Table of Contents
Following this advice is one idea that we know will be too radical for over 95% of people reading this book, but it is worth considering. If it is not for you, then move on to the next chapter. But we would suggest you read this anyway, as you never know what the future holds.
We have spent a fair amount of time abroad, so we are well aware of the differences, especially regarding the cost of living. Of course, there are some costly parts of the world, but there are some very affordable areas where you can have an excellent standard of living and all the Western conveniences you could want. We know many people that have moved to Asia, mainly to Thailand and Cambodia, and are mostly happy than they were in the US.
The trend of moving to Asia, and other areas of the world, has accelerated since the 2008 financial crisis. More and more Americans realize that they do not have any real-life quality in their home country. Many have found that if they move to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Phnom Penh, they can have a superb quality of life for a fraction of most US cities’ costs.
When we suggest this idea to some people, their reaction is that they do not want to live in a third world country. Well, we have some news for those of you that think like that. While both Thailand and Cambodia are poorer countries than the US, both countries have some areas that are much better than many parts of the US. Some Americans that first arrive in Bangkok are shocked at how developed it is. Bangkok has a superb Skytrain and metro system that is super-clean and super-efficient. When you travel on the metro in Bangkok, you feel like you are going to a first world country.
Housing in Thailand is also superb in the bigger cities. There is a vast property choice to rent and buy, and most of it is very high-quality. And it is a fraction of the cost of comparable cities in the US. US citizens who have lived in both Bangkok and Chiang Ma recommend them both. Those living in Phnom Penh in Cambodia certainly recommend a visit there as well. Phnom Penh is less developed than Bangkok, but it is changing rapidly. The most desirable areas of the city are as good as almost anywhere in the world.
So why are we suggesting you move abroad? Isn’t this a book about eating raw food on a budget? The answer is that moving abroad, especially to SE Asia, will save you such a massive amount of money that you will be able to eat fantastic raw food. Some restaurants serve raw food in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phnom Penh. Many people are surprised, but they are usually the ones that have never visited Asia. Asia is growing fast, and many places are already more developed than much of the US. But they are still a lot cheaper as well.
If this is something you want to consider seriously, we would first suggest taking a few weeks’ vacations in Thailand to see if you like it. Most people love Thai culture, but there are a few that are not able to adapt. To succeed in living anywhere in Asia, you need to have an open mind, as the culture is entirely different from what you are used to in the US. It would be best if you adapted to this culture, and even accept some things about it that you might not agree with or understand. Those that do not suit are either end up being miserable or end up going back home.
However, if you have been to Thailand and like the culture, and think you might like to live there, you need to sit down and do a little planning. A long-term visa for Thailand is very straightforward for those over 50, as they can get a retirement visa. For those under 50, there is the option of getting an education visa, which is as simple as signing up for four hours a week of Thai language classes.
There are plenty of websites with information on moving to Thailand to give a very brief overview of costs here. When the book was written, you could rent a condo in a beautiful area of Bangkok for $700 a month for a 1-bed, and $1,000 for a 2-bed. You can rent a 3-bed detached house just outside the city center for as little as $500 per month in Chiang Mai. You will get better deals if you find a place to live in Thailand rather than relying on searching property websites from within the US, as these sites mostly have inflated prices.
We have mentioned moving to Asia because it is less expensive to live there. But if you do not fancy living in Asia, how about checking out some South American countries? There are some very affordable places there as well. But they should be easy to research, and as they are close to the US, they could be the right choice for those that want to be close to family back home.
We hope you take this suggestion seriously, as it can save you vast amounts of money, but it can also transform your life for the better. Just check out some articles on the internet of Americans that have already made a move. Hopefully, you will be inspired enough to want to follow them.