The Earth Awaits: Retire On Any Budget

This post is a deep dive into the workings of The Earth Awaits, a web tool that will help you explore and build custom budgets for almost 600 cities worldwide tailored to your budget, lifestyle, family size, and many other needs. To go directly to The Earth Awaits, click here.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on something very special.  It’s something that has stretched my technical abilities and challenged me to invest a substantial amount of my money and time into something I believe in. Today, that project is ready, and without exaggerating, I believe it has the ability to change lives.

It’s called The Earth Awaits.

Retirement: Possible

Months ago, my wife and I were having dinner with her dad. He wistfully shared with us that his brothers had all retired, and that he never would. “They’ll find me dead at my keyboard one day,” he said.

My father in law has a dry sense of humor, but there was a certain degree of honest sadness behind those words. Of course, being the author of a popular series about retiring abroad, I excitedly began to list all the places that his monthly Social Security check would give him a lifestyle far surpassing the current one. As I talked, he seemed to become honestly excited about some of the options I threw out, like Portugal, Malta, Thailand, and others. Though I didn’t convince him to make any major changes, I went home excited about having given him a little bit of hope.

The Retire Abroad series has inspired more visits, comments, and arguments than any other subject on the blog. People love the idea of taking a comparatively small monthly income and living well on it somewhere exotic and new. The problem with those articles, and every other article about retiring abroad on the internet, is that they are rapidly out-of-date. Even the most well-researched article is quickly obsolete as prices change. Moreover, the budgets I create reflect my personal tastes and priorities, and wouldn’t apply completely to anyone else.

Until today, the automated tools to help you discover your cost of living around the world have been rudimentary. Numbeo is the data source for all of my Retire Abroad articles, but there’s a huge gap between a list of prices and a realistic budget. NomadList is a spectacularly good site, but it’s really aimed at Digital Nomads, and we differ somewhat on budgeting methodology.

Most importantly, there’s never been a site that combines accurate cost of living data with input about your lifestyle to produce a budget that reflects your tastes, your housing needs, your family size, and a variety of other qualities in a city that are important to you.

Until today.

The Earth Awaits

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This is The Earth Awaits. Very simply put, it’s a tool that matches you up with cities around the world using your own monthly budget, family size, apartment size, lifestyle (from very lean to opulent), as well as filters on things like pollution levels, crime level, and others.

Once you enter the information about your family and needs, the site will search through hundreds of cities around the globe, build monthly budgets according to your specifications, and filter out the cities that don’t meet your needs. It will show you a custom list of cities, what it would cost you to live there, and help you to learn a ton more about each of those places. If the automatically prepared budget isn’t quite right for you, you can edit the budget yourself, share with friends, and download a copy for your records.

You can experiment with lifestyles, family sizes, housing, and budgets to make your budget work for a specific destination, or to maximize your quality of life by selecting a new destination.

Know Before You Go

Before we start discussing example searches, I want to emphasize that every search builds budgets for every city, from scratch, based on your input. The budgets you will see aren’t just some number calculated in advance. They’re produced on demand, tailored to you.

There are three inputs that control how the budget is built. Let’s take a look at them.

Family SizeThe Family Size input tells the site how many members there are in your household. Items like food, transport, and entertainment are multiplied by the number of people living in the home. At the moment, family size can be a value from one through ten.

The Apartment Type input tells us what kind of apartment your family will need. At the moment, you can select a one or three bedroom apartment either within or outside of the city center. Generally speaking (but not always), Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 4.09.41 PMapartments within the city center will be more expensive. You can also select no housing at all, on the off chance that you can arrange for housing through some alternate, free, means.

Finally, and most importantly, the Lifestyle input allows you to select how luxurious of a life you want to lead. This lifestyle selection produces a multiplier that is applied to your finished budget. Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 4.09.48 PMIn other words, you might choose to build a budget that’s Very Lean (75% of local average), Lean (100% of local average), Modest (125% of local average), Ample (150% of local average), or Opulent (175% of local average).

