Travel Advisory

It’s debate time here. Well, sort of.

More like a wrestling match between the left and right hemispheres of white matter in the little box on top of my head.

I read about Sarah’s observation that millenials crave more for a work-life equation that provides more flexibility, good benefits and diversity in tasks. Maybe it sounds condescending, but do millenials really think they deserve what they demand for? To say that one could drop work and walk out for a journey at any time hints of a lack of committment. We made it to this point to facilitate the millenials’ lifestyles only through the efforts of the earlier generations. It did not occur by chance and will not be funded on its own…sooner or later even the hardest core of roadsters will find energy and monetary resources waning (read here for an earlier post).

And for income its not like as if Millenials are the only ones who crave flexibility in a good paying + benefits job. Which working mom does not? As if teaching English will go a long way, look at this article for teaching posts in Hawaii. Bloggers do have a responsibility NOT to sensationalize their stories. Perhaps in China, Vietnam or Thailand they pay so well for someone who had not been a qualified teacher before? Like I mentioned here, I would not like to be taught scuba diving by someone who just got their qualifications.

We are at an evolutionary stage where most may live well beyond their 80s due to advances in medical knowledge and technologies. Planning ahead for your life is more crucial now than before. At the risk of sounding like a financial adviser, I am going to say that the best time to invest for a retirement is to start young, not spend it all (time and money) at that period of energetic youth.

I hope the millenials get that.

Shannon’s messgae for the young to travel before college on the other hand is actually good advise. Americans need to get out more often. I have been asked frequently by Americans why we seem to know so much about the US (not just its celebrities). Yes it’s true the US is a continental sized nation, with enough happening to fill your newsfeed 24/7. But increasingly the rest of the world is catching up (or have caught up) and there is a lot of missing out going on here for Americans that do not look outside your own backyard.

Frankly, Danielle hits a home run here. There is merit to enjoy your journeys at a measured pace. Some folks tend to think they will discover themselves in their 20s if they leave on a whirlwind world trek. Honestly, I don’t think we knew what we wanted or what our interests were at that time. We only rediscovered our love for history, geography and the arts when we got to our late 30s.

And as we started posting blogs and stories from our travel handprint, we came to the realization that our journeys from the days of our 20s were so much blander than we have today. It certainly was exciting at that time. However, with time we have gained sufficient knowledge and experience to do it more meaningfully, if only we can turn back time.



Seeking Swiss refuge

The past few days had been really busy with meetings, discussions and all manner of business interactions. All set in the midst of mountains, lakes and very old hotels. These are venerable dames, dating back a few hundred years and frequented by the likes of poets, philosophists and even of course the movie stars.

IMG_0894One such location is Vevey, a city perched on lake Geneva. More famous for its corporate son – Nestle (which I do not work for), the city was also a host to folks like Charlie Chaplin.

Well, he actually lived in Vevey for well over 25 years, bringing up his four kids. Now I actually only recall the silent black and white movies which he was supposedly famed for in the 1930s. But he is much more renowned than for those works.

Anyway the town which Sir Charles Chaplin spent his life in has been celebrating the near 75 years of his achievements (he started at 7 as a child actor!). I could see it everywhere, from the statue near the Hotel Grand Du Lac by lake Geneva to the chocolates you can buy.There are even tours here dedicated to showing you about his life.

Well, you learn something everywhere you travel to. Even when it is for business.

The Lima fraternity

Lima – “in the Malay language, means the number five”, “in Latin, it is name and means goddess of the threshold”, “in Arabic it can also mean blackish”, “in radio communications, it stands for the letter L”. Yeah like “Lima Zulu hot.. alt over” aka the landing zone is under fire and we need to land the helicopter at an alternative site.

Google the word asking the question what does Lima mean and you can get the above and more.

For us, Lima it means Life Is Magical & Astounding. Because it really is. Read more here.

Travel journeys while retired?

