Travel widely enough, and you’ll notice something about the Americans you encounter abroad. While the people I know in the States are too often shackled to dull jobs or unrewarding relationships, the entrenched expats I’ve met while visiting more than 100 countries never show evidence of boredom, worry, or regret. Nearly all seem to embody what a quintessential Outback man — twice my age and hitching in the opposite direction on an Australian backroad — yelled across the pavement: “Don’t spend time; enjoy it.”
If you’re thinking of starting up somewhere else for the YOLO of it, don’t let cost stand in your way. The US government pegs the poverty line at about $12,000 a year for a childless person. That won’t take you far in Oakland (or even Omaha), but it’ll buy you a full year of wonders in one of these nine countries. In any of these, $1,000 a month covers housing and food, as well as access to adventures that chumps with much fatter salaries can only imagine. The price of a beer, I’ve found, works as a pretty reliable stand-in for almost any cost-of-living survey you care to enlist; those are included here.