All of the other controls (budget, pollution, crime, search term) limit the results to varying degrees, but the ones above are how your budget is actually built. All of the above explains why the same city might have a budget of…

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or even…

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Let’s explore some example searches to see just how powerful this site can be for retirees, expats, exchange students, or anyone else wanting to relocate for a life of adventure.

Example 1: The Pensioner Couple

John and Jane Pensioner worked hard their whole lives as teachers. They paid into their pension plan, but like many Americans, they didn’t save much otherwise for retirement. Their combined pension income is about $2,500 per month.

John and Jane aren’t interested in living in Asia or Africa, but they both love Europe. They wouldn’t mind living in North or South America, either. They’d be happy with a one bedroom apartment, and they’d prefer to be in the city center so that they don’t need to own a car.

The Pensioner family has always lived pretty modestly, but they wouldn’t mind upgrading their lifestyle a bit in retirement. Nothing fancy, just a little more going out to dinner, to the movies, or maybe a few road trips. They don’t want to deal with too much crime or pollution, but an average amount of both isn’t a problem.

On the Earth Awaits search page, we’ll adjust the budget to a maximum of $2,500 per month, and leave the default two-person household and one bedroom apartment in the city center.

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We’ll also set their lifestyle to “Ample.” This lifestyle increases the basic budget by a certain amount to account for a nicer place to live, better food, and more activities. We’ll also set the Pollution and Crime rates to “Moderate,” which is about average.

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Finally, we’ll uncheck Asia and Africa from the list of continents.

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With all of our lifestyle data entered, we’ll click “Search,” wait a few seconds, and…

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Wow! There are over 75 great destinations matching the exact specifications of the Pensioner family, and they can browse them and see a bunch of useful information before clicking “Details” to explore each one in depth. Within each city’s page, they can explore demographics, plan travel, learn about personal freedoms, LGBT and Women’s Rights issues.

Example 2: American Beauty

The Yankee family is your standard family from the USA– two parents, two kids. They want to move out of their high cost of living city to accelerate their savings, and the parents have managed to negotiate with their employers to work remotely in exchange for a modest pay cut. The Yankee family wants to stay close to their relatives, so they don’t really want to leave the country. They want to spend around $4,000 per month and save the rest of their income.

The Yankee family’s search settings.

Just as above, we can set a top budget of $4,000, a family size of four, a three bedroom apartment, a lean lifestyle, and a moderate crime rate and pollution rate. To make sure we only get results for one specific country, we can open the Advanced search options and enter “United States” into the text search box (if you were interested in any other country, or a specific city, you can also search for it by name here).

After starting a search and waiting a few moments, the Yankee family would find over 40 awesome locations in the US to choose from, complete with budgets tailored to their specification.

Of course, the Yankees might not agree with exactly how the site generates budgets… but lucky for them, all they have to do is click “Details” on a city they’re interested in, switch to the Budget tab, and edit the budget quantities and multipliers to their heart’s content!

Example 3: The Pampered Traveler
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The Pennysworth Affair

Even though it’s not the primary aim of the site, it’s possible to generate a budget fit for a king, too. Mr. Pennysworth is a single early retiree, and he wants only the very best of everything. He wants an excellent apartment in the city center, low crime and pollution, and the ability to outspend locals almost two-to-one… but he has only $2,000 per month to accomplish that goal.

It’s a tall order. Shall we see if there is anyplace in the world for Mr. Pennysworth?

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Of course there is! From Spain to Ecuador, from Hungary to Poland, there’s a place for everyone.

The Really Fun Stuff

Detail-1Of course it’s all well and good to list off the places you can afford, but what about digging deeper?

Just click “Details” on any of the cities to learn more about it. From any of the pages, you can share the city (along with your household size, housing needs, and quality of life) to social media by clicking any of the share links.

The City: On the first tab for each city, you’ll learn a little about the city itself. Population, Broadband speeds, quality of life, pollution, and crime statistics. You’ll see the local airports, as well as the best airfare prices from your location to both the country and the city (where available). The airfares are based on bookings made by others around the world in the past day, and represent the best round-trip prices for the next year. By clicking one of the links to start your search when you’re ready to travel, you’ll support the site.

