Interview – Rick Ellis From Canada

1: Please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?
My name is Rick Ellis, born and raised in Canada. In 1978 I got an opportunity to go to Europe for a few months, and over 40 years later I still live outside my country!

2: What made you take the leap into leaving your home country ?
While growing up I kept looking at world maps, dying of curiosity about faraway countries.

3: Are you a digital Nomad traveling full time, taking many long trips or have you settled in a new country?
I’m mostly retired now, still writing for a newspaper in Vietnam where I’ve been living since over 2 years. I spent 5 years wandering around the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia before settling on Vietnam.

4: The big question, how do you sustain yourselves financially?
Mostly I’ve lived from my savings during the past 6 years. A realistic budget is critical to successful overseas living. I’ve learned how to live a pleasurable yet frugal local lifestyle wherever I go.

I spent several years in aviation when I lived in the United States and led training for Asian airlines on new airplane features and project management.

I was also a speaker and writer for overseas travel and living publications before starting to write for the newspaper in Vietnam 1.5 years ago, but it became like the job that I’d just managed to escape from, so I stopped.

I wrote an eBook entitled Living in South-East Asia focused on selecting the ideal living/retirement place in my preferred 6 countries.

5: Looking back, what are the best tips you can give others wanting to do the same?
Like any other project, moving overseas is based on realistic expectations and good planning. I decided to retire to Asia 5 years before executing my plan, carefully laying out all the steps, which later formed a large part of my book.

The odd thing about money is that we never seem to have enough, so set realistic financial objectives and do it. Most retirees still have 80% of their savings 20 years after starting their retirement.

That means they worked longer than they could have and were overly conservative about money.

Don’t rush to decisions about where to live. Most choose their new destination based on friends or a romantic interest. Start from the top and get a realistic checklist of what is important to you and keep looking until you can tick all or most of the boxes.

Best to make friends and find a partner where you know you are most happy to live.
Forget the “get rich quick” schemes.

Starting a successful experience abroad is very high risk – new laws, taxes, set-up cost, customs and culture, language, business practices all work against the newcomer.

In daily life look for ways to make contributions to the local community to help you integrate, make friends, and build a network.

Give before you take, people will respect you for it and help you out.

6: How different is your life now and what are the most positive results you can share with us?
Freedom and the time to leverage to the fullest are the most valuable commodities, so very few manage to attain freedom although many try.

Most important for a retiree is to have meaningful and rewarding activities. It’s critical, yet most do not put a lot of effort into planning and leveraging their skills in their new location.

Even those who have lots of money need an activity to stay busy and sharp.

I’m lucky to have the opportunity to write because it’s what I love to do and always wanted to do.

Plan the conversion of job skills and hobbies into money-making opportunities long before you leave your country. Do research to learn how and where your strengths can bring opportunities.

My life is absent of stress, that’s the most important thing after a hectic career. I was surprised to learn that it takes years to work all that out of our systems.

Learning how to enjoy being creative while not feeling stressed is a skill that must be acquired after decades of corporate slavery.

7: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers to inspire them to take the leap?
I would like to re-emphasize that ending working life and going overseas is not an overnight migration. It takes years to effectively plan and execute that plan. I’ve dropped everything and gone to a new country 7 times, so I was ready for this one final leap and it came off perfectly, not a single hitch.

8: Do you have any blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media we can follow you on?
Here is my Facebook Fan Page:

My page focuses on travel news and tips in S-E Asia, includes my newspaper articles and my book.

My page aims to be a single repository of overseas travel and living news about my 6 target countries in South-East Asia and other Asian countries.