I had been living in Mexico for a little over a year, and it was time to continue the adventure in another venue. I knew when I started this “slow travel” retirement dream that I would get attached to places and not want to leave. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico is truly an amazing place and I could see putting down more permanent roots there. That, however, was not the plan or the promise I had made. I know there is a propensity for people, myself included, to fall in love with a place and before you know it you find yourself more or less permanently ensconced. After 25 years of being relatively stationary, I wanted to. Indeed I had to, keep exploring the world, meeting new people, learning new things and continue this new and magnificent phase of being.

I had ideas of many places in my mind where I wanted to go but no firm plans of where I wanted to commit. There is an underground among long-term travelers that I have discovered. People that have been out there for a while having adventures, collecting experiences and building an internal database of what they love about the world and the best places to find it. I don’t know if it was merely a coincidence, karma or my current mindset but, among all the good people that I met that had been there, everyone said I had to go to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand; I would love it, and Asia was what I was seeking.

I had never been to Asia before, but the thought of it did excite me. Everything I had read or heard about it made it seem mysterious and exotic; almost impenetrable somehow.  The cultures, the food, the art even the landscapes all seemed so different and a challenge to my western mindset. Illogically, I even expected that even gravity might somehow behave differently. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I had completed a little tentative planning that would make the move simpler but only three days before I left, I bought a ticket.

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It is a strange and exciting experience to pack everything you own onto a commercial airline flight and leave for your new home, not knowing exactly where it will be. I was at the airport in Atlanta waiting for a flight to Seoul, Korea that would eventually connect me to Chaing Mai when I finally booked a hotel for a place to base while I looked for something a little more permanent. I knew no one there and little about my destination but it was exciting. I was on my way and beginning year two of LifePart2; my retirement travel adventure.

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