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Perpetual Travelers "How did you begin"
Old 06-28-2008, 12:39 AM   #1
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Perpetual Travelers "How did you begin"

OK I understand how one can move from country to country but did you have a game plan when you began.

A few posters go to Thailand, Where did you stay when you first went there? What area? What hotel would you recommend? How much should one pay per week?

How did you deal with the language? most people in foreign countries do not speak English, Some do but most dont.

I've noted a mimiminal amount of customer service in my international travels has that been a factor to you?

And mixing wih the locals well I think that a middle aged American man is an ATM machine to most locals. If you disagree tell me where. It seems to me everything is about money in the 3rd world.

Any more input, I have the time the money and I am looking for a little direction.
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:31 AM   #2
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Depends where you want to go? What are your requirements? Sun, Adventure, Culture, learn a new language? You have many options, but I don't think you need to be perceived as an ATM machine. I believe most locals will not take a second look at you. Just don't let yourself get ripped off. For example, when I went to Bali, you have the usual people offering you things, but saying no is as simple as that. You can find great hotels there at a very good price. Cambodia was also real nice as well with most people being very friendly, while not expecting anything. Good luck on your adventures. Enjoy it.

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Old 06-28-2008, 09:02 AM   #3
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In Thailand, Phuket area, if you want an inexpensive hotel then i suggest Crystal Beach hotel (now called little mermaid) Hotel The Little Mermaid, Karon Beach, Phuket in Karon beach. I think current rate is about $15/night.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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for latin american countries i am endeavoring to learn a little spanish. as to thai, i'm not one to kid myself: not a chance in hell i'll ever learn that. fortunately i'm told that even dumb americans like me who only speak english should get along well enough, especially in nonrural areas.

i am also concerned with the atm aspect, especially as a single, grey-haired gay man. i imagine the problem is similar, if not enhanced, for str8s as gays tend to be more practical about freely expressing & sharing sexuality. as i read about the life of overseas singles & about relationships there, i find much more talk about supporting the indigenous population than i do about relationships standing on equal footing. it must be like how a str8 man in america supports a nonworking wife. ick. only there you get the wife and the extended family. ick squared.

if this helps at all, i understand that when you meet someone, especially at a bar or club at night, and if you are to have sexual relations, you need to clarify from the beginning as to whether or not you are with a moneyboy or if you are str8 i guess they still call them hookers. also, if you are ok with all that, you would need to set a price from the onset, much like taxis there.

my hope is that i might find a nice guy who does not see me as an atm machine. but also i realize that i will have more money than most of them. who knows: should i get into a long term relationship with someone of much lesser means, it might be a nice bonus to be able to help someone enjoy a more comfortable life, to be able to offer some measure of financial security, not unlike my brother does for his wife here.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:16 PM   #5
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One small piece of advice when travelling in the 3rd-world: if someone offers you something that you don't want, say "No", don't smile, don't maintain eye contact, and keep moving. I learned this the hard way in India. I've been raised to be polite, and if offered something I don't want, will usual offer a polite "no, thank you" and a smile. I had Indian taxi drivers and shopkeepers practically hugging my leg and following me for a block before I learned to be a bit ruder. Of course, as a white male, I also stuck out like a sore thumb there (I'm sure the ATM factor was also in play).

It felt weird at first, but in the long run being rude saved everybody involved a lot of time and energy.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:49 PM   #6
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Florida,

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli post frequently on this forum, with a link to their website at the bottom of each post. I've never had the pleasure of meeting them in person, but I have traveled to some of the places they have covered, and had many experiences which mirror their own. They are consistently spot-on with their advise and commentary, and seem like really nice people to boot. I'd recommend you search for their posts in the Travel Information forum. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:42 AM   #7
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Florida, I think you have a good question -- How to begin PT?

I retired about 15 months ago and have been outside of the USA for about 9 months of that time. I spent almost 7 months in Southeast Asia touring through 7 countries there and I just finished up 2 months in Colombia. Three friends of mine, who live on three different continents, joined me for about a month each for different parts of the journey. I am meeting one of them again next week for a short trip and I am meeting another one in India in January.

Before this odyssey, I had never been on any vacation for longer than 3.5 weeks. And I had never been to Asia. I had not really planned to be a PT and I am not ready yet to define myself as one. I just wanted to take a long trip to Asia and see what happened.

