Freedom's just another word....
October 7, 2010 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm 32, have $60K in the bank, no debts, few personal attachments, and mad computer programming skills. I would like to move to another country for a year or two, where I can live economically off my savings, improve my programming skills, and start a number of web/software projects that will hopefully be the Next Big Thing. Where should I go?

Absolutely essential :
* Low cost of living
* Reliable electricity and internet connection

* Pleasant weather (too-hot or too-humid is fine, but cold weather shouldn't last more than a normal winter season)
* Stable political situation (I don't want to wind up holed-up in a basement somewhere, waiting for the rats and riots to come)
* Reasonable level of personal safety (won't get kidnapped)
* Workable (or work-around-able) visa situation
* Ability to survive without knowing the language (at least at first)
* Reasonable healthcare (I don't want to die)
* "Friendly" culture (not fundamentalist Muslim, won't despise me for being American)

Things that would be nice (but are by no means required) :

* Proximity to a decent university
* Language that wouldn't be too difficult for an English-only speaker to learn
* Excellent weather (mild/absent winter season)
* "Open," liberal, or cosmopolitan culture
* Available cultural opportunities (music, performance, art, etc.)
* Really kickass internet connection
* Proximity to other countries that might be worth checking out
* Decent-sized community of ex-pats
* Realy good/affordable healthcare
* A booming tech/software sector
* Opportunities for spiritual development (whatever this means to you)
* Cool natural/outdoorsy things

I fully well accept that the visa situation could be difficult, so perhaps I won't be able to stay in one place for the whole 1-2 years. But maybe there are places I could stay for an extended period of time, and then, like, go to another nearby country for a while and then come back? Or something?

Obviously, low cost of living is really important, seeing as that I will have no income during this time. Likewise, reliable internet and electricity are also essential, since my journey has a strong career-development motivation.

I'm interested in any and all suggestions you may have for places I should go, as well as any advice you may have for my quest, in general. Personal experiences are also welcome.
posted by coelacanth! to Travel & Transportation (42 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
What country do you live in now? (Your profile has you living in the middle of an ocean.) If you live in the US, the tech hubs in Canada and Europe that meet your criteria have a higher cost of living, and most countries have stringent immigration policies that will keep you out unless you have a skilled job lined up or are applying for political asylum.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: (please keep in mind that my "things that would be nice" are just that -- things that would be nice. As in not required. I don't need to find the "ideal" place. To qualify, a place only needs to meet my minimum, "absolutely essential" criteria.)
posted by coelacanth! at 11:25 AM on October 7, 2010

New Zealand meets almost all of these criteria. Check to see if your financial and visa situation will work out.
posted by apparently at 11:35 AM on October 7, 2010

Tel Aviv, or a suburb? The cost of living in Tel Aviv itself is fairly high, but can be very affordable just outside the city and accessible by commuter train.

Tel Aviv (and Israel overall) has: burgeoning tech sector (IBM, google, Intel all have research centers), great weather, most people speak English, workable Visa situation, world-class universities, open liberal and cosmopolitan culture, cultural opportunities, good base for travel throughout the Mediterranean and N. Africa, large (American) ex-pat community (seriously, I just head that there are 750,000 Americans in Israel at any given time), great outdoor recreation opportunities...

And, if you're of a monotheistic bent, you can hardly beat the opportunities for "spiritual development"...
posted by JumpW at 11:37 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

New Zealand extends visas to people with skills on the Long Term Skills Shortage List. Looks like there's several types of programming skills that could make you a candidate.
posted by bodaciousllama at 11:37 AM on October 7, 2010

India? Sounds like India, but ideally as an employee of a U.S. company. You'd make great connections and be centered in a hub of increasing technological development and growth. Lots of IT companies have set up shop there. India for sure.
posted by loquat at 11:38 AM on October 7, 2010

I've only ever visited, but the notion that cost of living in New Zealand is low enough for moving there from the US to be advantageous seems ridiculous to me.

