For the Americans or the Brits (or even the Canadians) reading this newsletter and wanting to escape your current area of residence and have a sense of freedom:

A place where you don’t have to hear the words “COVID-19”, “lockdown,” “face mask,” or “vaccine” every two seconds. A place where you don’t have to actively hate the person who is President or Prime Minister of your country. And especially a place where you ENJOY the day-to-day weather. 

International Living has you covered, with 10 separate destinations around the world that won’t cost you anymore than US $2,500/month…

Panama: Beautiful ocean views, gorgeous city landscapes, and very affordable living. Plus you won’t have to worry about the winter season anymore as the weather is warm year-round. 

Colombia: Less than $2,000/month can easily carry you and your significant other around the country without worrying about your bills. And you’re only a 3-4 hour flight away from the States if you live in Florida. 

Ecuador: One of the cheapest places on this list by far, costing $1,625-1,825/month for a couple who wants to experience the best of the country’s cultural life. 

France: For your sake, I hope you can speak the language. And you’d better be OK with living in the countryside, as you’ll have to put away ~$2,000-2,500/month to keep you and your plus-one afloat. You can choose to live in Paris, but it will cost a hell of a lot more!

Vietnam: Imagine paying less than $1,500/month (USD) for a decent high-rise condo, room service, and other luxurious amenities. There’s a good reason why digital nomads and traveling freelancers LOVE this country!

Malaysia: Not only is the rent low here, but the healthcare costs are too for both prescription drugs and medical services being offered.As an added benefit, English is the unofficial first language and you won’t have to be burdened with learning a 2nd language. 

Mexico: Many more Americans are taking a stronger interest in the country down south of the USA, and it’s not hard to see why: High-quality food for cheap, insanely affordable transportation, easier access to healthcare for a smaller fee (without sacrificing on quality), and very low real estate prices. 

Costa Rica: A tropical paradise where you can get the best the country has to offer for medical care, a wide variety of real estate options, and $2,000/month for a couple is enough to live quite comfortably. 

Portugal: Living outside the city can help you get by on under $2,000/month, yet living in the metro will easily boost your costs to $3,000 or more. But if you can handle that, there are a plethora of golf resorts, fishing villages, and beaches waiting for you. 

Now, granted… many of these locations are currently banning US foreigners from entering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, if not requiring a mandatory PCR test to show you are negative for the virus before entry. 

But once the travel restrictions start to die down sometime this year, and you have the means and the opportunity to pack up your bags, give this list a read again!

What other retirement destinations would YOU consider for someone who has a monthly budget of $2,500 or less? Reply to this newsletter and share them with us!

The World’s Safest US Airline Is #5 for Safety Across the World for 2021

Recently, published their annual review of 385 airlines worldwide and ranked them for their overall safety – fleet age, safety initiatives, crash records, incident reports, government audits, industry audits, and the list goes on. 

Nobody was surprised to see Qantas take the #1 spot for the third year in a row, yet something interesting happened with the US airlines. From Forbes:

While only one US carrier — Alaska Airlines — made it into the top 10 list of the world’s safest carriers [#8], five domestic airlines landed in the second half of the top 20. 

That’s a big improvement over last year, when only two airlines — Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines  — broke the top 20 in 2020. For 2021, Hawaiian Airlines [#12] and Southwest Airlines [#13] made the list, as well as the big three US legacy carriers, Delta Air Lines [#14], American Airlines [#15] and United Airlines [#20].”

And as for the “Top 10 Safest BUDGET Airlines” around the world for 2021, America didn’t do too badly either: 

In alphabetical order, they are Air Arabia (UAE), Allegiant Air (US), easyJet (Switzerland), Frontier Airlines (US), Jetstar Group (Australia), JetBlue Airways (US), Ryanair (Ireland), VietJet Air (Vietnam), WestJet (Canada), and Wizz Air (Hungary).”

Considering the numerous losses the US aviation industry took in 2020, at least we managed to do something right! 

The Lockdowns in Italy Just Got Extended… AGAIN!

The Italians are off to a rough start for 2021, as Travel + Leisure reports that their current lockdown conditions are being extended until January 15th at minimum: 

The rules prohibit travel between regions of the country unless it’s for healthcare or work. Bars and restaurants nationwide are restricted to takeout and delivery. In the hardest hit areas of Italy, people are told to visit no more than one other private home each day in groups no larger than two.

Italian officials are making allowances for small town residents to travel on certain days. On Jan. 9 and 10, for example, residents of towns with fewer than 5,000 people will be permitted to travel about 18 miles past regional borders.”

