How to Dissappear to a Surfing Paradise ala Captain Zero

Being that I’m a 22-year old grad student, overworked by classes and underpaid by jobs, my thoughts have recently stemmed from International Political Economics and Advanced Econometrics to a world of surfing bliss:

     Leaving the country, finding a secluded house/bungalo/hut/hole in the ground in front of an amazing wave, and live undisturbed.

Sure it’s an cliche, and few will ever be able to achive such things, but why not try? My hope was that by now I would have at least made some headway into saving for my euphoric retirement, but alas, things are never as your plan.

I continually obsess over what neccessities I’d need (mainly surfboards, sunscreen, shelter, food (and yes in that order)), how much money it would take to let me live out my days in such a place, and how to even go about cutting ties to almost everything I know.

So if anyone out there has any advice, I’m open to suggestions.

Also, I’m currently accepting donations. For just $15,000 a year, I will live out this dream for you so that you may enjoy the bliss vicariously though me, hahaha.

I have done it a couple of times. Having a income is what hold you back at alot of places. I just upgraded to my 200ton masters captain license. So I can work anywhere now. My wife and I are planing to dissapear again in 2 years. For a ong time this time.

double post

Well yeah, I had that fantasy for a very long time.  Never really pulled it off though I did live for over a year in a kid’s playhouse in an avo orchard in Leucadia, CA in the 70’s. Paid I think $25/month rent and got full house privileges for that plus of course all the avocados I could eat (a lot as it turns out).  Worked at Channin (amazingly generous pay for the times plus backroom access to new custom boards) so job and surfspots were all within a couple miles of my home. Close to dream time.  Spoiled me for the rest of my life.

To really get “free” is a big project.  Check this out for some ideas…


The Moneyless Man: How Did Mark Boyle Spend A Year Without Spending A Dollar?


life’s absurd, ain’t it? hehe!

 x )

Here’s someone who did it …  Chuck Corbett … American Ex-pat … livin’ the dream

the dream for Chuck been hard lately, after a bad wipeout he finaly return to states where he been under going massive med. dealo to  fix foot

been there for over a year(?)

he on fACEBOOK for updates

I heard he got hurt but didn’t know any details.  If you want to do something like this do it while your young.  Medical problems will begin to effect you in later years for sure.  Even if Chuck never goes back he had 25 years of lonely perfection.  Who else here could claim that?

Quite a few live this way and people will always continue to do so, I've met a fair few and I think most would consider me in the same way. Some do it with a lot of money or passive income, the internet is my financial lifeline that affords me my lifestyle: To be nowhere anyone heard of and surf on my own anytime, but I would say most independents do it on very little money. I think the only thing we all have in common is that living life the way we want comes first, finding the money to do it is second, so many people say to me they will do something like me when they have enough money saved up, never met one who did yet. Most people find it hard going to start with but it does always work out... in the end. To do this I think you have to be really motivated but also be prepared to accept being labelled a bum (no matter how hard you work). For me I just couldn't, I mean really couldn't, live that surburban lifestyle anymore, it just was not real in any meaningful way, I don't think I could have stayed in it any longer and kept positive, some people can do it sure but if you just can't do it, then you probably shouldn't and should go your own way.
But when you get there, this place you're dreaming of, it's hard in another way... it's hard to keep quiet, but you have to or it's blown and I think that's why despite meeting a fair few people living it out in isolated perfection there's next to no info out there, if you tell everyone about it, it's not isolated for so long. So then it become hard to keep cool with visitors when any one of them could be a wannasurf snitch and destroy your paradise, so do you then welcome travellers with open arms and a bit of aloha or do you act like a dick? It's tempting to be a dick sometimes. And then when it's big and stormy at a place no-one went out at before, with no-one except the birds and fishes around, that's challenging too. It's different surfing on your own as well, take any set wave you want, sit any place you like, whenever someone else turns up, I surf so differently to how I do normally. Then who do you share the stoke with after you surfed, no-one else to understand why you're giggling to yourself as you get changed back at the car.
I built my own home so got no mortgage, got a(n expanding) family, we do okay, I pay my taxes, work a little online, make my own blanks. I think 15g is liveable, 20 is more realistic if there's more than one of you but I've lived it out on 5 as well, though that ain't pretty, I'm 32 now started this trip at 22, now surf an average 20 hours a week (35 if it's the pumping swell of the year), I surf with maybe a dozen or so different guys over the course of a year, I make my own boards... have to really, grow my own stuff, it's all good, I feel sorry for pro surfers and would encourage anyone to just go and try it, give it a go with whatever you have, if it doesn't work out, surburbia will always welcome you back, what you got to lose? And you know sometimes it does work out... Someone said to me once if you don't follow your dreams, the eventually you might not hear them calling you any more. I think that would be very sad

