Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

Hey everyone. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? We had a low-key holiday and relaxed with some local friends. It was good to catch up and our kids had a lot of fun together. Then, I flew to Thailand the next day. So hello from Thailand! Black Friday was a busy travel day in the United States. At PDX (Portland airport), the TSA line was much longer than usual. Fortunately, it seems the TSA was prepared this time. The line moved quickly and I got through in about 20 minutes. Whew! I’ve been meaning to get the TSA PreCheck, but there were too many other things to do. I’ll put it on my 2023 New Year goal sheet. That way, it’ll be on my radar. These days, if it isn’t written down, it won’t get done.

Anyway, I’m in Thailand to see my parents. My mom has Lewy Body dementia and it’s getting bad. In January, she could walk a bit and I helped her exercise when I was here. We even went swimming together. Unfortunately, the LBD advanced quickly this year. Now, she is bedbound and can’t move at all. She doesn’t talk and she has to be fed through the feeding tube. It’s a terrible disease. I’m here to help my dad care for her. It’s too much work for him. Actually, she is staying in the hospital now so the nurses help a lot. But I’m here for myself too. Fortunately, early retirement enable me to spend an extended time in Thailand. For this trip, I’ll be here for about 10 weeks.

Chiang Mai is back

In better news, Chiang Mai is back! There are a lot more tourists here than on my previous trips. I hear people speaking Korean, Japanese, English, and other languages. It’s great for the locals. The last two and a half years were really tough for them because Chiang Mai has a big tourism industry. Many small hotels and restaurants went out of business because there weren’t enough visitors. It’s great to see the hustle and bustle back in Chiang Mai.

Although, tourism hasn’t fully recovered yet. China was the largest source of visitors for Thailand before Covid. Unfortunately, the CCP is still sticking with the zero Covid policy so it’s hard to travel. FYI, Chinese tourists spend a lot of money. They buy luxury goods to bring back for friends and families or for resale. From what I hear, they spend a lot more than Western tourists. 

Anyway, things are improving in Chiang Mai. November to February is the peak travel season in Chiang Mai. It is the cooler season. The weather is usually dry and mild. The highs have been around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and it cools off to about 65 at night. This might be too hot for many people, but it’s perfect for me. Also, it isn’t very humid right now. It’s a nice break from the cold and rain in Portland. Eventually, I’d like to spend every winter in Chiang Mai. It’s a great getaway and the cost of living is still very cheap compares to the United States.

Chiang Mai cost of living December 2022

Here is what the cost of living looks like in December 2022. The exchange rate is about $1 to 36 baht.

  • Housing – I’m paying less than $300/month for a studio in my dad’s building.
  • Transportation – A ride on a song taew (shared taxi) cost 40 baht each. That’s about $1.10.
  • Food – The price of food varies widely. Sushi and western food are much more expensive than local Thai food. You could buy lunch for about 50 baht ($1.30) if you like local Thai food. But you could easily spend 300+ baht at nicer restaurants.
Khoa mun gai for 45 baht.

I’ll probably spend around $600/month on this trip. That’s pretty cheap, right? Although, my entertainment budget will be close to zero on this trip because I won’t have much time or inclination for fun activities this time. I’ll be in the hospital a lot to spend time with my mom.

All right, it’s a short one today. I’m still trying to recover from jet lag. Next time, I’ll write a post that is more on topic. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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16 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving 2022!”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your mother Joe, it’s wonderful that you are there with her and supporting your dad. It’s most certainly a good time to be away from the cold and dreariness of Portland. Safe Travels!

  2. It’s interesting to hear your comment about how much Chinese tourists spend. We spent 3 nights at an expensive (well, I think it’s expensive) resort in the Philippines, and saw they had a bottle of wine for about $2,500! I asked the staff if anyone ever ordered it, and he responded that sometimes the Chinese visitors do. If I was spending $2,500, it wouldn’t be on a bottle of wine! I think the cheapest bottle of wine that they sold was a bit over $20, so that’s quite a range from bottom to top.

  3. Wow, that is a lot of travel for one year! I wish this part were for better circumstances.

    At $600/mo., that’s incredible. One interesting post idea may be to price out what it would cost if you lived there for a whole year with a place big enough for your family. Maybe create two hypothetical lifestyles – what a similar lifestyle to what you have now would cost – and then an upgraded, luxury lifestyle with any kinds of extras that you may splurge for (since it’s cheap). I’d probably have a daily massage, for example.

  4. So sorry about your mother but glad that as a retiree you can visit. I don’t know how your family feels about end of life care decisions. My family (full of nurses) always says, “There are a lot worse things than dying.” Your mother is experiencing many of the “worse things”.

    • I’m trying to find more information on palliative care in Thailand.
      My dad doesn’t know much about it and the hospital doesn’t tell us much.
      My dad already signed a DNR. I’ll ask the doctors and try to research what options we have.
      Thank you.

  5. Happy belated Thanksgiving, Joe! Enjoy your time in Thailand… I really need to make that a place that I visit at some point!

    As a side note, you might want to consider Global Entry. It includes TSA PreCheck but it also expedites your time through customs when you’re coming back into the U.S. down to usually just a minute or two. Plus it comes as a benefit with a lot of credit cards (reimbursement for the fee). We’ve had it for a number of years now and love it.

  6. Hope the trip goes well, Joe!
    It’s always tough with ailing parents. Unfortunately, it’s something many of us have to go through.

    It’s amazing that you’ll spend only $600 a month!
    I would love to take a trip there, too, if only I could afford the airfare. How much was your ticket? And how long was the flight? How many layovers?


    • I might spend more if I have time. But it doesn’t look likely at this point.
      The airfare was pretty cheap for this trip. I spent about $200 because I used some airline miles and credit card points.
      From Portland, we usually have 2 stops. One in LA, SF, or Seattle. Then another one in Japan or Korea.


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