6 Step Strategy For Living Abroad

The only thing harder about moving to another country is deciding on where. You can read guidebooks and forums all day but you’ll never be absolutely certain that recommended places fit you best. You need to go there to find out for yourself.

Let’s start with the first two steps…

Step 1: Compile a long list of cities and countries that you want to visit. Categorize those by continent and see if it’s obvious that you should visit one continent before all others. For me that was the case for South America, though Eastern Europe was a close second.

Step 2: Plan out a logical route for your first ambitious trip abroad. Fill the spaces in between with cities you are curious about and others that help chop up long trips. Consult guidebooks to see about train or bus times between cities along with ballpark lodging numbers that help you calculate a rough budget. Giving you a budget estimate is useless without knowledge of your travel style and tastes, so ask those who are similar to you for an idea. (You can also use sites like One World to plan around-the-world trips via airplane.)

For me travel has two modes: research and living, with some overlap in between. I generally like to visit a city first before committing an extended period of time there. My first trip to South America was mostly research, hopping around and taking notes on the cities I liked. Out of the 30 or so I visited, I discovered two that I wanted to return to: Cordoba and Rio. I did stay in both cities longer than I planned, but not long enough to where I felt like I was a resident instead of a tourist. Understand that to find a city you love, you may have to visit a lot of cities you dislike. It’s a process that takes time.

My current trip is heavy on the living side. I stayed in Medellin for six months, with research side-trips to Bogota, Cali, and Santa Marta. I’m now in Rio de Janerio after researching the north of Brazil. If I like any of these research cities I’ll stay up to a week and consider returning in the future for a longer time. For example Pipa is a beach town that I would definitely live for a summer, something that I would not have known unless I visited. While I value other people’s opinions of places, I won’t know for sure unless I go there and have a look.

I don’t really see the point of doing only research, which is the Western way of travel, assuming the Westerner is not merely going to a Caribbean resort. There will most likely be foreign cities that make you happier than your own, and visiting them without having the option of staying longer to feel it out seems a bit torturous to me. If you’ll never be able to move to a city that you love, I’m wondering if it’s best not to travel in the first place, because you’ll be stuck in your crappy city knowing for sure that there is something better.

Step 3: Figure out money and work logistics. This is where guys start with the excuses that they “can’t,” but to me that says they don’t want it bad enough. Fine, stay where you’re at it and live vicariously through others, but I get emails from guys all the time that are working their asses off just for a month away, and that’s usually how it starts: a decent-sized trip that a guy figures out how to lengthen in future years. My first trip away was only a week long.

Step 4: Enjoy your trip. I strongly urge you to integrate yourself into the cultures you visit by learning the language and avoiding other gringos. How will you know if a city is good or not for a medium or long-term stay if you don’t mix with the people who live there? If you’re coming to South America, learn Spanish or Portuguese. Don’t be lazy. With just a few hundred words you’ll be able to do so much more and be more motivated to talk to locals and begin to understand how they’re like. It’s okay to stay in hostels but every now and then spring for a roach motel to get away from English and general comfort. Push yourself a little more than you’re used to.

Step 5: Reflect after your trip is over. Is there a city you fell in love with? If you visited at least a dozen, chances are one of them will be worthy of a lengthy return. How can you make that happen? You’re probably going to have to figure out a different way of making money, perhaps your own internet or freelance business. Talk to other guys who have what you want and figure out how they did it. While it will be hard to duplicate someone else’s success, there will be lessons you can learn. I know it’s not easy to figure out a new way of making money, but I’ve met a ton of guys doing it. You can as well if you have slightly above-average intelligence, and if you’re reading this right now then chances are you do.

Step 6: Live abroad. Book a one way ticket with money in the bank and some passive income coming in on the side. Once there rent a room and spend a couple hours a day working, a couple hours a day learning the local language, and the rest on your own pet projects. Hang out at a local university, explore the nightlife, make friends, sleep with the local women, enjoy life, and eventually return home a better man. What more can you ask for?

And thankfully while living in a city your expenses will be significantly lower than when traveling through.

