Hello and welcome to our travel blog and we appreciate you dropping by! Our goal is simple – enjoy and experience life while we still have the health and energy to do so. Do that travel we’ve always wanted but didn’t get round to. Experience what traveling and living in other countries feels like. Revel in and enjoy the journey. Currently based in beachside Hua Hin on Thailand’s Gulf Coast, we are pursuing new passions. For Vivien, that’s learning Thai and helping others with English. For me, it’s writing and photography. For both of us it’s travel and being able to share our experiences with you here, and in publications that accept my writing. Enjoy reading! Michael & Vivien

Andaman Islands, India – a cruising adventure!

A few months back Vivien’s brother Andy and his partner Kelli asked if we wanted to join them for a cruising adventure – a trip to the Andaman Islands, India!   Quintessa, their 47-foot motor cruiser was to be our means of travel and around 5 other cruising yachts would also be making the trip from Thailand to the Andamans and back. The overall trip was to be around 5 weeks as India only issues a 4-week Tourist Visa, plus our cruising travel time to and from.

Facing this decision, my practical mind started throwing up silly “But what about …..?” questions.

Questions like “But will we get seasick – its 50+ hours at sea before we see land again?”; “But will we cope living in the relatively close quarters of a boat with Andy & Keli (and them with us) for such a long period of time?”; “But what will the Andaman Islands be like – it is part of India?” And then thankfully, the words of American writer Mark Twain came to mind and I knew we just had to say Yes!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

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With visitors in tow, we visited what is said to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful and certainly most photographed caves. First impressions when we finally entered the enormous main chamber and saw the Kuha Karuhas (Royal) pavilion bathed in sunlight in the middle of Phraya Nakhon Cave – well worth the effort!

Our adventure started in Sam Roi Yot National Park, about a 45 minutes drive South of Hua Hin. We’d read that it’s best to be actually inside the cave around 10:00am as the pavilion and central chamber is swathed in sunlight from approximately 10:30 to 11:30am creating a magical view – so we’d set off early.

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Reflecting as we do, after experiencing something new, we both said WOW – what a fantastic adventure we have just had! We had taken part in a new Thai Food Tour here in Hua Hin. It’s called “Eat Like a Local” and promises to introduce participants to eateries that Thai locals love to frequent. No Green Curry or Pad Thai here! Each business focuses on their particular Thai Food speciality and delivers – in authenticity, taste, quality – and at prices, locals are happy to pay!

This an experience we will be recommending to our friends here in Hua Hin and to every one of our friends and family who comes to town!

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Three days staying in 5-star luxury is always exceptionally appealing.  This is a fantastic opportunity stimulated our first ever visit to Phuket.

We were invited to be the ‘on-screen talent’ for a promotional video being made to ‘sell’ the exclusive, luxurious and tropical Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa to Australian travellers.

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One year has passed since we landed in Thailand with our worldly possessions (70 kg of luggage) having made the decision to retire early and start a ‘new life’ travelling and living in Asia.

We had decided to Sell up totally, Pack up what meager belongings we had left and Take off on the biggest adventure of our lives – whilst we had age and health on our side!

It was definitely the biggest decision either of us have ever made – choosing to walk away from perfectly good jobs, friends and family, our home and all that comes with that – the security and comfort that all those things provided!

We were stepping into the unknown! Would we like it? Would we fit into that foreign place? Would me make friends? Would it be as affordable as we hoped? Could we be happy despite all our initial concerns and fears? Could we actually achieve this ‘new life’ that we hoped for?

So what do we think now, one year on?

Sure, adapting to a new country, language, customs and laws has been a challenge but not insurmountable. Finding friends and fitting in has been surprisingly easy. Expats like us understand what it’s like trying to establish yourself in a new place so go out of their way to help. And as long as you approach Thai people with humility, kindness and an attitude of equality they also are extraordinarily welcoming.

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Sell up, Pack up & Take off

Living and working in Shanghai for six years led us on a voyage of discovery in Southeast Asia. Shanghai is a fabulous city but it can be very intense. So whenever we wanted to chill out we would leave China behind and head to Southeast Asia – to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. We loved each of them in different ways. But there was one common theme that really struck us – the number of Australians of around our age or a little older (we were then in our 50s) who had decided to move to Asia permanently.

We discovered that you could get retirement visas in many of these countries – something we had never been aware of before. We found out that you could still get the Australian pension while living overseas – provided that you first applied for the pension while resident in Australia. And that you could even rent out your home in Australia for up to six years without affecting the precious tax-free capital gains on sale.

There’s a book in this!

One day the light bulb went on – “There’s a book in this.” We decided that so many older Australians were just like us. They had no idea that it was even possible to pack up and take off to a new and more comfortable life in Southeast Asia. And the dollar factor was important – every couple we met who had relocated to Asia were enjoying a much more luxurious lifestyle than they could afford at home. They often had domestic help in the house, thought nothing of having regular massages and manicures. But the fun factor was also important – an expatriate lifestyle is very social. These couples were out three or four times a week. Their circle of friends encompassed many different nationalities – and, almost by definition, they were interesting and adventurous personalities.

60 is the new 40

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