Sitrep on Relocation Plans

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Readers have sometimes been so kind as to ask in comments where I stand on my plans to move abroad, since I had been oversharing about the process of settling the estate and where I would go next. As much as Mountain Brook has a lot to recommend it, suburban life is not for me.

The house here will be open for viewing by buyers starting Friday. A house down the street (similar vintage and size) went to contract in nine days and closed a month after that. My lawyer told me yesterday one of her clients listed a house on a Thursday, had two offers by Sunday, and closed three weeks after that. I am looking for a slightly less fevered pace and think the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays will aid in that.

I am moving to Thailand, which seemed the best fit with my complex criteria. I’m not sure it will help to work through my logic, since I doubt my needs and how I ranked them will align with anyone else’s list. Having said that, other countries that look promising for expats include Costa Rica, Portugal, Mexico, Uruguay, and Cyprus. Malaysia also scored high but a radical change in visa rules put paid to that idea.

As much as I am keen about my upcoming big relocation, please to not engage in casual discussion of Thailand in comments. While I appreciate the interest, it’s actually a negative as a topic of conversation. Thailand has strict defamation laws, where truth is not a defense, so something as routine here as a negative review on a travel site can put you in the crosshairs of litigation. And if you look at the history of the site, Thailand almost entirely sits outside our core beats.

So wish me luck on my takeoff!

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  1. Joe Well

    Congratulations on your progress toward your great move!

    Per your request I will not discuss Thailand per se except to say that I lived there for about a year, it was amazing. Like a lot of Americans I fell in love with both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, though they are very different. I would be there now except it is so far away from the US.

    I would love to list all the reasons to recommend Thailand as a place to live, but I will respect your boundaries. Thailand in fact does not mess around with it’s defamation laws and it’s important for Americans to remember just how much people from every other country on earth can take our opinions to heart.

  2. juno mas

    Yves, thanks for sharing that. A woman with your talent will find success anywhere. I honestly believe Asia is on the rise. May you share in that success.

  3. Michaelmas


    You may be surprised how much better you start feeling once you’re outside the US.

    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      Oh heck yeah! Darn straight!! (family blog).

      Oh, wait! Does this mean I must donate in Thai baht?? Whhaaattt? hahaha…I just kill myself sometime – snicker, snicker…

      Best of luck!

    1. jan

      Hehe, i was thinking that too 😁

      Yves, wishing you a smooth move, and hope you’ll get settled in your new home soon!

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Best wishes on the move and your next chapter of life.
      Berletic came to mind here as well. Also, AFAIK Steve Keen is hanging out in Thailand; his wife is Thai. That is when he’s not out and about.

  4. JG

    Congratulations, I secured residency South of the Boarder, last year. We are girls on the go. All the best, all~ways💙💦🌍

  5. britzklieg

    Wow! A gutsy and admirable choice for anyone in any circumstance… safe journey to your new home!

  6. JB

    Good luck :) I wonder if Steve Keen is still there, as well.

    I’ve considered moving to Thailand myself, maybe just part of the year, as my partner is Thai – hope to holiday there again over Summer, for the first time since the pandemic.

  7. Parker Dooley

    I spent 4 months in 1974 as a medical student in Chiang Mai, working at McCormack Hospital, and up on the Burma border doing pediatric rounds with a British RN, Ed Manser. It was an incredible experience — The Karen village where we stayed was on the border of the”Golden Triangle” and it was the “wild east.” Unforgettable medical experiences.

    Needless to say, things have changed since then.

    A college classmate of mine, Jeffrey Race, has lived in Bangkok for many years. I think you would find him interesting, and I’d be happy to contact him or give you his info. He wrote a very influential book about the VN debacle “War comes to Long An”.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s a lovely offer and I am interested in getting to know more people there, although when I land, I’ll have quite a bit of settling in to do :-).

      1. George

        Hello Yves, i am an American expat in Thailand, and support and encourage you to make the switch. I have been here 12 years, and know all the little stuff you will need to know to deal with getting settled. Among these are immigration ins and outs, of which there are several major ones, all of which can differ from one immigration office, one province to the next; banks and setting up accounts; dept of land transport for driver’s licensing and car registration; buying a car is different here as well, especially for foreigners; car insurance, life and/or health insurance (or not); renting terms that typically apply; understanding the Thai real estate and property valuing system (it’s different); dealing politely with our hosts; survival “passa thai”; various locales that offer different opportunities; thai food; normal prices for all the basic stuff; and more. It’s like you’re 15 again, and you’re getting set up with all the bureaucratic stuff that govts apply. It can be stressful. A guide helps! On top of all that, it’s all in Thai. You will definitely want to make Thai friends, but also pick carefully. Still, a seasoned expat is a good start.
        I’m happy to help out however I can. In any case, best of luck!