The Country: The second tab is all about the country. Currency, visa and immunization requirements for Americans, local languages spoken, and the percentage of English-speakers are all here.

Freedom: Not every country is as welcoming to every gender, sexual orientation, or lifestyle. The Freedom tab covers freedom of the press, internet freedom, corruption ratings, laws regarding alcohol and cannabis, women’s equality, and LGBT issues, among other things. This tab is designed to give you a basic feeling of the permissive (or restrictive) nature of the local culture.

Weather: The weather tab gives average high and low temperatures for each month of the year in the city. Months with a weather quality index of 75% or higher are rated as “good.” Months with a weather quality index of 90% or higher are rated as “excellent.”

Budget: The budget tab is the full, item-by-item budget built specifically for you based on your input. A representative collection of housing, food, entertainment, and other costs are created. The food, entertainment, and “other” costs are multiplied by the number of people in your household. The entire budget is multiplied by what we call a “lifestyle multiplier.” A lifestyle multiplier of 1.0 means you can survive on exactly this budget, paying exactly the average cost for the area. These multipliers range from 0.75 (Very Lean, can survive on 75% of the local average cost) to 1.75 (Opulent, expect to spend 75% more than the local average).

The great news about the budget tab is… it’s completely editable! If you completely disagree with any part of the budgeting methodology, you can change the quantities for items, multipliers, and number of members of the household! Feel free to build a budget you’re comfortable with using our tools!

The Earth Awaits Us All

In the end, this is the point: there’s a place for us all, even if we don’t know where to find it yet. Is it possible that you or someone you love is already on the verge of living comfortably and happily, whether it’s abroad or closer to home?

I believe that that place is out there waiting for and for me. I believe that The Earth Awaits can help us all discover that place.

Random Statistics and Facts

Here’s some random and interesting pieces of information based on example searchesl:

  • The cheapest city in the database is Thiruvananthapuram, India. The most expensive is Hamilton, Bermuda (followed by Luanda, San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC, and Zurich).
  • There are 161 cities currently in the database where two people can live an opulent lifestyle for under $2,000 per month. 21 of them have both a low crime rate and a low pollution rate.
  • The number of cities by continent as of today are: South America (23), North America (161), Europe (204), Asia (114), Africa (22), Oceania (18). Suggest a city that’s missing and I’ll happily add it (assuming it meets my standards for required data and general interest)!
What I Need From You

To be completely frank, I invested a large amount of both time and money to build this tool. I did it because I love the subject, and because I believe in the idea. To make it last, I could use your help in getting the word out.

If you are preparing to travel or move to one of the cities you discover through The Earth Awaits, consider clicking the flight booking links on each city’s page. If you need more reading material, consider clicking on one of the Amazon links.  Whitelist the site in your ad blocker.

Share the page on Reddit (/r/financialindependence, /r/leanfire and /r/iwantout would be good ones), Facebook, or other forums when the idea of living or slow traveling abroad comes up. Write about it on your blog. Submit it to Hacker News, Product Hunt, or any other site where it might be of interest. If you’re affiliated with a travel or retirement business, consider sponsoring the site as a whole, or a specific city. If you’re in the media, let’s talk about how this site can connect people with the right place for them anywhere in the world!

Most importantly, while you’re playing and enjoying your search through all of these great cities, hit the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ links on each page and share with your friends. Let’s get everyone’s imagination working overtime!

I want to make The Earth Awaits last, thrive, and to add new and exciting information and functionality. Some things I’m looking at are adding automated calculation of frequent flier miles to each location, saved custom budgets, and a bunch of other fun stuff. If you are able to support the site in one of the ways mentioned above, it will go a long, long way towards ensuring that this resource is always there for people like us.

Let’s do awesome stuff and explore the world.