After my current trip in South America, I plan on coming back to D.C. to recharge for several months and then maybe do a tame trip through parts of Europe. That’s my master plan, research and living, research and living, until there’s not a whole lot of research left to do and I build roots in a place that I love.

40 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
thedcam
10 years ago

This is a pretty good inspiration to get out of the US for a while and see what’s going on. The only issue could be that Egypt seems to be the most interesting country to check out, but with my alabaster skin and exclusive wear of funny cartoon Muhammad t-shirts, it might not work out. Any advice for visiting the Middle East when you’re a piece of easily identifiable American scum?

thedcam’s last blog post: Your Water Courtesy Of Reebok.

The G Manifesto
10 years ago

Good post. I am basically doing this right now.

“That’s my master plan, research and living, research and living, until there’s not a whole lot of research left to do and I build roots in a place that I love.”

I always wonder if there is that special place out there. Or if I will have to continue to travel.

Either way, it is fun trying to figure out.

– MPM

The G Manifesto’s last blog post: The G Manifesto Awards, The Best of 2009.

Jason
10 years ago

This was an interesting post for sure.

I will reiterate the quote “That’s my master plan, research and living, research and living, until there’s not a whole lot of research left to do and I build roots in a place that I love.”

Jason’s last blog post: Street Performers in Bogota, Colombia.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

What you don’t explain is what you do when you get “there”. Changing locations doesn’t change the fact that you’ll probably get bored and tired of it at some point; it’s just that the BS is in another language, in another form, or involves another set of requirements (like “taxes” or “gifts” and “fees”). If you think I’m living vicariously through you, then you’re delusional. (This from someone who’s travelled the world, worked fishing boats for work, made great friends with local longshoremen, carried a damn gun for security while travelling through Africa, and so on…)

c-dilla
c-dilla
10 years ago

Great post.

Ali C
Ali C
10 years ago

Great post. I’d like to add that before all you readers decide that you want to live abroad, you need to understand that living in a foreign country is NOT the same as being a tourist in said country. It won’t always be sunshine and roses. Having lived abroad several times I can tell you that the novelty of living abroad will wear off after several months.

John Smith
10 years ago

Or you can join the foreign service and live on American salary in foreign countries + free housing

John Smith’s last blog post: Part 2.

Spanish Mark
10 years ago

Roosh, I am an American living abroad now for many years. I highly recommend Americans to unplug from the ridiculous feudal corporate system and beware that life is short and should be lived as an adventure not as a serf.

Are you too scared to unplug? I do not feel sorry for you as,
working for your corporate boss is basically working for another man’s bonus and another man’s wife.

The thing about living abroad and choosing your country is, I think choosing a country that you have a connection is a conservative way to start.
That is if you are Italian American, you could live in Italy. This way you do not feel such a radical break from the world.
For work, if money gets low you can always teach English as a second language.

Spanish Mark’s last blog post: How many Americans live in Mexico.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

i dunno why “the corporate life” gets such a bad racket. i love my job. maybe i’m just lucky.

if more companies participated in profit-sharing, i think the miserable serfs might perk up a little bit and try to help out for the greater good.

“working for your corporate boss is working for another man’s bonus and another man’s wife”

with profit sharing, if your company does good, you get more money, easy as that.

works for me! good luck, all.

Travel Bug
Travel Bug
10 years ago

“Once there rent a room and spend a couple hours a day working, a couple hours a day learning the local language, and the rest on your own pet projects.”

I’d recommend the chapter in Four Hour Workweek called “Filling the Void.”

Full of great info for how to spend your time once abroad.

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

Working for someone else is probably the easiest way I see to get chunks of money together. It reduces variables that you have in a small business and makes it easier to plan when you know next week you get this much money. You can plan out 6 months to a year pretty accuratly as long as you still have that job.

Then you take that loot and open some small business to where you don’t have to do it on a shoestring but are able to go full go from the beginning with less overhead. Pay off a house so no mortgage. Get to where you basically have no bills and that equals the freedom to stop the work at the job.

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

You can make your own luck.