  8. Pat

    Congratulations. I hope that everything that has to happen goes like a dream from here on out. And when you finally get home, that your new neighborhood is everything you thought it would be and better.

  9. Rod

    Had acquaintances back in the day who were stationed there–and extended– during the VN War–they said it was great–very USA friendly people. Of course, back then, being stationed AB’N was great.
    And just last Veterans Day I met a retired B-52 Pilot who had a 75 Missions Pin–‘closing on 100’ he said.
    Flew his saggy overweighted bird out of Thailand to do his duty to those Commies in VN–and Cambodia.
    Sometimes landed there empty after coming from a different direction that included in flight fueling.
    Lest we not forget the Cost of Hegemony and our friends that help.
    That retired, Black, Bird Colonel had him some Chest Salad and was sporting the first SAC VN Veterans Cap I’d ever seen–we talked for more than an hour after Lunch, ranging very candidly on his fascinating Military Service from that Era, and earlier, to the present. He was so sharp and the pleasure was all mine.
    In the late 1990’s, one of my graduates was a Walking Foreman in a pretty small, but renowned Millwork Shop in the Metrolina Area that picked up a million-dollar rework contract on Ceiling Coffers for 1 or 2 of the King’s Palaces. Both static and knock downs–no installation, materials to and return furnished–final payment on Architect’s approved installation. Made Big Bank, and bonuses from cleaners and packagers to owners were had by all.
    Nice close to the Millenium for that now sold company.
    Good Luck With Your Future.

    1. Rod

      To be clearer than the anecdotal laden comment so kindly accepted above, in my best and straightest sincerity, I clearly want to encourage your embrace of the total Excitement that is coming on.
      The Best to you as you roll thru any challenges and become settled again.
      Your creation of Naked Capitalism, imo, has Educated so many, and preserved so much Mental Health you should get a medal–though The Library of Congress Archival Nomination and Acceptance is hefty.

  10. Dida

    Given the direction the evil empire is taking, Thailand seems like a good idea. A place which the nuclear fallout might not reach. Good luck Yves, in your new life – and I hope hot and humid agrees with you.

      1. Arizona Slim

        And here I thought I was the only one.

        Slim’s AC is set at 78 and the heat is set at 68. That wasn’t warm enough to keep the kombucha brewing without mold developing, so I gave that venture up.

        OTOH, I make some darn good winter mead. Anyone up for a tasting? If you’re ever in Tucson, let’s do one!

  11. David in Friday Harbor

    A former colleague of mine emigrated to Thailand a few years back and by all reports has never been happier or healthier. I hope that your experience is even better!

  12. Bugs

    Seems like a lovely place to move to. Wishing you the best of luck and hope all your moving adventures are pleasant ones. Was hoping that you’d come to Europe, mais c’est la vie !

  13. playon

    I had a feeling from you comments that Thailand would be a strong candidate – best of luck! We loved our time there.

  14. Rolf

    Congratulations Yves, and thank you for so generously sharing your plans. Godspeed —

  15. Savita

    Thankyou for so kindly including us in news of your plans. Digital nomad visa perhaps. Wow are we really graced with a photo of you!! Lucky us! If true, you look amazing!

    My only contribution about Thailand is I read the novel The Beach by Alex Garland recently :-)
    Sending love and best wishes. Occasionally when I’m in Potts Point I think of you :-)

  16. skippy

    Good riddance to the depreciating consumable mill stone Yves – !!!! … and hope your seating arrangements are sorted for the long haul flight.

    Were practically neighbors now …

  17. sharron2

    Congratulations on choosing Asia. We lived in Singapore and visited Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and India. I loved them all. Best of luck and I wish I going with you.

  18. Fazal Majid

    I know about Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws but not about defamation. If so, aren’t you exposing yourself to SLAPP lawsuits from those you cover, much as oligarchs use the UK’s draconian libel laws and compliant judges to secure super-injunctions to protect wrongdoing?

    One of the few cases where Parliament (well, a MP) was right to override the courts’ non-existent independence.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      People don’t sue journalists here because truth is a defense AND suing means the journalist can do discovery on the plaintiff. The last thing they want is someone who knows what to look for rooting in their files and deposing close contacts.

      1. Fazal Majid

        You just said above truth is not a defense…

        Enjoy your residence in Thailand! They are justifiably proud of being one of the few Asian nations never to have been colonized.

