perpetual traveler.

2. Employee at a foreign company abroad

  • Working at VW (fill in any western company name) but in China or Thailand

3. International school teacher

  • One area that is booming is international schools. It only takes nine months to get a certification from a state in the US–EVEN if you AREN’T in the country!! Check out Moreland University.


Table 1: Examples of countries relative purchasing power using the US as base 100.

RankCountry/RegionCost indexMonthly incomePurchasing power index
1Switzerland131.47,958 USD94.6
6Ireland110.66,644 USD93.9
9Australia107.05,070 USD74.1
15United States100.06,398 USD100.0
16United Kingdom98.54,103 USD65.1
18Sweden93.95,292 USD88.1
21Japan84.93,537 USD65.1
22France83.23,774 USD70.9
24Germany82.34,503 USD85.6
29Singapore72.15,600 USD121.3
31Portugal67.92,163 USD49.8
32United Arab Emirates67.24,097 USD95.3
39Chile58.31,280 USD34.3
40China57.61,071 USD29.1
44Brazil49.8678 USD21.3
45Ecuador49.7525 USD16.5
48El Salvador48.2393 USD12.7
49Honduras47.5229 USD7.5
63Colombia38.2542 USD22.2
67Philippines36.5329 USD14.1
75Thailand34.7603 USD27.2
77Indonesia33.1382 USD18.0
79Vietnam32.4334 USD16.1


My story


I probably worked 20 jobs before I went overseas to Indonesia for my first international teaching gig. Suddenly instead of only being able to eat out once or twice a month I was fairly comfortable. I could eat out every meal because although by US standards I was earning a modest wage, it was 8x more than what the poorest wage earners were getting. And this meant that my money went far. Meals were cheap and I ate out almost every meal. I tried to save up, but after being a poor college student, I wanted to be comfortable. Plus, getting married and having, not one, but two kids kept my savings in the red. By the time I was in my early thirties I was in debt and using credit cards. I felt pretty damn hopeless. And the fiat system is built on keeping you in debt. My credit rating actually went down because I had the audacity to pay my debt off too quickly.


Saving money in fiat is almost impossible. In most cases people live paycheck to paycheck, or worse, they live outside of their means. But even the rare person saving 5-10% of their salary will be exposed to monetary inflation as countries actively and maliciously debase their currencies.

Bitcoin is the perfect savings technology. It’s a money that truly allows you to be in control. Plus your savings will increase in value rather than decreasing. Saving in bitcoins is like having a literal superpower. Just working 9-to-5, you can save enough money to retire by the time your 45 or 50. Even better if you can earn bitcoins instead of buying them!

But it’s not enough to just earn more and save in bitcoins, you have to find a way to CUT costs, and this is where choosing where to live is key.

Enter China

China (the part I’m in at least) is EXTREMELY cheap to live in and I earn as much as I would in the states. Plus international school teachers rarely pay their own taxes. We get annual flights home for the family, free health insurance and housing. And if you live on campus like I do, you can even opt out of car payments, gas, garage bills, car insurance etc.

Financial independence comes way sooner when you manage your expenses and live on less. In other words, if you need $50,000 a year to maintain your lifestyle, you’re going to have to retire way later than if you need $25,000 a year. Maths, amirite? Bitcoin plays a HUGE part of my calculus. Before it, I was all into having a balanced portfolio. I was constanting fixated on how to invest my money to get a return or yield. Meanwhile Bitcoin waltzed in as this pristine savings vehicle. All I had to do no was stack. Saving 50-75% of my salary a month and I could see my way to being financially set up for life.


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