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Old 12-06-2009, 10:03 AM   #46
Murcielago
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Living cheap....

Interesting thread. Though I have a job, I have been thinking of pitching it and riding through Mexico, and maybe farther south if I'm feeling bold.

I've also been thinking of "retiring" to Mexico for a while now. I put "retiring" in quotes b/c I'm only 48. But.... it's very cheap to live in Mexico, especially if you live outside the big cities. I know of one couple who lives near Morelia, Michoacán who own their own house and have paid-for cars who seem to live nicely on about $23K USD per year. If you rented a small place, you could probably do a lot better.

As I said, Mexico is cheap, but it's got a lot of the conveniences of America too. There are Costcos, Wal*Marts, cinemas, lots of stuff to do, and a decent road infrastructure, and internet access. With Skype, you could easily stay in touch with friends around the world, and have a US phone number that could be forwarded to your cell or landline in Mexico. People are nice, and the country is not as dangerous as the yellow-dog US press would have you believe. I've personally spent about 20 days a year in Mexico city for the last five years or so and never had any problem.

I do speak pretty good Spanish, though, so I can't really comment on how difficult it might be to get around using only English.

Here are some blog links from people who have moved to Mexico for a cheaper and more interesting lifestyle. They aren't bikers, but their experiences are of interest to someone who is looking for a cheap place to live.

http://www.rollybrook.com/ - This guy is a retired engineer from SoCal who went to Torreón, Mexico with a Mexican friend. He helped the friend build a house for his extended family, and wrote a detailed post on the costs. Needless to say it was very cheap.

www.fallinginlovewithsanmiguel.com is written by a pair of women who moved to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato state in Mexico and live on their social security, which I'd guess isn't the max. While it's a pretty chatty blog, they've also (along with Rolly Brook -- link above) written a book about moving to Mexico. Note that San Miguel is one of the more expensive places to live in Mexico as it's full of rich US expats/retirees. But the offset is that if you don't speak Spanish, it's probably the best place to live in Mexico.

www.yucatanliving.com is written by couple of SF Bay-area expats who up and sold everything and moved to Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico in 1999 or thereabouts. They are web developers and continue to work from Mérida, and have written extensively on their costs of living in Mexico, as well as lots of other details. There's a good post on what you have to do to officially import a vehicle into Mexico. Otherwise you've got to get it out within six months or face a penalty. This applies to cars and trucks, and I'm not sure if the rules are different for motorcycles.

Also, Every three years, UBS economists publish "Prices and Earnings," a global review of the prices of goods and services, wages, payroll taxes, working hours and purchasing power in 73 cities on every continent. The report is based on a survey of more than 30,000 individual data points. This study is invaluable for anyone looking to understand the costs of living in various cities around the world. It can be downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this page: http://www.ubs.com/1/e/investors/releases?newsId=170250. This is probably the best single resource on costs for anyone thinking of moving abroad.

If the link has changed, Google this phrase: UBS study: «Prices and Earnings» 2009, and you should be able to find it.

Good luck! And I'd be eager to hear anyone's story.

Kim G
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:18 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by ducnut
Is there a dispersed camping resource? BLM resource? TIA.
G'day ducnut.

This is a good one for cabins, lookout towers, interesting places to stay.
http://www.recreation.gov/welcome.do?topTabIndex=Home

BLM site will give camping info for whatever state you're looking for. They have pay sites a well as a map of BLM lands where you can do dispersed camping, at least for AZ.
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html

The forest service in most locations will list some places that have dispersed camping. For example here is one for the Coconino Forest near Flagstaff, AZ.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/rec..._camping.shtml
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:59 PM   #48
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Great idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkam
I live in a small class "C" RV with my Sherpa on the back.

In the 2 years I've lived this way I have only paid to camp once at Death Valley Daze last year.
I do dispersed camping in the forest or on BLM land or stay at one of the Indian casinos that let RV's park without hassles.

I just looked at my expenses for the last year and figured out that my monthly expenditures have averaged about $300 a month.

That's staying in the states and not moving around much with the RV, using the bike to run errands like groceries and laundry.

I spent 3 months over the summer near Flagstaff in a nice dispersed camping spot and not once did I see a ranger or other forest person so I stayed much more than the 14 day limit. When the weather started to cool off, I moved down by Safford and then to Tucson and the surrounding desert. Plenty of places to camp for free with nice weather.

I allow myself one restaurant meal a month, usually a Chili's or a pizza, otherwise I make all my own meals.

Since I'm not a social kind of guy, it works out well for me, I don't have to put up with anyone else, well, Bill The Duck visited my camp a few times and he is tolerable for a night or so and he shows up with tequila.

So, it can be done cheaply, it's attitude as much as anything. You'd be amazed at the things you can do without.
I'm considering this lifestyle once my boys are out of the house(approx. 7 yrs.). I work in the healthcare field and plan on working a few months/yr as a traveler. The rest of the year I want to go where I want and ride as much as possible.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:01 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by c-m
While living on the cheap somewhere, how do you guys actually propose to meet the costs of living? i.e what will you do for income?

1. Unemployment Benefits for some who dare to do that and have no issues with the ethics.

2. Savings and then return to start unemployment benefits (if that can be done) and start to look for a job

3. Work as you go, on the internet, work from "home", and under the counter or legit work- but in my thread here, we are talking about being laid off and going for a long-ass getaway to live somewhere else for a while.

4. People close enough to retirement and retiring early or taking the golden handshake

5. What other ways are there? ????
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:20 PM   #50
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I have a home that I rent out for more than the payment...
But those are kind of hard to find.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Suz
1. Unemployment Benefits for some who dare to do that and have no issues with the ethics.