  19. christofay

    Taiwan is a great candidate unfortunately the neo-cons and the US congress got it in their cross hairs last year. It has some good things going that you’d appreciate, a good health care system, good transportation system, opportunities for part-time work for foreigners, and over achieving tech sector. No wonder the con-men are jealous and want to destroy it.

  20. sharron2

    Congratulations on picking Asia. We lived in Singapore a few years and loved the whole region. Wishing you the best on your move.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    Very best of luck with the move Yves, I think Thailand is a very good choice, at least in the medium term. Its also very open and welcoming to foreigners (its not just the money side of things, its the culture).

    In the unlikely event you want to learn some Thai (not really necessary, so many Thais speak excellent English), I’d recommend looking up some of the writings of J. Marvin Brown, a linguist who developed a very influential method called ALG (Automatic Language Growth) – there are schools in Bangkok who use this and there are lots of free materials available for self study. Its particularly good for people who struggle with traditional language teaching methods. Browns book, available free online, is also a very interesting account of Thailand in the 1960’s and 70s.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, this is very helpful! I do want to learn at least some Thai but it seems common that farangs at most master food and transport Thai, and I’d like to do better than that.

      I don’t know about struggle, but I learned French rather backwards, as in due to a series of high school moves, wound up reading at a very high level (because passive command) but my speaking ability was way weaker (although my accent was good, so when I traveled, I got points for that and a good vocabulary despite goofy sentences). I did hate those language lab drills, so any method that works w/o that would be a plus.

      1. Savita

        Fluent Forever. Its a book by Gabriel Wyner. Hands down the most sophisticated approach to acquiring another language. All research supported, neurology for example.
        The book and method grew and grew in popularity to eventually become a VC funded app invented in order to apply the methods in the book in a more thorough and sophisticated way. They worked very hard to refine the app so it could manifest the potential of the book to the greatest degree. Heaps of success stories. French takes about 4 months with consistent effort. I preferred the website before it became so focused primarily on the app instead of sharing tools for the methodology. Nonetheless try the app but the book goes into great detail about why its so brilliant. Its an exciting read. And you can use the old school methods in the book too.
        Book breaks a lot of myths, such as that oldie ‘ if you dont learn a language by age 5 you”ll never manage as an adult’. Turns out, adults are better than children at learning a new language. Fully developed brain.
        Author is US opera singer, needed to have perfect accents for several languages. Pioneered this method. Starts with ear training first, then lip mouth tongue – correct pronunciation. Then words. Then grammar. NO translations. Its hard and is slow at first, but its designed to drop into deep memory. What it is,is efficient. So after a few months you actually are starting to function like a native speaker. Every bit of work you do is geared toward maximum gains. Compared to, trad. methods, where people are still struggling after a couple years and not particularly confident.
        Again, a ton of science and research supporting every aspect of it.
        Author is up to 4 or 5 languages plus english now. I rave to strangers in libraries and bookstores about it!!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Aha, I like the emphasis on ear training. I noticed (and I have excellent pitch) that I was having trouble hearing Thai vocalizations. It was as if some parts were so alien I could not retain them in my brain so as to reproduce them.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            A very effective – possibly the most effective – way is chorusing. This is a technique used a lot by actors trying to learn an accent, but for some reason is uncommon in language learning.

            In simple terms, you listen to a very short good quality language tape on a loop. By short I mean just four or five words, so you can repeat it multiple times over about 7 or 8 minutes. It takes about 120 to 150 repetitions to ’embed’ the sounds. Essentially, you turn off the lights, cover your eyes and just listen intently for the first 10-15 reps. Then chorus (talk over) for the next 10 or so reps, trying to replicate exactly the pitch and tone (obviously, you ensure its a good quality recording of a high quality ‘standard’ dialect’. You repeat this for 5 or 6 times over the course of the 8 minutes.

            If you do this a few times a week it is almost guaranteed to hugely improve your listening and speaking ability very rapidly.

            I don’t know if there are any loops available in Thai, but it should be easy enough to pay a teacher to record a few short sentences covering all the major vowels, consonants and tones in the language.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I found when learning German that a good idea was to have a German radio station playing in the background with lots of talking sessions. It didn’t matter if you understood the words or not but that you were letting your brain get use to the rhyme and rhythm of the language. The effect was subliminal but effective.

