Who are we?

Collectively known as Rodi, I’m Rob and my wife is Diane. Thanks to some diligent planning, a little sacrifice, and some good timing, we decided on early retirement in 2015. Understanding the power of compounding, historical long-term stock market trends, and a well-diversified investment portfolio, we found ourselves just prepared enough for the plunge when an unexpected layoff ended my so-called career. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, I moved to San Francisco during the first Bush presidency. But unlike many early retirees, boredom played more of a role in my decision than burnout. Spending 27 “cubicle years” in the financial services industry, my administrative positions proved uninspiring but opportunistic. Contrasting my background totally, Diane grew up in the western Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta. Born six years later than me, she’ll celebrate her fiftieth birthday later this year. (She’s not thrilled).

Professionally, Diane holds a BSc in nursing and smartly chose a highly transferrable career specializing in renal care. Finishing her working years as a Coordinator in the Living Donor Transplant Unit at a large hospital in San Francisco, she gave her feet a break, said goodbye to 12 hour shifts, and joined me as an office worker. Clearly not as ambitious as her, I graduated high school in 3 1/2 years, landed a junior role at a Wall Street investment bank and worked my way up without the benefit of a university degree.

Classifying our move as an Experimental Overseas Early Retirement, we spent five and a half years living in Southeast Asia. Thanks to an advantageous retirement visa known as MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home), we started inPenang, Malaysia. Realizing it wasn’t our cup of tea, we left after two years and settled in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Unsure how long we’d stay in Asia, our comfortable lifestyle and low cost of living proved highly advantageous. Trapped in a small Southern Thai beach town at the height of the pandemic and tiring of extreme heat and humidity, we decided to ditch the developing world for the immediate future and returned to North America.

Chronologically arranged from the planning stages to the New Normal, the blog shares our stories and tales of food, travel, and what we’ve learned about life from living overseas. Presenting realistically honest points of view, sometimes humble and other times cynical, I pull no punches but try to keep it real. Unclear of our next move, we’re still haven’t necessarily figured out what to do with life after work, but I guarantee it won’t be back in the office.

31 thoughts on “Who are we?

  1. mariawanders

    This really explains how you guys are experimental expats. I do hope the Gov’t rules in your favor so you can enjoy your retirement in Malaysia. If not, you may keep on experimenting with new lands. You guys are inspring.

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  2. Isabel Leong

    Be sure to visit Singapore, my hometown, when you’ve settled down! It’s a really different culture compared to the rest of SE Asia and I’m sure you’ll like it! 🙂

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  3. colibrist

    Hi,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m happy to hear that you are following your dreams 🙂
    I’m currently in Malaysia and liked it a lot, people are nice and friendly, it’s cheap and there is very good food. By the way, I saw a small ice skating place inside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, called Sunway Pyramid. I agree it’s not the same as ice hockey but there’s some ice 😉
    Wish you all the best for your new life!

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  4. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com

    Hi – this looks very exciting! I will be following your blog to find out where you end up. One hint from someone who has spent many years as an expat: read up on culture shock. You may well go through a honeymoon period where everything is amazing and wonderful and you’re in love with your new life. But that will almost certainly be followed by a slump where you start to hate everything and everyone around you. Things will get better but while you are in that slump it may not seem like they will. Malaysia (or Thailand!) is a great country though. Lovely people too. Good luck!

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  5. tonyasmithauthor

    Thanks so much for stopping by my site and for visiting. Like you, I am a hockey fan. I just moved from Detroit and miss seeing our Detroit Red Wings during hockey season. I really admire you both for stepping out on your new venture like you have. I think you made the right choice to do what you really want to do. I will be following and am glad to have met some new friends here. GOD bless you !

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  6. Moon

    Hi Rodi, your story is interesting and inspiring too. It’s good to know that you care so much about animals and willing to volunteer to save endangered species in Southeast Asia. I wish you all the best in your endeavour.

