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How do you deal with the fear of leaving for the first time?

 

by @eddie | 6yr  | 32 comments

Hey everyone!

Iโ€™m getting ready for my first trip abroad alone (this Oct). I decided on Chiang Mai because I feel like it might be the best place to get my feet wet. Plus Iโ€™ve been planning on going to Thailand now for about 3 years. Dream started 3 years ago, started my business 2 years ago, finished college/moved out of my parents 1 year ago, left my part-time crutch job a few months ago and now I make enough online to be location independent.

But now that my dream is becoming a reality, Iโ€™m actually kinda scared. Just thinking about boarding a plane with only a backpack in my possession is liberating but also frightening. Probably the craziest thing Iโ€™ve done in my life and Iโ€™ve worked so hard to get to this point.

Iโ€™m sure that most people here had to deal with the fear of leaving for the first time, the uncertainty of what will happen, and maybe even some resistance from your family. Iโ€™m just wondering how you dealt with it? Maybe I just need to re-read some of the books (4 hour workweek, vagabonding, The $100 startup, etcโ€ฆ) that gave me the motivation and courage to start in the first place. What motivates you to keep going?

Thanks!

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@krompson | 5yr

2 things:

  1. This nomad community is very encouraging. Itโ€™s encouraging to see other people are doing this and theyโ€™re just fine.

  2. Remind yourself you can always go back home. So you might as well go on an adventure and see if you like it.

Iโ€™m happy for you!

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Well personally, I conquered my fear by buying tickets and then waiting too long before I cancelled them so I couldnโ€™t get my money back and was pretty much forced to do it.

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@julinhio | 6yr

It would be weird to not worry when you leave the first time! I remember the first time I leftโ€ฆ I was almost (yeah letโ€™s say almost!) crying at the airport and I felt so lonely. Few hours later, the fear was gone, I landed in Slovakia, where I had never been before, and spent the BEST 8 months of my life and never looked back with regrets! As you keep going, the fear fades away.
And now that I am stuck in France, I feel I canโ€™t breath anymore. I canโ€™t wait for the moment when I will book my next one-way-to-wherever ticket.

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@skatkov | 6yr

Iโ€™ve never heard about stoicism philosophy then i was leaving, but it appears that i practiced something similar. Before leaving i was practicing different โ€˜worse caseโ€™ scenarios -> eat only raw food for a month, sleep on a floor for a month, not drinking alcohol for a month and etc.

So then time came to move along, i didnโ€™t had a single fear inside me. Just smile on my face. :slight_smile:

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@ani_goes_tweet | 6yr

I bought a one-way ticket back in 1997, and the rest is history. Although Iโ€™ve never gone back, Iโ€™ve only been a โ€˜digital nomadโ€™ for 3-4 years. In the early days, I would sometimes wake up disoriented in the night, but it wasnโ€™t a big deal and with time it went away. What has always been most important is how I live my life, and by getting that ticket in 1997 I embarked on a life of my own choosing. It was absolutely the right choice and I have never, ever regretted it.

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@kfk | 6yr

I am in a similar position, with no business though, but with 2-3 years of runaway money and a complete distaste for my current job (corp finance) and city. I donโ€™t know, the fear is real, especially if you donโ€™t have technical skills to sell, because then you know you are pretty much giving up your carrier for the unknown.

So, I donโ€™t know, yet. I think if you have a plan B and a good soft landing in case the house burns, you should go for it. If not, maybe itโ€™s worth thinking about a plan B.

Said that, the more I stay in my current situation, the more I feel like going without a plan Bโ€ฆ

By the way, it would be great to have some โ€œcarrierโ€ advise from the community.

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@eddie | 6yr

Well if you donโ€™t like your job, why donโ€™t you leave? Life is too short to being doing something that you distaste.

Since you have some money saved up, why not learn a new skill or enter a new field? Could either go back to school, take some courses online, or find a mentor.