We have written some time back that one of the aspirations of retiring folks is to travel and “see the world”. Continue to read here. Passport stampsI did recall that we questioned the intent of traveling in one’s golden years. Well, ‘question the intent’ may sound a little harsh, but it was the increase in sites such as this, promising an affordable lifestyle without the realities of high costs that got us going on this subject matter.

Does what these sites promise really exist?

I mean doesn’t it sound enticing to someone on the edge of stepping into the abyss that possibly retirement is, discover that you can live on the cheap and yet with all the trappings of your life past? And sprinkle in a dose of low medical costs now that you are getting on in years? Climate’s warm, you have a host of places to travel to…cheaply…

Some years back (actually around 2006/7), I was reading up a fair bit about retirement destinations in Central America (Panama and Costa Rica springs to mind). Then, it became South America, particularly Ecuador and Argentina. All these targeting Americans. You know what? The pitch sounds the same.

The low cost trips to the local specialist physician compared with how much similar standard of care would cost in the US. The same low cost home rentals and affordable local cuisine + you get to travel the backyard on the cheap. Well, that appears to be changing now. The policies where expatriates enjoy low cost medical care are going, going and eventually will be gone. At least if you think it will last…carry on. Taxes on foreigners holding property in those countries are rising. The cost of living, well – you really need to adjust to local food, shopping etc.

So what makes southeast Asia that much more of a draw? Over the years, it has been observed that the cost of medical care go up not just in the little red dot, but all over Asia. Especially in countries with a low base to start with. They seem to “leapfrog” the more mature ones, opting for more sophisticated and better drugs, medical implants, equipment etc…how could costs continue to stay low? You want cheap? Take generics. Do retirees really expect the physicians in countries like Thailand to continue being paid a fraction of their counterparts elsewhere as their skillsets improve?

Cost of living appear low now in comparison, but it is also rising. Especially as a middle class develops and demand better quality in a host of goods and services. And will travel in this part of the world continue to be affordable? Perhaps in specific countries. And if you adapt. We’ve seen retirement communities in Chiang Mai. But as cost rise in the more developed parts of the region where retires now domicile, it could become a perpetual chase for the end of the rainbow of low cost retirement and travel.

So what’s the point of this post? And what does it have to do with travel?

Our posit is : like your diet or retirement funding, take your journeys in moderation and start early. But don’t quit your job.

Most of us (who profess to be part of the 99%), will invariably need to set aside monies for the time when we cease to be able to work. Planning to spend a lot (yes its relative) of that accumulated capital  on traveling at that point (without requisite income plans) can be risky.

What do you think?

The Alps always inspires

Each time that I travel on business to Switzerland, I had always wanted to take a nice photo of the mountains that ring the country, or at least runs through it. Well, I get the opporutnity to do this over the next few days as we set out on some team building and meetings.

IMG_0809Unfortunately this also the third time in a row that Suan could not make the landing with me here. A combination of depleted air miles, budget and also time. You see, we are off to Russia next week and then in the 2nd week of June in the US for 2 weeks. Anyway its not like she’s not been here before.

It is definitely not a jet set lifesyle, rather more of taking “advantage” of the business travel to extend our own travel handprint – we call it “bleisure” after we learnt of this term. It’s not our invented term for sure.

The idea is to get a job that provides for a reasonable amount (its relative) of business travel so that:

  • you’d earn some air miles, especially if you travel business.
  • collect some hotel nights’ stay – some allow double dipping.
  • combine that with some leisure on the side, ok best after.

Back to Switzerland, it really pays to get a window seat probably not over the wings, as that will provide much more unobstructed views. I’ll remember to do that when I do the return leg. Hopefully the day will be as clear and sunny as today.

Fancy a hotspring bath in Singapore?

Fancy a hot spring bath in Singapore instead of the infinity pool on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel? Imagine how luxurious it will be, the warm mineral waters caressing your skin.

Well, halt! Who goes there?

Read more here.