PT means...
  • Permanent Traveler
  • Perpetual Tourist
  • Prior Taxpayer
  • Passing Through
  • Power Transient
  • Pirate Telecommuter
Where were you
when the net
freed mankind?

The Century of Cybersouls

The year 2000 marks the beginning of a new century and a new millenium. It also marks the first century of the information age. While the 20th century was a time of violence, the 21st will see a freer human, not bound to land or state, god or king. Freedom of communication and travel changes all the rules, predominantly in favor of the individual who wants to pursue his own ends.

The Perpetual Tourist idea is very simple. Governments treat their own citizens as serfs. They're taxed, regulated, and observed. On the other hand, governments treat tourists as freemen. They consider you as an honored guest, someone that helps the economy by spending money, and generally treat you as the sovereign being you are. So, if you can maintain tourist status wherever you go, you've got it made!

There are many excellent web pages designed to help you achieve maximum freedom. (See the links at the bottom of this page.) Some are selling services, from second passports to secret bank accounts accessible by anonymous VISA cards, etc. Unfortunately, I have nothing to sell at this time, but I don't mind telling you what (little) I know about bugging-out - i.e. getting the hell out of high-tax nation-states.

For libertarians, the possibility of opting out for a Galt's Gulch is very appealing, as is not paying taxes. The decision to actually do it, however, can be difficult. Our 20th century conditioning must be overcome, those invisible chains that keep us landbound, like "patriotism" and overly sentimental ties to unfree localities. The reformist who has spent all his time trying to change his local nation-state must give it up. It's that simple. Until a person is ready to take direct action for his own life, he is not ready to bug-out.

Psychological impediments aside, there are two things you must have to bug out.

  1. Enough income generated on the internet for you to live.
  2. Enough practical knowledge to make a plan and pull it off.

On number one I have little to say. If you are a programmer, web page designer, or in any telecommuting job, you have it made. If you are young and/or a student, it behooves you to pursue a career that you can do online, i.e. that is not location-bound. Alternatively, one can work at a location-bound job and save diligently, and very likely have enough to "retire" in ten years or less.

As for practical knowledge:

  1. Keep your whereabouts unknown to the public.
  2. Use PGP for all sensitive communications.
  3. Use a proxy server or public cybercafe machines to enhance your internet anonymity.
  4. Have all utilities/services registered under a different name.
  5. Use snail-mail as little as possible, and don't have it delivered to any of your current abodes.

Make a list of possible places, then take "vacation" trips to check them out. You presumably need internet service, so that restricts things until satellite service is affordable. (2004?) How do you find a place to (temporarily) settle down? It's easier than you think. Unlike the intrusive US custom, in many other places the apartment managers take care of utilities including phone(!) and bill you along with the rent. Thus, one could have phone and cable TV/internet and never be registered by name on any computer. There are also many organizations that will similarly buffer you from unwanted scrutiny.

What about the local nation-state? If you change abodes often enough, you will generally be considered a tourist by governments. They will not hassle you, though they may charge you a nominal fee if you overstay the time limit for tourist status. In most developing countries, they're just happy you're there spending money!

If your current nation-state taxes your online earnings, then there are ways to legally move your business offshore and pay little or no tax. The US tax law exempts $75,000 in overseas earned income by someone living at least 330 days per year outside the US. Most other countries do not tax overseas citizens at all. All this is really moot since you can simply ignore governments and their tax agencies once you are a PT, though you should probably get a second passport before burning any bridges. The sticky part is keeping a world travel permit, which traditionally has been tied to citizenship - the passport. Fun fact: Over three-quarters of US citizens living overseas don't file tax returns.

PT Links: Comments?
Looking for discussion? Forum.

Revised 1/15/2001