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi Moon
      Thanks so much for the comment and kind words. Animals need our help as much as other humans, maybe more and they never talk back; lol
      One of the best parts of the blog so far has been meeting so many people in other countries with different life stories (like yours)
      Happy Holidays !!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. trablog

    Wow.. what an interesting story!! You know the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’. So the early retirement has to happen a little earlier 😀 I am glad that you are enjoying your new life. It is good to meet you. Let me go through your travel memories 🙂

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi
      Thanks for the kind words and thanks for all the likes on my travel memories. I’m off to Canada on Saturday and already pre scheduled some posts so I can spend time with family so I have all day to read yours !!
      Great to meet you too and I look forward to sharing

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi and thanks very much for the heartfelt comment.Ironically, I always feel our lives are and have been very mundane and boring. For example, I just finished reading your “about” page and I’m always blown away by so many fellow bloggers that have lived in so many places, done more than I’ll be able to for the rest of my life and just live life with a different attitude than the what we grew up with. Feeling like Diane and I are the only two idiots in the world that subscribe to the notion of one degree, one career and a minimum of 30 years of “non-online income” work in the same industry, I’m always impressed and keep learning more every day. But we do subscribe to the notion of staying healthy and feeling financially secure enough at a young age to pursue whatever we want for what we hope is a longer retirement than our working careers. Thanks for following !! I do have good stories from the experiences we’ve had and people seem to enjoy my writing so I figure it only gets better from here

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      1. Turquoise Compass

        Wow, thank you for taking the time to a) stop by my blog, b) read my about page, and 3) write me a lengthy heartfelt message. I appreciate the time you took to correspond with me. It’s great to meet you! I love connecting with other bloggers and of course travelers.

        Well, your lives are no longer boring or mundane as you say, and I am sure they probably were not to begin with. You’re on the journey of a lifetime. We are always so hard on ourselves.

        I’m glad you found some interesting things in my about page. My life has been quite the roller coaster ride. I’m now transitioning back into the working world, after traveling full time for 14 months. It’s funny how life works. I never know what’s going to happen next, nor do I know where my life will take me after this current year of teaching. Like you, I too keep learning new things every day and also believe that it only gets better from here. You are never too young to dream a new dream.

        I look forward to your stories!

        Jessica

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  8. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    Hi Rob and Diane,

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I really appreciate your kind words!

    First of all, September 23rd must be a lucky day because my husband and I had our Canadian church wedding and reception on the same date (same date, different year though and I was lucky enough to get married to the same man twice on two different continents 🙂 ). Second, it must be a very exciting time for both of you. Making the decision to move abroad can be stressful but it is also exciting as well. I moved to Taiwan a couple of weeks after I graduated from university and what was intended to be a couple of years of teaching and traveling abroad has turned into a 15 years abroad and counting. I think you are lucky because there is a lot more information and resources available than there was in 1999. If you want to contact other expats, then I suggest you check out the expat sites which contain a list of blogs and they organize them by country and city.

    Hope you are having a great weekend!! If I can be of any help, let me know!

    Constance

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi Constance

      Yes I think 9/23 is a great date also. Diane and I both thought about teaching overseas before we met but you’re correct; it was a bigger challenge back in the old days (no internet; lol). We’ve not given a lot of thought to travelling in Thailand but I’m not sure why. Diane is Chinese and Taiwan is part of China (kind of) so maybe we’ll get there some day. It sounds like you will be there awhile so we’ll bring the Coffee Crisps and Ketchup potato chips or maybe some turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving

      I have been writing comments on many expat blogs on all the sites for expats but some of them seem to go dormant once they’re on the sites. I’m also trying to get listed as even though we’re still in transition but have only been accepted on one so far.

      Thanks so much fro following; as an honorary Canadian married to a real one, it’s awesome having friends far away

      Rob and Diane

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement although I’ve just received words that the Malaysian government has tightened up the rules again and continues to demand income verification from an MM2H applicant’s bank in the form of a letter that will most certainly be ignored and possibly even flagged as suspicious by any American bank employee. So we may wind up in Thailand.

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi guys
      Thanks so much for the comment and for following. Ecuador posts are coming with all the stories and pictures. Although not our cup of tea for an expat destination, Cuenca is constantly voted as one of the top expat destinations in the world. The Galapagos Islands are spectacular experience that can’t be described in words. Everyone needs to visit there once !!

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Hi
      As a shameless newbie seeking all forms of praise and a following of three digits (maybe even……four digits?), I feel GREAT about being nominated for anything. As soon as I figure out what I’mm supposed to do, consider me nominated – lol –
      Thanks !!!

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