After spending 3 months on this popular Indonesian island I have a good grasp of costs to live here. All of these numbers are just for a single retired man. No dog. No wife. No kids. Just me. Here we go with Bali cost of living… The cost to rent on this island, in popular areas, can be absolutely amazing low and can go up as high as “are you kidding me”. For example I booked a few hotel rooms, normally referred to as a “home stay”, for as little as 7 USD per night and this included breakfast!! I Read more…
I began travelling when I was about 10 years old. My mum allowed me to travel on the train to see my grandmother. This was such a grand adventure for me and I savoured every moment.
Everything about each trip was exciting: the bus to the train station, buying the “day return” train ticket, the ride itself and even waiting in the station waiting room..because it was full of travel posters of distance lands… like London, 100 miles away!!! ha ha ha. I also enjoyed my tea and chat with my grandmother.
Travelling has always been multi-faceted. A BIG facet is interaction with others. Especially other people of different cultures, because I wanted to learn, with keen interest about thier own lives. This has helped me develop an understanding of the world around me. it
It’s helped me understand the effects of poverty, censorship, religion and cultural customs and I learn more about the city or country I was visiting. Forty countries and counting…
So imagine my horror today when I had my suspicions confirmed that young traveller’s indeed do NOT want to interact!! Yes, you read that correctly, I was told by several people, under the age of 30, that they don’t talk with strangers. That strangers scare them.
I posted a comment on the Facebook “expats in Thailand” group… I asked why European people, especially under the age of 30 years old, did not acknowledge my hello, smile/nod of my head or my good morning. Here are a few replies:
“…if a ramdom person says hi I will think they’re a perv or scammer (the two times I continued a conversation with a random person in Thailand I encountered one of each, and I’ve gotten a couple of hellos from the sexpat looking types which I ignored, in addition to all the tuktuk drivers and business owners trying to lure people into business). And also I may not be expecting it and just minding my own business only registering the hello when it’s too late.
Also in my country talking to a stranger in the street could lead to ending up with my phone or purse snatched, or me stabbed or shot.”
“I don’t respond to creepy old men no matter what country I’m in lol”
“No one owes you a smile, an acknowledgement, or their time. At all. If someone wants to walk around ignoring everyone around them, so be it. Also, you don’t know what they’re thinking. Maybe they didn’t hear you. Maybe their dog died. Maybe they are triggered by random men chatting them up..? I ignore most unsolicited “conversation”. Lots of women do because it is a saftey issue. If you’re a cashier in a store or a barista or hold a door open for me I am polite and make eye contact, but that it not an invitation to continue to chat. You are not entitled to any person’s time it attention.”
Sad comments right? So what does a bad person look like exactly?? I use my intuition. Your age, gender, race is never a barrier for a simple Hola!! However according to these young-uns.. it is!! Apperently manners, politeness and the simple art of a “good morning” will be gone in 50 years.
I posed a subsequent question… “why do you travel if you hate to talk to others”. I got few responses, those that did stated “to see the country and not to talk to creepy old men”. Yep. So are all “old men” creepy? Or do they have some creepy old man radar technology in thier phone?
Us, older travellers and expats have made jokes for years about younger people being obsessed with thier smart phones. Well, this is now not a laughing matter, it’s a Western cultural change that is a scary look into the future. For me personally it is making travel far less interesting. Here in Thailand 80% of traveller’s in tourist areas are from Europe and they really do not want to say “good morning” let alone have a conversation with me! Last week I was leaving my hotel room in Krabi, Southern Thailand and a young European couple in the opposite room was leaving at exactly the same moment. We were less than 2 feet from each other and I said “Hi. Good morning”. No reply. No smile.. no nothing. Very odd indeed and very common here with young Europeans.
According to one European young lady she conjectured that maybe the other people were “triggered” by me saying hello. Ha ha ha . Really? well, in that case, you need some profesional help and some inner healing. I need need to travel where there are less younger Europeans with a very bad attitude about life.