How about Mexico?
posted by eugenen at 11:39 AM on October 7, 2010

Look into Argentina or Chile.
posted by Theloupgarou at 11:40 AM on October 7, 2010

Portugal's internet speeds are the same as Japan and South Korea. 1 GBPS! It's much cheaper than the rest of western Europe and is a major vacation destination for its beautiful beaches, friendly people and temperate weather. Lisbon is very cosmopolitan and connected by rail to the rest of Europe. Plus you're very close to North Africa if you want some place more exotic to travel.
posted by caveatz at 11:47 AM on October 7, 2010

Go to Buenos Aires if you can.
posted by dobie at 11:48 AM on October 7, 2010

Almost exactly a year ago, Vivek Wadhwa wrote on Techcrunch about how Chile is trying to attract tech entrepreneurs. While he describes the big investment incentives (looks like for $500k+) you could look into it for smaller scale stuff.

It definitely looks like they're trying to attract people like you!
posted by polexa at 11:48 AM on October 7, 2010

I've only ever visited, but the notion that cost of living in New Zealand is low enough for moving there from the US to be advantageous seems ridiculous to me.

It's not bad in the smaller towns, and even Christchurch and Wellington are affordable. It's just a suggestion, though.

How about Mexico?
* Stable political situation (I don't want to wind up holed-up in a basement somewhere, waiting for the rats and riots to come)
* Reasonable level of personal safety (won't get kidnapped)
* Reasonable healthcare (I don't want to die)
posted by bodaciousllama at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2010

I'm Mexican and Mexico is the place where you want to go: cheap, awesome food, good internet, nice people, health care better than in the US and free for everyone. Just stay off the border.
posted by uauage at 12:03 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

How affordable is "affordable?"

Berlin meets almost every single one of your requirements on both lists. If you don't mind roommates, you can easily live on $15,000/year. Other cities in former East Germany are even cheaper and still have lots of cultural assets. I have a vague memory of reading that Dresden has a growing tech sector, for example...
posted by the_blizz at 12:05 PM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome answers so far! BTW -- don't be afraid to get specific. For example, if there are any particular cities, towns, or regions you'd recommend.
posted by coelacanth! at 12:06 PM on October 7, 2010

Look into: Eastern Europe, India (choose location carefully for power issues), South East Asia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico.

The claim that Mexico is inherently unsafe and has "bad" healthcare makes about as much sense as suggesting New Zealand where the first priority is low cost of living.
posted by turkeyphant at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2010

I've only ever visited, but the notion that cost of living in New Zealand is low enough for moving there from the US to be advantageous seems ridiculous to me.

Perhaps you should refrain from making wild-arse guesses based on visiting rather than living? The cirteria is *useful* answers.

The average income in New Zealand is around $45k. At today's exchange rates, US$60k would convert into NZ$80k - 2 years living at close to an average income lifestyle (and well abve the median of $25k p.a.). Which is in line with the OP's requirements.

The main drawback is that our internet access, while good, is expensive (metered), immigration can be difficult, and we're a long, long way away from anywhere. Wellington does, however, have plenty of examples of companies exporting tech stuff to the world, like Xero (SaaS financial apps), Shidhe (games development), Koha (Free library management software), and Weta digital, so there's no shortage of like-minded folks.
posted by rodgerd at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2010

Berlin or Budapest seem like good bets. Though Budapest may be a bit close to that gigantic ammonia spill that happened recently.
posted by foodgeek at 12:09 PM on October 7, 2010

Berlin is a wonderful place and without a doubt relatively cheap to live in, but $15,000/year seems pretty hgih - you can live off that in pretty much any city in the world (e.g. London) if you don't mind roommates. When you start looking in Asia and South America, you can easily get to half that.
posted by turkeyphant at 12:11 PM on October 7, 2010

You might consider Thailand. The living expenses are cheap if you live modestly and eat the local food. The politics have flared up a bit recently but, I don't think it was ever exceedingly dangerous. The internet connection is decent from what I experienced in the net cafes.

The language barrier shouldn't be a problem. Most Thais can speak enough english to get by on. They're also a friendly people once you get ouside the heavy tourist spots.

