In 2020, Mike Swigunski was amongst thousands and thousands of individuals in lockdown because the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe. But as an alternative of hunkering down with roommates or household, Swigunski was 6,000 miles away from residence, alone out of the country.
Swigunski had solely deliberate to go to Georgia, a small nation that sits between jap Europe and western Asia, for 30 days. But when Georgia closed its borders in early March to assist curb the unfold of the virus, the Missouri native was compelled to increase his keep within the nation’s capital, Tbilisi.
As Swigunski recollects, nevertheless, he rapidly fell in love with Tbilisi’s old-world allure in addition to its relaxed tradition of excellent meals and heat hospitality. Now, Swigunski, 33, resides and dealing from Tbilisi as a nomadic entrepreneur, a call that has helped him dwell “a higher quality of life for a fraction of the cost,” he tells CNBC Make It.
If he was dwelling within the U.S., Swigunski provides, “I would have to be working a lot more … now, I’m semi-retired.”
Tragedy, then wanderlust
Swigunski had at all times dreamed of touring the world, and earlier than he graduated from the University of Missouri in 2011, he discovered himself at a crossroads: pursue a conventional company job, or journey to Prague, the place he was provided the chance to guide a gaggle of scholars finding out overseas.
Then, one month earlier than commencement, Swigunski’s mom died from breast most cancers. “I was absolutely devastated,” he says. “I was 22 years old, and I was confused on which path to follow … but I knew my mother would have wanted me to follow my dreams.” He determined to comply with his ardour and booked a one-way ticket to Europe.
Since then, Swigunski has visited over 100 international locations, dwelling and dealing in numerous locales for months, or years at a time: He’s been a journey author in Korea, an promoting supervisor in Australia and a advertising and marketing and gross sales supervisor in New Zealand, amongst different jobs.
Four years in the past, Swigunski determined to monetize his experience in distant working and journey. His enterprise, Global Career, is an internet useful resource of job boards, workshops, teaching and extra the place individuals can find out about entrepreneurship as a digital nomad.
“These services are helping other people by inspiring them to create a different journey or start their own global careers,” he says. “I want to help other people become digital nomads in a faster path.”
Living in Georgia is ‘ten instances’ cheaper than the U.S.
Swigunski’s annual earnings hovers between $250,000 and $275,000 — and due to tax advantages in Georgia, he will get to maintain much more of his earnings than he would in any other case.
Georgia has a 1% tax price for particular person small enterprise homeowners like Swigunski, and the U.S. has a tax profit for expats that excludes as much as $112,000 of earnings from being taxed.
“Running multiple businesses from Georgia is definitely a lot easier than if I was based in the U.S. and it mainly just comes down to the cost,” he explains. “If I were trying to replicate my same infrastructure in the U.S., it would probably be around ten times more expensive.”
Per Georgian legislation, residents from 98 international locations, together with the U.S., can reside there for one full yr and not using a visa, and apply for an extension as soon as the yr is up, which is how Swingunski continues to be dwelling in Georgia.
His largest bills are his hire and utilities, which collectively are about $696 every month. Swigunski lives in a two-bedroom house with a non-public Italian backyard that he discovered via an area realtor. “As soon as I saw this place, I fell in love,” he says.
Here’s a month-to-month breakdown of Swigunski’s spending (as of February 2022):
Rent and utilities: $696
Health insurance coverage: $42
One side of dwelling alone that Swigunski discovered he did not get pleasure from early on is cooking — so as soon as he moved to Georgia, he employed a non-public chef to come back to his home six days per week and put together meals for him, which prices about $250 per thirty days.
A personal chef would possibly sound like an opulent expense, however Swigunski says it is truly saved him some huge cash. “Without a chef, I’d be eating out a lot more and ordering takeout,” he says. “But having a chef allows me to eat healthier and it saves me money and time that I can put toward my business instead.”
‘I’m happier dwelling in Tbilisi than I’d be dwelling wherever else’
Swigunski’s favourite a part of being a nomadic entrepreneur is that “every day looks different.”
Each morning, Swigunski likes to get pleasure from a cup of espresso and skim a ebook outdoors in his backyard, then he tries to sneak in a fast meditation and exercise earlier than logging onto work.
He normally works from residence as a result of it is the place he is “most productive,” however generally he’ll head to a espresso store or co-working area with associates.
One of the largest variations between dwelling in Georgia and the U.S., Swigunski says, is that Georgians are “a lot more relaxed.” “A lot of places don’t even open until 10 a.m., and in general, Georgians are working to live, not living to work,” he provides.
There’s a phrase that describes Georgian hospitality: “A guest is a gift from God.” That has held true for Swigunski, who notes that individuals are “very welcoming to foreigners” and have been “absolutely wonderful” in his expertise.
But dwelling overseas is not as glamorous because it might sound on the floor. “It’s not for everyone,” Swigunski says. “There’s going to be a lot of different variables that you won’t be able to replicate from your old life of living in the U.S.”
Because Georgia continues to be a growing nation, Swigunski explains, “your electricity or water shuts off a little bit more here than other locations — this isn’t happening every day, but it does happen a couple of times a year.”
Although he feels homesick for his household and associates within the U.S. generally, Swigunski says he is “happier living in Tbilisi” than he could be dwelling “anywhere else in the world,” and plans to remain in Tbilisi for the foreseeable future.
“Would I ever live in the U.S. again? I don’t want to speak in absolutes, I love America,” he says. “But as of now, I just enjoy my life overseas a lot more than if I were going to live in the U.S.”
This 33-year-old left the U.S. for Bali and lives a ‘lifetime of luxurious’ on $2,233 a month—how he spends his cash
This 29-year-old left the U.S. for Budapest. Now he makes $120,000 — and lives in an $800-per-month house
This 31-year-old give up her Wall Street job to journey the world: ‘I knew I’d remorse it if I did not do it’
Sign up now: Get smarter about your cash and profession with our weekly publication