73 thoughts on “The Earth Awaits: Retire On Any Budget

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thank you for loving it!! It’s the biggest personal project I think I’ve ever undertaken in my spare time, so I have a lot emotionally wrapped up in people using and liking it!! Thank you again!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Brian! Click “Advanced” below the search widgets, and enter the city name or part of it into the text search. Make sure to expand the budget as much as necessary so it doesn’t get filtered out. Of course, the above presumes the city is actually in the database. If it’s not, let me know!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Brian, thanks! I can add SLO, that’s a good addition and there’s good data available. Pismo Beach is a town of only 8K people, which falls a bit below what I’m hoping to keep for minimum size, and there’s no Numbeo data for it, so I don’t have COL data. I’ve established some rough requirements for cities, namely that be of sufficient size and that there be enough COL data points, so that the budgets produced be as close to accurate as possible.

  1. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    This is awesome – great job! I will definitely look for ways to spread the word about this resource.

    Our current plan is to get out of debt and do a cross-country road trip with the family. The finer details of our semi-retirement after that point are still being developed. Perhaps we could relocate to another part of the world. I will have to crunch some numbers 🙂

  2. Physician on FIRE

    This looks powerful, not to mention fun and intriguing. One of the Best things I’ve looked at this week, for sure. I knew you were up to something, based on the MMM forum thread. I’ll check it out, and promote it.


  3. Ms. Montana

    Congrats, that is really incredible! What a labor of love (and skills!) We loved living abroad for 4 years and getting to see the world that way. I hope this opens even more people’s eyes to the possibility.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thank you so much, Ms. Montana! What a privilege it must have been! I’ve only lived abroad for about a year of my life, but I’m constantly wistful for that time and itching to get back to it! Enjoy, and please share!

    2. The Vagabond Post author

      Thank you so much, Ms. Montana! What a privilege it must have been! I’ve only lived abroad for about a year of my life, but I’m constantly wistful for that time and itching to get back to it! Enjoy, and please share!

  4. Travel Travel & Retire!

    This is AWESOME! Congratulations – I know how hard is to put out a product like that. I will certainly share with everyone I know, everywhere! (if you add currency convertors (if not there already) could be really cool for all my family/friends abroad (all over) that are already more likely to move!)

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, TT&R! Thank you so much for checking it out! Currency conversion is on the top of the to-do list, so hopefully I’ll have that in in the next few weeks. Thank you for the feedback and please enjoy!

  5. Markdee

    Indeed a much needed and interesting tool….

    Having lived “abroad” for more than 35 years [in Brazil, Nigeria, Eastern Caribbean and now Penang, Malaysia] as well as traveling to more than 140 countries over the past 55+ years I have been asked many times about “my favourites… and Why they are faves…

    This tool could be very useful as a way for enriching people’s lives in a world which is becoming ever increasingly complicated!! However, the traveler also needs to have a very “open” mindset!! Being “trapped” by comparing other places with “Home” doesn’t help much either!!

    The benefits are also much more than financial.. although that has also worked out very well for my wife and I!!!

    Your efforts are an excellent start!!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Markdee, great insight! It’s definitely not purely about numbers. That said, I think so many people aren’t aware of just how many places could work for them *right now*, and so never open their mind to the possibilities! Of course, I’m preaching to the choir as you’re obviously a dyed-in-the-wool adventurer!

  6. Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions

    LOVE it! As folks getting ready to do a lot of traveling in the next few years, this will be an awesome tool. I will check it out this weekend! So excited to finally hear about the big project! Congratulations! Now that I think about it – I might PM you a few questions/ideas too!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thank you, Claudia! You have no idea how gratifying it is to hear! Anyone who reads the blog knows how passionate we are about travel and living abroad, but just the possibility of getting people to think laterally about where and how they could live a happier life on their own terms is such a thrill! Please have fun, enjoy, and please feel free to reach out publicly or privately with any feedback!

  7. Tina

    This is great! 🙂 I love how many options i have with just $2000 of rental income. I will definitely share this with my friends.

    Is there a way to organize my search results from the most affordable to most expensive? I did not see that option…

  8. Sarah

    I really, really appreciate this. Thank you. I was going to ask about medical care, but I see you have discussed it in your FAQs!