Not really sure what you mean by a plan B. My plan โ€œAโ€ is to travel, continue running my business, and to grow my new second business. If something doesnโ€™t work, Iโ€™ll do what I always do, pivot and adapt. Donโ€™t really have a plan B because this is something I have to do and Iโ€™m willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

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@kfk | 6yr

I am leaving, I am working on a soft landing and a way to minimize risks, but I will leave. The main reason I am still here is because there are things I like about this job and I am working hard to find a way to either consult or train. Itโ€™s not easy, but maybe it works, maybe it doesnโ€™t, then I have other ideas, too many actually. I am also decent developing in Flask/Django and RoR looks reasonably easy to learn.

So, I have got some plans and I am definitely leaving, I just think that living abruptly quitting on the whole field (in which I have 5 years of experience) may end up in missing good opportunities.

The mentor point is a great advice by the way, have you found any? I see many of the good people working on web stuff are usually too busy for newbies.

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@dig | 6yr

Hello Eddie,

I am in a very similar boat , I am also leaving for Chang Mai for the month of Oct , lets connect and share tips, At this time all I have is a plan ticket to BKK and a backpack with a laptop and few clothes :slight_smile:

Any suggestion on anything will be very helpful.

Thanks
Dig

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@anon36270473 | 6yr

I always tell myself that everything is for the best! And itโ€™s always true :slight_smile:

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@thomas_sims29 | 6yr

Everybody afraid of something they didnโ€™t experience before. Think that if you listen to your fear and doubts and wonโ€™t go, youโ€™ll regret all your life, it is a bran new world for you and big amount of new opportunities.

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Just do it. I did it and bough a one way ticket to Bangkok in 2014. I remember taking the taxi from BKK to Bangkok everything around me was in Thai (the ads, the signs). I was pretty scared and in shock. I was in a different part of the world, I didnโ€™t speak Thai, nobody could help me, I had no friends near me, no family, no car, nothing. It was only me, my backpack, and my computer. After a week or so I got used to it and the rest is history. I was forced to meet new people in hostels. I become much more independent and social. Now Iโ€™m not scared to go anywhere. I can pack my backpack tomorrow and fly to anywhere I want and I know that everything will be ok. Having this sort of feeling makes you feel almost like a super hero. It was the best decision Iโ€™ve ever made in my life and it also turned out to be the best year of my life.

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@eddie | 6yr

Awesome! Thanks for the inspiration :smile:

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I am a little late into this conversation but if it helps, I left my job of 24 years to go travelling round the world. My RTW trip is coming to an end but I am going to be living in Penang for 90 days to see if I like the place, and could cope with working location independently. I do have some freelance work, that I can do remotely, and online, so that helps. When I first left my job I asked myself numerous times, โ€œAre you doing the right thing?โ€ and I came back with the same answer every time. It was the best decision that I have ever made and while I am exhausted from travelling continuously for six months, I canโ€™t wait to settle down somewhere.

Go with your gut instinct, and think to yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Youโ€™ll find that there are solutions for any concerns that you have.

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@yoio | 6yr

Hi Eddie,
When I had to deal with this situation, the thing that helped me the most was asking myself whatโ€™s the worse that can happen? The answer was pretty much the same every time- โ€œI wonโ€™t like it and iโ€™ll go back homeโ€, not so crazy hey? To be honest, the other option was much scarier- not going and forever wondering โ€œwhat ifโ€. Going is probably the best choice whether youโ€™d like being a nomad or not (which is okay too), just to get it out of the system.

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@eddie | 6yr

Yea I 100% agree. I donโ€™t want to get older and have regrets of โ€œwhat if.โ€ Plus, I can always go home or try a different country.

