First, I want to assure you that this information is regarding a legitimate offer. I am hoping to give help to those who have no chance to elevate their lifestyle in the US and who struggle with medical, food and heating in the winter. When retirement catches you with deflated real estate investment and a deflated portfolio due to the financial crisis of 2008 and few job opportunities for someone in your age bracket it’s time to rethink your options. Is staying where you are really a good option?
One thing that became clear to me by living several years in Florida is that winter is the thing that causes old age to creep up on us. My plumber while I lived in Florida was 92 years old. I lived in a senior mobile home golf community and several of the residents there had more energy than I did even though they were decades older. So my secret to a long life is to live in a climate where you can stay busy all year long. Hibernating may work for bears but people just get older and less healthy with each spring. We have to keep moving or our bodies loose stamina.
When it became clear that I needed an entire building due to my Nepali landlord keeping a fresh breeze rolling through the building all winter long, I found a beautiful guest house that was still under construction. Although I kept saying, “No, not Changunarayan,” when I saw it and the amazing location I had to take it. So, I am now the proud owner of a 14 room guest house. The possibilities are really exciting. Why ‘not Changu?’ It’s a long bus ride from Kathmandu and there has been an issue with water. Pipes have been laid and bridges are under construction that will bring Kathmandu closer. That left a lovely guest house in an amazing location, so how could I say ‘no’ to that?
I only have 6 rooms for guests. The rest is for the restaurant, living room areas, etc. No one can be expected to sit in their room all day. That means room for sitting around, room for socializing and room for making a guest house look and feel more like a home. I am not looking to make an ‘old folks home,’ but an expat home for mature people who want to enjoy life and stay active.
But $500 a month just seems a bit too low. People are a bit skeptical of just what they are getting themselves into. Even Thailand is well over $1,000 a month, according to many sources. Truthfully, if you were to come here on your own you would need to have a lot less activities, do more of your household work yourself and pay a big chunk in transportation. You would need at least $5,000 for furniture, kitchenware, inverter, car and driver (or take the local bus). Then there is the learning curve. People end up in Kathmandu because the facilities are all there. Hospitals, government agencies and most items you would want to buy are all easier to find in Kathmandu. But the pollution can be difficult to deal with. Everyone wears masks to combat it, but there are still the dogs, horns, beggars and heat.
My rent here in Changunarayan is the same as what I paid each month when I lived in the mobile home community in Florida, but instead of a tiny, old trailer I have an entire building! Instead of living with a bunch of older people as neighbors from a similar culture I get to have people from all over the world coming through. I got to rewrite myself and live a much better lifestyle.
Guest services is the next biggest expense, but wages are so low here, especially if room and board is provided, that I have 2-3 staff working for me at all times. It’s really nice to have ‘people.’ Surprisingly, room, food and $10 per week is a living wage here, so that really isn’t very much overhead.
Food is another expense, but even when vegetables are out of season they are seldom over $1.25 a kg. (about $.60 per pound). We get some lovely, picked-the-same-day vegetables and many are even organic. None of it is GMO. Some food is almost as expensive as in the US, such as pasta ($1.30-500 grams) butter ($4 per kg.), olive oil ($10 per 500 ml.). This is because local people do not include things like butter and olive oil in their diets, so these items are often imported.
Many of the electronics are quite expensive and a laptop can cost as much or more as in the West, due to the import tariff. So my diet, vegetarian only, costs me less than $3 a day, maybe $100-150 per month. You probably won’t want to eat meat here. They kill it and cook it without curing it, so it’s tough as nails. There is also a problem with refrigeration due to electric shortages, so you won’t want to eat too much meat. Although anyone can get stomach bacteria problems, it seems to me that meat eaters have more problems and have a more difficult time recovering.
Transportation is another issue. I will have a car and driver, costing between $300-500 per month. My plan is to convert a car to LPG, which will make it very inexpensive to drive. Regardless, we will have the car taking everyone together to Kathmandu whenever anyone wants to go. I think it will be that the car will leave at 10 am and return at 3 pm to avoid the worst of the traffic. Evening meetings and events will be available whenever anyone wants to go. Of course if you’d like to go to Chitwan or Pokhara you would need to pay unless it’s a group adventure. We will be doing things like going to Pokhara or Chitwan for a week at a time.
Electricity runs about $5 per month, water is free during the monsoon, but can cost $50 during the dry season; drinking water will cost about $1 per day for everyone. The home phone is only $3 per month and internet with cable TV costs around $20. Although we have horrendous power cuts in the winter, we seldom run out of electricity. The only reason we do run out is because sometimes it just doesn’t come back on. We have several rechargeable lamps to use at such times. Cooking fuel will cost around $15 per month.
Not that disease like malaria is a problem, but we have screens on the windows, mosquito nets and mosquito zapper paddles. I also make sure each room has a bathrobe and shower shoes to make showering and dressing easier. The bathroom floors get very slippery and cold, so you will want to put a robe on and dress in your room. Yes, each room has an attached bath, so you could even walk around naked.
As you can see by the expenses listed here, there is no need to cut corners. There is plenty of room for a lot of miscellaneous expenses and still some profit. I’d love to just be able to live free so I could save my retirement income to do projects to help Nepal. So, if you are retired and living on a small income and would like to explore the possibility of coming to Nepal for an extended stay please contact me by email: FrugalTravelsNepal@gmail.com