              Another thing that I wondered about was trying a version of Basic English and it’s stripped down 850 word vocabulary. By translating those words into a local language, it might give you the essential vocabulary of a language that could be expanded on later-


              But what I found really important was to learn the local catch phrases. So examples in English might be ‘How are you’ and ‘See you later.’ Learning those phrases really helped transition into speaking a new language.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The ALG method is controversial, but in my experience (talking to people who use it), its very effective at teaching a very natural language flow, and its much lower stress than other methods (students are never forced to answer questions or learn things by rote, the entire pressure is on the teacher to take up the students attention).

        Its based on the theories of Stephen Krashen (you’ll find lots of interviews with him on YT) that languages can’t be ‘learned’, but can only be ‘acquired’ through comprehensible input (i.e. interesting material within the students rough comprehension). In other words, learning grammar and vocabulary in isolation or outputting (talking/writing) is not useful, only the input side works. J.Marvin Brown developed his methods independently and is very influential in Thailand, especially for teaching English. In my experience, the average Thai speaks much better English than any other Asian country apart from Singapore.

        Here is an example of a 2 minute Japanese lesson for beginners using ALG.

        There is also a very clear and entertaining video here by a language professor who learned good Arabic in a year using this method. His name is Jeff Brown, but I don’t think he is related to the other Brown.

        The main reason I think why ALG and related methods are not mainstream is that its very hard to commercialise and it directly counters the usual university teaching paradigm. It also puts far more pressure on the teachers than the students.

        J.Marvin Browns schools are controversial even among advocates of Krashens theories because of their insistence on 1000 hours of pure listening before talking. It sounds a lot, but this can be ‘passive’ listening (i.e when doing other things). Its claimed that doing this results in a much more natural language flow. Krashen himself says that you should speak as soon as you feel comfortable doing it, it should be the students choice. Brown explains his reasoning in the first chapter of his biography (in that first link I posted). Some teachers believe you can short cut this through active study of prosody (through chorusing and shadowing audio clips). In my experience, the latter is the best way to pick up subtle tone and pitch changes which are common in Asian languages and English speakers really struggle with (we can’t break our habit of stressing sounds, rather than using gentle tone/pitch changes).

        Personally, I’m doing some personal experimentation by attempting to learn Korean through ALG only to see how it compares to my desperate struggles with Japanese and mandarin! Not scientific of course, but I’ll see how it goes.

        I’d recommend reading up on Krashen and Browns theories first before trying it. It helps to grasp what ALG teachers are doing what they are doing and will help you identify teachers and sources that are really good at it. The poly-glot-a-lot channel (Jeff Brown) has good advice how to ensure a private teacher or language partner can be ‘taught’ to use it.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’d just add that the term ALG is not used by all teachers, there are many variations, all based on Krashens theories. A prominent academic in the field is Beniko Mason, she has a YT channel here. Its a very confusing world out there as everyone is trying to sell their own book/channel/app/school, whatever.

          I’d advise anyone to read a little into these theories before making up their minds about how they want to learn a language – I think you really need to be comfortable knowing that you are on the right path as the language learning world is packed full of the usual conmen and enthusiasts and so on. Even advocates of Krashens theories often vigorously argue with each other on the details. I do know that conventional teaching (either in schools or via textbooks/apps, etc) has a very poor success rate and that has little to do with the students.

          I think the general ALG/storylearning/ comprehensible input approach is correct based on my experiences of talking to a variety of learners, especially those who learned English as a second language as its the only language I’m qualified to judge. I’ve met many people with sky high IELTS scores but I couldn’t understand a word they said, but lots of people who learned through input (often just video games or tv shows or even just listening to BBC world service) who speak near native.

      3. Carla

        Yves, you continue to wow me. Learning Thai ! Sounds like quite the challenge. At any rate, I must chime in to wish that the wind be at your back and all goes well with the sale of the house and your Big Move. Memories of our wonderful meet-up in Cleveland make me (selfishly) a little sad that future such events on this continent are highly unlikely, but L. and I are happy for you and very impressed by your courage!

    2. c_heale

      Good luck! As someone who’s lived long term in two foreign countries, my one piece of advice is not to try to do too much at one time, especially when you first get there. This applies especially to bureaucratic issues. I spent 10 years in Spain (and things there take a long time bureaucratically), and unless it’s urgent, if you get one thing organised in a day, then you should feel satisfied. It’s easy to try to do too much at the beginning, get exhausted and feel it’s all too much.