  9. Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR)

    Great tool. I can imagine the amount of effort that would’ve gone into creating this. Well done! The only challenge is the update frequency. Costs in many developing countries are rising fast, and in some categories, nearly same as with the Western world. Inflation rates are also higher, so the dollar income may not catch up with local costs over long periods of time unless a retiree has local investments/income that hedge the dollar dependence. Currency risks can go either way in early retirement.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey TFR! Thanks for the kind words. Just FYI, the data is crowdsourced and updated from the data source nightly. I also try to stick with cities (mostly) that have broad appeal, and thus lots of frequent data points from lots of different people. The goal is to have up to date and well-averaged information.

  10. Dee @ Color Me Frugal

    Wow, this is a fantastic tool! I will definitely be spending more time with this. Since becoming parents we’ve sort of stopped traveling internationally, but I truly miss it. This will give a great opportunity to dream and who knows? Maybe make plans!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Felisa! Some form of weather filter/search will come, but I need ro add richer weather data first, which is a little lower on my list of priorities (comes after user accounts, stored budgets, and a few other important things). Keep checking back for sure, though!

  11. RM

    Love the site! I’ve been looking for an international version of The filters are nice and simple, and the pictures are inspiring.

    It would be great if you could choose more filters like weather/temperature, public transit, type of city (beach, urban, rural, wooded), etc. I would also like to see more details about each city, including popular things to do, what the population’s like, and what the city’s known for.

    Is the Caribbean area missing from the options? I can’t seem to find any Caribbean islands or cities.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi RM, thanks! I see the parallels with FindMySpot (minus the major difference, that the budgets prepared at TEA are accurate and customized for you!).

      Weather and tag-based searching (woods, mountains, surfing, etc.– all sorts of abstract concepts) are coming in the next few months, and I’m working on both. I have a few really important tasks to get done first, like user accounts and currency conversion (for those who want to search and browse in their native currency), but it’s coming for sure. The data about each city will surely expand, too, given time.

      There’s at least two Caribbean destinations I can think of in there, Kingston (Jamaica) and Hamilton (Bermuda), but there are relatively few in that area so far. That’s for a couple reasons– mostly, I have focused on places with 50K inhabitants or more so far, and I’ve been trying to use places with lots of recent data points on Numbeo. If you can find some Caribbean destinations you are eager to know about with good data on Numbeo, hit me up via the contact form over at TEA and request them, and I’ll see about adding them! The data that makes up a city comes from about 15 different places, so I have to verify the quality of the data, but I’m totally open to adding new and exciting places!

  12. Joe

    The Earth Await is an awesome tool! It’s amazing there are so many locations under $2,000.
    I don’t see an option for 2 bedrooms. I guess you don’t really need it.
    I have never heard of most of these cities. I guess we need to take some research trips. Maybe add an option for population size? I prefer bigger cities.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey, Joe, thanks! Yeah, I wish I had a 2-bed option too, but the data source (Numbeo) only has 1 and 3. I suppose you can make an educated guess (in the budget editor, either set the quantity for your 1 bed to 1.5 or the 3 bed to .75), but I’d rather it was there too.

      Population filtering is a good idea, thanks for the feedback! When and if it shows up, it’ll likely be in the advanced options section since I’m trying to leave the main search area as clear and simple as possible– but I think it’s worthwhile!

  13. Finance Solver

    Wow this is great, I haven’t known anybody who have built a budgeting app from scratch, that’s fantastic! I will have to keep this in mind the next time I plan to book a trip for vacation 🙂

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Awesome, finance solver! Believe me, building it and getting it working well for this many cities was quite the adventure! I love that people are enjoying t, and hope you will share it with others and keep trying back as I add more features!

  14. JT

    Man, what a phenomenal tool! It just made me want to live in 25 different places, all of which fit under my passive income budget.

    Two notes:
    1) Consider returning search results in an order other than alphabetical. Currently, pretty much everyone gets Alicante as the number 1 result. I’d suggest returning by expense, but that will also leave the same places up top most of the time. Perhaps you can have your developer experiment with a sort algorithm that randomizes and/or prioritizes (for instance, you could have people check 2-3 things that are most important to them [price, weather, crime, population, connectivity] and then use that info to return the results).

