Leaving the U.S. for a While...

Uncategorized Jan 18, 2017

My decision

Preparing to leave the country for 3-6 months+ (depending on how things play out).

I work as a consultant/contract PM and technical writer. My last contract ended just before Thanksgiving. Rather than immediately looking for work, I decided to take the time to explore a different country.

I have a 13 yr old son. Yes, he is going with me.

Costa Rica and Dominican Republic were my top choices. Mainly because of costs. But I’d also like to gain fluency with my Spanish. Ended up settling on the DR because I want to be near the beach. Will decide after a couple months if we will go to CR from there.

Reactions from friends and family

I’m getting mixed reactions from friends and family. Very few are genuinely supportive. It’s like most are making up reasons why they ‘think’ I’m doing this -or- making it a point to remind me that they don’t support what I am doing (in case things don’t ‘work out’). Here are some examples:

1. I lost my job and now ‘have’ to move to move to a third world country in order to survive off my savings.

My thoughts: LOL…who does that??

2. Why would you uproot your son and ‘put him through that’?

My thoughts: Put him through what? 1. This is actually going to be a grand life experience for him. 2. When he’s 25 and looks back to say ‘Ya, when I was 13, me and my mom went to live in another country for 6 months’…that’s going to sound pretty effing COOL (IMO)! 3. He WANTS to go! And (finally) because I work on a contract/project basis, we would have been having to move ANYWAY (who knows where my next project would have been). #JustSayin

3. “Good Luck……………..I don’t support this, but ………..I hope everything works out."

My thoughts: How do you define ‘things working out’?? I mean…what would mean that it didn’t work out?

There were just two people who whole heartedly supported my decision without disclaimers or hesitation. There were others who were supportive, but still…very conservative? with their words.


When my contract first ended (in Dallas), I immediately got on the road to CA to visit friends and family. I drove because…I had time (and it would be the cheapest way to make multiple stops and get around). Spent about a month between Southern and Northern CA. Trip was....ALL GOOD! Just a beautiful trip <3. It was during this time that I made the final decision to pack up and leave the country for a while.

Went back home just before Christmas. Sold ALL my furniture and household items online. I’ve never developed any attachments to ‘things’, so that was an easy choice. I’ve always been the type to leave it all behind and on to the next adventure. Plus, this would be the most comfortable thing to do (as opposed to getting storage and/or trying to maintain residence for an indefinite amount of time).

Current situation

Airfare to DR: paid/booked.

DR Condo: paid/booked for three months.

My place in Dallas: empty/vacant.

Found a 1 bdrm fully furnished (very nicely, btw) condo advertised for $550/mo. in Punta Cana. But the owner said that price was for unfurnished + I would need to pay for electricity (which can be $250+ monthly).

Stayed in touch with him while exploring other places (there in DR and Costa Rica). We eventually agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to go ahead and come to an agreement. We decided I would book through Airbnb so he can build his ratings (and I could have the security of knowing he is legit). I booked for two months (which was about $2k) and he manually blocked the additional month. So ultimately, I am staying in his place for about $650/mo with all utilities and furniture. #GoodDeal

Concerns/Other news

  1. I’ve never done this before (LOL). Not sure about requirements for being in the country for longer than 30 days on just a passport. Still working on that. May just take a trip every 30 days (to Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or?)
  2. Limited income. So far, I’ve lined up one technical writing project (writing an employee handbook for a tax company). Have been networking and getting the word out that I am available for small tech writing projects that can be done remotely. It works out for both of us because I get some income while they are getting my experience at a significantly discounted rate.

Why I am blogging about this

Well…I hadn’t thought about it, but various people (as they hear what I am doing) have encouraged me to blog and share this experience. Maybe there are others who ‘think’ about doing something like this, but assume it’s unrealistic or requires a lot of money, etc.

This is my first blog post EVER. I hope you enjoyed reading :).

I guess we shall see…

-          S. Willoughby


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