Mini Retirement Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand

So here I am on day one of my mini-retirement. I flew from Chicago to Bangkok with a layover in Shanghai.  I reached my destination around 1:00 am and grabbed a few hours of sleep and now it’s 10:00 AM.  What better way to start the day then hitting an American based international coffee chain? (Just once I swear.)  I got a latte and egg sandwich and am sitting in a Starbucks writing in central Bangkok, Thailand. So what’s going through my head?

Bangkok View
The view from S-Box Hotel in Bangkok. After some 22 hours of flying and passing out at my hotel. This is the view I woke up to.

My initial feeling is a mix of happiness to enjoy travel freedom but with some feelings of being desensitized to my reality. Much has happened and I’m still processing everything. Here’s a recap of recent weeks.

  • I finished up a consulting contract and am now recently unemployed.
  • I sold virtually all my possessions and vacated my apartment about a month ahead of my lease end date.
  • I packed up what was left and flew out to Asia. My ultimate destination is Taiwan, but I’m stopping over in Thailand for a while first. The itinerary consists of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket before heading over to Taiwan.

Traveling Pro Tip: If you’re flying to a specific location in another country, it’s worth doing a bit of research to see about the cheapest way to get there.  Here’s what I mean.  Find the cheapest flight to that continent.  Then you can sometimes find a cheap flight over to your ultimate destination.  For example, I was looking at tickets from Chicago to Taiwan and most were over $1,000.  But I found a ticket to Bangkok, Thailand for only $679,  From there, you can get a round-trip ticket to Taiwan for around $250.  it’s like a free mini-vacation flight.

I’m making good on a promise I made to myself to be done with midwest winters. I can’t take any more 10 degrees below zero days January/February days. This trip is an undefined break from corporate life. I’ve been freelancing and have rental income and this could transition to a life of freelancing and travel. Or I might end up back in the US this spring to do another round of contract consulting. I’ll see how I’m feeling in March.

My head is swirling a bit from big life changes.  So I’m recently unemployed as a result of my contract ending. I sold all my stuff. I just spent about 22 hours flying which consisted of a rushed layover in Shanghai and a 1:00 AM arrival in Bangkok Thailand with onward travel to Chiang Mai, Phuket and then later Taipei, Taiwan after I catch my breath.

I’ve lived a fairly dull life the last few years that was focused mostly on work and I realized I’ve got to try to get off the mode of being a “work robot”.  My life consisted of grinding out the nin to five and living frugally. Delayed gratification and stoicism was the strategy, but perhaps at the cost of a bit of my soul.  Of course, I spent some good time with friends and family but most of my life was spent working in the office or on freelance projects.

At least now if I’m working, it can be on the projects where total ownership is in MY hands. As a side note, I’ll mention to anyone reading that I just recorded a podcast episode of Choose FI which is scheduled to drop in early January. Hope I sound good. It was a lot of fun recording with them. They really are great guys even behind the scenes a shout out to Jonathan and Brad.  Keep up the great work guys.

Thoughts on Disconnecting from Corporate Life

Man, working in an office for years took a toll. The past four years of cubicle sitting hasn’t done me well physically.  I think I may have overdone frugal with sleeping on an air mattress.  But no more.

But the real consideration is a mental and psychological one. Working in an office gives you structure and order. When you don’t have a 9 to 5 job you potentially have chaos. 

Bananas from a street vendor in Bangkok.

Tools That Made My Trip Go Smoothly.

You can usually get good hotel rates on Agoda.  I recommend them and I’m a partner so if you book using that link I’ll get a commission at no charge to you. I also like their app that has a feature called “Taxi Helper” to show your taxi driver your hotel address to assist in getting you to your destination.  This is helpful if you’re still brushing up on your language learning.

Also, I recently signed up for Google FI.  This is Google’s cell phone service may be very appealing to the right type of customer. The appeal to me is that fact that it works virtually anywhere in the world.  It’s nice to hit the ground in a new country and not have to go buy a SIM. The data rates are decent, perhaps not the best if you comparison shop.

  • You get unlimited calls and texts for just $20
  • Data is $10 per gig and caps out after 6 gigs and then you have unlimited internet.  I.e. $60 data cost for unlimited internet. It’s not Bad but other deals out there may be better
  • What seals the deal for me is the ability to hit the ground in a new country and be connected while exiting the plane.

I recommend Google FI for frugal world travelers that hit different countries often. I think it’s generally true in many countries you can get enough data for a couple weeks for $25 or so but then you’ll need to get a new SIM and switch SIM’s and then do this again when you hit the next country.   Here’s referral link that will get you a $20 credit when you sign up.  No obligation so consider trying it.

The next stop on the itinerary was Chiang Mai. It’s known as one of the hot spots for digital nomads because of the great year round climate and super affordable cost of living.

I saved a lot of money by ditching my car insurance, and moving to Asia and taking a tuk-tuk instead.

This post contains affiliate links for Agoda and Google FI.  I may receive a commission for some sign ups.  I personally use these services regularly and wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t use them.

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