Travelling the world is a BLAST! Training Jiu-Jitsu is a BLAST! When you combine the two….Look out life! You’ve just gone YOLO!
When I first decided to travel the world and train BJJ I immediately started looking at fabulous destinations like the beaches of Mexico, Rio De Janeiro, Thailand, the Philippines; the sites of Macchu Pichu, the Great Pyramids, The Eiffel Tower; and the JIU-JITSU of De La Riva (Rio De Janiero, BR), Roger Gracie (London, UK), Relson Gracie (Honolulu, HI) etc….
Well, the first reality check came when I discovered a little something called the “Exchange Rate” (ER). The exchange rate is, simply put, the value of the US dollar versus any other currency. The higher the exchange rate, the cheaper (relatively) it will be for you to travel.
Here is a great example. When I first started planning the move to Cozumel, Mexico, the exchange rate was about 1 USD:13 MX, meaning that for every $1 USD I had, it would be worth 13 Mexican Pesos. Cool! Well, at that time (December 2014) the rate of a SUPER nice apartment: fully furnished with A/C, full kitchen, walk-in shower, enclosed courtyard, giant palapa with bar and grill, and a sweet swimming pool was $5000 Pesos. At the exchange rate of the time (US 1: 13 MX) this worked out to roughly $385.00. That’s is a sweet price to begin with! BUT…. by the time I actually got to Mexico and was paying rent, the exchange rate had climbed to US 1:15 MX…which meant that my rent was only $333.00 US. A savings of around $50.00 for no reason other than a climbing US exchange rate.
When I was researching Rio de Janeiro, the exchange rate was about US 1:2.25 BRL. Because Rio is sooo expensive, apartments running BR3500.00 would cost me $1560 US/mth. By the time I actually got to Rio, thanks to that climbing US exchange rate (which was then at the rate of US 1:3.5 BRL) I was actually only paying $1000.00 US/mth. A savings of $560.00 US/mth for no reason other than a climbing U.S Exchange rate.
You’re probably thinking…”Wait, stop! Get to the bottom line here”! Ok, well here goes. The US dollar (along with a few others like the British Pound) , RIGHT NOW is experiencing an exchange rate growth not seen in almost ten years! This means that the money you have been working hard for is now more valuable than EVER all across the globe! Almost everywhere on Earth is now cheaper for you to visit than it has been in your entire, wage-earning life-time!
For example: That 1:15 US/MX ER I was so excited about? Well, it is now 1:17 US/MX, which means that my apartment, that originally would have cost me $385.00 US, would only cost me about $295.00 US today! That’s almost $100 off of last years price! My Apartment in Rio, that started out at $1560.00, is now at about $975 US, saving me almost $600.00/mth.
This also has an effect on your BJJ training! In Rio, I was paying $240 Reais/mth to train at Equipe 1 (well worth it any any exchange rate) but, what would have been around $105 US one year ago, is now only $67 US…for a month at Ricardo De La Riva’s school! That is a lot less than most schools in the US and UK!
Want to visit Europe and train? The USD and the British Pound have both gained on the Euro. The USD was only worth about .75 Euros a year ago but today it is worth about .90 Euro and is expected to equal the Euro or slightly surpass it by the end of 2016.
But wait, there’s more! The predicted rate of growth for the US exchange rate is that it will continue into 2016 and likely, level out somewhere around the fourth quarter. This is why, if you were ever going to do something crazy like an around-the-world Jiu-Jitsu trip; a month in Rio De Janeiro; or just a week training in the Dominican Republic, or maybe Costa Rica, Thailand, Australia, wherever: this coming year of 2016 will probably be the best time in your life to do it!
I fully believe that 2016 may be the best year in our lifetimes to fill that bucket list! Remember, the time to fill that “Bucket” is while you are strong enough to carry it! OSS!