I moved to Thailand about 7 years ago with no particular long term plan, and had the time to get back into coding as one of my passions that I hadn’t followed up when previously being a part of the great rat race,
Nowadays, running a car, motorbike, and paying the bills on a rented two bedroom house and feeding a family of three costs me about $900 per month. I live well away from the usual expat haunts but still near to the beach, eat out 2 or 3 times a week, have a holiday or two each year, and pretty much want for nothing. And I still bank about three quarters of what I earn as a freelance web developer/systems administrator.
I can totally understand why John is doing this. I have friends who have similar lifestyles who earn income from blogging or writing ebooks who work an impressively low number of hours each week.
It is about breaking out of the box that most of us live in. Not everyone needs to, and not everyone wants to. But I find it to be a much more enjoyable way of living than my old life back in the UK.