Friends and family have a few questions about how Dwight and I plan an eight-week extended stay, so I thought I’d share the most frequent questions and their answers:
How do you decide where you’re going to visit?
Dwight and I choose places where we can visit multiple cities/countries during an eight-week stay. For example, last year, we chose Costa Rica because we could live outside of San José, while visiting other cities on the weekend.
We’ve done the same in the Netherlands. We live in Rotterdam, but on the weekends, we take the train to nearby cities or countries, like Amsterdam, Giethoorn, or Brussels. Likewise, once our four weeks have ended in the Netherlands, we’ll go hang out in Croatia for four weeks and partake in similar activities (i.e., visiting cities and nearby countries).
This has proven to be useful. I mean think about it. How much touristy stuff could you really do if you stayed in your city for thirty days? You’d probably suggest visitors branch out and see another city or nearby state, right? Living abroad is similar.
Why did you choose Rotterdam as the home base?
Money is the main factor when we take extended vacations. We have to choose a place that we can afford, and that will allow us the opportunity to visit other places. We considered living in Amsterdam, but it is the equivalent of living in New York City. An Airbnb for thirty days in Amsterdam ranges between $2,200-$19,198. That’s too much.
Rotterdam is much more affordable for our needs. We were able to live in a one-bedroom apartment for around two thousand dollars. Similarly, in Costa Rica, we chose to live in Aserrí, a province in the mountains about an hour outside of San José.
What do you do during the week/on the weekends?
Dwight and I both have jobs, which allow us to work remotely. During the week, we work—full on, eight hours a day—work. By May, I’m off for the summer and teach one class, so my time is a little more flexible. Occasionally, Dwight takes off a Monday or Friday for an extended weekend, but mostly we’re doing our jobs during the week, oh, and cooking. We grocery shop and have homemade meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
On the weekends, we take the excursions that Dwight writes about.
Even though we work, that doesn’t mean we don’t see the city. For example one Friday, we took an Uber to another part of Rotterdam for a so-called “American” breakfast. This morning, we’ll venture up the street to eat at a traditional European cafe. Because Rotterdam is six hours ahead of the States, we can easily do this; work won’t begin until one o’clock (seven in the morning US eastern time).
Do you plan these trips out yourself or do you have some company map it out for you?
The two of us split up tasks. For example, Dwight finds and pays for the Airbnbs, and I find and pay for the flights. It works out best this way because, for example, Dwight cares the most about where we live for thirty days, and I care a lot about the airline we’ll be using. Also, once we’re in the country, one of us pays for the excursions, and the other pays for eating out and transportation, whether that’s Uber in Central America or train rides in Europe.
So, there it is. That’s how we do what we do. I don’t want to sound like it’s easy-peasy. Dwight and I both have jobs that allow for this lifestyle, in terms of both flexibility and financially. But the premise is the same. We live in Airbnbs we can afford, we don’t spend more than we make, and we act touristy only on the weekends.