My suggestion is to visit some places and see how you like them. When I was traveling around I found places that I liked, a lot. For instance, I really enjoyed my time in Chiang Mai, Thailand. So much so that I plan to return to Thailand for several months starting in September. I made friends on my journey, both locals and expats, and I make an effort to stay in touch with them. I liked Medellin, Colombia, but I am not sure yet if I like it enough to live there part-time, I think I might prefer Mexico. I would definitely never live in Vietnam after visiting there. There were a lot of positive aspects to Cebu, Philippines and KL and Penang, Malaysia.

Now I am settling into a pattern of not traveling so much. Instead, I plan to go somewhere and just live for awhile (Thailand this year). And then I will have a "vacation" in India this winter and then return to Thailand for a couple more months. Some family members plan to come join me in Thailand around the holiday season, also -- warning, PT is contagious!!

Another suggestion I have is to downsize severely and ruthlessly cut overhead. When I am not in the USA, my total monthly overhead is around $170/month. That includes my high deductible health insurance, mail drop, car storage/insurance, and on-line subscriptions (WSJ, YahooMail) but does not include income taxes. Obviously, I do not own a home. Before I leave this time, I am considering both selling my car and legally establishing Texas residency. I am currently culling all of my worldly belongings down to fit into about 4 cubic meters, and hopefully less (I am admittedly a downsizing fanatic)

Language is an issue. I speak pretty good intermediate level Spanish as I just spent 2 months in Colombia. It would have been a major struggle to travel there without at least basic language skills (same for China -- I had Mandarin speaking friend with me there). Speaking the language opens up so many possibilities. In Thailand, many more people speak English than in Colombia. But your constellation of Thai friends is definitely limited by the language barrier. In other countries, like Malaysia and Philippines, many more people speak English.

I plan to spend my first month in Thailand this year in an intensive language school. I hope this will give me a base so that I will continue learning -- without a base it is hard to even learn, especially an Asian language. Thai is about twice as hard to learn as a Romance language and only half as hard to learn as the harder Asian languages of Japanese/Chinese/Korean (according to the US State Dept foreign language training statistics).

I do not have a solid long term plan at this point. But I am considering living half time in Thailand and living half time in Latin America. And spending about 3 or 4 weeks twice a year while transiting between them with relatives and friends in the USA. Long term, as in when you get old, I think one will pretty much have to pick one place to live.

Kramer
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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I will be starting my PT in 4 months, so I can tell you how I'm preparing, but won't have the hindsight to say what worked and what didn't

My game plan is look for places I'd like to settle and travel at the same time. My itinerary will be based on visiting cities or areas that I've identified as likely candidates for settling. The game plan is broad, there is no time limit on it.

I'm starting in SE Asia to visit three cities. I'm starting there because it's the relatively cool dry season and I have frequent flyer miles to use or lose. Next will be a swing through Latin America. After that I'll decide what to next.

I've been studying Spanish for four months, expect to be able to handle the basics by the time I get there. I've made trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic and found that the people were genuinely helpful and encouraging in my attempts to speak the language. I can see traveling through a country and only picking up a few words, but I can't imagine living in one without learning the language - it's part and parcel of becoming a part of the culture. The single biggest factor is determining if one is able to learn another language is motivation. If you don't have the motivation, don't even try.

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I've noted a mimiminal amount of customer service in my international travels has that been a factor to you?
I've had to adapt my way of living to theirs. A stranger in a strange land isn't going to make many friends or be treated well if he attempts to insist that his cultures' way of doing things is the expected / normal / acceptable. I've read that it's not uncommon for one to arrive at a border and have to wait for hours or days to get a visa. The more one is obviously impatient about the process, the more one attempts to hurry along the officials, the longer they're going to make you wait.

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And mixing with the locals well I think that a middle aged American man is an ATM machine to most locals.
Whether you let them treat you as an ATM is up to you.

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Originally Posted by Florida View Post
I have the time the money and I am looking for a little direction.
Find expat forums for the countries you're interested in and read, read, read. Read long enough to see that all you questions have already been asked and answered many times.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:33 PM   #9
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OK I understand how one can move from country to country but did you have a game plan when you began.

A few posters go to Thailand, Where did you stay when you first went there? What area? What hotel would you recommend? How much should one pay per week?
I stayed in Bangkok. Rooms are available for $210 (7,000 Baht) per month. Chiang Mai in the north would be cheaper still.

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How did you deal with the language? most people in foreign countries do not speak English, Some do but most dont.
I studied Thai with a tutor and it helped immensly

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I've noted a mimiminal amount of customer service in my international travels has that been a factor to you?
True, but thats life and ya gotta deal with it. Remember to smile and keep your cool.

