Koh Samui, Thailand – How would you like to spend the Christmas and New Year Holidays on a warm, tropical island? Well, it’s very relaxed and quiet today, on this primarily Buddhist island of Koh Samui, off the Eastern shore of Thailand’s mainland. My bathing suit is on now, ready for the azure pool, outside. But I’ve been slaving away over a hot computer for hours and haven’t answered the call. I’ve been on this island for a month, having chosen to come and study TEFL: Teaching English As A Foreign Language. Now that the course is over, I’m just relaxing in my beautiful residence hotel here, working to catch up on blogging. Perhaps, you’ve noticed that I haven’t checked in with the world for four whole months on this site? Last September, my most recent posting time, I was in Kampala and Entebbe, Africa, for several months to celebrate my 80th birthday on the shores of the beautiful and enormous, Lake Victoria. It had been my long-time birthday goal to achieve that destination in order to claim VICTORY! It was delightful but I soon began suffering computer and wi-fi woes, which effectively kept me offline. At least one person, a high school classmate, wrote to see if I was still alive… because, at our age, ‘ya never know! Since then, I spent time in Jakarta, Indonesia and lounging along Thailand’s more southern beaches in Phuket and Karon. My extended visa allows me to stay until the end of February, so I have much more time to explore.
Luckily, I went to an Opthalmologist here to find out why my eye was producing a slightly-reddened vision. It turns out simply, that the left cataract is finally ripe for plucking and my astygmatism and a slightly-loose muscle could all be corrected together. I had my right eye cataract corrected five years ago, back in the States. Well, Thailand just happens to be a popular medical tourism destination, 4th in the worldwide ranking. There are quite a few hospitals in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, to choose from, which offer excellent quality surgery for so much less than the pricey U.S., even with my Medicare. That, naturally, doesn’t apply overseas, but my 20% deductible on Medicare would amount to even more than the entire Thai cost. In case you haven’t heard of Medical Tourism, it’s quite a big business now, all over the world in these days of international speciality training and cheap airfares. You can access all sorts of surgery at very reasonable prices, and enjoy a lovely resort vacation at the same time. There’s a big appeal for clients who want cosmetic surgery but don’t want anyone to know that their youthful appearance has had a little help. I just happen to already be in a country which provides my easy, outpatient surgery for much, much less than I could find at home. So, I shall make it happen.
No, I don’t have several thousand laying around; even for this senior type of expected, inevitable eye problem; which 100% of us will get if we should live so long. But, I do have an Edward Jones Investment Account waiting to help me “in my retirement years” to make it possible before March 1st, when my Thai visa will expire. As long as I must sell some stock, anyway, I’ll order enough cash to pay off my credit card; which I use to cover airfare and bigger expenses…and to live on when my debit card expires and the bank takes a week to replace it, because I’m in far-off Africa, where “overnight express” takes at least five days. I access the investments, periodically anyway, and use my monthly Social Security debit card only for ATMs local currency access. Even with a few periodic reasons to access the money which my late husband so diligently invested, I live on less than it would cost me to reside in America. Retirement accounts are important during one’s working years, but even more so when you actually retire. So, Edw. Jones, Inc. has been serving me well for fifteen years now.
That’s one of the purposes of this Boomer’s blog. To encourage retirees and those who live only on Social Security, as I do, to venture forth to the other side of the world, as tourists, expats, or long-term world travelers. It’s completely safe and affordable; and even when you need medical help, this simple budgeting plan works in your favor as well. I’ve been happily romping around the world, in spite of annual birthdays. You can too!
Thanks for your patience between my reports. I am frequently traveling so fast and staying in hostels without the necessary working space, that this part of my life gets neglected. Even now, in this fancy hotel, the wi-fi is down almost more than it is working. Life in the slow lane!
But, I have lots of photos and I’m going to concentrate on them next, so stay tuned.