The Ten Best Things About Early Retirement in Chiang Mai

 | Tue 14 Jan 2014 10:35 ICT

Stephen retired in July 2013 at the age of 39 after work in submarines and classrooms. He currently enjoys motorbike trips around Chiang Mai.Not everyone’s favourite sound.

1. Wake up when you want.

I hate alarm clocks. Ive always resented being forced out of bed. From the age of 14 I got up at 0530 to deliver milk. Those wintry Northumbrian mornings still cause involuntary shivers. On submarines we were required to fight floods and fires while launching nuclear missiles from beneath the frozen Atlantic. Constant alarms, sleep deprivation and cold. Awful. Contrast that to waking up when you like in Chiang Mai’s tropical weather. Bliss.

2. Lunch.

I used to teach maths and a teacher’s life is subject to a timetable’s brutal regime. Never ending classes, marking, assemblies and duties conspire to leave you feeling exhausted. A rushed lunch is a futile exercise in energy replenishment. A million miles from a chilled Chiang Mai cafe. I like to ride out to a small bohemian place with views of Doi Suthep and rice paddies. Canny.

Not far out of Chiang Mai, on the Samoeng Loop.

3. Motorbike anywhere, any time.

Northern Thailand has some of the best riding in the world. Retirement allows you the time to slowly wind through fascinating tribal villages, sup cappuccinos at breathtaking viewpoints and simply enjoy the curves. Magic.


4. Learn Thai.

I love languages and currently attend a small language school that provides a one year education visa. Indulge a passion AND facilitate a visa solution. Sudyort!

You will wear what we tell you to wear.

5. Work.

No bosses, meetings, stupid colleagues, deadlines or regulations. No elaboration required here. Sorted.

6. Attire.

It’s difficult to choose the words to explain how I felt when I dumped a black-bin-bag full of work clothes in July. Liberating? Ditching shoes, shirts and ties in favour of t-shirts, shorts and flip flops is a no-brainer. More space in your wardrobe too. Result.

Easy as Pi.

7. Look after yourself.

When I arrived in Chiang Mai I couldn’t run 1 km or do a pull-up. After two months I regularly run 5 km and do ten pull-ups. Not being stressed and exhausted from work helps enormously. Puak Haad park on the SW corner of the moat is a pleasant place to feed the fish after a sunset run. Beautiful.


8. Reading and writing.

I love both. Chiang Mai has dozens of little bookshops and WIFI enabled coffee shops. Perfect.



9. Generate income by doing things you like.

Supplement your retirement income. I earn a few extra bob by tutoring maths. Industrious.



I’d like to thank Mel Gibson for providing the best reason of all!


For more information visit his blog Awol Geordie.


For maths tutoring visit Chiang Mai Maths Tutoring.