You can do visa runs every few months to one of the surrounding countries.
posted by slumber at 12:16 PM on October 7, 2010

How about Montreal or Quebec City? Was just there on a short vacation and they seem like great locations that hit most of the items on your lists. The winters are a little longer than in New England, but you can live there for 180 days before coming back to the US.
posted by chiefthe at 12:19 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's in the North, so probably not affected by the political upheaval much. Plenty of people there can speak English at least passably. The folks are friendly and the cost of living is fantastic. An expat community there if you'd enjoy it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:28 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Philippines or India. Most places are fairly safe in those countries, most people speak English quite well, there are numerous tech skilled people who will work for bargain basement prices if you need to hire on extra help, if not, there are still lots of tech savvy people around to network with. Weather is hot but nice, Philippines has some awesome beaches and is close to Hong Kong/Taiwan/Japan. Cost of living in both countries is really low. And especially in the Philippines, the people are super friendly. Of course internet connections are widely available--minus the times of the brownouts and blackouts.
posted by MsKim at 12:32 PM on October 7, 2010

Berlin meets or exceeds all of your criteria, with the possible exception of friendliness, but even that's not so bad.
posted by tetralix at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2010

Thailand fits most of those criteria, and the political situation isn't much of a bother providing you avoid stupidity. (All bets are off when the King dies.)

However, a couple male friends say they now feel stigmatized by having Thailand on their resumes ... they weren't wankery sexpats but many Western men living there are. Also, visas are a pain in the ass. How about Vietnam?
posted by cyndigo at 12:49 PM on October 7, 2010

If this were me I'd totally be heading to Merida, Mexico. It's the capital city of the Yucatan, has a large ex-pat community, inexpensive, safe, friendly, connected and fairly cosmopolitan for Mexico. I love Merida and have been a few times in the last couple of years. It's where I'd like to retire.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:51 PM on October 7, 2010

Perhaps you should refrain from making wild-arse guesses based on visiting rather than living? The cirteria is *useful* answers.

The average income in New Zealand is around $45k. At today's exchange rates, US$60k would convert into NZ$80k - 2 years living at close to an average income lifestyle (and well abve the median of $25k p.a.). Which is in line with the OP's requirements.

You can live decently for two years on $60K post-tax in parts of the US, too. I just think suggesting New Zealand to the OP is like suggesting Columbus, Ohio. Albeit much prettier.
posted by eugenen at 12:51 PM on October 7, 2010

Costa Rica!
In 2007 the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the "greenest" country in the world.
It's Very American. All your American gadgets and gizmo's will work perfectly down there. (Iphone)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: (All bets are off when the King dies.)

This seems to be the common consensus about Thailand.
posted by coelacanth! at 12:58 PM on October 7, 2010

posted by jchaw at 2:44 PM on October 7, 2010

If you're willing to learn spanish, Buenos Aires is a beautiful, beautiful city and your money will go a long, long ways. Think $4 for the best bottle of wine you've ever had in your life.
posted by zug at 2:52 PM on October 7, 2010

Puebla, Mexico. Safe, pleasant, cheap, university town, great food, easy access (2 hours by bus from the Mexico City airport), great weather, nice people. Spanish is pretty easy to learn.
posted by Wet Spot at 3:04 PM on October 7, 2010

nthing East Berlin. People are sooo relaxed and friendly there.
posted by xammerboy at 3:16 PM on October 7, 2010

As somebody who has actually lived in Thailand for several years, let me recommend Malaysia instead. Malaysia has better infrastructure and English as one of the official languages. The other official language is not tonal (as Thai is) so learning it is easier for a Westerner than learning Thai. The cost of living is nearly as cheap as Thailand, (depending on locale of course, but that is true worldwide) the Internet is better, and it is a safer political bet than Thailand.

The Thai King is in very poor health, having been admitted to the hospital about a year ago and not yet released. The succession WILL be contested between the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess, as both have been given the title that allows them to succeed. Every previous Thai civil war has been about the royal succession.

And that doesn't even bear in mind the current political instability between the red and yellow shirts. That's a whole other civil war ready to erupt, already having random bombings in Bangkok.
posted by rhiamom at 3:26 PM on October 7, 2010

I loved my years in Thailand and will probably return permanently one day (still spend part of the year there). I prefer the Buddhist aesthetic of Thailand to the Muslim plainness Malaysia -- I missed my shrines. But Kuala Lumpur's a good city, although a lot of expats seem to get bored quickly.