However, Iโ€™m fairly confident that Iโ€™m going to love it. I never felt felt like I โ€œbelongedโ€ and felt like I was living a lie. But, thinking of traveling and living the digital nomad lifestyle has grounded me. Itโ€™s given me a purpose to keep going, to start and grow my own business, and to expand my learning and thinking. Itโ€™s what I live for and has opened a whole new world of opportunities. Itโ€™s like Iโ€™m starting to see colors for the first timeโ€ฆ

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@lightmotif | 6yr

โ€œMore scared of not goingโ€ โ€“ I can totally relate to that, and to your fear. Sometimes itโ€™s hard to separate a true โ€œdanger signalโ€ fear from the a bad case of the jitters. But youโ€™re probably suffering more from not having anyone around who gets it! โ€œVagabondingโ€ is definitely a book that helped me (โ€œif youโ€™re not enjoying it, you can always go homeโ€ โ€“ itโ€™s true), as did โ€œTales of a Female Nomad.โ€ I had traveled abroad alone several times before, but never to Asia-Pacific which felt so far to me โ€“ so I also broke my flight into chunks (PHL to LA, LA to Hawaii, Hawaii to Fiji, Fiji to NZ, NZ to Bali, etc)โ€ฆ I hate long flights anyway and I think that helped me a lot with making a transition, rather than just dropping myself into Asia. It also sort of symbolized something that helps me with my fear of heights, especially when hiking on steep, somewhat dangerous terrain as I did in New Zealand: be aware, generally, of where youโ€™re going, but in this moment, only focus on the next step you need to takeโ€ฆ and definitely donโ€™t look down or back! I swear itโ€™s the only reason Iโ€™m alive because I nearly had a melt-down on that icy mountain! :smile:

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@thomasjbiddle | 6yr

Just pull the trigger. Itโ€™ll all work out.

Honestly - you could board that plane with nothing but your debit card, passport, and the clothes on your back. Youโ€™d figure it out when you got there. Youโ€™ll still be alive when you disembark. Society still exists.

Have fun!

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@chris_hartwig | 6yr

Actually, you shouldnโ€™t expect fear before a big hungry lion is running after you.
I like to think โ€œfearโ€ is a misnomer that you didnโ€™t choose yourself: letโ€™s pretend itโ€™s excitement, or the urge to do something!

Iโ€™ve never regretted all the crazy choices I made. Itโ€™s the โ€œreasonableโ€ ones Iโ€™ve regretted.

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@secondlife | 2yr

we often mistake excitement for fear.

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@flowen | 6yr

hey man, if you didnโ€™t feel fear, you wouldnโ€™t be doing the right thing. It wouldnโ€™t be an adventure, it would never be the time of your life. It would be just another routine.

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@eddie | 6yr

Thanks for input! One thing that has really helped is that Iโ€™ve reached the point where Iโ€™m more scared of not going. Iโ€™m so tired of just living day to day in the same city and apartment. Iโ€™ve felt more alone than ever because Iโ€™m surrounded by people who have bought into the status quo, are materialistic, arenโ€™t doing anything with their lives, or get caught up in petty drama or arguments over the stupidest things.

After college, a lot of my friends have essentially โ€œdisappeared.โ€ Some have moved away, others got jobs that consume their life, or are now too busy with their significant other.

Iโ€™m just hoping that I can meet more people who believe in the same life values, who want to explore, live life in the moment, and are working on building their own business and wealth. I never felt like I belonged anywhere while growing up, and for the first time (well 3 years ago) I finally felt like I found a lifestyle that fits my personality and life goals. That other people have the same thinking and that for onceโ€ฆI wasnโ€™t alone.

So, maybe itโ€™s not the fear of leaving Iโ€™m feeling, but the fear of not following through or failing to sustain the lifestyle that I want. How sad it makes me feel when older people tell me their regrets of not following through with their dreams, how they lost sight of what was important, or how they were led to the belief that traveling is โ€œonly for the rich.โ€ How they lived their whole life chained to the system because thatโ€™s what they were told to do and couldnโ€™t break out.

But I have my plane ticket and leave in the fall, so Iโ€™m ready to do whatever it takes to make this possible and Iโ€™m excited for the next chapter of my life.

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@shayna | 6yr

It sounds like youโ€™re in a good situation, having transitioned slowly and with a 2-year-old business already.