      Language learning – my advice is that vocabulary and pronunciation/intonation are the most important things, pronunciation/intonation the most important for speaking. I don’t know about ALG, but any learning system where there is a lot of repetition is generally good. Listening is also very important – and something that takes a while to build up. And don’t worry about making mistakes.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Don’t worry about making mistakes. That’s really the best advice when it comes to learning languages. People learn differently, so I am not sure if there’s one best way to learning languages. Some people learn best by reading, others by listening, but for me it’s a combination of reading, listening and writing. As to pronunciation/intonation, it really depends. I now live in Taiwan and I speak Chinese daily, and although my tones aren’t perfect, the locals can usually understand what I am saying based on context alone. I am also proud to say that I haven’t had to resort to speaking English with the locals since coming here 3 months ago. I have not had any problems whatsoever negotiating my rent, opening a bank account, etc in Chinese.

        Also, one thing I’ve learnt is that textbooks aren’t worth anything when it comes to things like ordering food, etc, you know the kind of things you need to live. They usually teach you things like culture, the importance of free speech, the differences between Chinese and Americans etc, which are interesting, but you still need to eat before you can absorb all of that fully.

        Last but not least, find some teachers on italki.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for this helpful and interesting thread on language learning! I have extracted it to a keeper file to retain its advice and the many references and links it evoked.

    4. B24S

      I was told that I learned Italian as a two year old, while we spent a year in Florence (I remember little), but I was never able to learn languages by rote. After three years of trying to teach me French in high school they gave up. I’ve found immersion worked best for me.

      In Philadelphia I studied with a German silversmith, who spoke quite decent English. But I soon noticed that my internal voice was talking in German syntax, and with a bit of Bavarian dialect. Before I went to Nuremberg (where I erroneously thought I’d continue studying the obsolete profession) I took a one day tourist-grade class, which did me no good. But within weeks I started to pick up what I called Strassen-Deutsch, street German, a mischung of Hoch-Deutsch, Mitte-Frankish, and Bayerish. It wasn’t pretty, but I could be understood, and got extra credit for sounding at least a bit local.

      While that was true most places I went, it was different in France, especially Paris, where they’d sneer at my attempts to communicate. Ah bien.

      In my travels I’d revel in the gatherings of people speaking various languages, all at the same time, mix and match in the moment as needed. Trans-nationalism at work.

    5. Joe Well

      When I was in Thailand I downloaded one of those apps that has pictures and descriptions of every common Thai dish and fruit, with pronunciation audio. Amazingly helpful and it taught me how to order in Thai.

  22. Biologist

    Many congratulations Yves on this new adventure. Thailand is beautiful in many ways, I miss it just for the fresh fruits alone. Wishing you all the best!

  23. DJG, Reality Czar

    Auguri from the Chocolate City in the Undisclosed Region. The experiment is worth the aggro!

    If I recall correctly, astute commenter furzy mouse mentioned being in Thailand. So you have support from someone you already know, which matters. I don’t know how well you know Brian Berletic, but any network helps.

    I have done some reading about Thai history and culture: The language and writing system are fascinating. The abugida used to write Thai also shows tones, which is remarkable. On the other hand, I am sure that I would be defeated by a tonal language, no matter how lovely it is. Yet learning the language gives you a good side project–just knowing how to read signs helps muchly.

    And my experience here in the Chocolate City is that the Piedmontese enjoy engaging with English-speakers who speak Italian well. It opens up a whole new world to play in another language.

    Great photos: You look ready for the launch.

  24. David Kane Miller

    I’ve lived near Chiang Mai for nine years and I love it. Welcome. After 67 years as a singleton, the Land of Smiles, brought me a wife and much happiness. Best wishes.

  25. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    As my crazy cousin would say – ” May the winds be at your back, the dice be kind & the Gods turn the occasional blind eye “.

  26. griffen

    Congratulations on the pending move. Planning ahead always matters, my humble thoughts. Adding a special congrats on the eventual closing of an estate, which I can adjacently speak to but that can be a logistical pain. Removing and sorting out all the stuff to keep, to yard sale (maybe) or to junk can be incredibly time consuming. Which I think is material that’s been covered, FWIW.

  27. nycTerrierist

    wow, bon voyage and best wishes for a smooth landing
    and much happiness in your new home!

  28. davejustdave

    Bon voyage, Yves – it will definitely be an adventure, and a change of scene – I hope the pleasures far outweigh the pains.

  29. zagonostra

    I was hoping you would restart the in-person “Meet Ups” post CV19, I missed the one you had at Funky Buddha a couple of years ago when you were in my neck of the woods…if you have one in Thailand, please let us know well in advance so I can make sure my Pass Port is up-to-date

    1. Arizona Slim

      Well, we can always restart them out here in the wild. Anyone else up for a Tucson meetup?

