A few years back, Vivien and I were at a decision point. Living in Brisbane, we were still working and facing into another 10 years in my case, 15 for Vivien, before we reached the official retirement age. It was a depressing thought.
We wanted to take control of our lives and start living it the way we wanted to while we were still young and healthy enough to do so.
It was around that time that I happened to read an article that told stories of people who had sold up at home and taken off overseas. Not holidaymakers: people who had decided to move overseas on a permanent basis. Not adventurous “gap year” students, but people our age and older starting new lives as retirees overseas.
I started researching to see if this could ever be a reality for us or simply a pipe dream. There are so many websites out there, most country-specific and offering only snippets of information and not the whole story.
Then I hit upon International Living. Now I could really start doing my homework!
They had stories of real people living all over the world—living their dream and explaining what their new life was like. Word pictures of life in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France jumped from the pages. What about Central or South America or Thailand… Vietnam… Cambodia… Malaysia…?
We would not be trailblazers as many, many people had gone before us and were now living the dream. In fact, they were enjoying very affordable, comfortable and highly stimulating lives.
After more than a year of research, soul-searching discussions and much financial calculation, we made the decision to sell up in Brisbane and move overseas. Our life was back in our hands.
We were not well off in any way. We had a very average amount of personal pension, some simple life savings and proceeds from the sale of our small house. That would be the extent of our funds…and it had to last us a lot of years.
Jump forward to late October 2015 and Hua Hin on Thailand’s Royal Coast became our home. We have all of Thailand at our doorstep. Long stretches of spectacular beaches, verdant countrysides and tropical Islands like Koh Samui and Phuket to explore. We can marvel at ancient ruins that rival neighbouring Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, savour a diverse and addictive cuisine and people here are friendly and welcoming…and that includes fellow expats!
Indeed, we’re always quick and more than happy to welcome visitors and new arrivals to Hua Hin. It’s a joy to meet like-minded souls looking for a better life. A life where they have a retirement that is a just reward for the lifelong commitment they have put into their family and careers.
It’s become so difficult to retire back home because of the ever-increasing costs of living, spiralling healthcare costs, oppressive regulations, diminishing pensions…the list goes on… But life in Thailand is so different. We bought our own home here for $140,000 and live very well on a budget of about $2,500 a month which allows us to continue to pursue our passion for travel.
We are now happily living in the heart of Asia and enjoy travelling throughout the region. Thailand borders Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia and they’re all just over an hour’s flight away, as is Vietnam. And if we get bored with those, China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and more await. Getting back to Australia is just as easy, not that we’ve felt the need as so many friends and family are eager to come and visit us.
We are in the enviable position of having control of our lives and being able to share our life, our adventures, our learnings and our absolute joy for this opportunity that is unfolding before us…