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5 Reasons Why I'm Moving to China

Mykonos. Santorini. Amalfi Coast. The Canary Islands. Jamaica. The Virgin Islands. Aruba. Curacao. My six-month island-hopping itinerary is legendary.

My hope is that I’ll be so exhausted by the end of it (and worn out from dragging everything I own on planes and ferries) that I’m dying for a place to call home at the end of the year.

A place that I can stretch out in, decorate, and fill with fresh-cut flowers every week. A place where I have routines and a stable friend group - where I have coffee shops that know my order and I can stay long enough to experience all of the seasons.

The problem is that tourist visas don’t allow you to have this type of stability. You usually get 90 days, which is great - three months is a solid amount of time to get to know an area.

But if you want to stay longer, you usually need a work visa - and that requires a job, which is a natural disruption to my semi-retirement.

Naturally, an offer would have to be ridiculously appealing for me to accept it - and I've recently accepted one that was too good to resist.

1.) A job that allows me to do one of the many things that I love, stay semi-retired and earn a full salary and benefits, and maintain a stable base

  • I have the freedom to teach positive psychology, social-emotional learning & other topics that interest me through oral English! Teaching has always been one of my passions (I've taught in the US & in South Korea) and I'm excited to be back in the classroom.
  • I’m only teaching part-time (from 10-20 hours a week).
  • I have four months of vacation that is divided between about 6 weeks for Winter break, 6 weeks for Summer break and the rest sprinkled through the rest of the year + plus full benefits like health insurance and my contract is renewable year-to-year.
  • Despite working part-time for part of the year with a relaxed structure and a lack of administrative duties (e.g. no grading homework), my salary will be generous: over the US median household income. 
  • The region is super affordable with apartments available that are $300 a month, and meals for $1 dollar (on top of 2 of my meals being free Monday - Friday)  - I've written about how you can retire in 10 years on a 40k salary while still living a high-quality lifestyle, because of the affordability in the region (and that's a super conservative estimate, because there is additional high-paying side work available in the area that can 3x your salary, if you're interested). 
  • I’ll have four months every year for nonstop travel (which is enough to scratch my itch) and I’ll be able to enjoy my travel more because I'll be able to pack for a trip like a normal human being instead of dragging everything I own around with me.

2.) A city that offers access to both China and Hong Kong

  • I’m moving to Shenzhen, China which is a subway stop from Hong Kong - giving me all of the access for a fraction of the price. I’ll be able to fly out of Hong Kong’s airport (if I want) which will be much cheaper due to being a major hub. I'll use Shenzhen's airport for domestic flights but Hong Kong's when I want to visit Japan, India, Australia, the Philippines and dozens of other places in the area that I'd like to visit or revisit. Shenzhen is an impressive, growing city of 15 million known for tech, fashion, and art - literally all of the things that I love. The city has beaches, amusement parks, greenery, museums, gallery, a diverse food scene and everything else I need. It rarely dips below 70 degrees.

3.) The massive cultural and landscape of the area

  • China is huge. It’s about the size of the US with incredible cultural diversity (and different climates, different types of food, and different dialects). Just like most of us haven’t been to all 50 states, I can stay in China for years and not see all that is has to offer - like The Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, and it's 50+ UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I can't wait to get to know the area and the broader region.

4.) Language immersion in the most widely spoken language in the world

  • I’m so excited about the new language journey of Mandarin. I’ve been fascinated with language acquisition since I was a kid, but being able to immerse and truly test yourself is an incredible opportunity. I’m going to shift my approach to focus on speaking -> reading instead of reading - > writing -> speaking as I’ve done in the past. I'm studying neuroscientific approaches to learning to improve my approach to new languages.

5.) Access to Traditional Chinese Medicine

  • Herbal teas. Chinese nutrition. Acupuncture. Cupping. Massage. Qigong. China is home to ancient remedies for not only physical ailments but overall health and wellbeing. My body will feel better and stronger by engaging with the practices in an area that prioritizes health and wellness in a natural way. 

I have no idea how long I'll stay but since I have the option to put down roots while I finish the house that I've been building from scratch (which will take several more years - unsurprisingly to everyone but me), I might stay for a while. As much abundance as there already is, I know that there are opportunities even bigger than what I'm aware of - that I won't even realize until I'm there.

Cheers to having to it all:

  • Semi-retired, entrepreneurial life with the stability of a salary
  • Custom-made clothes and stunning aesthetics without the $$$ cost
  • The perfect balance of free-roaming travel and a loving home base
  • The tranquility of the beach and the excitement and access of a mega-city
  • The opportunity for exponential learning through immersion and exploration

Shenzhen - I'll see you soon.

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