  30. CanCyn

    Thanks so much for letting us know Yves. Best of luck with the house sale and congratulations on getting out of the US. Hoping to hear some settling in tales when you’re on the other side.

  31. Paul Art

    God speed. Will now seriously research Thailand as a retirement choice. “When a Swiss banker jumps out of the window, follow her, she must be onto something!’

  32. upstater

    Should be interesting! Hope it goes smoothly. Just wondering how years of your night owl production schedule will adjust… will links come at 19:00 eastern? /s

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Nightime US, which is when I work now, is daytime Thailand. So I will be back onto a normal schedule, albeit a bit on the early side (but not as early as my days as a working stiff, where I’d get to the gym when the doors opened in the morning).

  33. WhoaMolly

    Great! Thanks for update. Have been wondering how the move is going for you. Sounds like a smart, timely action.

  34. orlbucfan

    Yves, the very best of luck to you in the impending move. Your photos show you are an ageless woman (no surprise). As the bikers say, always stay safe.

  35. timotheus

    Some of us won at our own guessing game in which we debated what country might Yves be looking at. We picked up on various hints that it could be Thailand although I couldn’t reconstruct them now. Thanks for the additional sort-of antidote. It was a fun distraction.

  36. BillS

    Good luck with the move! “Expatriating” is never easy, but can be very rewarding. I look forward to occasional updates on your Thai experiences.

  37. Wukchumni

    How exciting of a move!

    I’m envious Siam I am, and your timing seems good as the USA is about to tear itself apart in some scenario or another, and to be far far away from the scene of decline and yet right here on the internet, as always.

    We were seriously thinking of immigrating to NZ around the turn of the century, we had the points needed vis a vis my wife’s occupation, but then we didn’t do anything, and got too old to qualify, and other than investing a ton of money, that was that. Opportunity knocked, but we didn’t answer the door.

    I’d miss the Sierra if I was somewhere else, and its almost a foreign country in itself, the wilderness is nothing like the USA.

    My grandfather was a wealthy man and quite a patriotic Czech, but similar to most Europeans couldn’t see the writing on the wall in the late 1930’s, and a combination of the Nazis (they stole your money) and the Soviets (they stole your property) left him with nothing much.

    My dad split in 1947 and his brother was a much later arrival, escaping to Austria in the early 1960’s and then to the USA in the mid 60’s.

  38. Clark Landwehr

    Thanks for abandoning our society when we need people like you if we are going to have a chance. Drop-out culture is one of the main drivers of American dysfunction. Take the money and run. Moving to Thailand is the an extreme expression of exurban flight. The ultimate gated community. Maybe it will buy you a few years, if that’s all you care about. Thailand will be hammered by climate change soon enough.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      How remarkably nasty. Pray tell how am I abandoning “society” when I see no one and have no friends in Alabama, and have found the locals not at all receptive to older women, worse single ones who have an operating brain cell and are direct? I will still be subject to US taxes, still paying for American services for the site and people working on it, no doubt importing American products like dietary supplements and still focusing on the same beats.

      To put it more pointedly, what have you done in terms of effecting change to sit in judgement of me? Until you’ve gotten some government officials to quit and some stories get amplified in the mainstream media, you are in no position to scold. I have more than paid any dues you might presume to think I owe by being a class traitor and becoming downwardly mobile as a result.

      And if you want to still try to moralize about America, I give you Frederick Douglass:

      I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.

      And Talleyrand:

      I never abandoned a regime before it abandoned itself.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Yves, it isn’t just single women of a certain age.

        As a young married woman in Oklahoma, my mother was in the same situation as you. Possessed with an operating brain cell, as was my father, and they were both born-and-raised New Yorkers. You know how direct they are.

        Any-hoo, my folks lasted two years in Bartlesville, then they got the [family blog] outta there.

      2. Joe Well

        If you’re ordering supplements from the US in Thailand, check out, it’s very popular among expats and international orders are their niche, it’s how they survived competition from Amazon. They are experts at avoiding issues with customs. They even have pages in both English and Thai detailing how to get supplements in through customs.

    2. Biologist

      Dude – Yves has done more for your society than many of us hope to achieve in a lifetime. In case your closed mind missed it, she’ll continue to work and publish and contribute to your society, while you sit there sulking.

    3. Wukchumni

      In Victor Klemperer’s (he was a Jew, his wife Catholic) diary I will Bear Witness from 1933 to 1945, he bemoans when German Jewish friends and family are leaving Germany for elsewhere until the door closes shut in 1939, you know what’s coming and the complaining strikes you as absurd, sadly.

