This digital nomad left the US for Bangkok and lives on $8,000 a month

This digital nomad left the US for Bangkok and lives on $8,000 a month
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Jesse Schoberg began planning his escape from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where he was born and raised, when he was younger. “Your typical small town in the Midwest: small, quiet, not much adventure,” he tells CNBC Make It. “I always knew I wanted to go out and explore the world.”

The 41-year-old entrepreneur has been living abroad for 14 years, devoting his time to more than 40 countries, and is not planning to return to the US anytime soon.

Schoberg gave up the traditional way of attending college and getting a 9-to-5 job, instead choosing to move to Madison at the age of 19, honing his coding skills and helping businesses with website design and development.

But by the age of 27, Schoberg began to feel restless. He decided to move to a new city and searched for apartments in Austin and Denver, but his mind was drifting to Panama City, the capital of Panama, where he spent “one of the best vacations of his life,” as he recalled.

She moved to Panama City in 2008 and lived there for six years before packing her bags to travel the world full time as a digital nomad, a movement she learned during a work retreat in Curaçao and was inspired to try.

Between his travels, Schoberg now calls Bangkok home. He moved to Thailand in December 2021 and shares a one-bedroom flat with his fiancee, Janine.

“Compared to the United States, the quality of life in Thailand is much better and less stress-free 90% of the time,” he says. “It’s also much easier to have a luxurious lifestyle.”

Being a digital nomad

Schoberg has built a formidable career as an entrepreneur and web developer, earning six-figure salaries each year – but his success didn’t happen overnight.

When he first moved to Panama, Schoberg brought with him the web design and development firm he founded in the USA and his client list.

In 2013, Schoberg and two of his friends, Jason Mayfield and Laura Lee, who have worked with him on previous projects at the firm, created DropInBlog, a software startup that helps website owners add an SEO-optimized blog to almost any platform. minute.

Today, DropInBlog has a fully remote staff of 12 employees, with Schoberg at the helm as CEO.

Being his own boss gave Schoberg a more flexible schedule and used his newfound free time to travel: After visiting several countries in South America, including Colombia and Costa Rica, he lived in Taiwan, Japan for short periods in Asia. He decided to check it out. and the Philippines (where he met his fiancee on a Tinder date).

In 2015, Schoberg stopped in Thailand and immediately knew he had found his new home. “When I first came to Bangkok, what felt familiar to Panama City was pulsing… there’s an incredible energy in the street and with the people,” he says. “I knew right away that Bangkok would be my Panama City 2.0.”

Schoberg and his fiancee split their time between Mexico City and Bangkok as they await the Thai Elite Visa, a renewable 5-year visa that costs around $18,000 and gives you unlimited access to Thailand as well as entry and exit privileges.

‘I live here much better than I live in the USA’

Since moving to Bangkok, Schoberg has increased his savings as well as spending more on travel, food and other hobbies. “While I can make a pretty good life in the US, I live much better here than in the US,” he says. “The level of service you get here – more luxury movie theaters, nice cars – totally subverts anything you get in the US”

As an entrepreneur and CEO, Schoberg makes about $230,000 a year. His biggest expense is his rent and utilities, which together cost about $2,710 each month. Schoberg and his fiancee live in a one-bedroom apartment in a building with a private gym, pool, co-working space, restaurant and daily cleaning service.

He and Janine spend about $1,900 each month on takeout and dining out, often ordering food from local restaurants through a popular app called gopanda. Schoberg’s essential dishes include laos khao soi, a tomato noodle soup with minced meat, and pad krapow, a spicy basil chicken dish. Both meals usually cost $2-3, and local restaurants will often offer discounts to long-term customers, Schoberg says.

He says the food scene is a “big plus” for living in Thailand and was one of the main reasons he chose to move to Bangkok. “Bangkok has a great culinary scene, there’s almost every kind of food in the world here,” says Schoberg. “There’s a Belgian sandwich shop and a Vietnamese barbecue restaurant just around the corner from my apartment.”

Here’s a monthly breakdown of Schoberg’s spending (as of June 2022):

Rent and utilities: $2,709.52

Food: $1,900.52

Public transport: $197

Telephone: 40 dollars

Health insurance: $280.39

Subscriptions: $78.48

optional: $2,669.37

Total: $7,875.28

Schoberg adds that Thai culture and people are “much more friendly and relaxed” than those in the US, and while English is spoken in more popular tourist areas like Bangkok, learning Thai gives Schoberg a “huge advantage” as a foreigner.

He attends two Thai courses per week, which costs $269.44 a month, and emphasizes that if you can understand Thai, you can “truly engage in the culture and live a better life” in Bangkok.

As a new resident, Schoberg is still exploring Bangkok and all it has to offer, including its many malls, parks, restaurants, and concert venues – one of the magical aspects of living in Bangkok, she adds, can feel like you. Living in two different cities at the same time.

“You have a street-level city with your food vendors, people rushing to work, taxis and motorcycles,” he says. “And then there’s the sky city with skyscrapers, flamboyant rooftop bars, workspaces, and shopping malls… here you see the Chanel store contrasted with a 20-cent pork skewer grilled on the street.”

Planning your travel life

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