Quote:
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And mixing wih the locals well I think that a middle aged American man is an ATM machine to most locals. If you disagree tell me where. It seems to me everything is about money in the 3rd world.
Pretty much the same everywhere, just different customs/cultures

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Any more input, I have the time the money and I am looking for a little direction.
For Thailand you might try the forums at thaivisa.com

Good luck!

Lance
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So what is it about Thailand ?
Old 07-12-2008, 01:05 AM   #10
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So what is it about Thailand ?

Many expats like it there.
Can I get a few reasons why it is so attracive to the expat.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:32 AM   #11
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haven't even been there yet but totally looking forward to thailand. what first attracted me was the food and the people. i love thai food. have for years. apparently i love it so much that three thai restaurants have opened shop within a few blocks from my house, no exaggeration. all three have been open for years and remain, fortunately for me, successful.

the thai people i've met in these places and others have been nothing less than gracious. i'll never forget one waiter who used to back away from the table and back almost all the way to the kitchen so as to not turn face from his customers. how many americans will turn their back on you, even while supposedly serving you, or being your friend for that matter? theirs seems a different mindset. other waiters on many occassions engaged me in pleasant conversation and the food is consistantly, thoughtfully prepared.

maybe my opinion is distorted by only having experience with new immigrants working hard to make their way here. but if they are only even just half as nice while working in a rut in their own country, they'd still be ahead of the game.

soon upon discovering fire and exploring what to do all day, i learned about the expat community in thailand. i was searching for nonhomophobic places where i could visit & maybe live, where i could survive fairly well speaking mainly english. most are as or more expensive than here and it struck me that i'm already very comfortable with english speaking culture. so i started looking outside of my comfort zone.

through local forums like thaivisa, ajarnforum, teakdoor and others, i started studying expat issues there. while it does not look like smooth sailing (language, visa runs, money exchange, distance from "home", social life, etc), there seems more pluses than problems. my life would be easier here, but more interesting there.

other aspects of thailand attracting me include the buddhism practiced there. though i'm not all that familiar yet with the theravada school, i am a long time student of dzogchen. i also, naturally, appreciate their sexual acceptance of gays. and, of course, the cost of living and favorable exchange rate even with a low us dollar make thailand very attractive for a retiree on a fixed income (ok, well, i fix it but i just love saying that).

but really all i have to do to be attracted to a place like thailand is to look at the pictures. go to your favorite search engine, type in thailand and pull up images. it takes my breath away and i haven't even seen it yet.



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photo credit: By UFN Show on Flickr
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:09 AM   #12
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When Billy and I retired in 1991, we didn’t have a strict game plan for travel. We began by moving to Nevis, British West Indies and stayed there for 6 months. When we came home we bought a 5th wheel trailer and traveled the Western US for 2.5 years.

We just wrote our own script. Things began evolving after that. We met up with some friends in Mexico in the early 90’s and ended up living in Chapala off and on for 10 years. Met up with these same friends in Thailand in the late 90’s and have been going to Asia for lengths of time ever since.

I guess it depends on one’s style of travel, and of course, if you are single or in a couple. You mention that you are single, so there are bennies and drawbacks to that - same as if you were a couple.

Kramer seems to have the best of both worlds, as he is currently single, but then he meets up with friends and travels with them from time to time.

I would suggest reading Expat forums in the countries that appeal to you. Take a look at Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommers, Rick Steve’s or Fodor’s travel sites and get a travel sense of the country.

Also, take a look at our Travel, Involvement with Local Cultures Page and possibly utilize the housing options section. It is easier to meet locals when one doesn’t present themselves as a tourist, but rather as a traveler. Housing/lodging is a big expense, whether you are traveling or staying put.

Become local as soon as you are able. Go where the locals go. Learn a few survival phrases and build from there. If you can, learn the local language either through an immersion school, language tapes or a local teacher or girlfriend.

If you end up dating locally, be sure you know the cultural rules. In some countries like Laos, dating a foreigner is against the law. In other countries like Thailand, you can date, but the ‘rules’ are different - and it would behoove you to know your playing field. (see Thailand Fever )

RE: being treated as an ATM machine - if you hold onto your money so hard you squeak, and resent any kind of sharing it, you will have one set of experiences. If you flaunt it and try to be the ‘Big Daddy’ you will have another. Best to find your own authentic rhythm and accept the consequences. People are people everywhere. If you exchange effort instead of providing money it will bring you yet another set of experiences.

This is your life, live it as it satisfies you. Find your balance.

RE: Thailand and why it is so attractive - that varies also with the person. Some guys love it because the women are so gracious and beautiful. But that is only the surface level of its attractions.

