Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reducing Life to Two Suitcases

It was my good friend Fernando who initially put into words what I hadn't yet considered in the week after my Thailand visit. "Why don't you retire there" was his suggestion after hearing me gush about the pleasures I had experienced on my travels. 

For a brief time the comparison of Quito, Ecuador and Chiang Mai, Thailand were on my radar because each have similar living expenses.  Quito is at 10,000 feet elevation and has really nice year-round weather, but doesn't seem as foreigner-friendly with a Catholic society.  Quito life seemed dull to me compared to Thailand with its festivals and spontaneous markets.

Thailand, on the other hand, has so much going for it that my list of pros and cons was easily tilted toward "the land of smiles" (which is true, by-the-way).  It is a Buddhist society and every male, usually teenage or up to their 20's, spends some amount of concentrated time in a monastery where they learn not only Buddhism and meditation, but also to be nice people.  

With Thailand in my sights for retirement, the only question was "when".  Early retirement seems reasonable to me.  Why not retire while one still feels like getting out, getting involved, and generally enjoying life?  We only have a limited time before old age closes in on us and diminishes our abilities and desire.

I will turn 62 in January, so I have had a year to prepare for this new journey and, believe me, it takes time to get ready.  I've sold or given away most of my possessions and by January, I expect to have my life neatly packed into two suitcases.  In my years of traveling I've managed to pare down to just a carry-on for any length of travel time, so two regular sized suitcases shouldn't be that hard. 

Logistics of financial/banking, visa requirements, getting medical files, getting all accounts on-line so nothing has to be mailed is challenging, but as each step gets crossed off a long list of "must dos" there comes a feeling of freedom.  My transportation in Thailand will be a motorcycle, so I've taken a motorcycle safety course and gotten the required international driving permit with motorcycle endorsement.  Its a long list and keeps changing as I expect my life to do in the coming months.

I'll talk about the psychological side of starting a new life in the next blog.


  1. Thailand is probably more foreigner friendly than Ecuador, but learning Thai will be CHALLENGE!

  2. "A challenge" may be an understatement. I can only say "other people have done it"