I’m Rob. My wife is Diane. Collectively, we’re Rodi.
Way back in 2013, my employer of five years “eliminated my position” due to budget cuts. Obtaining another job during middle age is challenging and frustrating. Already planning for early retirement anyway, we decided to push it up a few years.
Understanding the financial challenges, we concluded that leaving the United States could be both practical and exciting so we’ve chosen Malaysia as a starting point. Now that we’ve been here awhile, we think our next move is Chaing Mai, Thailand in summer 2017 after our current lease expires.
Our blog is about becoming overseas expats. Before moving to Asia, we needed to endure a long 18 month period of semi-retirement for only one of us thanks to an age requirement for the Malaysian residency visa.
We love exploring new cultures, eating exotic food and meeting interesting people. Long term, we’d like to volunteer helping to save endangered species of animals all over Southeast Asia. Orangutans and monkeys hold a special place in our hearts.
A Brief Background
Diane is a Canadian citizen and Registered Nurse with a B.Sc. from The University of Alberta. I’m a Brooklyn Boy who’s worked in the financial services industry for 30+ years. We met in the no ancient days of the internet, way back in 1996, through an antiquated forum known back then as a “mailing list”. We got married on September 23, 2000. The small but beautiful ceremony was held in Monterey, California. Deserting San Francisco in 2001 for Calgary, Alberta, we bought our first house and then sold it six years later. Returning back to America in 2007, we tried San Diego but hated it. From 2007 through our move to Asia in 2015, Walnut Creek, California was “home”.
Since we’re not entrepreneurs who sold an internet company nor are we independently wealthy, our working days lifestyle was financially prudent; live below our means, invest diligently, and prepay the mortgage. We’ve also taken several annual “research” vacations to discover an early retirement destination overseas that affords a similar lifestyle, a warm climate and low-cost of living.
After stops in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Thailand, Singapore, Borneo, Mexico and Aruba, we decided on Penang, Malaysia (despite the Malaysian Airlines fiasco). They have a marvelous visa program called MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home), but the primary applicant needs to be 50 years old. We had planned to go in 2018 when I’d be age 53 and Diane would be 47 but instead went in 2015 as soon as I turned 50.
The Leap of Faith
We sold our corner lot suburban house and all our stuff in the spring of 2015. I was in charge of all the semantics while Diane continued to work right up until the move. Moving to Malaysia proved to be easier than we thought and we landed a two-year lease in a beautiful condo overlooking the sea less than two weeks after arriving. We learned almost everything we knew about Penang on a forum devoted solely to the MM2H Visa, social media and one meeting with our new landlord. Approaching the end of our first year as expat retirees we’re on budget and have made three week trips to Thailand, Australia and Myanamar with Cambodia on the horizon and China in 2017.
The Nasi Lemak and Rice (Malaysian Meat and Potatoes)
We’re eager to share new experiences, some early retirement tips, and dispatches from my parallel life, where I chose journalism as a career before it became “blogging”. Since we weren’t actually expats yet, I started the blog with stories about the long transitional period from layoff to full retirement, details of some overseas destinations we considered, and a few tips on early retirement planning. Having passed 60,000 page views I guess someone thinks it’s interesting so thanks for reading.
We have no clue if this is the right decision. We had never even visited Penang. And we love hockey. We’re half Canadian. There is no such thing in the tropics. It’s HOT. But blogging about it sure sounds better than complaining about work every Monday morning. And thanks to Reddit, we can stream all the sports we want for free from 12 time zones away while eating breakfast.
We’re anxious to start a new chapter in life and want to thank you for being part of our story. All comments and suggestions are welcome, especially from seasoned expats, wanna-be early retirees and anyone that enjoys following this type of adventure.