I’ve been living abroad for about five years now, and have come to the conclusion that contentment can strike you anywhere, but not under all circumstances. If you’re terrified about money, you won’t find peace of mind anywhere, anytime.
I’m an American economic refugee here in Thailand, living reasonably well in a place that never seems to amaze me with all the interesting options it offers a geezer such as me. Sure, there are plenty of expatriates who have more money than me, but I don’t waste much time envying them. I have enough money as it is. If an opportunity arose to make more, I might consider it, but not at the cost of jeopardizing what I already have.
I rent a large, four bedroom house with a garden for about what a medium sized storage unit would rent for back home. Although I don’t own a car here, I don’t need one, as public transportation is ubiquitous, and for most trips my motor scooter and bicycle serve me just fine.
This place isn’t better than most places I’ve visited, just vastly more affordable and full of things I find delightful. Thai massage is an amazing art form and therapy. I enjoy Thai food. I find Thai people to be gentle and sweet. But I realize that happiness is a choice that can be made in many different circumstances, therefore I don’t credit Thailand for my happiness. I am happy here because I choose to be, and because I’ve made some efforts to live comfortably here. I put quite a bit of effort into learning the language, and that has paid dividends in feeling connected.
I’m never homesick for America. Never. Maybe I’m weird, but since I can’t see things getting any better for me if I go home, I’ve simply stopped thinking about it. Been there, done that.
If you’d like my encouragement or advice about retiring, send me an email and we’ll correspond.