      Really the finest critical thinker account of the 3rd Reich as things were unfolding, recommended!

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment is very strange to me. My first response on reading of Yves departure was feelings of sadness that she and so many others feel the need to leave the u.s. and so many of the rest of us look on moved by a longing to follow but lack the will or the means.

      For me, departing would be a difficult act of will. I have few — but too many — ties, too little drive, means, discipline, and too much procrastination and indolence. Leaving the land of one’s birth is no small decision. It requires unusual bravery and adventure. I can only envy and take a strange pride in Yves move and her capacities to execute her move.

      Of all present Societies on this Earth I can think of none better fit to traverse the Ages or to fulfil the basic needs of Humankind than those of the Orient. I know very little about Thailand beyond its wonderful foods and beautiful country. I look forward to Yves many insightful contrasts between life in Thailand and life in the u.s. — remembering, however, that Alabama and the South are most peculiar cases and Thailand is not perfect.

      Do you feel no pangs that even one of our best has felt driven to leave the u.s.? I feel deeply saddened at the loss and saddened that the Elites running our Society — such as it is — have so effectively driven away those who might perhaps, might maybe, perhaps, … have given u.s. ‘society’ a chance to survive. Even the limited ‘survival’ mechanisms F.D.R. provided through his New Deal seem beyond the comprehension or tolerance of the Power Elites controlling the u.s.

      I am envious of Yves and wish her the very best. For you, Herr Landwehr, I suggest you value land less and the Human Fabric — SOCIETY — which holds that land together — much more strongly. The soon coming Collapses are only just beginning. Humankind is at the juncture of multiple — poly — crises.

    5. Tom Pfotzer


      I can’t think of too many people that deserve the “drop-out” rebuke less than Yves.

      Took a lot of work and not a little courage to deliver the shots she dealt. Would that I could summon the courage and had the raw intellect to set out the whuppins she’s visited on some worthies.

  39. Marc Cryer

    I think it a reasonable choice then again I know only what I read about that location. My wife and I are thinking of retiring in S. Korea where she has family and I worked for many years. Only my obligation to elderly parents keeps me here now. Parts of the U.S. are fine, and Mountain Brook isn’t far from where I worked at UAB in the now long defunct Center for Labor Education and Research. I wouldn’t have been happy there forever though so luckily the Republican party defunded our program pushing us toward bigger and better things. Lack of infrastructure social and material and a modest but never absent background threat of violence make me want to move somewhere saner. Really most places seem saner. Be well.

  40. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves. Splendid news. Beautiful photo. God’s speed.

    And please visit us at the other end of the Indian Ocean.

  41. ksmithderm

    Your skin looks terrific … keep up the good work with sun protection, including hats.

  42. sleepingdogmatist

    Congratulations and best wishes, Yves. This sounds like a great change.

    As an ex-expat–though only for a few years–thinking about leaving the US again and where to go, I would be *very* interested to hear about your experiences there as a COVID cautious person, if that’s appropriate to share with the blog at some point. I had thought about returning to China for work until they ended zero COVID. For now, I’m just proceeding along with my hybrid work/shadow recluse existence in the United States, but eventually really would like to get out if there’s somewhere more hospitable.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Actually, even though I did not want to talk about my criteria, Covid practices are on my list.

      1. Across SE Asia, Covid rates are way way lower than in the West. That seems significantly due to masking, which is seen as polite and in particular in Thailand is due often bad air (although where I am going has less pollution than much of the country).

      2. Thailand has excellent medical care. It’s a major medical tourism destination.

      3. Thailand also sells CovidTrap over the counter. Why no other country had taken up this product is beyond me, since the developer was a US biotech. Nasal Covid antibodies. Apparently confirmed as a 6 hour prophylactic.

      1. sleepingdogmatist

        Great to know, and apologies for nudging into boundary-crossing. My experience in Shanghai in the mid-2010s had been that masking was widespread and normal, and I got a similar impression from a month-ish visiting Chiang Mai–where I did a bit of medical tourism for dental cleanings, I think it was maybe USD$15?–in 2014. That’s been so long ago that I didn’t know what to expect, so this is really helpful.

  43. ChrisFromGA

    Congrats on taking on such a big adventure later in life. Courage begets more courage, so perhaps a few of us will be inspired to do likewise. The blog will continue as normal, l presume?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As normally as they can given a big move. You will see more of Lambert, Conor, Nick and KLG and less of me at key points in the summer.

      1. Susan the other

        I miss you already. But it does sound like an excellent adventure. I hope you find an exotic new cat to window watch with. Stay safe and healthy. Be lucky.