As a retired expat living and travelling to several countries the question of “how safe is that area” is at the top of my list of needs and probably yours too.
For me, there is no point in living in a town with low-cost of living, clear sunny days and lots to do if you also have a much higher chance of being the victim of a violent crime. I am not the kind of person that worries a lot, if at all. I live my life by managing the risks. Life has plenty of risks without moving to a crime-ridden barrio in Mexico where known gang members operate. No need to worry, just don’t travel or live there! See, that was easy. Manage the risk, no need to worry.
Of course, areas of crime around the world and indeed inside each small town or big city are forever changing. So what was once considered a safe area of town in Mexico maybe now considered to be hell on earth. This is another reason why I am a huge advocate of renting instead of buying in your newfound paradise. Noisy neighbours next door..move! Drug cartel setting up a presence in your town and you need to sell your home and move fast? Good luck!!
Thailand, for many years, has been, or nearly always at the top of the list of “worst traffic fatalities in the world”. While Mexico has had the unfortunate accolade of one of the most dangerous countries to visit in terms of violence. So pick your poison if you choose to live in either country. Death by bus or bullet?
However, if you take a closer look at the situation there are a number of variables that we can all manage to mitigate most of this risk. In Thailand you never want to travel by bus at night, oftentimes the drivers are overworked and often take stimulants to keep them awake. Unfortunately, the stimulants stop working and the driver drives off the road or into an oncoming cement truck. Travelling at night, travelling in poor weather multiplies the chance of a traffic accident anywhere in the world, but especially in Thailand. Mini van drivers have horrible reputation for accidents and deservedly so. I was a passenger in one once. That was enough, never again. They often drive at very fast speeds and weave in and out of traffic. These things are totally illegal in Thailand but most traffic laws are NEVER enforced. Many foreigners in Thailand are killed while renting a motorbike ( called a scooter in many places), whether on holiday or an expat in Thailand. Riding drunk, not paying attention to other drivers, who are also not paying attention could get you killed or at the very least in a hospital for a few days. You need to be a confident and experienced rider in Thailand.
The drug cartel news stories are far more prevalent and well known than the atrocious traffic habits of Thailand. Perhaps they are much more sensationalized headlines, such as “Mexican cartel members vs military police shootout in Centro ” versus ” “15 dead in a bus crash in Thailand”. Mexico is certainly dangerous in many areas and situations. To manage the risk stay informed. By reading local news via social media or expat online news you will be armed with information that can mitigate the risks somewhat. Again driving on the roads ar night or taking a bus at night should be avoided. Visiting area where recent violence has occurred should be postponed or at the very least reviewed carefully. I suspect although I have no actual facts at hand, that 70% of the murders in Mexico are related to organised drug crime in one way or the other. If my guess is correct then most of Mexico is about as safe as most of the USA. I have no first hand knowledge of violent crimes in Mexico. Police shakedown for a few hundred peso bribe, yes and burglaries occasionally.
An interesting note about my own personal experiences with safety. Chiang Mai is known for being safe and not at all violent and yet the only murder I ever witnessed was in that city, just 6 meters from my dining table at the time. A very jealous and angry Thai wife hacked to death her foreign husband while he was chatting to a much younger girl in the bar across the street. In the same city I was also hit from behind by a car that sideswiped me as I was walking at 3 pm on the side of a small road in heavy traffic. The driver never stopped. The noise that is produced when a car hits a person is VERY load and yet she continued on her way at about 15 kph.
Your choice of a country or city to travel or retire to may not be discussed here, but the logic is still the same: do your reasearch, manage the risks and stay informed.
So, death either on a bus in Thailand or a drug cartels bullet is certainly a risk to be carefully considered. In my opinion, they are about the same risk in each country and managed sensibly will give you peace of mind, which finding paradise for less is all about.
I hope you enjoyed this article and encourage you to share it via social media and click the button on the left. All the best, John