Once you start - and especially once you do connect with commnunities of people who have the same mindset, and who will inspire you to go even further - I think those fears will dissipate; the people who you surround yourself with will become the โ€œnew normal.โ€

About the fear of failing to sustain, itโ€™s possible for location-independent entrepreneurs to fall into one of two traps:

A) Getting so distracted by travel and the delights of the place youโ€™re staying that you fail to give your business sufficient focus and energy;

or B) Being so uptight about maintaining your business that you overwork and fail to enjoy the lifestyle.

Which one youโ€™ll tend towards depends on your personality (Iโ€™m a โ€œBโ€ myself) but the remedy to both is balance and clearly defined work/fun separation. Some examples of various schedules you could adoptโ€ฆ

  • buckle down and work HARD for 4-5 hours, then go out and have fun the
    rest of the day
  • work 3 hr in the early AM, go out during the day, then do a couple more hours in the evening
  • do an intense โ€œsprintโ€ of 8-10 hr-days for a work week, followed by a week off

Iโ€™ve used all of the above at various times, depending on my business and travel situation. So to sum up, the best bet for following through or sustaining this lifestyle is two-fold - to surround yourself with likeminded people, and to have the self-discipline to establish a good work/life balance (whatever that might look like for you).

Good luck, congrats on booking the ticket, and make sure to update this thread after youโ€™ve taken off!

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@eddie | 6yr

Thanks for the thoughtful reply @Shayna I appreciate it :smile:

Youโ€™re right, I think once I can surround myself with more like-minded people I will feel more comfortable and it will help me grow and learn things that I could never of imagined. I love learning, so connecting with other similar people is one of the big reasons why Iโ€™m looking forward to the trip.

Work/live balance may take some time to really figure as you mentioned and is something that Iโ€™ve been thinking about. My current plan is to enjoy my mornings: get up around 9 and have breakfast, go for a walk/work out/do any small tasks, have lunch, work for a solid 4-5 hours, and then have dinner. Then either work, read, or enjoy something else in the evening for a few hours (depending on my workload). Then for weekends, I want to explore the area and do some other activities. Just a rough idea which may change

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@munly_leong | 6yr

Well Eddie, Thailand could be a bit much for a first timer. Culture and language shock could initially discourage you from a rewarding thing youโ€™re going to do for life otherwise. I left home (Australia) when I was 20-21 and in part it was being able to research and do most of it on the internet first that made it easier. Mind you this was Dotcom 1.0 era too so it had much more of a feeling of adventure to it.

If youโ€™re American, try something a bit closer to home. For example Montreal/Quebec in general is โ€œFrance on training wheels at a fraction of the priceโ€ that I think all North Americans should try . Itโ€™ll be sufficiently foreign enough to feel like youโ€™ve gone somewhere but at the same time you can fall back onto English if you need to, even though it would be to the disgruntlement of many locals :wink:

By the way, much respect to building up to this point over the years. I feel much less frustrated at the few months of no luck and slow progress Iโ€™ve had so far. Iโ€™ll send you a msg :slight_smile:

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@eddie | 6yr

Thanks for your thoughts. By all means, Iโ€™m not new to traveling. Iโ€™ve traveled to Canada a few years ago (Toronto & Montreal) and also spent a few weeks in Europe (Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein) but this will be my first trip alone.

One reason I chose Chiang Mai is because itโ€™s a bit slower pace, itโ€™s cheap, and has a highly developed network of Digital Nomads (who can maybe teach me a thing or two about traveling too). I know it will be a bit of a culture shook but thatโ€™s what Iโ€™m looking for. Canada isnโ€™t really that cheap and one thing I want to do is baseline my living costs so that I can pump more dollars back into my business.

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@munly_leong | 6yr

haha fair enough. Dont ever come to Australia if you think Canadian costs are high :wink: Iโ€™m aiming to use Panama to approximate something like US costs or less since Australia is easily 2-3x (and in some cases 10x) what an equivalent would be in the US.

