June 1, 2018

Getting Away From It All




There are many benefits associated with living in different places as you get to experience a much richer perspective of the world; indeed, sometimes we can find ourselves living in our own bubble to the point that we feel timid and uncomfortable with embracing new cultures, or new experiences, and that’s where travel can really help develop us as people and open our eyes to the rich diversity of life on this planet.

Now, not everyone wants to pack up and live somewhere new, particularly if you have a young family, but there’s a great middle ground that can bring the benefits of having a stable base in your home community whilst exploring the world - and that’s the idea of mini retirements.

A mini retirement recognizes that life is unpredictable and that taking some time out to fully explore the world is an enriching adventure we can all benefit from.

A mini retirement could, perhaps, be viewed as a gap year or sabbatical, but taking a mini retirement isn’t necessarily about not working. In fact, the ideal might be to keep earning in a strong currency such as pounds or dollars, either through freelance work or a remote working agreement with your current employer… and then travel to a country that offers a higher standard of living; as in, there are some countries where you can live like royalty for just $1,000 a month.

This is the power of contrast. For instance, you could rent a beautiful four bedroom house right on the ocean with a staff of cleaners, cooks and drivers in a country like the Philippines for much less than you could a one bedroom flat in London or New York.

See, today, it’s less about making tons of money; it’s more about utilizing your resources to squeeze the most out of the time you have on Earth.

With that in mind, here are three destination ideas for places to take a mini-retirement and get away from it all for a bit.


1. CHIANG MAI (THAILAND)

Many would describe Chiang Mai as a mystical land of temples, rice paddies, monks and jungle; yet the city itself, is a city in the same way Bangkok is a city. Admittedly, it’s at a much slower pace than Bangkok, but it is a city with its own congestion issues, nevertheless.

However, the areas around Chiang Mai - particularly places such as Pai do offer the picture perfect environment that people associate with this region; with an abundance of rice paddies, canyons, meandering rivers, and a much slower pace of life.

Chiang Mai makes a great place to rent a property for a few months, as a base, from which you can then explore the rest of Thailand. With direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui you are able to live in the North of Thailand (much cheaper and perhaps a little friendlier) and go on mini breaks to the more exotic locations which are just an hour away.


2. ISTANBUL

As a country, Turkey has received a fair amount of bad press in recent years, with terrorist attacks, political instability and social unrest bombarding the headlines.

In reality, however, Istanbul is a place where people get along with each other very well and tourists are respected. Indeed, there is a sense of community and brotherhood within Turkey that instantly makes you feel part of the culture. In essence, Istanbul is a very safe city that will offer a warm welcome. The only caveat to this is that women can be known to get a little more hassle from men than they are used to in the west.

Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris - in that it is is one of the world’s greatest cities to explore with plenty of things to do yet it is comparatively cheap when compared to the cities above.

The joy of Istanbul is the city retains a traditional and authentic feel yet is superbly modern, design oriented, relaxed, and friendly; perhaps one of the best ways to experience this is to do an istanbul old city walking tour as you’ll then get a taste of both the old and traditional side with the new and much more contemporary side to Turkish culture.


3. KUALA LUMPUR

Kuala Lumpur is known for being a melting pot of cultures with a serious foodie scene. It’s an impressively modern and clean city that retains the charm of a SE Asian city, and the congestion, but the huge shopping malls and architectural feats such as Petronas Towers make Kuala Lumpur feel very modern.

Whilst Kuala Lumpur isn’t as cheap to live as the likes of Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam or even Thailand… it is a fantastic hub to travel from - as some of the cheapest flights in Asia can be found departing from Kuala Lumpur airport, plus, it’s a city that’s very easy to live in. It feels mostly westernised and has great infrastructure for life; whether that’s fast internet or premium health clubs.

The other thing to consider, is that you can earn a decent wage here due to the modernity and pervasiveness of the English language.


*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.