Teach, Travel, Budget, Financial Responsibility
It has been over four months since I retired from my comfortable job at 3M to pursue my dream of living abroad. I completed an in-class 150 hour TESOL course at AVSE to receive a certification to teach English to speakers of another language. I then spent two months touring around Vietnam on a motorcycle and wrote a 14-part blog series (some parts yet to be released) that I hope one day to have published as a book.
I’m currently residing in Da Nang, Vietnam applying for English teaching positions. The stock market has been on fire since “the Donald” took office, but not enough for me to live off my investments forever. My blog and/or photography career haven’t hit the “influencer” status yet, which means my piggy bank is thinning out as I do not have an income. And we all know bacon wouldn’t be tasty if it wasn’t fat. Translation: fat pig = tasty bacon or fat piggy bank = travel without watching my bank account just go down.
I’m not exactly hurting for money right now. However, there are times when I wish I could just spend my money down to the last dime and not worry about it. I admire people who have the ability to spend their last dollar and then figure it out from there as long as they don't have to beg or steal to survive. As much as I love taking risks and going “against the grain,” I can’t just spend, spend, spend. I constantly think how awful I would feel if I had to financially burden my family, friends or community when I’m perfectly capable of earning money. I could survive for quite a long time over here without working if I wanted to because of how I saved. I just prefer not to watch my money decline month after month when I have the ability to earn and travel.
I am finding English teaching pay ranges from $14-15 an hour in Da Nang. This is on the lower side when compared to Hanoi or Saigon, which is a bummer because the cost of living is similar. I plan to work 15-25 hours a week to reserve time to work on my writing, website and photography. I’m scheduled for 8 hours a week right now and if I lived minimally I could cover all of my Vietnamese living expenses. Imagine working 8 hours a week and covering all of your expenses for a month!
If I make $15/hr and work for 25 hours a week then I should be able to haul in $1500 a month. I plan to negotiate my rate after the 20-hour probationary period. My skills warrant more than rookie level pay. For now, I must take what I can get to prove myself. Financially, I don’t need more money than I have in the bank to live and travel for a substantial amount of time. Mentally, my psyche needs it because of how I was raised. I must feed my psyche or it’s going to be a lean bacon psyche and lean bacon psyche doesn’t taste good.
My room rent is $245 a month. This includes internet, cable, trash, utilities, shared kitchen, a fantastic view, mini-fridge in my room, private bathroom, maid service twice a week, and air conditioning. My other monthly costs include $15 for my cell phone, $35 for traveler’s health insurance, $300 budget for food and entertainment, and $50 for what can be defined scientifically as “other shit!” My total monthly cost to live in Vietnam should be around $625.
Based on my math I should be able to save $500-$900 every four weeks and replenish my piggy bank to the level I started this adventure in 3-4 months’ time if I book 15-25 hours a week. That doesn’t take into account extra costs that will inevitably come up. For example, I can’t stay in Da Nang for four months without traveling and keep my sanity. My soul needs to get out and see new places. But for now, I’m planning to base myself out of Da Nang for a few months to work on my blog, teach and figure out my next big steps.
And that my friends is how I am budgeting my financial responsibilities to travel and live outside of the United States. If you have any questions or would like to know anything else on this topic just let me know as I would be very happy to help you do something similar if it interests you.