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One Step Closer – Chasing YOUR Dreams

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Life doesn’t always go according to plan… or ummm script. Really, if you rewind the tape to just a few years ago (or even in the summer of 2016 when I more or less decided it was time to pursue early FI full-time), I couldn’t have predicted that I’d be in the situation that I find myself in currently…

Personally, I think the unpredictably of real life is what makes it all: exciting, interesting, and hopefully something you’d want to tune in to way later down the road, if you’re ever forced to have to “re-live” your entire life on the big screen, someday…

That’s pretty much in a nutshell how I’ve tried to “embrace” life these past few years… You know: traveling around a lot, living out of a suitcase (more or less), experiencing new things that were previously completely foreign to me.


Along the way, there’s been many highs and lows…


Right now, I’ve sort of reached a phase in my life where I’m looking for somewhat more stability… As many long-time readers had previously commented to in the past, a lot of the times, once the novelty of island hopping and wanderlust starts to set in a bit, it’s a rather natural progression, in some ways, to want to plant some roots (again)…

Over the last few years, yeah, I’ve realized more or less that I really do have a preference for kind of sticking around near SE Asia for a good portion of the year… while spending (ideally) a few months back home in the Bay Area so that I can hang out with my family and closest friends…

Why am I so fond of SE Asia?

Here are a number of important factors which draw me to the region:

  • Affordability and relatively low Cost of Living (CoL).
  • No tax, no tip for stuff like shopping, eating out (generally speaking).
  • Warm weather (whether we are talking about Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc.). Even a place like Hong Kong is much warmer than say Northern California.
  • Lots of diversity. Many countries are only ~1-2 hour plane ride apart from one another, but the cultures, norms, customs, languages, etc. are vastly different which keeps things always interesting.
  • I spent the first ~30 years of my life living out in the west (i.e. California) and well, I’ve appreciated and embraced the change to a different time zone.
  • I’m nearby to some other relatives and dear friends…
  • It’s just different…
  • Etc.

Yeah, sure, if I wanted warmer weather (which I do, for my own health reasons), I could always elect to move out to say Nevada, or Arizona, or something like that… Definitely, it’s a lot cheaper trying to make early FI work in the Southwestern United States, as opposed to Silicon Valley, no doubt… But, for the most part, I don’t think the culture would differ all that much from California (it’s still America), so maybe at a later point in my life…

Just not for me yet, at this juncture…

Anyway, as I alluded to in the last post, I’m working on locking down a primary residence in Manila, and hopefully I’ll have an exciting update for you all, very soon…

Nope, not saying I have the future all worked out and planned for, but sometimes you just gotta follow your heart and chase your dreams…

Yes, I do realize that my actions are rather unconventional, and I totally understand if some of you think I’m batshit crazy and doing something that makes zero sense at all…

To that, I really don’t have any counters (or answers), but I’ve kind of learned to live life more along the lines of:


It’s your life… Nobody else knows what you think, feel, want, desire, experience, etc.

It’s so very easy to try and play Tuesday Morning Quarterback, ripping apart other people and shitting on them without having walked a day in their shoes (to this day, I still suffer from severe chronic pain every moment I’m awake, but who really gives a fuck?).

Sadly, altogether, too many peeps do this nonsense and don’t think twice about it… Flip the script, and I’m sure these same folks dishing out all the HATE wouldn’t want to receive such scorn and ridicule when they’re contemplating making some “big” life decisions of their own…

Life is too short, so really, if you’re gonna second guess every decision you make and let random strangers on the internet bully you and dictate how you’re supposed to live your life, then, well, you’ve kind of already given up and lost…

Conformity is comforting (obviously), but is that what YOU really want out of your one and only life?


I’ve stopped caring for a long while now… Otherwise, I never would have left the Bay Area (it almost feels taboo to do so, you wouldn’t believe the amount of hate one gets for telling peeps you don’t wanna be there 24/7, all the time; you’re like instantly pegged this “loser” who couldn’t hack it there… sighz).


No, I’m not saying Manila/Philippines is suitable and meant for everyone out there (it definitely isn’t), but it’s a place that has helped me find happiness.


And when you really realize how finite and short life is, once you strip away all that bs: ego, pride, greed, the never-ending pursuit of MOAR $$$, so on and so forth, happiness is kinda all that matters in the end…


I just wanna be happy, like everyone else on this planet…


So, I’m doing what I think needs to be done for my own unique situation.


Lots more details to come once things get hashed out, but right now, I’m one step closer to making my dreams a reality.


