So how does one decide where to live when retreating (retiring) from busy careers?


Australian life while wonderful was costly.  We enjoyed Sydney and the surroundings with clean air, lovely infrastructure, my children and grandchildren which was a reason to stay,’ but!  The cost of living was always on the rise and as you transition from a regular wage to your retirement pension income it was important to be considerate of ensuring the best quality of living.  We wanted to ensure our dollar went as far as possible and didn’t think Sydney wasn’t going to provide that.

This was the dilemma facing us as we were deciding to wind down our full-time roles.


Saying our farewell at Sydney airport was a challenge but it was also with a feeling of excitement for a new chapter in life; it was the 17 March 2014 and our Qantas flight took us to Bangkok and then onwards on Thai airways into Chiang Mai, our new home, and future. We had a suitcase of possessions to keep us going for 2 months.

Our other possessions had been loaded into a container in Sydney a week earlier and were making their way by ocean freighter across the seas with a planned arrival about mid-April 2016.


We had a small house rented outside of Chiangmai to call home for the next for two months until our house was complete and the furniture arrived. It was a single story, compact bungalow that allowed us to keep our two cats.

It was perfect for our situation and wasn’t very far from our new house so our daily trips to oversee construction finalisation were quick, easy but frequent.


Our two cats were to follow us on Thai Airways the next day. Thanks to Jetpets for taking care of the arrangements. We were anxious for Lucas and Lindsay; it was a long way for them in a cage from Sydney.  On the 18th March, our two cats arrived after their very long plane ride and overnight stay in Bangkok. They were a slight mess and not happy.  They had water dispensers in the cage that had obviously spilled into the cage and onto the cats.  They smelled as well.


A trip to our temporary house and quick cat shampoo followed to get them back to their former glory – they seemed to be a lot happier.

The next 6 weeks were filled with visits to the house and monitoring of workers and the finishing details.  Any concerns we had were either rectified or added to a defects list to be addressed post title transfer?  You can check out the house construction page for details on what was keeping us busy.

After 6 long weeks, our worldly possessions arrived in Bangkok and were unloaded, cleared customs and trucked to our door. The possessions were shipped in Ace’s name as that allowed them to arrive customs and duty-free as a returning Thai national.  The moving company had unpacked the container and loaded a moving truck for the journey to Chiang Mai.  They had driven all night, arrived early to outskirts of town for a quick rest and then arrived at the house to unload early.

The house still wasn’t finished with carpenters still installing the kitchen cupboards so there was lots of mayhem on delivery day.  The movers wanted to dump and run but we insisted they deposit the furniture in the appropriate locations throughout the house before making a getaway back to Bangkok.


We continued with the organising of the furniture and unpacking of our goods.  The move turned out very successful with only some minor dints to the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, the inside of refrigerator hadn’t been dried out sufficiently before being shipped and some of the drawer sliders had rusted.  Luckily we found a Fisher Pycal shop in a local shopping center and were able to have them replaced to original working order – happy about that.

With the gardening and decorating projects taking time to complete along with some visitors and travel we were kept very busy during our first year.  While all this was going on there were some other activities that also had our attention, some routine and some pleasurable.