What do you do when you’re becoming obsolete at work; when the cost of life is spiraling out of control; when your kid needs to go to college but you haven’t saved up the GDP of a medium sized country?

You run.

Maybe it was those intoxicating daily emails from Live and Invest Overseas and International Living, touting all the beautiful places around the world where you can live for next to nothing. Maybe it’s the fact that my British wife has traveled much of the world already, going to astrophysics conferences, and she’s really good at it. And maybe it helped that I thought I was pretty good at languages. (Turns out I’m not that great.)


Here’s the plan.

  1. Retire early from our jobs in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  2. Take Randall to Germany so he can learn Deutsch and go to college tuition-free.
  3. Get residency in an EU (European Union) country.
  4. Explore Europe from inexpensive rentals (Airbnb and such) until we find our beautiful and inexpensive dream place to settle down.

As Helmuth von Moltke the Elder famously said, more or less (though probably not in English), “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” The potential enemies in this case being lack of money, homesickness, incomplete planning, or just plain bad luck, we’ll see over the coming months how our battle plan survives.

In the meantime I’ll be keeping this blog — mainly to backfill the hole in my life previously occupied by NetFlix and HBO, but also on the off chance that our experiences might be a useful resource (or a cautionary tale) for others who may harbour similar ideas.