oh, i sure (it sounds like) he ready to go back,

then there is deal which has my thoughts lately


but it wouldn't work out for alot of surfing, they hit port , unload, load and split

but thoughts of signing on as passenger,

pm me for footage but it's on the website, let's keep between us internet whores ok


Just like surfing, there is a fine line between dropping in (or out, as the case may be) too soon or too late. You can prepare all you want, but if you wait for everything to line up just right, you may just miss your wave. On the other hand, if you don’t sit and watch a few sets at a break you’ve never surfed, you can paddle out with all the enthusiasm in the world but if you’re on the wrong board, you’re on the rocks once the bombs start rolling in.

In any case, I’ve been doing it for 3+ years now. My wife and I live in a remote part
of Costa Rica. At the moment, I’m sitting in my one room house, the
sounds of the jungle and waves outside… just got back from a nice
surf session. Tonight I’ll enjoy a home cooked meal with my best friend
(my wife) and wake up in the morning, make coffee, start up my ATV and drive 15
minutes down the dirt road to my shop and get back to work on a surfboard. I
love my life here in paradise. I’m not going back.

But Dave, don’t be in such a
hurry to live out your ‘euphoric retirement’. You’re f%@*kin’ 22, for
Christ’s sake. At 48 I’m feeling like I’ve managed to do it earlier
than most, but regardless of age, its all made the sweeter by virtue of
the fact that I worked my ass off for 25 years before I pulled this
off. I know what I’ve left behind… I have experiences… wonderful as well as difficult experiences… wisdom even.
I don’t know how long it will last here, but I’m grateful for everyday I

Personally I think you just need some perspective… not retirement. My advice… join the Peace Corp. and after 2 years, get back to work. On the other hand, I never listened to anyone who gave me advice, especially not old geezer x-pats… so just go for it, you only live once… count on it.

Read “The Four-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. All kinds of hints in there to help you live the dream.

I went out and got my masters and now am a practicing psychotherapist. I am able to work a coupel of days a week and prtty m,uch do what I want the rest of the time.  could make mor money at it working more hours but that would be like a real job.

I am putting together some websites in the hopes that they will augment my income or flat out take off and afford me a lifestyle to buy a small house at my favorite break in the world (it ain’t here). That break is not secluded but I love the people and the wave.


Best of luck. You can do whatever your heart desires, and you should.



I went back to the world after the Vietnam war. The world didn't want me. After only a few months of trying like hell to fit back in I bought a plane ticket and left. Went surfing, never went back. Surfed, slept where I could. Traded my skills for a place to sleep and something to eat. Sailed here and there,surfed . Descided where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do and then figured out how to make it happen. Been doing it a long, long time ! Some times it was tough. Never comprimized. Live in paradise, in the water 7 days a week. Got it figured out now, For sure poor in money but rich in lifestye! Every day is as good as it gets. I am thankful for all those who are afraid to go for it cause that leaves more for me! I am often asked what I do  that gives me so much time to play in the ocean!! Some think I am a drug dealer , some think I am a trust funder.  Grab a chance and you wont be sorry for what might have been!!

