Not Always a Vacation

25.June 2014

Our Journey

Travelling full time or assuming the life of an expat does not mean constant vacation or running away from responsibilities. Many people think that any travel is a vacation because that is their only experience with leaving home. If the only time someone gets on an airplane is to let loose at a resort for a week then they tend to assume all travel is a vacation. Ask any hardcore business traveller about getting on an airplane for fun and they are likely to curl up in the fetal position.

All of those adult things that are part of everyone else’s live are still part of life for travellers and expats. If you need to financially protect your family, life insurance is still necessary when working online and remotely. Being out of the country does not mean that a will is unnecessary. At some point almost everyone plans on no longer working full time on the road or where they grew up and that means some kind of retirement savings.

One big difference between being settled versus travelling or an expat is there is no branch office for the business where you currently are visiting. Even something like a permanent address which is needed on so many official forms can be a problem. Who has time to maintain a house when there is a whole world to explore. Sure if you are in your 20’s your parents may generously offer their address in hopes you will grow out of this phase. In your 40’s they have given up hope and you need to be more creative.

Dealing with companies online makes life so much easier now. Looking to update your life insurance from GIO but you are no where near the southern hemisphere? Go to their website and use the online customer portal. It is even possible to send a scanned signed document back with a cell phone and a scanner app to create the pdf. Throw in some online banking and everything can be taken care of while you explore snowboarding options in Norway.

The online world does not change the need to actually take care of the details. Living out in the world doesn’t mean living in a cave and hoping everything will work out for the best. Just as travel insurance is a really good idea when things go horribly wrong, life insurance, retirement planning, making sure your personal business is all in order is still part of the expat life. In some cases more so.

You are likely working for yourself in some freelance or entrepreneur capacity so there isn’t a company that is taking care of things on your behalf. Nobody is putting a little aside from each pay cheque for your golden handshake. That is all you. You need to be the adult when no one else is there. Not all of the time. Taking the day off to enjoy beach beers because the sun looked particularly nice today can still be part of the life. Having the big grown up stuff taken care of too can make those goofing off moment taste just a little sweeter. Maybe not every day is a vacation but a least some of the time you are in control of your own life.

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