Schools for grades 1-8 and kindergarten will resume in-person lessons on January 7th, and January 11th marks the day when select high schools will be able to re-open for a mix between in-person learning and virtual learning. 

I don’t know what’s going to happen to Italy at this point – despite increasingly stricter travel restrictions and lockdown orders, the coronavirus isn’t going anywhere. Not the original one, and especially not the new mutant strain that’s 70% more transmissible. 

+40,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, for a total of 76,000 deaths and 2 million cases cumulatively, are baby numbers compared to what’s gonna come ahead….

Canadians Love Traveling During the Winter, Perhaps a Little Too Much…

If you live in the northern part of the globe, there is nothing more exhilarating than being able to escape sub-zero weather in exchange for a more tropical climate. This would normally be the case, but right now we are in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada’s politicians are heavily advising us to avoid all forms of non-essential travel. 

Yet according to Bloomberg, the politicians in the Great White North don’t seem to enjoy following the same rules they impose on other people: 

Three provincial ministers, including Ontario’s finance chief, were forced to resign from cabinet in the last week after they were called out for jetting to balmy destinations over the holidays, in defiance of their governments’ guidelines to stay home because of COVID-19. 

About a dozen more public officials who traveled abroad have been accused of ethical breaches, with some losing their parliamentary titles, including two members of Justin Trudeau’s government.”

And in case you forgot about the travel rules imposed by the Canadian government: 

“… people traveling outside the country would be ineligible for a C$1,000 ($780) government benefit aimed at those who have to self-isolate.

Borders are closed to the vast majority of foreigners, and a 14-day quarantine on arrival has slowed airline traffic. Canadian authorities have discouraged non-essential travel out of the country, though it isn’t banned.

So it’s not just the dumb*ss politicians in America breaking their own travel recommendations – seems like it’s a universal trait of any human being who holds some position of power and privilege!

But I’m curious to know: Should politicians forgo their right to travel if they heavily discourage citizens from doing so? Reply to this newsletter and let us know where you stand on this controversial issue!

Will Singapore FINALLY Beat COVID-19 in 2021!?

The prosperous island-nation has finally achieved several important milestones after many months of being plagued by the coronavirus: 

  • 29 deaths from the time the very first COVID-19 case was reported, giving them one of the world’s lowest fatality rates
  • Daily cases for COVID-19 are near-zero, with the exceptions coming from travelers
  • First country in the continent of Asia to receive Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, with the elderly starting vaccinations in late December
  • By Q3 2021, there will be enough doses for all Singapore residents ages 16 or older
  • One person in intensive critical care, 57 patients in the hospital for COVID-19

And best yet: They are in their last stage of reopening right now. Social gatherings of up to eight people are allowed, attractions and malls have had their capacity raised, and life is more-or-less back to normal for the city of 5.7 million people.

Well, “almost” back to the old normal. They still have to wear masks everywhere they go. Whenever you hit a contact tracing checkpoint or enter a business, you have to present your ID or scan your smartphone at the entry point via a QR code. 

Unfortunately, don’t expect on visiting them anytime soon. One of their secrets to success is militantly refusing any outsiders, and I don’t think they’ll relax their borders for at least another year…

15-Minute City? That’s Nothing – Try the 60-Second City!

In Paris, the “15 minute city” describes a layout of urban architecture where all of your daily and/or essential needs are available within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from your home. All in the name of localizing cities, reducing gas emissions, and making life more convenient for the average city-dweller. 

Sweden wants to go several steps further and create the “one-minute city,” according to Bloomberg:

While Paris works with a 15-minute radius and Barcelona’s superblocks with nine-block chunks of the city, Sweden’s project operates at the single street level, paying attention to the space outside your front door — and that of your neighbors adjacent and opposite.

The ultimate goal is hugely ambitious: a rethink and makeover of every street in the country over this decade, so that every street in Sweden is healthy, sustainable and vibrant by 2030.

Sweden’s one-minute city model is not about meeting the needs of all city residents at a hyperlocal level — that would overlook fundamentals like public transit, job access, or specialist health care. Instead, the spaces just beyond the doorstep are ideal places for cities to start developing new, more direct ways of engaging with the public.”

Sounds interesting, although I’ve lived in places where that kind of reality is already possible. The really hard part will be in making “one-minute living” sustainable for EVERYONE within a city. And the only way to do that would be to destroy the city and build it up from scratch. 

We might as well suck it up and embrace having to walk or travel a little farther, because at some point it becomes pointless to optimize your commute down to the very second…


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