on one of my trips to Costa in 2001 or '02 I was wandering around on the dirt road between salsa brava and playa negra, buzzing from a stop at the bar and kinda high, I had part of a ten dollar gram in my pocket which beat everything I ever did in the states. I don’t do that stuff now. Anyway, there are a lot of characters you meet traveling. This American expat comes down the road, he has longish hair, looks all strung out like piedra is more his thing, he’s dressed in army fatigues. We had a short conversation in passing. Asked me if I ever read ‘in search of captain zero’. I said no, never heard of it. He sez well, you should read it some time. I’m Captain Zero. After a minute of talking about I dunno what we wandered our own ways. I heard a little more about the book from others since then and I am positive that it actually was the same guy that I talked to. Typical burned out expat, but you know I always envied those guys. I guess it takes the right combination of where yer at in life mixed with a certain amount of recklessness or self centeredness and nothing left to lose, and you just go for it, and not worry if you never go to the dentist ever again, and find some eccentric niche work that allows you somewhere to flop and some beer and food money… then there are those fortunate enough that can just pay cash for a nice little finca and live in comfort. Either way, those ones made it happen, and I’m jealous cuz I haven’t yet. Good luck to ya 

Sometimes ya just gotta pack up the family and go.

best thread ive read in years!

I appreciate all of the input guys. I think the general concensus is that there are different ways to do it and different times, you just have to figure out what works best for you.

I was able to spend half of my undergraduate career studying in Panama. And by studying I mean surfing from 5am to 5pm and then sleeping through class. I spent a week on a remote stretch of beach there, sleeping in my tent, eating dried fruit and some of the local fruits, and surfing until I was numb from exhaustion. Between that and my obsession with the surf movie The Drifter, I found that there is a lifestyle out there that I truly can aspire to.

Just gotta wait for the right moment and go for it.

Thanks guys.

I guess it takes the right combination of where yer at in life mixed with a certain amount of recklessness or self centeredness and nothing left to lose, and you just go for it, and not worry if you never go to the dentist ever again, and find some eccentric niche work that allows you somewhere to flop and some beer and food money…”

It is a romantic vision.  Until you contract malaria, typhus, infected/abcessed tooth, or some other nasty.  With low to zero assets to back you, you are screwed big time.  You may get lucky.  For short time spans when young, it is great. I lived in a car w/ almost zero money for many months on North Shore in early 70’s.  For the long haul, far smarter to set up an income stream of some sort so you can stay comfortable and take care of emergencies and contingencies.  That said, I definitely would encourage anyone so moved to go for it though!

Surprise surprise!  Those emergencies and contingencies get more and more common as you get older…

you are 22. no real ties. in good health. people your age are normally immune to illness until say…mid thirties…or stupidity (like jumping off a bridge into a river and finding out it’s only 6" deep and now your legs don’t work)…or if you are one of the unlucky ones who get told to “put your affairs in order…u got 3 months at the outside”. as i recollect from once having been 22, there is not much in the way of being uncomfortable that u can’t deal with…like sleeping in a car in a jungle with two billion insects zooming in on you. slap on that DEET. so u don’t have to worry much about medical care or dental care for right now.

so if not now, when? when you’re 25? or 30? or never?

u need some money. so sell everything u got. now u got some money. go to a country with a favorable rate of exchange, a decent climate, where not many people surf. u will not be able to work there. the locals get all the work and will not be happy with you trying to cut into their income, limited tho it may be. DO NOT DEAL DRUGS.

oh. and if you have surf-traveled to places for 2 weeks…that doesn’t count. tourist life is not real.

live like a local for 6 months. learn to fish. grow some vegetables. live on the average income of a person of that country (per capita income). see how u like it. right now all you have is conjecture and romanticism. with little effort you can trade that for reality.

cause u got options. u don’t like it, then u have profited, as u have traded an idea of what things are like for the experience of what things in paradise (?) actually are, and, u can come back to finish school with a greater appreciation of what it can provide. u do like it…well good. have a good life.

in any case…get off your ass and go. asap. pick a place and go. don’t wait til the moon and stars and black holes align perfectly. go. and good luck on the adventure.

Exactly. Without money or a job you gotta be crazy enough or be on the lam or leaving something serious behind to intentionally shipwreck yourself. I lived in vehicles for most of several years, but here in the states. So it was free rent because wherever you go, theres your house. And I always found work. And I was good at figuring out the places to park and get away with it. It was great during my twenties when girlfriends came and went and I didn’t have a kid or anything really  tying me down. It was sometimes lonely but mostly fun and liberating, if a little strange to others. So I just wanted to add, might as well go for it now while yer still twenty something. When you get a little older it might come down to screw everyone look out for number one and make some bigger sacrifices to get there. Which is what I’d have to do, and not gonna do it today.