5 years as frugal snowbird: author living abroad on $500/month

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Self-described minimalist Peter Lawrence has always valued his time over money. He lived simply for decades and was able to retire at 44. After several years living in his paid-off condo in Santa Clara (California), he decided to shed his home and the accompanying insurance and HOA (homeowners association) fees for life as a global nomad. “Some people call it geographical arbitrage,” explains Lawrence. “In short, it is an attempt to achieve a similar quality of life at a fraction of the cost.”

Wanting to keep his living costs to what he was paying on HOA fees, he chooses locations where he can pay $300/month or less for accommodation. Valuing warm weather and fresh produce, he seeks out places with “eternal spring”, such as El Valle de Antón, Panama; Sapa, Vietnam; Ajijic, Mexico; and Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

“One could consider my model as either part of the tiny house movement or an alternative to it. By my model, I mean a model that owns virtually nothing.” In this minimalism, Lawrence finds the freedom to read, write, think, and the Italian concept of “il dolce far niente” or “the sweetness of doing nothing”.

Peter’s book “For The Thinking Sapiens: Short Takes On Life”

Part 1: Non-possession: seeking intense simplicity and the good life


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