Stickman Readers' Submissions August 25th, 2010

What Would I Do All Day?

After my second piece on semi-retirement (Heaven on Earth), I received an email that I found interesting. In it the author commented on the fact that my sample budget allowed for going out drinking 2 times per week, not 7. “What will you do the other 5 days, stay locked up in your condo watching TV?” Now I understand that things change and the best laid plans and all that, but I can think of a lot of things to do the other 5 days besides drinking, and I love nothing better than a lazy afternoon, drinking with friends and discussing life.

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The following is my current schedule here in the US. I get out of bed at 6:00 am, exercise, thirty minutes to an hour and a half depending on my schedule (on travel days I’m up at 5:00 am and skip the workout, as I have to be at the airport by 5:45am). I have a quick shower, a bowl of oatmeal and then to the office. I’m at my desk between 7:00 and 8:00 am, unless I have court. If I have court, I don’t get back to the office until around 11:00 a.m. This puts me behind on phone calls and paperwork and makes for a longer day. Most days I leave the office between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm. On travel days, I fly at least once a week, add an hour or two depending on which flight I am able to catch. On Saturdays I work 3 to 5 hours on paperwork and Sundays only 2 to 3.


In my off time I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with a friend who is a black belt. He would train me 6 days a week if I had the time. I’m lucky if I get in a train once a week. I paddle board or kayak when I can and train mixed martial arts with a younger guy once or twice a week. I’m not an athlete, just a middle-aged guy trying to keep the extra pounds off in ways that are less monotonous than jogging down the street.


I read one or two novels each week and spend a little time on the novel I’ve been “writing” for the last 8 years. It's slow going when you can only put in a few hours here and there. Add to this schedule, time to socialize with friends and chase women. Not a whole lot left, especially since all my friends are married with young kids and spend most of their time on family activities.


My hopes in semi-retirement are to spend more time doing the things I enjoy and less on work. I would love to be able to sleep in a bit, then off to the gym for a workout. If I’m near the ocean, surfing each morning would be a treat. Maybe train some jiu jitsu or muy thai and really be able to make some progress. A long massage after a tough training session would be great, followed by a leisurely lunch. After lunch, read up on world events, work on my writing and correspond with friends. In the afternoon a nap, or some pleasure reading. I have hundreds of books on my Kindle that I haven’t had the time to read.


In between these diversions, there would definitely be some skirt chasing. Naughty bars or good girls, I’m sure I would try both. I know some long-timers are shaking their heads right now, saying this guy has no idea. He’ll be in the bars every night and broke in a year. In response I would offer this. Here in the city where I live (major city in southern California) most of what’s on offer in Thailand is available if you look for it, just at 5 to 10 times the price. When I first starting earning decent money I indulged myself. I had a great time and dated a variety of women. Much money was spent and although I don’t regret this time, it eventually lost its allure. I still like to have a good time, but I limit myself to once or twice a week. The important part of that statement is that I limit myself, not financial concerns or a girlfriend. If I’m on vacation, then I eat what I want and drink every day, but I can’t live like that in real life. I don’t like the physical or financial ramifications. As much as I enjoy a good buzz, I detest hangovers.


Now I know many will say that no matter what it is like here, nothing compares to Thailand with its unique temptations. I would agree with that statement, but it's not as dry here as many think. I was struck by Stick’s comments in his weekly piece about Pattaya’s Soi 6. He said that this is what he imagined prostitution was like in the west. Maybe 10 years ago, but with the help of the internet and sites like backpage.com and theeroticreview.com, it's very simple to arrange P4P here. GFE is available starting at around 2500 baht up to 10,000 baht short time. Long time is available, just takes a lot more effort and expense, but can be had for around 20,000 baht, less if you have a decent personality and are a nice guy.


Now, I know some will see these prices as ridiculous and prohibitive to all but a few, but are they really? If the average English teacher is earning 40,000 baht per month, a 2,000 baht short time is 5% of his income. If a guy earning $5,000 per month in the US, about what a teacher makes, drops $200 (about 6500 baht) that’s about 4% of his income. Add that to the fact that it seems far easier for a guy in the US to push his income to $75,000 or $100,000, than for a guy in Thailand to push his to 80,000 baht. This cuts the percentage in half.

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Maybe I’m delusional, but I think that I can make a go of it in Thailand or Central America without falling into the abyss. If I’m wrong, then I will come home and resume my current life, I just need to give it a try. I imagine it’s much tougher for those guys that come from areas where nothing is available.

Stickman's thoughts:

I think the one thing you REALLY have going for you is that you see exercise as an important part of your day. When I think about retirees in Thailand, any guy who takes exercise as part of his daily routine seriously seems to be doing just fine, irrespective of his financial situation. I guess guys who exercise regularly have superior discipline – which has many benefits – and obviously if they exercise they're probably going to be a little more careful with the boozing.

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