    2) Personally, not having a comprehensive knowledge of world geography, it would be really nice to have a map (embedded google maps) of where each city is when you click on it. Take Alicante again — I’ve spent more than a month in Spain and I couldn’t think of where exactly it was located. I had to leave the site to go pull up that info, which is really important for anywhere I’d consider living.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi JT,

      Thanks for the feedback– in case it wasn’t clear, I am the developer of the site as well. Addressing your two points of feedback:

      1) Sort order is one of the options available to you in the search, as well as a live re-sort in the search results. See under advanced search options, and on the top left of the screen (next to “show filters”) when you get results.

      2) Map view is coming, though it will be a little bit. I have a few other items to add/work on that are high priority, but it’ll likely get done in the next few months.

  15. Tucker

    This is the most incredible idea! I plan to retire within the next 5-10 years and I’ve always wondered how far my money could go in various places around the world. I came down an internet rabbit hole and somehow ended up at this post. Amazing! It totally made my weekend.

    Thank you for putting all the work into this, I am so excited to share it!

  16. Kurt

    This tool is rather amazing! Would save the typical person undertaking such a research project hundreds of hours, I would think. I think most people (including me) are largely ignorant of global opportunities to live a fun, adventurous, and not necessarily expensive lifestyle.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Kurt! You’re so right, the amount of time it would take to aggregate this information by hand would be staggering. Heck, even putting the machine-harvested data together from many different sources in a comprehensible way took hundreds of hours! I’m proud of the result, though, and I really hope that it will help people in the way I think it can. Please continue to enjoy, and consider sharing with friends!

  17. Joseph

    This site is so fun to use for future living! My mind is spinning a little big about how Berlin and Boise fit my lifestyle and budget, but options are always a good thing.
    I’ll be sharing this page with my readers as well. Congrats on the venture!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Joseph! That same astonished feeling is what I felt the first time I started looking at the cost of living numbers! I’m so happy to hear you had some fun with it, and would be extremely grateful for the share! Thanks!

  18. Rich

    Great work on this, inspiring! Helped my partner, who loves travel, come around a bit more to my frugal-ish ways, when she can see the places we can go for longer travels once our finances are sorted. Checked my home city (Wellington), and budget is pretty accurate.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it, and even more so to hear that it is helping to bring your partner into the frugal fold! Glad to hear about Wellington… I must admit that we look longingly at NZ as a possible destination in our travels, so knowing that we are in the right general neighborhood helps 🙂 please have fun, and consider sharing with friends!

  19. Charity

    Any plans to include two bedroom apartments on the site? It just two of us but we always want the spare room for his hobbies and a place for guests.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Charity! Unfortunately the data source (Numbeo) doesn’t solicit or track two bedroom housing, just one or three– If you manually edit the budget, you might be able to extrapolate by changing the quantity on the three bedroom to something like .75, or the quantity on the one bed to 1.25-1.5… it’s not perfect, but might at least give you some idea.

  20. Pingback: The Church of FI – The Earth Awaits and Millennial Revolution | The Jolly Ledger

  21. Allison

    I spent some time playing with the site this morning; it’s very cool! A few thoughts:
    1. I think Numbeo is way off for grocery expenses. (I realize this is their fault & not yours). For the US cities I explored, my grocery budget for 2 ended up being MORE than what I pay for groceries for my current household of 4. And I’m in a HCOL area. Yes, I know I can play with the results, but I just wanted to point this out for others.
    2. Is there a way to determine if a city is car-dependent? Some areas have much better public transport than others, and some cities are very spread out. For example: Reno and Tucson; I can’t imagine living there without a car to explore the outdoor recreation opportunities. Nobody moves to Reno to sit around in the city center.
    3. Health care: it would be really helpful to provide links to health care options and costs. In US cities, my husband and I would have to add up to $1500/month for the next 16 years until we qualify for Medicare. I know it would be much less in Ecuador or Thailand; has anybody compiled this info that you could link to on each city or country facts page?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Allison, thanks for taking the time to give your feedback!

