Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to make your dreams come true .... and how we did it! Part 1

I assume if you are reading this blog either
1) you know me and want to see that we haven't been swallowed up in an earthquake or
2) you are interested in relocating.
Many people contact us with questions about how we made the move. So here are some tips based on how we made our dreams come true.

Somewhere over the rainbow

1. Start paying off your debt.

 Debt is servitude. Being in debt ties you to your job because you have to make a certain amount per month just to pay the debt. Here are some scary debt statistics and I hope you aren't one of these!
* over 40% of US families spend more than they earn. WOW! that is scary
* the average US household credit card debt is $16,140.
* the average consumer has 3.5 credit cards
*total outstanding consumer debt is $11.34 trillion and includes car loans, mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and personal debt and the numbers keep going up every year!
 I'm no financial expert but we did it buy living simply and cheaper and then using that money to pay off the debt. We drove the same car for 8+ years. We cut up the credit cards. We shopped at Goodwill and Aldi's. We rarely ate out and we rarely bought "toys" and stuff. I enjoyed listening to Dave Ramsey and there are many other financial websites that can help you achieve your financial goals.

2. And then start saving.
Open a savings account, stuff it under your mattress, bury it in the backyard, anything! Just start saving.
It's hard to judge how much you will need to live in a foreign country until you get there. Some places are really cheap. Our friends in Panama tell us how much they pay for stuff and it makes me cringe because things are expensive in Chile. But it is relative. Our friends from New Zealand think Chile is cheap. We lived in South Carolina and to us Chile is expensive. You can check out to see how much things cost in the country you are looking at. Then you should try to save enough money to live on for a year or two while you get yourself established. For Chile, outside of Santiago, a family of 4, living simply, could survive on $3,000 per month. But you have to figure costs if you need a car, buying land or house, sending the kids to private school which is typical here and could cost you $500 USD per month. You may have a retirement check or other monthly income which will be great to keep you going if you have no major expenses like car or house but don't expect to come down and just get a job. Jobs here are low paying for unskilled labor and if you don't speak Spanish you might as well forget it unless you plan to teach English.  Which leads us to ....

3. Get or create a job.
You may have a retirement income or not or just need some extra income. Get or create a job that is not tied to a certain location like telecommuting or an online job. If you are an entrepreneur, there are many opportunities esp. in Chile with its growing economy and stable government and rising incomes. And your 1-2 years worth of savings will give you some time to get some other income going. We have a monthly retirement check we are living off of but we want some more disposable income and we are still young and energetic, at least most days, so we are opening a business here in Chile selling products from the US. Often it just takes some time on the ground living in the country of your dreams and thinking with your entrepreneurial thinking cap to see what opportunities exist.

Next time we will wrap up our list with
4. To Pack your stuff or not to pack your stuff
5. Finding a place to live
6. Buying your airline ticket cause you've made your dreams come true!
And also a few tips on set backs and not getting discouraged because most of your friends will tell you that you are crazy and you'll never do it!


  1. Hi Lori,

    I found you via the Four Flags Journal. I just spent the last couple of days reading your blog from now to its beginning, every spare moment I could. Thank you so much for sharing, what a grand adventure you've embarked on!

    We have considered a similar path and almost took our two teenagers with us, went down there twice, spent some time (heck, that could have been your English-speaking family we saw in the Frutillar theater cafe without even knowing it) the whole nine yards... but ended up graduating the kids and stopping over in Puerto Rico first for a while. Long story short, it looks like we'll be buying a rural lot east of Puerto Varas for a great price via a serendipitous local connection where we can do a little permaculture homestead, bit-by-bit over time, for debt-free living in the beautiful southern hemisphere. That's the plan, anyway, we'll see what happens. It'll probably be part-time at first, maybe full-time later.

    Although we may not share the same religion, I still feel like you and Jim are kindred spirits. And kudos to your boys for adapting to their new world, that takes courage. If it all works out, we'd love to meet you next time we're down there. Basically I'm inviting myself over for some of Jim's BBQ, hope that's okay... :)

    Keep up the great work, and don't let the bad days get you down! If you don't hear much from old friends, don't worry, they just don't get it. Look ahead, not behind... :)


  2. Thanks, Diane!
    How funny about Cafe Cappucini! We spent a lot of time there before we got internet.
    And you bet you are invited over for BBQ! It's going to be better than ever with our homegrown pork.
    I am going to writing a series on homesteading in Chile that you might find helpful.
    We also looked at a lot west of Puerto Varas. It's pretty out there and close to our favorite beach at Punto Godoy.
    Please keep in touch and email the next time you come down!
    God bless!

  3. Just a couple of questions:

    When you say $3000 a month does that include rent?
    If we build/buy a house do we have to worry about "squatters" if we leave the property for a few weeks or months?
    Are you of Czech/Slovak heritage?(My husband was born in Slovakia and says Dorchak sounds Slovak)

    -Marla & Adrian Latinak

  4. Thanks for the questions!
    Yes, the $3k per month includes rent which could be as low as $400-500 USD per month for a 1-2 bedroom house outside the city.
    Leaving a property unattended for a longer period of time us problematic. We have not had any problems but we are around most of the time but when the
    Neighbors realize you are gone for months they start helping themselves. When we bought our farm it had been vacant for years and the locals had been slowly
    Disassembling the cabin. They'll pretty much take anything that doesn't move.
    The Dorchaks are from the Caucasus mountains in Georgia/ southern Russia.

  5. Right now we are able to live in Pucon for 3000 per month usd. A family of 6. We could probably do it on 2000 if we absolutely had to.

    1. Thanks, Eric, for the comment.
      Yes, we could easily live on 2k because we live simply
      And have no debt, no mortgage, no car payment