2. Savings and then return to start unemployment benefits (if that can be done) and start to look for a job

3. Work as you go, on the internet, work from "home", and under the counter or legit work- but in my thread here, we are talking about being laid off and going for a long-ass getaway to live somewhere else for a while.

4. People close enough to retirement and retiring early or taking the golden handshake

5. What other ways are there? ????
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:17 PM   #51
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there's a lot of south east Asia that could be had for $10 a day easily enough... I did three months in Nepal and spent around $1500 but I wasn't watching my budget much until the end and I was also travelling around country a lot..
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:22 PM   #52
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This is a very interesting thread! Thank you for starting it SS....
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:43 PM   #53
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Might be a bit younger then most of you guys (mid-20s), got laid off a while back and can't seem to find a "real job" again. Lost both my fiance, and job in the same week and have to get out of apartment jan 1. The plan is to rent a room for cheap, and take whatever 2-bit job I can make a buck at (coffeeshop/retail/anything) for 6months-year or so till I've got a small sum, and heading out west to find some public land to camp out on. Move when I feel like moving, and not worrying about anything but running out of beenie weenie. How much cash do I need to ride around for a few months+ and live out of a tent? and how much cheaper would it be to do this in mexico? (yo no hablo spanish)
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:54 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blugu64
How much cash do I need to ride around for a few months+ and live out of a tent?
depends a whole lot on where you camp.
if you boondock or stealth camp (free camp), your "rent" is zero.
your cost of food depends on where you are & how you eat (mickey Ds, cook your own, etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by blugu64
and how much cheaper would it be to do this in mexico? (yo no hablo spanish)
depends on where you go in mexico, but if you go there...
don't insult them by expecting them to understand english. that's just plain rude.
at the very least, purchase a decent english/spanish dictionary (i have a couple) & use it.
better yet, take a course in spanish & learn the grammar. it's definitely interesting & different than english.
plenty of places to boondock in baja, & eating at wayside taco stands is very cheap, like US$5 will get you a full meal.
i love baja & can't wait to return!
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:01 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Suz
1. Unemployment Benefits for some who dare to do that and have no issues with the ethics.
just to be clear...
i didn't imply that anybody should try to "work the system" & cheat on their unemployment.

what i meant was that (depending on your industry) you can still legitimately look for a job & live on the road.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:53 AM   #56
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Mexico is super expensive compared to Guatemala. I lived a _very_ good life for about $10-12 a day living in Antigua, guatemala. This included eating a fresh churipan (kolache, basically) for breakfast, usually street food for lunch, cooking something good up for dinner, accomidations at a guest house with a private room and wifi, and splitting a box of wine with friends at night.

You could do it alot cheaper than that too if you stayed in a grungy place. I stayed at a spanish school on a week-to-week rate.

The deal is that it is realistically more dangerous than Mexico. There are quite a few retired US folks in Guatemala and they're targets for petty crimes.

Everyone who's been there for a while has multiple stories of being pickpocketed (pockets or backpacks sliced open, contents liberated) or held up at knife or machete. It really isn't a big deal and sort of is the cost of doing business. You plan for it by not carrying alot of money on you and any cash you do carry you crotch it. You can buy special underwear at the market that has pockets by your balls. There is no mystery why money in guatemala stinks.

The other thing is that if you make your accommodations arrangements in advanced, you'll pay out the ears. Even if you start making long term stuff the week you get there, you'll overpay too. The key (like everywhere) is to spend a couple of weeks in a place to figure out how things work. All the guatemaltecos know that gringos are rich (and you are... even if you don't think so) and they try to get the best prices they possibly can. Not in a bad way, but that everything is negotiable and everyone's a business man, trying to do best.

The last thing is that noone speaks english. Seriously. If they do, then you're in a part of town where you're paying for that privilege. So learn spanish. Its fun!
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:13 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywr969
just to be clear...
i didn't imply that anybody should try to "work the system" & cheat on their unemployment.

what i meant was that (depending on your industry) you can still legitimately look for a job & live on the road.
Although tough to do while travelling in an area away from may be the new job site, it can be done, I suppose. One could get back to town for interviews or do them over the phone. So let's put that down as an option too.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:16 AM   #58
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Ok. Let's step this idea up a little bit more.

Let's talk about insurance.

Medical coverage
Travel, short and long term
Travel accident insurance like that helicopter evac type or other

I mean, for example, does Kaiser coverage take care of me if I've been out of the states for four or five months? I guess I'll have to call and ask

Suz
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:16 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Suz
Although tough to do while travelling in an area away from may be the new job site, it can be done, I suppose. One could get back to town for interviews or do them over the phone. So let's put that down as an option too.
if you live in a state that's very large & has a huge variety of places to boondock, it's definitely feasible...
like AZ...
or CA. just sayin'
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:37 AM   #60
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If you want to live CHEAP I don't think insurance would be in the budget.

BTW I was talking to Mr. gypsy I see out in the desert. He used to camp up in the sierras for free but due to an increase in squatters he has moved to Idaho for the summers. Less competition there. Says living cheap and not getting hassled by the man has become more and more difficult in CA national forests (Inyo).


Like Kraven said if you have a valuable skill set or equipment you can make money from other freeriders. Poach your meals.

Planning today for a future move out of the USA is a great idea. IMHO this trend will only continue as more retires/out of work see the benefit of expatriation. My neighbor moved to Baja.

If you have the capital, all you need to trade stocks/bonds is a computer and internet.

Me in 8 years:




Some ways people make money

backhoe work
bringing in freshwater
disposal of blackwater
musician
making signs
selling crap (rocks, metal artwork, etc, stuff locals want)
electrical automotive repair
selling food
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