To start with I am here in Chiang Mai Thailand because of the so called "Great Recession". Rhetorically, what is so great about a recession that so dramatically changes the lives of so many people, in particular the American middle class (who foe decades have been the back bone of America). There are some people living in Chiang Mai because that great recession put them in a position where they had to look for an alternative to living in the US. My situation, because of my own ability to manage some things has put me in a less dire situation.
Putting that aside. I went to Chiang Mai in October/November in 2012 to make an exploratory trip for four weeks. During that tripe felt like a child in Disneyland. Everything seemed just so amazing and the mere chance of how things fit so delightfully pleasant was like a new awaking. Perhaps some of that was because of the US economic situation. When I returned to the US I went to some kind of meeting. One of the people said that I sounded like one of those "Marigold Hotel" people, referring to a movie. After four years I found that to be a compliment. In one way it could be said that I had the courage to look at a way to improve my life, even if it included living outside of the US.
After that first trip I came up with an inspiration. It wasn't exactly original. Living in Arizona there is this thing called snow birds. There are many communities in the Phoenix that cater to this population. I decided to buy a home in an active adult community, and set it up as my home. I then went through VRBO and rented my house for the snow bird season, and the tenants had the pleasure of the house and amenities that went with the community. I then went to Thailand for seven months to try out the life style. It became a pleasant experience in which I could experience many new things and travels to some new places that were just as enjoyable.
At the end of seven months went back to the US. However before I left I encountered a situation in which I could actively contribute to Thailand and enjoy a new income. After about six weeks I wound down from my Chiang Mai trip, internally. However, I moved forward in term's of returning to Thailand and being able to practice my professional skills, and earn some reasonable income. I'm a retired Speech Pathologist. I enjoyed the work and helping children. In the US I feel like I am a throw away person. In Thailand I feel some value, between my profession and my age. I even participated in a work shop in which a noted dignitary referred to me as professor, because of my profession.
Putting me aside and my circumstances there are some very enjoyable aspects of living in Thailand. Under my present circumstances I plan on being here for at least two years. As a 69 year man I find a sense of pleasure and freedom driving around Chiang Mai, even if Thai's don't exactly understand how to drive. The city is full of open air shops of every kind. It's such a simple pleasure to go to a coffee shop and ask the person at the next table where they are from. The people are so friendly and welcoming, the tourists, expats, and the Thai's. The cost of living is also such a pleasure. I like to cook but so often it's easy to eat out here. There are many uncomfortable issues with living in Chiang Mai but the over all living style and atmosphere are very enjoyable and comfortable. For easily 10years Chiang Mai has been considered one of the most affordable places in the world. It is true. And, once you put aside your American or western ways, you will find out how heart warming the people are and how enjoyable it is to live here.
I hope every one finds such peace and harmony with their lives.