Moving abroad is expensive (duh).

I'm totally fine, mom, I don't need money. 

Now that I've gotten that caveat out of the way.... holy moly, moving abroad is expensive.

Of course it is. I knew it would be. Knowing that you're going to spend literally all of your money to do something and then actually spending all of your money to do something are two very different experiences.

I'm hemorrhaging money and it's freaking me out. But man, is it worth it.

I've read cagey 'oh yes, doing something like this means a lot of up-front expenses' posts, but I've never seen specifics. I'm going to give you specifics, with a snapshot of the cadence.

This doesn't include:

  • Incremental costs of living abroad. The Remote Year fee is twice my monthly rent, but the cost of living is much lower in every country. I also won't have a car payment, car insurance, internet bill, etc. I won't know what the difference in cost is until I do it.
  • Extra travel expenses (side trips and such). That will be another huge expense, but not an up-front one.

Net expenses: $8,699

I did sell furniture, which I wouldn't have done otherwise. Hence the 'net.'

Total Expenses: $9,699

  • Remote Year Application Fee: $50
  • Remote Year Down Payment: $3,000
  • RDU -> Montevideo plane ticket: $1,100
  • LASIK: $2,000
  • Copays for doctors: $385
  • Lease break fee: $1,214
  • Washer / dryer rental break fee: $450
  • Miscellaneous stuff (camera, luggage, etc): $1,000
  • Visas: $500

Total Gains: $1,000

  • This was all just selling furniture and electronics. No point in itemizing.
  • Also, I'm guessing at the number, since I didn't keep great records.

Cadence (with some editorial color):

October 2014: my marriage ends (oh right, that was a thing, SURPRISE), I get separated, and I split bank accounts. 1/2 of my savings is gone and we split credit card debt evenly (which... whatever, I'm not getting into it, but that made me grumpy).

This is relevant because it explains why my bank accounts are emptying - not just reduced. Divorce is also very expensive. 0/10 would recommend. 

February - September 2015: I adjust (clumsily) to a single girl financial status. I struggle a bit, I'll be honest, and don't save as much as I'd like. Or at all.

I also complain about my newly sky-high rent approximately three times a week to my very patient best friend. Guys, it's so much cheaper to be in a partnership. So. Much. Cheaper.

September 2015: I see a Facebook ad for Remote Year. I pay the $50 application fee. And get in.

October 2015: I pay the $3,000 down payment for Remote Year. My savings account is now almost empty. I think I have $250 left after the down payment.

I purchase my one-way ticket to Montevideo. On a credit card that I can't pay off immediately. Cue twitchy feelings.

October - November 2015: I start the process of breaking leases, changing jobs, getting visas, selling furniture, and buying gear. I also schedule every doctor's appointment that I can think of, in order to make sure I'm in a good spot before leaving.

December 2015: I get laser eye surgery. This is obviously not a required step to moving abroad, but it's a good excuse to finally do it. My stepdad is an ophthalmologist, so I get a pretty sweet deal on the surgery. I'm calling it 'wholesale lasik.' 

January 2016: I purchase the rest of what I need and fly out. And finish paying off my credit card. 

That's the financial side. The other huge expense? Time. It takes a lot of time and energy to find a new job. It takes just as much to get your life in order to leave the country.

To be clear, I'm not complaining. I knew that moving abroad would mean spending gads of money. I was completely prepared (and financially able) to do this, and I'm doing it gladly.

But it is freaking me out a little bit.

And that's okay.


Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email, or else read more from the blog.