Reflections of 2017, Living More Bigly

2017 Cost of Living

Don’t Kiss Me Mom, people are watching! (Santorini, Greece)

2017 was our 5th full year of this thing we are doing. You know, life.

We completed another full circumnavigation of the globe, spending 4 months in Europe, a month in the US, 6 weeks in Japan, and the remainder in Taiwan. Along the way Jr collected his 28th passport stamp. This is the first year we intentionally remained outside the US 330+ days (cuz taxes.)

At year end, upon arrival in Taiwan we signed an 18-month lease, making it our official recharge center. Jr has started part time pre-school, and we are doing our best to be completely normal in every way that doesn’t involve going to work.

Some highlights of the year:

  • spring in Paris
  • summer in Provence
  • 10-20¢ mile valuation for Business class flights to Europe
  • 5 Free hotel nights in NYC
  • Alaska Cruise with Mom & Grandma (our first and final cruise)
  • Meeting 100+ GCC fans at meet ups across the US. (Love you guys!)
  • $5.60 Dreamliner flights to Japan
  • I bought a bike! (yeah!)
  • Oh…. and having the most expensive year of our lives….


Reflections of 2016, Hey Big Spender

You spent how much?! (Blue Lagoon, Iceland)

2016 was our 4th full year of living large. And this year we have the receipts to go with it.

We traveled a bit, spending time in 16 countries. This includes a month in Thailand, a month in Malaysia, a few days in Singapore, 4 months in Western Europe, 2 months in the US, and a few months in Taiwan. Jr has been to 17 countries now.

If that weren’t enough, Winnie finished and published her book (in Mandarin), we took a ton of photos, wrote some blog posts, attended a blogging conference, and even appeared in People Magazine (print only, see all press here.)

Whew! One of these days we are going to have to actually retire, or something.


Our Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang

For 2 months at the tail end of 2015, we called Chiang Mai, Thailand home.

We quickly settled into a way of life that revolved around yoga and Crossfit, afternoon swims, walking among the temples, and exploring the vast food scene.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve were special nights out on the town, as were the dual Thai festivals of Loi Krathong and Yi Ping.

As we explored the city we met a diverse and exciting group of new friends, and shared our favorite places with visiting friends and family.

We enjoyed a high quality of life with a surprisingly low cost.


The GCC Accumulation Phase Expenses

Old Growth Forest Near Home

Old Growth Forest Near Home.  The Price Is Right

If somebody was looking for a great example of how to live lean, to truly be efficient in spending and maximize savings…  we would not be it.  Or at least, we wouldn’t be a good example today

It just takes a quick look at our detailed expenses to see that we are by no means a frugal household.  We rent 5-star accommodations, eat out 2 to 3 times a day, and buy whatever we want whenever we want.

This is one reason that I find it a little humorous when the idea of early retirement gets some mainstream press, and people go nuts in the comments.

“Yeah, right.  Like I’m going to live like I’m in poverty now, so I can save enough to allow me to live like I’m in poverty forever.  No thanks.  I’m going to work forever and live a little”

“Yeah, you can do that in Whereverville, but here in my high cost of living area it is impossible (turns on TV)”

Besides ignoring the effects of compound interest, or the value of time and freedom, this type of comment ignores the obvious.  A person that lives well below their means can always choose to increase spending.  A person that is already spending everything they earn has few options, in spending or in life

So I thought I would look back and see what we were spending while we were still accumulating, to see what 10 years of “living like we were in poverty” in a “high cost of living area” looked like


Reflections of 2014, A (re)Productive Year

2014 was our 2nd full year of Early Retirement and International Intrigue

We began the year by slipping into Cuba, experiencing a country lost in time.  And none too soon.  Based on recent statements by President Obama, the Cold War may finally gasp its last breath.  Cuba will never be the same

Back in the modern world, we jetted across the Pacific on a secret mission that would change our lives forever.  Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine and In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), we were able to create a little human boy, due April 15th, 2015 (Ironic, no?)  Going to Taiwan for Medical Tourism saved us 80% off US prices

Our intentions were to undergo IVF treatment, travel throughout SE Asia, then head to Europe for a Destination Birth.  But even with infinite flexibility, things didn’t go as planned.  A little scare and a brief period of Doctor mandated bed rest convinced us to stay in Taiwan throughout the pregnancy.   We explored a bit, visiting Taroko Gorge and the islands of Penghu, and I road a bike 900 km all the way around Taiwan

In Taipei, we found some great accommodations and spent our day hours pursuing artistic endeavors.  Winnie studied water painting, oil painting, calligraphy, and the flute.  I am 3.5 semesters into an intensive Chinese language program, and continue to play guitar daily.

Life is good