I’m also a master’s student (not PhD) from the US and studying in Hong Kong, but I’ve spent almost 9 mo. out of my two year degree on the road. That is, after the coursework got finished I took off and only came back when I really needed to (which also happens to be right now, unfortunately).
I’m currently working on my startup (infloproject dot com), but until that starts earning money I’ll have to find another way to sustain myself, so I’m considering going for PhD. I figure it’s a perfect way to buy time while also building knowledge/skills (as opposed to taking a job somewhere), but the thing I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle would be staying in one place for a full 4-5yrs. So, that being said, I’d also love to hear more answers to this question!