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@don_lee | 6yr

I had that fear at my first time when I left my comfort zone, but the comfort zone was too boring for me so I had to make a decision, go or not. I opened the booking page of an airline, selected a flight and filled all the info, then I stopped at the checkout button. I gave myself 5 seconds to decide, so I started to count from 1 to 5, and I made it at the last second, I booked the ticket without thinking anymore. I had one month until my flight departed, so I tried to prepare as much as I could. At this moment Iโ€™m asking myself why I needed to prepare that much? huh!! because it was the first time, and we always feel stupid when we recall what we did in the past. That one month was damn long, I felt like 1 year, I counted every single day to wait for it, so if you havenโ€™t booked a ticket, make sure you have a flight that departs as soon as possible, time may make you change your mind. Once youโ€™re out of it you will realize that itโ€™s not that difficult to be scared a lot. There might be a culture shock if this is your first time going to Asia, try to watch some videos on youtube first to see how Chiang Mai looks like so you know what you should expect to see better. Those books are bullshit, only the office men want to read them and dream in the day, get out of your house, the life will teach you how to survive and work better for free.

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@christianbundy | 6yr

Maybe I can help. I got on a plate at 15:40 yesterday on Portland, Oregon, and Iโ€™m currently five hours into being a digital nomad in London, UK. Scary? Yes. Worth it? FUCK YES JUST DO IT.

PSA: take everything I say with a grain of salt. Almost everyone else on this forum is more experienced than me. :pray:

As with most scary things, the only way to conquer your fear is to do it. You prepare as well as you can (which will never be close to enough), and then you dive into the deep end and learn how to swim.

Whatโ€™s currently holding you back from booking your plane ticket today, and what are you doing to resolve that?

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@wanderingdev | 6yr

I was always a wanderer so i never had the whole fear thing. but keep this in mind: you can only control what you can control. the rest you will just deal with when it happens and worrying about it is a waste of your energy. whatโ€™s the worst that can happen? you die? well, you went out doing something you dreamed about so thatโ€™s not a bad way to go. anything other than death can be dealt with so really no point in worrying about it, IMO.

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@gigigriffis | 6yr

Hi Eddie,

As you keep going, the fear will fade. As with anything risky in life, it feels a bit crazy at first. But as soon as you start youโ€™ll realize it isnโ€™t as impossible, crazy, or terrifying as it may seem.

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@adrianmcli | 6yr

Youโ€™re lucky. Iโ€™m $90k in debt and Iโ€™m going off on the same journey as you this Fall. But then again, I like to live life on the edge. Hereโ€™s the thing: as long as Iโ€™m alive, Iโ€™m living proof that someone with less than you can survive.

Hope that helps.

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Read and participate in 14,101 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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Are there any tax issues I have to be aware of?

 

in Germany by @clara | 2d 2 days ago | 0 comments

Hi everybody. I live and work in Germany and want to go to Canary Islands for 6 months to work from there. I'm going to keep my current job, just change the "home" in the home office part of things. Are there any tax issues I have to be aware of? I was reading about becoming a residence after 183 days, thus having to pay taxes there plus my employer having to register there. Does anybody know how it works exactly? Thanks a lot!

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International number & internet?

 

by @leobassam | 2d 2 days ago | 0 comments

Has anyone figured out a way to get setup with a virtual number and internet connection anywhere you go?

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Most Walkable Neighborhood / City In The World ?


by @dannybooboo | 10d 9 days ago | 0 comments

I love living in walkable areas of town. I can always find them. But now I'm wondering where in the world are the most walkable places? I'm imagining walk streets (no cars), zoning allowing both business and residential, parks or beaches ,etc.

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Chiang Mai accommodation


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @bertieb | 14d 14 days ago | 0 comments

Can anyone recommend a good accommodation website for Chiang Mai?

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Is anyone travelling right now?


by @viktor | 18d 17 days ago | 3 comments

Winter is coming and Iโ€™m feeling the ache of travelling after being stuck in the same place since the Pandemic started. Wondering if anyone is travelling right now? If so, where are you currently located and how is the situation where you are?

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Anyone up to explore some city which is kinda virus safe?


in Bangkok, Thailand by @germanrobert | 18d 17 days ago | 2 comments

Hello World!