Singapore's quite a bit more expensive but still reasonable by US standards. Old Vietnam hands say Saigon's the place you wanna be ... I like playing tourist in Hanoi but for living its reputation is pretty unfriendly.

Berlin's amazing, if you can hack the winters.
posted by cyndigo at 3:50 PM on October 7, 2010

OK, probably you should go to East Berlin. But just in case you like the path really less taken, let me try to sell you on Georgia. You may not buy the stable political situation bit, but these things always sound worse in the papers, I promise.

The perks:
Coolest expat scene (as in: close-knit, interesting, smart, eccentric, active - you're a familiar face within 2 weeks), beautifully ramshackle capital city, a couple madmen/visionary folk trying to make some cool programming stuff happen there. (It ain't booming, but you could be a God.) Great skiing in winter, amazing hiking year round, wine country, music, excellent food, insanely friendly folks, extremely America-friendly -- if you're the adventurous sort and not afraid to weather some rough edges, it can be the bohemia we aren't supposed to believe still exists.

Electricity is reliable nowadays, and the internet connection is fine, if not AMAZING. Apartment prices have gone up in recent years, but you can still get a steal and expats in your age range are always looking for roomies. Cost of living otherwise is what you want to make of it, but can be rock bottom.
posted by oneaday at 5:17 PM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was going to second Singapore. Its cost of living seems reasonable; it's very well-connected to the rest of the world, both by plane and electronically; and it is one of the most stable countries in that part of the world. Just be careful about drugs and chewing gum -- oh, and the year-round humidity.
posted by armage at 6:57 PM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: Wow! What great responses! So glad I asked this question!

I think if I'd asked this a couple years ago, the answer would have overwhelmingly been, "Go to Thailand, young man." And I've heard so many wonderful tales of peoples' time there. However, with the impending death of the king, I don't think it would be wise for me to stake my near future on Thailand's political stability; the aforementioned rats and riots and all of that.

The biggest surprise here has been E. Berlin. I would have never thought a Western European country could be affordable! I've heard so many good things about Berlin, I'll have to look into this. Portugal, too -- I hadn't considered this possibility. For some reason, I'm assuming that the euro countries will be the hardest for securing visas, but I could be wrong.

I'm Jewish, so I'd love to live in Israel. What a great way to meet my future wife. However, their politics are totally on crack, and it looks like it's been getting worse. (Settlements? Loyalty oath? WTF?)

Didn't know that Malaysia or the Philippines were big countries for English-speakers. That makes these two countries candidates. A little spooked about the Muslim presence, but perhaps I shouldn't be?

I have to say, of all the suggestions, I feel most drawn to the Central and South American countries. I could totally learn Spanish. And I have a feeling I'd dig the culture and lifestyle. Will definitely need to do some investigating. Maybe they wouldn't mind my self-funded, technically-skilled presence?

I wonder how hard the visa situation will be. Apparently Costa Rica is tolerant of "perpetual tourists." I wonder how tolerant other countries are for people who want to extend their visas, or leave and come back periodically. I wonder how hard it is to live (get an apartment, etc) as a "perpetual tourist" in various countries. I wonder how I'd even get a gauge of that.

Perhaps I can try for some sort of student visa somewhere? God, I'd love to go back and take some high-level CS classes (provided that I'd still have ample time to work on my businesses). Hell, I bet I could even teach some undergrad programming classes.

All of this has been great food for thought. I'll probably be back and ask some more questions about this.

OH! And one other thing -- please let me know if you know about any other sites/forums/message boards that will help me make this important (and exciting!) decision.
posted by coelacanth! at 9:03 PM on October 7, 2010

Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala is a great city and insanely cheap. Guatemala's not a very safe country as a whole, but Xela's pretty safe. If not as a permanent base, you should at least consider it for Spanish classes if you end up heading elsewhere in Latin America-- it's got tons of great language schools where for $150-$200 you can get 20+ hours a week of one-on-one classes plus a homestay with lodging and all your meals.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 10:32 PM on October 7, 2010

Hi! I dug up my old information just to answer this post. I recently returned from a year abroad in Costa Rica. I went down there for a job speaking next to no Spanish and fell in love. While it does have its problem, it has tons of benefits. My experience is mostly dealing with small town living, but I couch surfed while I was there and met several ex-pats.

