In 2010, a friend of mine talked me into joining him on a three week vacation to coastal Thailand. I hadn’t been back in the SE Asia area since the late 1970’s, and back then, I wasn’t on vacation. The trip ended up changing a lot of prior plans. I’d initially thought about retiring and touring/drifting around the US, or maybe checking out retirement options in Panama. That didn’t happen.
With a year left to work, before I could take an early retirement, I set about selling off and giving away the majority of my tangible possessions. Sold the house, sold the furnishings, donated away all my books, and even sold the car (after a long delay). In the summer of 2011 I said
When I first got here, I spend two rewarding semesters teaching English grammar at the Father Ray Vocational School for Disabled Children. I met some wonderful people, had a lot of fun, and think I was able to give a bit back.
After two years in coastal Thailand, I got married, and moved to the northeast of Thailand. It’s been good enough that I’m continually asking myself why I didn’t move sooner.
In early 2013, while on a visit back to the US, I had a bit of a medical adventure, and ended up dying for a little bit. I had no identifiable early warning signs prior to keeling over. If not for a series of fortunate events, I would be gone. Having died once already, each new day forward is a gift, and each new day I’m trying to make the most of that gift. I’ve had a rather dramatic lesson in not waiting for the ‘right’ moment, rather, seize the moment you have right now–there might not be another.
The most important step in mapmaking is to throw out all the old maps you have in your glove compartment. Forget all the reports of earlier explorers. You can’t discover America if you keep shying away from the edge of the world. And if you do find it, you’ll waste years asking to be taken to Kublai Khan.