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Authored by Ingrid Burke

Perhaps a story idea has been gnawing at you for years, begging to be written, but you just haven’t found the time to put pen to paper. Or maybe you’re worn down by the rat race and want to spend a year rekindling the sense of creativity that used to flow so freely before life got in the way.

Whatever your motivation, you’re considering leaving your day job in pursuit of your passion. As powerful and life affirming as this decision is, it’s also terrifying. Unless you’re independently wealthy, worries of how you’ll make rent and afford groceries without a steady income will inevitably weigh on you.

The good news is, the world is bursting with idyllic destinations that will provide you with ample inspiration, and where living costs are so low that you’ll be able to stretch your savings much longer than you could ever dream of doing at home.

Destinations to Run Off to When You Decide to Quit Your Job to Write a Book

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Phong Nha, Vietnam: A Truly Rural Experience

Phong Nha is truly rural. You’ll wake every morning at dawn to a cacophony of roosters and as you bike down the main road you’ll have to dodge the cows that meander freely through the village and environs.

But shrouded in mist, framed by mountain peaks and situated along a river dotted with traditional fishing boats, Phong Nha’s beauty is jarring. Each day will boil over with inspiration as you make Vietnam your home.

A comfortable room with internet access in the city center will run you about $15 a night for short term stays. Many hosts are willing to negotiate the prices of longer visits. You can get a generous helping of pho bo – beef noodle soup – at a local café for well under a dollar.

Here are four unexpected, but incredible places to run away to when you’ve decided to quit your job and write your book.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: A Modern-day Fairytale

This small medieval town in the Czech Republic is the perfect choice for those seeking old world charm, but wishing to avoid the hustle and bustle – not to mention the higher price tags – of Prague. Tucked away among rolling green hills and centered around a sprawling castle, Cesky Krumlov is a fairytale brought to life.

You can rent a private room in a guest house for $10-$20 a night, and then stroll the cobble stoned streets along the rushing Vltava River to a cozy restaurant, where you can find a hearty dish of traditional Bohemian fare for about $6.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala: Incredible Natural Beauty (& Excellent Coffee)

The deep blue waters of Lake Atitlan sprawl for miles beneath volcanos and legendary coffee plantations, its shoreline festooned with a diverse array of villages ranging from traditional to new age to backpacker party towns.

Internet and phone connectivity can be shoddy around the lake, but picturesque views and excellent coffee are abundant, making Lake Atitlan the perfect choice for writers wishing to get away from it all while they pound out a manuscript.

In many of the lake’s villages, you’ll be able to find a gorgeous private room for between $15-20. Dining options around the lake are diverse and plentiful. You can find a tasty local lunch including beans, tortillas and vegetables for as little as $2.

Here are four unexpected, but incredible places to run away to when you’ve decided to quit your job and write your book.

San Sebastian, Spain: Legendary Source of Literary Inspiration 

Each summer, the beaches and bars of San Sebastian are saturated with holidaymakers. But during the colder months, the masses keep their distance, making this gorgeous seaside town the perfect destination for any writer seeking inspiration.

Known for its spectacular beaches, historical architecture and incredible cuisine, San Sebastian has been the source of inspiration for many works of art and literature. Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises was partially set in San Sebastian, and Finnish power metal group Sonata Arctica penned a popular anthem named after the sleepy town.

As is the case across much of Spain, accommodation costs vary dramatically. You can find a private room near Zurriola Beach for as little as $20 a night. While it boasts an enormous concentration of Michelin star restaurants, many of these will be beyond the reach of the budgetary realities of aspiring novelist.

San Sebastian is known for its pintxos – snacks on small plates designed to be eaten by one person. Typical pintxo bars have plenty of options available for between EUR 1-5, so you can fill up on a variety of different options without breaking the bank.

What These Destinations Have in Common

What these destinations have in common is the fact that they are profoundly beautiful and significantly more affordable than many American, Canadian and European cities.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and focus on the creative project that you’ve been neglecting, know that you can soften the financial blow and immerse yourself in an inspiring new environment at the same time.


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Ingrid Burke is the International Editor at, an international real estate broker with a dedicated and independent team of journalists and real estate investment experts.