First, I'll start with the problems of Costa Rica.
1. Crime. Violent crime is rare (although I've heard stories), but theft is rather rampant. Depending on where you live, the rate of crime varies. I had a friend who lived on a beach town and was rather lax about security, but her neighbors were good friends with her and helped watch her place. I lived in a small community and people would steal airconditioners out of walls. Other than my beach-living friend (who'd only lived there for four months), all of us regulars had someone house-guard our house when we were away. This sucks in that if you plan to go somewhere for more than 3-4 days you either have to live in a place with a guard (not that hard or expensive to hire them), have neighbors trustworthy enough to guard for you, or hire a house sitter. On the plus side, if you have a house by the beach or somewhere cool, you'll get tons of house sitting offers from people like me.
2. Humidity. I lived in a house that was a scientific research station and we were poor, so we couldn't afford a nice house or air conditioning. I also lived in the dry tropical forest parts, so we had very hot, dusty summers where our computers were in danger of overheating. In the wet season, the high humidity was terrible on our computers and electronic equipment. We bought large things of silica and made our own silica packs which we changed regularly and constantly stored our equipment near so as to increase their life. I had a book ruined by the humidity, as well as more than a few of my leather goods that I brought down. My wealthier friends who lived in climate controlled houses didn't seem to have this problem. Any tropical country isn't going to be good for your electronics compared to other places, but some parts of Costa Rica are worse than others. If you are going to be travelling around a lot, either bring silica and giant ziplock bags to keep your computer stuff in, or don't bring them around when the humidity is high. All that being said, we did have project computers that had lived at the project house for 5 years and still ran.
3. Cultural differences and racism. Like in any foreign place, you'll encounter different ways of life and people who won't respect you because of your Nationality. I encountered far less of this than I did in other countries, and most of the disrespect was in people assuming I was a dumb tourist and trying to rip me off. Just educate yourself on what prices are normal and, if you need to have repairs done on your house, ask around and get references. Most Ticos (Costa Ricans) are extremely friendly and helpful, and most won't try to rip you off, but so many tourists pay outrageous prices in tourist areas that, if you go to an area with high tourist traffic, you'll get people charging you a lot for things like cab rides. I get around this by making sure they use the meter or finding out from friends what good prices are ahead of time.
4. Different foods. This only starts to kick in if you've been there a long time or are in a rural area, and you'll probably not encounter this as often as I did due to your higher income, but in most of Costa Rica, the fare is very Central American. While I fell in love with (and desperately miss) the fresh fruit and veggies, most of what my coworkers and I missed about America was the variety in food and drink. There are cities in Costa Rica that are so American, all the grocery stories have almost everything you could think of (at a higher price than the States), but they also tend to be more expensive to live in. In my rural town, peanut butter was an item to be rationed (the locals didn't eat it) and Indian food was never to be had unless we cooked it ourselves. That being said, the food in my rural town was amazingly inexpensive and good. I miss paying $5 for an entire filling meal, including milkshake.

