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April 17, 2013 / A Mindful Traveler

Expatriation 2.0: My Get Rich Slow Scheme

It’s a truism that no one goes into teaching for the money, much less takes a massive pay cut from practicing law as I did to become a teacher.  Its benefits are generally intangible.  That being said, teaching at an international school provides a more comfortable lifestyle than teaching in the United States does, albeit in exchange for living far from my family and the majority of my friends.

I’ve mentioned before that expatriation is to a great degree an exercise in simplicity and non-attachment.  That holds true in the financial benefits it confers, both tangible and intangible.  Living abroad has not only enabled me not only to spend less, but also to question my spending more since I am aware that I’ll one day need to take my possessions elsewhere.  As well increasing the amount that I save, this practice has also reduced the amount I need.  I mean this in terms of both material needs generally and financial ones in particular.

The average person in the world lives on around $12,000 per year.  “Middle class” people in the developed world (myself included) earn several times that, but more importantly there are billions of people who live on a fraction of this amount.  This is the point that President Jose “Pepe” Mujica of Uruguay has made.  Many people refer to him as “the world’s poorest president” because he donates 90% of his salary to charity.

Mujica disagrees ,  “The old thinkers. Epicurus, Seneca and even the Aymara put it this way, a poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more.”  By following this advice, I’ve slowly become richer each day and you can as well.

Beware of Your Valuable Possessions


Leave a Comment
  1. alexander johnny / Apr 17 2013 7:55 am

    Thank you for this. I need the reminder each day, why I rid of all my posessions.

    • A Mindful Traveler / Apr 17 2013 8:18 am

      Thank you for your kind words Alexander! You’re an inspiration, I still have very far to go.

  2. tiramit / Apr 17 2013 11:41 am

    Thanks for this nice post. Hadn’t really thought of it before, expatriation means you have that distance because there are limitations that you don’t have back in the home country. I need to be mindful and taking care with everything I think and say – and generosity is about letting-go… I think it’s brilliant to have that link to José Mujica’s speech. Like the photo too, think I saw it also in Wat Phra Kaew…

  3. tiramit / Apr 17 2013 12:01 pm

    Interesting parallel, yes. Something to do with the idea of, ‘time and place’ – it all fits in the end. We are presently on the journey to get there…

  4. Susi Masarweh / Apr 18 2013 3:49 am

    I love your sight – it is so fresh, authentic and inspired. As a thank you for the work you do, I nominated you for yet ANOTHER award! The Truly Inspired Blogger Award 🙂

    • A Mindful Traveler / Apr 18 2013 4:21 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words Susi! I’m delighted to accept 🙂

  5. Won Seok Chung / Apr 20 2013 12:51 pm

    Thanks, Owen. It is so gratifying to be reminded of living consciously with our personal finance. It helps me reevaluate my own and be mindful of it!


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