Monday, June 24, 2013

Retiring from the workforce, Retiring the 914, Retiring the Blog

Life rarely turns out the way you expect.  After battling her Huntington's Disease for 15 years, my wife passed away last September.  This made me rethink my life and what I was going to do with myself now.  With 35 years of work and 17 years of school under my belt, I started thinking about retirement.  After years of careful planning, I'm in the position to call it quits in the working world and move somewhere cheap and exotic.  I've been to 46 countries around the world, so I have experience to draw from as to where I would go.

In the end, I chose Thailand.  Specifically, Hua Hin.  Hua Hin is a small city about 2 hours south-west of Bangkok by train.  It's right on the ocean, has a long white sand beach, mountains, golfing and all of the infrastructure I'll need to survive.  I'm learning Thai and intend to blend in as best I can.  If I get tired of Hua Hin, I'll pack my one suitcase, grab my guitar and laptop and drive my scooter to another town, or even farther away to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam or somewhere else exciting.

It's super cheap to live there, the food is great, the ocean is right there, the people are friendly, and did I mention it's super cheap?  I looked into the Retirement Visa process and luckily I meet all the criteria: Over 50 (14 days over as I type), enough money to sustain myself, and I don't have leprosy or syphilis   Bingo!  I'm putting the house on the market next week and have sold off or given away everything I own.  Except the 914.

The 914 is the big question in all of this.  I have a few choices:

- Ship it.  Shipping costs are actually reasonable; from my house to the dock in Bangkok for about $2000.  The problem is paying taxes and duties on arrival.  I've read that they can charge 3X the value of the car, and they get to pick whatever value they want.  So that is out.

- Sell it.  It's in great condition, but the range with the golf cart batteries is poor so nobody is going to pay me anywhere near the parts cost of the project, much less my time and blood and sweat.

- Store it.  This is my only realistic choice, but it just kicks the can down the road.  I will sell the batteries, likely to a golf cart shop in town, and then put the car in storage.  I don't want to pay the huge monthly fee at a mini-storage place, so I'm looking for someone who will let me put it in their locked garage for a small payment, potentially for years until I decide what to do next.  My classic car insurance requires it to be in a locked garage, so that's important.

So, this is likely the last blog entry, until something big happens in the world of the 914.  If I end up in an import-friendly country I can bring it in and fill it full of cheap lithium batteries.

I had a blast doing the conversion, driving the car, saving the world and spreading the word about electric vehicles.  I hope those who have found this blog have learned something that helped them with their own project.

I will trickle posts on my rarely-used Facebook account to let people know where I am in the world.  The welcome mat is always out for anyone who wants to come and visit.

Update: Everything is sold and I'm under 2 weeks left in California.  I haven't found an affordable place to store the 914 yet, so I'm working on solidifying the remaining leads.

Update #2: I have found a home for the 914 while I'm overseas, tucked under the wing of an airplane in a hanger at the Paso Robles airport.  Sleep well, Frau Geliebte.  I will try to bring you to me later, or collect you if I return to the US.