Now the good (and there's so much more!)
1. It's easy to deal with visa issues. You can enter the country as a tourist and stay 90 days without getting in trouble. To renew your visa, you just skip across the border to Panama or Nicaragua. I loved vacationing in Nicaragua because it is super cheap and very different from Costa Rica. You have to spend 75 hours out of the country, and now they are checking for proof that you can leave Costa Rica when you return, but you can just buy a bus ticket for $20 saying that you are leaving the country at the end of 90 days and it's fine. A word of warning, if you do decide to take a vacation to the States, some airlines won't let you return to Costa Rica without proof that you are leaving in 90 days. Either buy a fully refundable ticket out and then cancel it once you get there, or use an airline that doesn't check.
2. Flights home are hella cheap. Frontier has awesome deals (unfortunately not year round) where you can get to most parts of the country for <> 3. Health care is better there than it is in the States. I have no health insurance when I'm in America which is why I loved being down there. They have free, country wide health care in both Costa Rica and Nicaraga (don't know about Panama) and I've used both and have had good things to say about both. If you are like me and bad at Spanish, you can pay extra to go to a private clinic which is still cheaper than it is here. I had a really bad condition most likely brought on by my crazy job and I went to a private clinic where the doctor spoke English, got some amazing drugs, and had a full check up for $200 total. If you buy some good trip insurance, you can get that cut down even more.
4. Safety. I felt more safe there than I do in many parts of the States. I wouldn't go to a place like San Jose alone, and the guidebooks suggested I avoid certain cities, but I hitchhiked around a bit, something I would never do in the States out of fear for my safety. In the history of our project, no one has ever been hurt by a Tico, and we've been working in Costa Rica for 20 years. People have had things stolen from them, but never at knife/gun point.
That being said, the roads are Costa Rica's one weakpoint when it comes to safety. The roads have been, without question, the most dangerous part of Costa Rica. They've made HUGE strides to improve this, so much so, that there are now traffic laws that are more strict there than in the United States. To give you an idea how much it's changed, the big Inter-american highway used to not have reflectors or dividing lines on it. It was a narrow, winding road that often had sheets of rain pouring across it in the rainy season. Drivers passed each other on it so much that the narrow strip the size of most suburb roads had basically three lanes rather than two. Since they put in a dividing line down the centre and reflectors, it's become much safer.
As for political stability, the Ticos have fought off American confederate soldiers, an invasion by Nicaragua, and their own internal problems. They have no military, but they don't need one. American troops patrol the skies to take down drug runners, and the elections are very friendly and relatively corruption free.
5. All the amenities of home when you need it. I lived in a cow town, but I could take a 2 hour bus ride (super cheap and buses go everywhere) to a beach city where everyone spoke English; all the prices where in dollars; and several businesses had free, highspeed internet for me to use; and there were tons of expats around for me to get in arguments with about Obama.
6. Good for science. While I have no personal experience with programming, I was down there conducting scientific research and I know a lot of scientists there because of my connections. I also knew a family who did web design/development and they made very good money in our small little town. I'd be surprised if people connected with the Universities here don't speak English, because it seems to many Ticos do. When I came, I spoke very little, and I got around fine and made lots of educated friends in all sorts of industries.
7. The nature is amazing!! I saw so many things I cannot describe in words. I spent most of my time with a group of habituated capuchins, but the wildlife there in general is unreal and gorgeous. It has mountains, beaches, dry tropical forests, cloud forests, etc. It's a relatively small country, but it's so diverse, so you can cover a lot of different areas in just a week of vacation. I took my laptop computer with me on some trips and worked while sitting on a beach one day, then while watching a volcano erupt on another.
8. Ticos. Ticos are an amazing, friendly people who are generous and eager to help. After my mother came down for a visit, she said that I should marry a Tico because she'd fallen in love with the country and its people so hard. As an example of their kindness: my parents and I had to pull over and ask directions at a gas station. A man was filling his car and he came over to help us. We thanked him and left. Later on, several hours and a pit stop down the road, we were nearing where we thought the turn was supposed to be, but couldn't see it. Suddenly, a car pulled around us, and started going slow while they signaled for us to pull over. It was the man from the gas station and he'd seen that we missed our exit.
Anytime I road on a bus, I had helpful seatmates who made sure I got where I needed to go.

Go to Costa Rica. I'm a bit biased, but I love the place. I have tons of more advice/suggestions, but I'll leave that here for now. I'm under this name at gmail if you have anymore questions.
posted by avagoyle at 1:49 AM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Buenos Aires would fit all of your criteria, and since it's a big city there's a large expat community there to help you get on your feet once you show up.
posted by Aizkolari at 3:26 AM on October 8, 2010

coelacanth!: "The biggest surprise here has been E. Berlin. I would have never thought a Western European country could be affordable! I've heard so many good things about Berlin, I'll have to look into this. Portugal, too -- I hadn't considered this possibility. For some reason, I'm assuming that the euro countries will be the hardest for securing visas, but I could be wrong."

Judging by the rest of your response, it's not really affordable in the sense you mean. Sure it's cheaper than Paris and London and much of the US, but it's still very much a Western European city. If you want to live sparingly off savings, it's not a great choice. Especially if you're considering Asia or South America where your money will go much, much further. And yes, unless you have EU citizenship, visa issues are going to be a problem.
posted by turkeyphant at 7:40 AM on October 8, 2010

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