The Digital Nomad Path to Financial Independence

I can’t wait to start the next leg of our journey through life. This next leg is going to be a nomadic, free-range, work from anywhere, lifestyle. We call this semi-fi because it has many of the benefits of full retirement, without having to wait quite so long. Here’s our rough plan so far:

Financial Security

Before we walk away from our current location-dependent business, we want to make sure we aren’t going to prolong our FIRE journey. That means we are going to wait until we have 50% of our target FI number in investments or enough passive income to maintain our current savings rate (about $6,500 per month) while living comfortably wherever we go. This amount of savings should get us to FI within 5 years. Live comfortably means we have between $1.5-3k per month to live on while we travel. The incredibly inspiring nomadic couple behind Millennial-Revolution travel full time on less than $2,500 USD per month. It is possible to travel for far, far less but that will limit the amount of time you can spend in expensive countries like the US and Western Europe. 

Our business is doing really well this year and it’s incredibly exciting but we still have a ways to go in building up our passive and remote income streams. My projection is that we will reach this threshold between 1-3 years from now. Until then we are building up our travel miles, improving our credit, socking money away, and DIY renovating our home with the goal to maximize our resale value. 

As we get within 3 months of our departure date, we will get either the Chase Ink Business Preferred or one of the Chase Sapphire cards. This will allow us to transfer all of our accumulated Chase points to be redeemed at a 1:1.25-1.5 rate. 

Making the Move

When we are ready to make the move, we will sell most of our belongings including our house. We plan to travel full time for at least a year or until we are ready to settle down. Anything we want to keep, but not carry with us full time, like a few things with sentimental value, we will keep in storage in Reno or Sacramento since we plan to visit family here at least once a year. We will then head directly to the West Coast to visit with family and drop our stuff off. We will also change our residency and set the remote part of the business up in a state like Nevada that doesn’t charge income tax and has a favorable corporate tax rate. 

The Adventure Begins

Once all that is done, we can start on our nomadic lifestyle. Maybe we will take a road trip around North America or fly south to Latin America. Wherever we go, we will take our time with it. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a lifestyle. We will get to explore an area to our hearts content and live like a local. When we travel in the US and Canada we will be primarily camping and road tripping. The rest of the world we will likely be using Airbnb primarily and public transportation, flying, and renting cars to explore remote areas. 

If Covid is still on-going when we start our nomadic life, we can spend most of the year slowly traveling around the US, then hop down to Mexico for the cold season then maybe head to Costa Rica for a bit. If Covid proves to be an on-going issue and international travel remains challenging for Americans we can work on getting dual citizenship in a country with a stronger passport like Portugal if that’s possible. Or we can continue to travel in regions that we can access- even now there are many interesting and safe countries that are open to Americans.

When we are able to move around freely again, we are hoping to spend at least 3 months per year in Western Europe, 3 months per year in Eastern Europe and the Mediteranean, then split the other half of the year in Asia and the Americas with a trip here or there to Africa or the Pacific.

If business income fluctuates or we want to reach FI even faster, we can choose to spend more of our time in less expensive regions like Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, or Latin America. With less money than we spend staying at home in Hawaii, we can eat out for every meal, learn about another culture, and move- on when we are ready to see the next place.

Reaching FI

The digital nomad lifestyle provides a huge amount of freedom and flexibility. The one thing to keep in mind is that wherever we go will need to have a fast internet connection so that we can work online. That makes access to some parts of the world tricky. Those areas will have to wait until we reach FI and can step away from our work for longer periods of time.

At some point I would like to do some long distance bicycling around Europe, seeing the small towns, and staying in Airbnb’s along the way. I think we could manage this while we are working remotely part-time. Here’s a great article on cycling in Europe. And there are so many long distance backpacking trips that I want to do once we are financially independent. The Lycian Way is about 276 miles along the Turkish Riviera and can take about a month to complete the entire trail. I would also love to do the Camino de Santiago, the Tahoe Rim Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and/or the Appalachian Trail. The shorter trails could be managed on long weekends but the longer trails will have to wait until our income is at least 90% passive. There are so many adventures out there to be had and I cannot wait for our nomadic life to begin.

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