I was in Taipei for the last few days. In many ways, it was really nice to be back to Motherland. My family and I immigrated from Taiwan to Canada more than 20 years ago and this was only my 3rd time back. I was joking with some of my Canadian co-workers that they probably knew Taipei better than me.
Knowing how to speak Mandarin, understand Taiwanese, and read Chinese characters certainly helped getting around in Taipei. It also helped with building business relationships. While visiting customers, I was told by my Taiwanese colleagues to present in Mandarin. Taiwanese customers warmed up to me pretty quickly and were impressed that I could speak good Mandarin.
Instead of flying to Tokyo on Friday, my destination for the final leg of the 16 day business trip, I decided to spend the weekend in Taipei so I could visit my extended family. I also met up with Jeremy, Winnie, and GCC Jr. from Go Curry Cracker. Mrs. T, Baby T1.0 and I met up with them in Osaka about 1.5 years ago, so it was really neat to see them again in person.
Just like when I met up with Jay (FI Fighter), Jeremy and I discussed a lot of FIRE related topics (Winnie was busy preparing for a talk for her book). Mrs. T and I imagined we would do something similar as GCC team so it was great to get some insights from Jeremy. It was also great to pick on Jeremy’s brain at length on how he grew his blog and what he did to gain more media exposure. Jeremy was very open and gave some excellent tips.
Jeremy, Winnie, and I also talked about travels, living abroad, kids, kids’ education while traveling/living abroad, and many more. The GCC team invited me to their place so I could check out what kind of apartment you can get for $1,000 US per month. I also shamelessly accepted a free lunch from them. 😀
The FIRE concept seemed to be getting more and more exposure in media around the world. The other night I was flipping through TV channels before going to bed (a novelty for me since we don’t have a TV at home). One of the shows was about a Taiwanese ex-CEO that retired at age of 45. He worked for 23 years and raised to the top but decided to retire early. Some interesting things from the short segment that I watched:
- The ex-CEO said retiring early was like removing “golden handcuffs” from his hands. He felt free and liberated after leaving work.
- He emphasized that one must find his/her life purpose in early retirement. You can’t just sit around watching TV all day long. You will get bored very quickly.
- In early retirement, you have more time to learn new things and pick up hobbies. Focus on filling your life with new knowledge, that’s how you can grow as a human being. For examples, the ex-CEO published a few traveling books, learned how to play guitar, and often performed on the street with his guitar.
- After couple years, the ex-CEO was amazed how he found time to work during his working career. There are so many things to do each day in early retirement.
- The ex-CEO also encouraged people to think outside of the box. Don’t follow the traditional thinking. Go outside of your comfort zone.
Interestingly enough, same ideas also popped up during my conversation with Jeremy and Winnie – the ability to manage your time and decide what you want to do with your life. Why take a 2 week vacation to go to Europe when you can spend 3 months in Europe?
Japan is one of my favourite countries to visit. It is one of the Asian countries that felt at home. Streets are clean, people are friendly, traffics are orderly, and food is fantastic. I am staying in Yokohama for the next few nights. Although I have been to Yokohama many times, I have never stayed in the area. Therefore, it was neat to walk around Sunday afternoon. Yokohama definitely had a different vibe compared to Tokyo. Although still a big city, it was way less crowded in Yokohama.
Although I’ve been to Japan many times, I finally had blowfish for the first time. It really reminded me of the Simpsons episode.
It has been a long business trip. Only a few more days to go. I can’t wait to go back home and sleep in my own bed. 🙂