I'm an experienced Digital Nomad and after being in Lockdown in Bangkok and Germany for one year I would like to team up with someone to visit a new place. Or just doing some exchange about what destinations would be interesting currently.

I take the virus seriously and still I think we can still be able to take our life in our own hands. So I'm aiming for cities/countries which are not in full lockdown, are not too complicated about immigration (I'm looking at you Thailand, your state quarantine costs like 1k USD and is basically a prison) and is also rather safe regarding the virus. I tend to stick for rather big cities and like culture. I'm not a beach or nature person. I'm pretty flexible about the money topic.

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Holร  ! What's the internet / wifi situation in Sayulita ?


in Puerto Escondido, Mexico by @ambroisedebret | 19d 18 days ago | 0 comments

After being told it's unworkable in Puerto Escondido, looking for alternatives :)

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How to find accomodation in Las Palmas, Canary Islands


in Las Palmas, Spain by @philippg | 27d 26 days ago | 2 comments

Hi, we are trying to find a house to rent for 2-3 persons near Las Palmas for 4-5 months at the moment and it seems to be almost impossible except through Airbnb which is super expensive. Any advises or local contacts?

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Leaving USA, anyone have experience with "closer connection" test?


by @gizmocaca | 4yr 4 years ago | 1 comment

Hi,
Iโ€™m leaving the USA this year to embark on a nomad lifestyle, I intend to spend less than 30 days in the USA and certainly less than 180 days. If I am over 30-days, is it easy to prove I have a โ€œcloser connectionโ€ to another country i.e. Form 8840? Retirement visa to another country / property ownership sufficient ? I am British but donโ€™t want to be tax resident for UK or USA in 2017. Thanks

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Views/Worries about UK leaving EU?


by @tuliptraveler | 5yr 4 years ago | 4 comments

I was wondering what peopleโ€™s thoughts or worries are about the UK leaving the EU? Will it affect your plans? Is it going to make your nomadic lifestyle more difficult? Or do you think it wonโ€™t have any affect? Just curious :slight_smile:

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Traveling to Ghuangzhou in April for the Canton Fair: Any notable destinations during the downtime?


in Canton, United States by @rynesweeney | 5yr 5 years ago | 2 comments

I am traveling to the Canton fair where I will be for 16 days from April 18th to May 4th. There will be a couple 3 day gaps between working for mini excursions. I am contemplating going to Macau or HK during these times.

I am up for suggestions on similar areas i.e. close in proximity, simple travel arrangements, maybe a body of water as well.

Work may supercede these travel arrangements though if the journey isnโ€™t too demanding it may be worth while.

Thanks!

Ryne

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Did you acquire gadgets before leaving or while traveling?

 

by @nihilista | 5yr 5 years ago | 20 comments

Iโ€™m debating whether to buy some things prior to leaving - a nice suitcase and/or backpack, noise cancelling headphones, a Kindle (Iโ€™m an avid reader and would love to take several books with me - but love books and have never found the need to have a Kindle since I have lots of space at home for adding to my library), etc. My feeling is that these things would likely enhance my travels but are not strictly necessary, and if the nomad life turns out to not be to my liking then I mightโ€™ve wasted some money. Are these items easily acquirable on the road? Iโ€™ll be in southeast Asia to begin withโ€ฆ

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How many destinations did you plan prior to leaving?


by @nihilista | 6yr 5 years ago | 3 comments

Hello everyone,

Just wondering how many destinations you planned prior to leaving your home country. Did you attempt to obtain visas for all these?

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What vaccinations did you get prior to leaving your home country?


by @nihilista | 6yr 5 years ago | 1 comment

Did you just get what you needed for your first country? Do you check about immunizations prior to moving to your next destination?

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Is it possible for a US-citizen to to obtain a freelance visa before leaving the US?


by @jasonmwomack | 6yr 5 years ago | 5 comments

I am wanting to work abroad as a freelance programmer . Iโ€™m seeking a low tax jurisdiction , preferably in Europe . What countries offer a 1 - 2 year freelance visa ? I would prefer to complete and obtain my visa before leaving the States . What are my options ?

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