The acronym PT can mean many things: perpetual traveller, prior taxpayer, permanent tourist, possibility thinker, privacy tactician to name but a few.
The most frequently quoted definition of PT was put forward by Harry Schultz (the famous investment advisor) and W.G Hill (the author of the book "PT"), and is "perpetual traveller".
A perpetual traveller is someone who benefits from the treatment most nations offer their foreign visitors. Such benefits include: not having to pay income tax in the country that you are a visiting, being treated as a welcome guest, and being welcomed as a spender of foreign funds.
Most countries will allow you to be a tourist for up to 6 months in any one year. If you stay longer, your hosts are likely to view you as a resident - something which can bring a variety of extra, often unwanted, obligations.
I've been asked several questions about the PT life by interested visitors to this blog, so to answer the most common questions I've put togethor a brief FAQ.
Q: Can anyone become a PT?
A: Yes! However, most people simply don't want to. Most people value their "home", and their "home country", so the idea of moving away permanently is usually viewed negatively.
Q: What type of people would find becoming a PT relatively easy?
A: Being able to earn an income away from home is defintely an essential requirement. Anyone who has either a private source of income, or who can do business internationally. A full time investor for example, or someone with portable skills allowing them to work anywhere also makes an excellent PT candidate. Those who earn their income via the internet can also adopt the PT lifestyle. A Travel Writer, for example can literally work anywhere.
The internet has opened the door to many more people as far as a PT life is concerned. If you can do business digitally (e.g. graphical design, web building, programming, writing, photography, consulting etc.) then you can live and work anywhere you chose.
Q: How much money do I need to become a PT?
A: The amount of money you need to become a PT isn't really the main issue. In fact, you can become a PT on a very small income. This is one of the reasons places like Central/South America and the Far East are popular with PTs. The cost of living in these regions is relatively very little.
I was confident enough to adopt a PT life when I had $50000 USD in cash savings. In my mind this meant I could 'test the PT water' for a year or two, if things went horribly wrong, or I didn't enjoy travelling as much as I thought I could always return to my country of birth and re-start my regular career.
Q: I'd really like to be a PT, but what about my spouse/partner?
A: This can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. Clearly articulate the benefits of the PT lifestyle to your partner, and try to get him or her excited by the possibilities. If they are totally against the idea, then there is very little you can do IMO.
Q: My partner and I want to become PTs but we have children. How can we educate our children if we were to lead this type of lifestyle?
A: If I had children I believe I would educate them myself. The basics - reading, writing and maths can easily be taught by parents. Science, the arts, geography and history can all be taught by reference to real life, and with the help of interesting books and the internet.
These articles discuss the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling. Also, here's an excellent list of MP3 files authored by John Taylor Gatto discussing the state-school system and home-schooling.
Q: What is the main advantage of becoming a PT?
A: For me it has been the happiness that feeling truly free has bought me. Having very few possessions for example (laptop, digital camera and clothing is all!) really does mean I can jump on a plane at the drop of a hat.
Q: What is the biggest barrier to starting a PT life?
A: Your mind. Living as a PT is an attitude as much as a lifestyle.
If you are interested in in the PT lifestyle I highly recommend purchasing Dr Hill's classic book "PT - Perpetual Tourist", an electronic version can be bought for just $23 online here. You'll also receive a copy of his book The Passport Report, togethor with two other ebooks entitled PTO - Portable Trades & Occupations and The Invisible Investor (II).
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