      1) If the Numbeo grocery data doesn’t work for you (or if perhaps my choices of quantities don’t), I just wanted to point out that the budgets are editable on the “Budget” tab for each city’s details, in case you hadn’t noticed that. You can tweak things a bit (or tweak the lifestyle modifier/multiplier) to get numbers that feel more accurate to you. In the future, it will be possible to store the custom budget line items/modifiers and apply them in the search. Personally, I have found the results to be pretty accurate, but I made the budgeting methodology flexible and editable for exactly this reason 🙂

      2 and 3) Both of these tasks are going to require some serious human research because there’s no universal source of this sort of information. I’m super, super enthusiastic about doing it or having it done, if I can get the site to be successful enough, though. I hope that I will be able to offer this kind of info (among other info) in the future, so please keep checking back!

  22. Gregory Lauer

    Can you tell me how you calculate quality of life? If it’s “just” a weighted average of the components (pollution, cost, freedom, etc.) maybe you could consider letting users pick their own weights in the advanced tab?

    Thanks for a wonderful site!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Gregory! Thanks so much for the comment, and I’m so happy that you’re having fun with the site. The QOL is indeed a weighted average that takes into account: Purchasing power, cost of living, housing prices, safety, health care, traffic, pollution, and climate.

      Truthfully, I’m not sure if allowing people to customize something as wonky as this metric is something that I can commit to– it’s something that probably the tiniest fraction of users would ever take advantage of, but would add enough burden to maintain given everything else the site does that I’m not sure. Still, I’ve added it to the list of potential additions, and if it is something that seems to make sense in the future, I’ll circle back around to it.

      1. James

        Hello there:

        I found out about your The Earth Awaits through the financial independence group on reddit. This is an amazing tool! One question though…could you elaborate on what the purchasing power index tells you? What does a higher or lower number mean?


        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi James,

          All of the indices are based on New York City as the baseline at 100. In the case of purchasing power, this is basically the percentage of purchasing power a local with local salary can afford in the city relative to a New Yorker with an average salary. Bangkok, for example, has a PP of 30, meaning an average local can afford about 30% of the goods an average New Yorker can. This metric is a bit wonky but can give you some sense of your purchasing power as generally (but not always) a lower PP is correlated with a lower cost of living.

  23. Pingback: The Side Hustle Overshare Experiment - The Frugal Vagabond

  24. Josiah

    I’ve been using this site ever since it came out! I have found it really useful in game-planning my retirement strategies, goals, and travel destinations. I was using it yesterday no problem, but today I received an error saying the certificate was invalid. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing, and the site will be up and running soon?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Josiah! I’ll take care of this now… I neglected getting the cert renewed and it expired a few hours ago. I’ve renewed it and it should hopefully be installed within a couple of hours. Thank you very much for the heads up!

  25. Agatha

    Sooo…I have been intermittently looking at your site, because when I retire next year, my husband and I would like to move to Portugal. We paid a visit there earlier this year but the COVID-19 outbreak sort of shortened our tip. We went to the Algarve, but have now decided on Coimbra or Setubal as places we would like to live. I have to admit that I don’t really know what to do. I have made a timeline of what needs to be done, but I don’t know if I have things in the right order. Should we get long-stay visas first and go from there, or…
    Sorry if I sound confused. I am confused. Hope you can help or point me to someone who can?

  26. allen @ freedomJarFIRE

    Before I knew anything about you or your blog, I’d spent countless hours clicking around in the TheEarthAwaits and daydreaming. When work is killing me, I set the numbers low and get back to your original “where could we go RIGHT NOW?” When things are going well, I splurge and imagine an opulent early retirement after stacking for another decade.

    I can’t imagine the labor of love that site has been for you, but it’s genuinely been a refuge for my mind when we’re imagining what the future holds for us, so sincere thanks for putting in the effort, it’s an amazing resource!

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