14 thoughts on “The End Game

  1. Adrienne & Dave

    Sounds like you’re going to love living in Chiang Mai! Your posts are certainly making us want to spend a longer amount of time there.
    I agree with others that there are very few blogs by people who have retired early, aren’t living on a shoestring and aren’t digital nomads. You’ve found your niche!
    Your insights into Penang have pretty much crossed it off the list of places we may one day want to settle down in (we weren’t overly impressed when we visited) so I’m very much looking forward to reading about your future experiences in Thailand.
    Here’s hoping your last couple of weeks in Malaysia pass quickly and uneventfully.
    Cheers from Queensland, Australia.

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi A&D
      Hope you guys enjoy life down under. Visiting once was fun but clearly Australia is not remotely a place we’d ever want to move to even if we had more disposable cash. You’re correct about Penang. The difference between Thailand and here is that the Thai don’t try to bullshit or candy coat things. Nobody in the government pretends to be “almost fully developed”, yet, the choices available blow the crap out of everything if you want them or have the money. Malaysia intentionally offers limited western options but disguises itself as a wealthy modern place when it’s actually more like India where much of the real economy lives in shanty shacks, struggles to survive and suffers while the Chinese own BMW’s and live in multi million dollar condos while ignoring everything else.

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  2. durbanroots

    You can easily carve out an interesting patch of internet for yourselves by writing about your daily lives as a mature couple who truly want to be a part of the society and culture there and not location independent young people who scratch the surface and leave. How will you and Diane spend your time? As a couple but also as individuals. Do you want to establish routines or some sort of frame work for your days as you would have at home to stop your time there turning into a sort of long holiday — which happened to me on my first attempt to live abroad. Will you try and join local groups or learn the language? I find these issues interesting as you know I want to make a new life at some point soon outside post brexit Britain… anyway, just a few suggestions. Keep writing!

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi
      Interesting and valid points and questions to which we don’t yet know the answer. Our best friend so far who helped us immensely lives kind of a separate but together life with his expat wife. He bikes all morning, goes to the Royal Project to get some fresh food for dinner and then swims wherebey his wife appears to do yoga and her own things. This week she went traveling alone because he didn’t want to go. When we met, she wouldn’t come with us when he showed us around despite a good conversation with us when we first got to the house and had a beer. We don’t really understand this kind of relationship but have now come across many middle age married couples that seem to lead at least partial separate lives. So we’re just not sure.

      I’m a morning person and Diane isn’t so I usually do my own exercise from 7 til 9 or so but each day is kind of up in the air when we don’t travel. There seems to be more to do in CM so we’ll be checking stuff to do and I guess whatever sounds good, each of us can choose to do together or alone. I’m terrible at learning languages but have taught myself the numbers in the two week trip and Diane uses apps to learn bits and pieces of Thai but I don’t see myself as one that fully immerses in the culture as much as younger people might. But I do enjoy reading everything I can whenever we visit somewhere with signage in English.

      I can tell you that it’s often difficult spending every day with each other as our personalities are totally opposite but at the same time that’s how we get lots of things done easier. We each work on what we’re better at which is finances, travel planning and visas for me and housing research, internet, phone plans and other things that require more patience than I have for Diane. It does feel like a new long holiday is starting because we like CM that much more and with a car, there’s lots more day trip options but ultimately we both still need to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. Two years here in Penang did not solve that for me other than solidifying my love of monkeys but sadly, I must admit I’m not yet at the point of doing anything like volunteering that requires a lot of commitment because I like my freedom. Maybe that’s selfish. It probably is and that’s probably one reason I don’t want to be a father which of course saved us about a half million dollars over a 20 year child rearing period. Retirement when only half your life is over is often harder than it sounds although I never regret not commuting to a cubicle job I hate in favor of living cheaper in Asia and I’m always thankful for the chance to be relatively middle class which affords options the younger folks may not have.

      What we do know is that life in Peanang with no car since January has been useless to both of us and even with a car, there’s too much traffic on the island and nothing we want to see in the rest of Malaysia so leaving and starting fresh is the best option no matter how we spend our time. Thanks for the insightful comment

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      1. durbanroots

        Thanks for the long and interesting reply! My husband and I are more or less the same as you – and yes, I totally agree: volunteering and parenting has never been for us – I need my time to be my own. Not selfish at all – just heightened and honest self-awareness which is a good thing. I really look forward to your life in CM unfolding, developing what ever you do or don’t do – it’s all interesting, the thought-about, questioned life.

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  3. Val

    We visited Chiang Mai last year, and we really liked the vibe we found in the city. A huge plus, like you said, is lower temperatures, you’ll definitely be able to do more outdoors activities there. We look forward to reading your mountain bike adventures!

    I think that the idea of a “younger retiree” blog is fantastic, I haven’t seen anything like it so far for CM.

    Have fun moving,

    Val

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi Val
      I’m seeing a pattern where most people say there’s not a lot of early retired people in CM so maybe that’s a good thing to target. It probably helped us open the bank account considering we had virtually nothing they usually require. Other than above an average amount of cash that might go into their banking system.

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  4. Stacey

    Hi Rob & Diane! We all left the bay area around the same time (I think you guys left a month before me) and we’re both leaving our first country after two years (again you’re about a month ahead!). I’m winding up my last few weeks in Shanghai, then fly over to Jeju S Korea to drop off my worldly possessions, head home to the bay area for a long summer then back to a new adventure. I love reading your blog and enjoy the sarcasm and snarky comments, but really just the down to earth and realistic side of being an expat. It is NOT all unicorns and rainbows. Sure we are choosing it, but going home isn’t exactly and option for me as a teacher at this point and I have really enjoyed not being dirt poor the last couple of years!
    Chiang Mai is on my list of places to visit (only saw Bangkok and beaches this last year) so who knows maybe I will see you during this next adventure. If you find your way to S Korea for a visit, holler!

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi Stacey
      Thanks for writing. Sounds hilarious that our situations are similar. Yes, I must also admit that after two years, we are finally first hitting the stage where we’re living on the cash that we sold our house with. It’s basically been savings for the last tow years and that includes traveling. Since we don’t really like the food here in Penang that much, it’s great being able to dine out in many different places in both city and suburbs of Chiang Mai and only bust 1000 Baht ($30 USD) once. And that was because we had wine.

      The original plan was to make the winter Olympics in 2018 since Korea isn’t so far from us but as usual, time snuck up and now with the move, it appears we won’t be making that trip. So we probably won’t see you in Korea. But I do hope we meet in Thailand. One of my Facebook friends I never met is coming to visit us in November. Why not join ?

      Cheers

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  5. rmgthatsme

    Why not write about the whole settling in experience from a younger retirees’ viewpoint? It’s true there is so much written about Chiang Mai but much is written from the perspective of internet nomads, single old/young dudes looking for booze and young women or near destitute retirees who are scraping by. The other aspect is that you’re a couple which is another rarity on posts from the LOS. Just my 2¢…

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  6. Isobel Higa

    Dear Rob & Diane, best wishes for the next stage of your expat life. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you in Penang. I have really enjoyed your writings and it’s been so informative and entertaining. I really like your writing style and the information you have shared. Please continue with it as it’s unique and you really tell it like it is. I am sure all of your readers have enjoyed your posts and it’s always a treat to see your next posting in my email. I am really looking forward to reading about your new adventures living in Thailand and the other trips you will be taking. You have given good practical advice and it would be a great loss not to have anymore posts!!! Please continue…. thanks and all the best Isobel Higa

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