They publish real estate news, high quality analyses on foreign realty, expert advice, travel and best destinations tips, and more.

Photo credits: Phong Nha by Hugh Derr. Lake Atitlan by Daniel Mennerich.


  1. Atitlan is a place that definitely inspires you to do many positive things in your life.

    • Absolutely :) Great place to find inspiration and overcome that writers block!

  2. All destinations you would want to dive in head first to discover. Writing a book or not, brilliant.

    • Absolutely! And who knows, maybe you head there with the intention to just explore, but are then inspired to write a book!

  3. I could definitely spend a lot of time in San Sebastian. I went for the first time this past summer and loved it. The pintxos, the beautiful beaches, and the fantastic wineries and siderias up in the hills around the city. Not a bad place to get lost in for a while!

    • So glad you enjoyed your time in Spain Drew … San Sebastian is definitely a destination where it’s easy to fall in love!

  4. Whether or not you’re quitting your job to write a book, these are definitely amazing locations to disconnect from the world and focus on something else. I’d probably pick Lake Atitlan in Guatemala because of the amazing landscape.

    • Absolutely agree :) And who knows, maybe you’ll rock up for some time to disconnect and be inspired to write while you’re there! :)

      Lake Atitlan is definitely one of the more inspiring landscapes we’ve seen X

  5. Even without a book scrambling to get out of my head these options are full of inspiration. Spend a bit of time there and I just might find myself inspired to start bashing away at my laptop with a travel guide at the very least. Vietnam has a real appeal.

    • Absolutely Toni! The right setting can be inspiration for anything!

  6. Phong Nha, Vietnam is closer to home, in my case, and certainly looks like home. Being just a short-haul flight away from home certainly appeals to me as it would allow me to just hop on and off the flight quickly should I need to be home. Having been to both Czech Republic & Spain in winter, I certainly wouldn’t mind considering the towns in those two countries. I just love winter in Europe. I guess before I can start writing a book, I need to first decide on where to go and live.

    • And who says you have to live in just one place though, you could always hop between a few! Glad you enjoyed your time in Czech Republic & Spain this winter. There is definitely a special appeal of Europe during this season :)

  7. I love this post. Half my life is spent looking for a place I feel at home. When I was in Prague I wanted to stay and get an apartment so badly, but felt I should get back to my husband eventually. So it’s clearly his fault I haven’t written a best seller. Cesky Krumlov would be an even better choice, but San Sebastian would be neck in neck. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks Carol! Haha husbands are the best people to blame :D If you manage a trip back to the Czech Republic definitely try to organize some time to discover Cesky Krumlov – one of my favorite small towns :)

  8. Would gladly run off to any of those places to write a book or even to do some blogging. Guatemala seems to be the most appealing to me – I’m a coffee addict :)

    • If you’re a coffee addict Guatemala is your place! Happy travels!

  9. This past year, I finally did quit my job to pursue my dreams. We just spent a month in San Sebastian. While it wasn’t to write a book, I did launch a few websites from there. It was peaceful and conducive to working! Yes, it’s scary to leave your job, but it’s so worth it if you can work it out.

    • Congrats! So glad that you loved San Sebastian and found it to be a productive workplace :) The digital nomad revolution is in full swing here!

  10. I think I’d like to go and explore…then maybe write my book. ;)

    • Absolutely Elaine! Travel experiences first, book second :D

  11. I’ve been to Lake Atitlan many times, so I can tell you that it is definitely a beautiful place and one that will inspire a lot of creativity. I personally would love to visit Cesky Krumlov though. I’m a sucker for castles!

    • So glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Lake Atitlan Vicky :) Hope you have the chance to visit Cesky Krumlov soon!

  12. And when any is in Phong Nha in the middle of Vietnam, they can write more about the Son Doong, the biggest cave in the world that the dome even can be higher than the Empire State Building in USA. Inides the cave is a different world with different kind of plants.

    • Definitely sounds like a place which would inspire creative juices!

  13. I love San Sebastian :D!

    • the best isn’t it! Happy holidays :)

    • Yes it is. Happy Holidays to you as well??!

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