Thanks for all the support, well wishes, and encouragement! I’ll keep on pressing on…


Fight On!

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Clarence @ Oracle Of FINo Gravatar March 25, 2019, 5:26 am

    I’ve always believed criticizing others stems from a frustration with one’s own life. And yet ironically enough we end up admiring those who are able to push past criticism and achieve their goals

    Your article reminded me of this quote by Les Brown:
    ““The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

    Kudos to you for pushing past your comfort zone and embracing change and living out your life pursuing your goals. I take it as an inspiration for my own life.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 25, 2019, 5:51 am


      Thanks for the comment! Appreciate the support and the quote above, which is an important reminder to keep living and fighting on.

      Yeah, it is rather ironic isn’t it? But as a blogger for so many years now, I’ve heard many stories, and lots of stuff that flies under the radar is truly the most inspiring.

      It’ll make for a good post, one that I will be happy to share with readers… All the amazing stories I’ve heard during my travels the last 3 years from really remarkable people across the globe.

      Best wishes!

  • JoeNo Gravatar March 25, 2019, 3:05 pm

    Hi Jay,
    I’m early retired in the Bay Area, I’m kind of surprised people would criticize you for moving out of the area. I lived here my whole life, but have traveled extensively all over the world. There’s a lot of good things about the area, but it’s definitely not for everyone, and there are definitely many drawbacks to living here as well. And it’s definitely not conducive to early retirement unless you have at least tens of millions. Tradeoffs, right?

    You mentioned having severe chronic pain. Sorry to hear about that. Do you get treatment for that out in SE Asia, or do you just manage it? Just wondering if that’s going to be a concern down the road for you and how you plan to deal with it. I’ve been early retired for a long long time, and healthcare definitely gets to be a concern.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 26, 2019, 5:43 am


      Yeah, it’s pretty common to get criticized, especially in my former line of work where people like to gossip and talk down other co-workers, etc. on a regular basis… Pretty toxic environment in high tech, which is I think sometimes a consequence of being immersed in a cutthroat pressure cooker type of environment all the time…

      Anyway, yeah, I’ve still got the chronic pains and it sucks, but really, work was only making things worse and I’ve seen enough doctors by now to know there’s really no cure for what ails me, unfortunately. Just gotta deal with it…

      Health is a big concern for me moving forward, and I really don’t have a good answer here on how to maximize savings here and cut down on costs… Right now, I pay a monthly premium, and it’s damn expensive, is all I can really say…

      All the best!

  • alNo Gravatar March 26, 2019, 10:10 am

    ” Lots more details to come once things get hashed out, but right now, I’m one step closer to making my dreams a reality. ”

    Good luck, Jay. I think it would be a nice addition to your blog to describe the purchase and bureaucracy process that you went through in Manilla for your new condo purchase venture in Bonifacio, up and until living in it. E.g. banking, how done (account opening, etc), international transfer of cash easy or not, notary and other paperwork to be done (and their price tag, probably ridiculously cheap compared to the CA Bay Area), activation of utilities with talagog language issues or not, furniture purchases and how expensive etc etc etc. It would probably be very interesting to read it all, even for the ones that are now living a plain and routine basic life wherever they are posted in the world. That is, if you care to maybe receive another batch of vitriol down the road, from the jealous gang.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 27, 2019, 2:07 am


      Yup, lots of details there, just need to first figure them out for myself before I can write about them 😉

      Yeah, you’re definitely right about things being way cheaper (i.e. attorney services) than in California…

      In regards to language, everything here is written in English and everyone speaks English, so really couldn’t be simpler from this perspective.

      The lingo is different, of course, and how stuff gets done, wow, very very different.


  • KevinNo Gravatar March 26, 2019, 3:46 pm

    Hey Jay, you should definitely follow your own heart and desires and not let anyone else’s biases have an impact on how you live your life. As a long time reader I truly appreciate your alternate point of view and it has changed my own perspective.

    I’m sorry to hear about the chronic pains. I had a friend who dealt with long term chronic back pain that wouldn’t go away. You should consider alternate healing practices since it sounds like western medicine has failed you. Anyways wish you the best on your new home!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 27, 2019, 2:10 am


      Thanks for the support buddy! Will keep at it.

      In regards to medicine, I’ve tried Western, Eastern, holistic, meditation, etc. For the most part, just helps ease the pain a bit or temporarily but unfortunately haven’t found a root cause permanent fix yet.

      Even tried intermittent fasting and prolonged water fasting…

      All the best!

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