If you enjoy the Buddhist perspective, this is a lovely place to live. The weather is mostly gentle if you like the tropics. Food is decent and the country is clean. Prices are higher in Bangkok and the beaches, but in the smaller towns or up north, the hotels, travel treks, food, and entertainment are more reasonable. (See our Thailand Travel Page)

Are you a candidate for being a Perpetual Traveler? How will you know until you try? I don’t know that we started out that way, it’s just that it’s the way we ended up. We wanted to see certain places in the world, we travel slowly (months or years at a time) and voila! That’s what we became - but we like to consider ourselves Global Residents instead of PT’s as it seems more accurate.

Just as we like to consider ourselves Financially Independent instead of simply ‘Retired.’ Some people like to get their underwear in a bunch if you call yourself ‘retired’ and then actually put forth any kind of effort towards projects or goals… as if retirement means you withdraw from any applied effort in your life.

Lastly, I would simply say ‘get started’ and go from there. If you need a schedule or plan, write one. If you like it more loose, make it loose.

We always have what we call a ‘skeleton plan’ (because we like the notion of a plan, even when we don’t stick to one…) and then we flesh it out as it evolves.

Find your own style.

Best to you all ways,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:56 PM   #13
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it must be like how a str8 man in america supports a nonworking wife. ick.
Yes, I went from lawyer to kept woman in just a few short years, my parents must be proud!

DH and I were lucky enough to meet the Kaderlis, MJ, and Kramer in Thailand over the new year. We really admire them all - the fact that they are doing what we dream about.

I don't know if we have it in us to travel indefinitely. One of the reasons is that we are such dog lovers - we have an old girl now, when she is gone I figure we'll spend a few years traveling until we can't resist getting another one or two. Who knows, maybe then we'll search out all the dog friendly places, like Paris where they can go to restaurants!

We feel we have taken a big step toward getting started though - we have downsized our things dramatically. We have only a small storage space. I really don't think you can get going on a PT plan before you learn to let go of a lot of things!
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:23 AM   #14
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IMHO,
One of the really nice things about Thailand is its very comfortable and friendly to all ages and genders, traveling independent or in a couple. Its relatively safe and definitely cheap so you don't sweat the taxi fare and you enjoy yourself more.
A great combination!
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:41 AM   #15
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Yes, I went from lawyer to kept woman in just a few short years, my parents must be proud!

oh, caught that one did you?

yet no one noticed the guy in the bikini? wow, & i thought i don't get out much. ya'all are too easy.
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:55 PM   #16
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Back to the original topic... I think the beginning is making that first plunge. For me it was a couple things 'collapsing' at the same time, and I have heard this story many times with the people I have met in China.

for me it was finishing university, breaking up with my long time girlfriend and not having a satisfying job. I had a friend/mentor in China who encouraged me to check it out, and the rest... is history.

I have heard similar 'collapse' stories with people getting divorced, losing a job etc. Something that dramatically changes your life and then you realize that there has never been a better time to get away than right this moment, because whatever it was that changed isn't holding you back anymore - you're free!

That said, I will agree that few people I've met moved overseas had the idea of becoming a pt or global citizen when they started. They just wanted to get away for a while.

One of the funny things I've found, is that Asia feels more at home than Canada, and I have an uneasy feeling when I go back to visit family. Kind of like you have this idea you should feel comfortable back in your 'home' country, but the idea and reality doesn't seem to relate, and no one can comprehend the things you've seen and done... so it's not too long before you're back on the road. Thankfully there are many people in similar situations all over the world - global citizens

Cheers.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:03 PM   #17
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Kramer i would like to here more about columbia if you don't mind,
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:46 PM   #18
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Kramer i would like to here more about columbia if you don't mind,
What would you like to know? I am probably headed back to Colombia in early July. I am back in the USA as of 1 week ago after about 8.5 months in Asia. I don't know as much about Colombia as I know about Thailand and the Philippines. But I intend to find out

Maybe send me a PM with your email.

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Old 05-25-2009, 02:21 PM   #19
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The most foreign city in Thailand, plenty of cheap hotels close to beach.
27 golf courses within 50 mile area, not sure of recent prices but used to be
around $25 for 18 including caddy fee, cart maybe $15 more. Can be kind of wild west and most anything is acceptable except drugs, very harsh laws against drug
users.
Pattaya One News Online - Our News Is Always New
http://www.pattayamail.com/

For guys that like the brown side.
They have plenty of venues for such people.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #20
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um I hetro not looking for the boys an don't play golf either just want to see new places an peoples an see the world before I'm to old to. but thx for the info k
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