Chris
Chris
10 years ago

It definitely is the same old BS, or a new version of the same old BS, in a different language in foreign countries. Check the Human Development Index for a general measure of how much relative BS you may need to put up with in any given country. ‘Legal’ BS (taxes) notwithstanding. (BTW, notice that the countries considered the most developed are mostly socialist. That is, they take care of their citizens.)

The thrill of travel is generally due to the stimulation of the brain/elimination of predictability brought about by a new environment. Therefore, you generally need to keep travelling to keep that feeling going.

The stimulation eventually wears off no matter where you go, and the benefits that do last need to be greater than the sum of what you give up (family, friends, language, convenience, etc) of living in your own country. For many, many people that start out thinking otherwise, the benefits of constant travel or permanent relocation fall short of what they are giving up at home.

Others choose to live permanently abroad because that is the only place that they can gain a competitive advantage in life, on the merit of their nationality only (they can teach english, attract women, live better due to currency/income arbitrage, etc.) Others have nothing to go back to and/or find the social climate of the country to be more fulfilling than that of their home, and will put up with everything else for this benefit.

If you want to look for a place to settle that has longer lasting advantages and therefore would be a better prospect for long term settlement, than take a hard look at the human development index and pick the country that has a social climate that you can stand/enjoy that is highest on the list.

Tom
Tom
10 years ago

I spent my 20s abroad and it was incredibly exciting and fun, but after a while it really got boring and routine, and worse, you begin to grasp that most other countries simply don’t share our PC attitudes and have strong in/out group ways of thinking based on an unbroken tradition, and you will never integrate into a high level of the local country where you will be able to get the truly hot girls and positions.

Harsh truths, but every expat to a non-Western country eventually learns its truth.

The truth is, as a foreigner it’s harder to get hot girls overseas (something alluded to even by Roosh), you have to struggle to be accepted into the social levels you are familiar with at home, and in general you discover – to your suprise – that you have a lower social position than back home and worse social opportunities (girls, jobs, etc).

It’s still incredibly fun and exciting to live overseas – even for many years – but eventually it’s wears out. Excitement wears off, and you come home, and you begin to discover that no matter how open minded you are, many aspects of non-Western countries you find impossible to respect and that it was not accidental that the West came to dominate the modern world. When this kind of contempt begins to develop, you are in the final stages of your expat-hood.

The sad truth is no Westerner belongs for too many years in a non-Western country. Go, enjoy, but never lose sight of the fact that you don’t really belong there.

I wouldn’t trade my ex-pat 20s for anything, but the only long-term, lifelong ex-pats are hardened losers who obviously have no chance of making it at home. Next time you go out, speak to anyone who’s been an ex-pat for more than 10 yrs, and see if you truly think this guy had a chance of being anything back home.

URF
URF
10 years ago

I agree with points made Chris and Tom. I had done the overseas stints thing in my 20’s but also wanted to live & work overseas for a longer period. So, I eventually left a decent paying corporate job and moved overseas where I started a business. I’m striving to make this a temporary, successful extended stint though before going back to my home country indefinitely precisely because of the downsides you mentioned.

Having experienced both, I wholeheartedly recommend what Roosh proposes:

“This is why I don’t recommend a permanent move. But a couple stints abroad can be very valuable and fulfilling experiences. Something I believe is worth trying.”

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

””””’I wouldn’t trade my ex-pat 20s for anything, but the only long-term, lifelong ex-pats are hardened losers who obviously have no chance of making it at home. Next time you go out, speak to anyone who’s been an ex-pat for more than 10 yrs, and see if you truly think this guy had a chance of being anything back home.”””””””

lol where else ya gonna make 15 grand working 28 days then get a month off and fly anywhere you want to go. My ex boss was a millionaire and did not return to england bought himself a 300k house in pi. He was tired of getting taxed the shit out of. Who can’t make it in the states. Just that the laws are becoming so bad that even if you make it. It can be easily taken away by something outside your control. The only sane thing to do is expat.

