It is a hard thing, selling off everything you possess. As items are sorted and tagged at ridiculous prices to be sold in garage sales, your life passes before your eyes. I thought only at death did a person see that. Some items bring overwhelming emotion of past love or hurt, but there it goes for a buck…. Egad!!
You see…….. My wife and I have decided to try retiring very early. Like many people wishing to do this, we were faced with the decision of where and how we could have a comfortable life with the assets and income we would receive. Because we are too young to start drawing pensions, we will have to live on current investments and perhaps make some kind of supplementary income. Where in the world did we decide to retire????
A bit of background:
My wife is from Vietnam. She fled the horrors of war, poverty, and oppression to find a better life. She almost died in the attempt, but in the end, she became a proud Canadian citizen. I was born and raised in Canada. We married and honeymooned in Vietnam in 1999. Then it was till very hostile to foreigners and the mixture of culture shock, noise, corruption, and aggressive behavior left me with a bitter memory and no desire to ever return. There was very little tourism, not a cold drink to be found, and living conditions were very harsh by our standards. The bitterness faded and in 2006 we returned to visit with family. Wow!!! Vietnam had changed!! The people were friendly, foreign investment had pushed them into modern times with the products and services that are available. I was shocked to see services available in English. In 1999 there seemed to be no such thing. The 2006 trip caused a change in heart and we decide to go again. In 2009 we returned with friends and traveled as middle class tourists for a few weeks, and then lived as locals for a few.
A short story:
In 2009, I let it be known around my workplace that I was returning to Vietnam for a holiday. I already had some friends express interest in going, and some others saw it as a chance to travel with somebody who knew the ropes, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. In the end, we traveled as a party of 12, all becoming friends in short order.
We started in Saigon being met by family and traveled through the Mekong Delta, Chu Chi, Dalat, Hoi An, Hue, Danang, Hanoi, and Halong Bay. I will not go into a lot of the details of the trip, but suffice it to say that everybody had a great time. Everybody returned with amazing stories and adventures.
Tom, one of the co-workers that came on the trip did not return. He quickly endeared himself to the group and became a very pleasurable companion. Tom befriended and romanced a spinster sister in law in Saigon. It was an innocent and playful romance, fun to watch. They spoke different languages, but would giggle, tug each others hair, and do other childish things you would not expect of people close to 60. As we travelled north to Halong bay, he confided that he had made the decision to retire immediately upon return to Canada, get his affairs in order, and return to Vietnam to set up a house, and perhaps marry. He did not make it.
Tom fell ill and died in his sleep in a hotel in Hanoi…… He left this world with bright and happy thoughts, but we were left with tears and sadness. My sister in law was heart broken. I will see her in 2-3 weeks for the first time since the tragedy. It is going to be hard. Tom and his romance was a big influence to us, and still is. He helped make us realize that if we have the means, we have to enjoy what we can and who we can before God (or Buddha) comes a’calling. This was not the only reason for our decision, but one of them.
We retired early!!
The plan was to rent a container, ship the important items to overseas and sell off what was not. Our house sold, and everything was ready to go when……….. 30 days before the move, we were horrified to find out we could not take anything with us!! What??!! My God!! The house is sold and we have no choice. Everything has to go! It has to be the hardest thing ever done, disposing of all of ones possessions. I felt sick to my stomach, but miraculously, once it was all gone, it was like being reborn. Now we are free. I literally only possess 2 suitcases full of stuff and 1 mini laptop. (50 % of my suitcases being filled with my wife’s stuff) With a solemn goodbye to co-workers and emotional hugs to relatives, we set off into a new life.
So the story ends and the unknown begins.
This brief biography is intended only to give a reader a basic background of where we are coming from. There is a lot of details and information omitted; however, this blog is not intended to be about us, but to share an adventure.
What is it like to give up everything and change lifestyles?
What is it like to move to a totally different country and culture?
What kind of odd day to day experiences will one encounter?
The adventure begins……….. stay tuned