Planning and goal-setting have never been our strong suits. The fact that we were able to get out of debt, sell all our stuff, get out of our house and save up a lot of money is almost miraculous given our track record. So I’m going to cut myself some slack when it comes to timing. The fact is that when we quit our jobs we didn’t have an income in place to pay for our travels. Up until very recently approximately 99% of our travel expenses have come out of our savings. It was a plan, but perhaps not the best plan. If we were a start-up business, or a rocket, you would say that our burn rate was unsustainable.
The alternative would have been to wait until either our savings were greater, or an income was in fact in place. But we had inertia, and bravado, and our jobs began to absolutely drive us crazy! So our ‘Plan B’ was never firm, but it was enough for us. We always knew that if our passive/freelance income ideas never materialized we could do something a little more traditional. Teaching English, managing a guesthouse, working on a cruise ship – all these ideas were in the back of our minds as options, and all of them would be better than going back to the States and getting a ‘real’ J-O-B. We also knew that at some point we might become uncomfortable with how low our savings balance became. Did we really want to slide into our pension years with $0.00 left in the bank? Doubtful.
Well, that day of discomfort has come. We have officially become uneasy about our bank account balance. The chart above is from a spreadsheet we update to keep track of where we are. The red line is a worst-case scenario. It doesn’t go to zero, but it is tracking our cash plus some other non-liquid assets. If we stay on that path, we’d actually get to our official ‘retirement’ date with almost nothing left. And as you can see by the green line, we’re not on target. At this point our projection would be to crash and burn well before our target date.
There is good news and bad news to go along with this. The good news is that Glenn has finally discovered that people will actually pay decent money to get help with their web sites. In just the last few months we’ve made more from that one source than all of our ‘internet marketing’ attempts to date. The bad news is that we feel like we need to ‘settle down’ somewhere for more than just a couple of months so that we can work on the business end of things, marketing stuff. Word of mouth is great, but we need to gain some consistency before we can continue with our plans of traveling through South America. Mexico spoiled us with their six-month easily renewable visas and low cost of living. Central America has, so far, proven to be quite expensive, especially Costa Rica! The other day we spent $16 on a medium-sized pizza with possibly the thinnest crust I’ve ever seen. And as we move south the visas are all 90 days with unlikely renewals and increasing fees. So we have decided to back up a step or two. Specifically, we’re going back to Mexico!
More specifically, we’re going back to San Cristobal de las Casas. No other city has welcomed us like it did. We have friends and hangouts there, and the cost of living is so cheap! We plan on staying a minimum of six months, and quite possibly an entire year. While we are there we’ll work on the business sites and marketing, and Bryn will probably start teaching English and putting her TEFL certificate to use. Glenn will also get down to work on the ebook projects. It’s not a complete change of plans, more like a pit stop. Eventually we’ll get back out on the road and hopefully we’ll be able to travel in a more comfortable, sustainable style.
In the meantime, we’ll still be enjoying the wonderful culture of the state of Chiapas and traveling into the surrounding area. Chamula, Canyon de Sumidero, Arcotete, Tonina and Palenque will be visited. And when we need to reset our visa, we’ll visit Lake Atitlan again and Antigua in nearby Guatemala. So now you know where to find us for the next year, and we’ll be renting something with a guest room so you need to start planning your Mexican vacation now! It’s cheap and it comes with a free tour guide.