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

Plus the market is bigger outside the states for small business. Other countries are going through their baby boom and on there way to the same level of wages as states but still at the point where stuff is cheap and they have a shitload of young people. The states is dead. Couple people walking the streets and that is all.

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

”””””I think Tom and Chris are pointing out the problems of living abroad for too long, and there are some real problems. You do hit the point of diminishing return after a while and sometimes you will find yourself asking… “Why am I still here?”””””””

Well I think it would be optimal actually for a guy who wants kids that he will actually be able to raise. Probably the biggest feature. Being able to find a good woman who can’t take all your shit.

Gunslingergregi
Gunslingergregi
10 years ago

But if ya look at where the wind is blowing the amount of freedom western men are going to have looks like it will be nil if you accidently make it into the system.

Chris
Chris
10 years ago

””””’I wouldn’t trade my ex-pat 20s for anything, but the only long-term, lifelong ex-pats are hardened losers who obviously have no chance of making it at home. Next time you go out, speak to anyone who’s been an ex-pat for more than 10 yrs, and see if you truly think this guy had a chance of being anything back home.”””””””

Yeah, I don’t necessarily agree with this generalization, although it probably is the case more often than not.

I’ve met long term ex-pats who were definitely NOT losers by anyones standard, and who could actually be labeled as incredible winners for there ability to define life, live life, and succeed on their own terms and vision. They have money, women (non-hookers) and happiness.

It takes a lot more skill, tenacity, and guts to accomplish this than it does to settle for a life/environment that you enjoy less. I’d rather enjoy modest financial success as an owner of a language institute in a country that I enjoy than be an overworked corporate lawyer in the USA. Being the latter would be “less successful” for me than the former. It would signify giving up and settling. Some talented individuals don’t have the family ties that justify settling in their location of origin, and therefore they have the social freedom to find their own niche in the world.

To say that anyone who doesn’t long term settle in their country of origin is a loser, is saying that their country of origin offers the best that this world has to offer. 99% of the time, this wont be the case and saying such signifies either lack of fore-thought about this statement or else die hard blind nationalism to your country. Taking the USA as an example, its often a relief for its forward thinking citizens to be in the more intellectual and liberal climate of Western Europe. This is just one example of a cultural difference that can make long term expatriation in another country worthwhile for true winners.

paully
paully
10 years ago

a lot of it depends on what they’re doing abroad, but that being said, even specialized or lucrative work abroad is very “niche”, and the longer you do it the more your job-field back home will be evolving and changing. ive been abroad in asia for the last 5 years and know a lot of highly paid lawyers from the US and Australia who know that there’s little chance of them finding work back home. some of them dont give a shit tho.

also, before you buy a “one way ticket” to a country, make sure you understand their visa procedures. some countries will not let you in unless you have a ticket leaving the country. i learned this the hard way once. 🙂

Mark James
10 years ago

Try the foreign service, you get to move around and be an expat in different countries but return to the US once in awhile.

Dannny
Dannny
10 years ago

I agree with Tom in certain aspects. I’ve lived in the UK for the majority of my life and I lived abroad in Spain for over a year, I learnt the language to fluency and that was my main aim when I went over there. I would definitely recommend Barcelona to anybody by the way, it’s awesome, chicks from all over the world!

I’ve recently graduated from Uni and whilst I have some experience on my CV, I’ve realised that I need to get a year’s experience on my CV in a corporate job, pay off all my debts then I can go abroad! I’m sick of all the PC bullshit in the UK, I think you guys have it a lot in the US as well? In western countries, I’ve found that if you’re very good at speaking the local language or fairly good, chicks dig it, especially being a native english speaker, as we’re considered very ignorant when it comes to languages!

Although I want to go back to Spain, I wouldn’t mind trying life in South America, however I’m not too sure about the money making prospects in places like Buenos Aires? What do you guys think?

trackback

[…] Roosh V: How To Tell If A Girl Is Serious About Fucking and 6 Step Strategy For Living Abroad […]

trackback

[…] – “6 Step Strategy for Living Abroad“, “How to Tell if a Girl is Serious About Fucking“, “Travel Overview of […]