  44. square coats

    Congratulations and safe and happy travels! I’m definitely a bit jealous of your move :) and also inspired!

  45. hop2it

    Congratulations Yves! I’m sure this is a well thought out decision from your side. I wish you the very best.
    Loved the pics!
    Lady luck favors the brave!

  46. guurst

    That is quite a change of view, sure hope it is wonderful.
    And that the cats mag like it.

  47. What?No!

    So awesome, and I’ll take a moment to say so sad as well. Another ticky-box checked on my decline checklist.

    A wonderful choice, congratulations!

  48. dogwood

    Yves, Love the pics!! You look terrific and ready for take off.
    Wishing you all the best! Bon voyage!
    We’ll be thinking of you and look forward to your postings from there (your next here).

    Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
    Helen Keller

  49. JonnyJames

    Congratulations! Thailand is highly recommended by two of my closest friends who moved there about 15 years ago. They want us to move there as well. Who knows, maybe we will. As Yves and other great commenters have noted; the culture (and the food!) is lovely. The way they treat older folks is quite different than in most western cultures. Health care is affordable, with English speaking doctors etc.

    Thailand, Portugal (and Spain), Costa Rica was on my short list as well.

  50. petal

    Wow! Safe travels, Yves!
    I follow an elephant sanctuary(Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary) on fb that is in Thailand run by a British ex-pat. She seems to love it there and was able to pick up the language. Enjoy!

  51. LaRuse

    Thank you for sharing the photos – it is so lovely to put a face to a name when you have featured so much in my daily web habits for over a decade. I am so glad you have found an exit strategy that works and I appreciate your willingness to share.
    Safe travels and congratulations!

  52. LawnDart

    Elephants! And excellent food and gracious people– a wonderous and beautiful place!

    Safe travels and thanks again for all you do!

  53. Angie Neer

    Yves, you have led, and continue to lead, a fascinating life. If you ever write a memoir (hint, hint) I would stand in line to read it.

  54. Tom Pfotzer

    I’m thrilled for your new adventure, Yves. This is gonna be great fun, total change of venue, and as great a shot at metamorphosis as humans are entitled to.

    Many of us, maybe most, are pretty green with envy. If I could strap my farm on my back like a turtle, I’d be settin’ sail for different climes, too.

    But there is a question I have. Are those pix really you? And what’s with that great big airplane? That’s not a Piper Cub.

    Did you get a part-time job in the airline biz to help defray travel expenses, and somehow snuck onto the flight deck for a selfie?


    Sure do wish you well, Yves.

  55. Jeremy Grimm

    Yves, I wish you a most smooth transition to the new life you have found. I look forward to your insightful contrasts between life in Thailand and life in the u.s.

    These are such very interesting times we live in.

  56. Keith Newman

    Aha! Thailand! That’s where I had guessed you’d go.
    I’ve been there as a tourist a couple of times within the last 8 years (6 weeks each time) and loved it: the people, the food, the very different architecture, the heat during the Canadian winter.
    It would be a hoot to do a meet-up there. If you do one during the Canadian winter I should be able to make it.
    Best of luck with the move, settling in, and learning some Thai.

  57. Maxwell Johnston

    I wish you the very best of luck, and thank you again for this site which is a beacon of sanity for all of us. I quit the USA 30+ years ago (and eventually got around to renouncing my citizenship as well). No regrets, absolutely none at all. Sometimes in life, the grass really is greener on the other side.

  58. MaryLand

    All the best in your journey! Thanks for all you have done here over the years. Looking forward to hearing tales of your new adventures.

  59. antidlc

    Wishing you all the best!

    (But I am sad I didn’t get to a pre-pandemic meet-up to meet you in person!)

    Wishing you health and happiness in your new home.

  60. tevhatch

    This summer there is a 80% chance I’ll be in Cuba for 2 months, checking it out for a longer term home. One thing I’ve found after being burned by the USA was that once you start living as an expat, the options for places to live just expand. Enjoy Thailand, and don’t forget to travel while you are there. It’s a great place to be based out of for making long term travel stays in the surrounding countries.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Welp, it’s a good thing this site has a comment delete function. I just used it to nuke my most recent flight of fancy.

  61. JTMcPhee

    “Have you got the clearance, Clarence”

    May you find your Shangri-La, your Bali Hai there. Best regards! Bon Voyage!

  62. hk

    Best wishes! Going abroad for good, more or less, is a big move. But Thailand is supposed to be a good location!

  63. judy2shoes

    Well, Yves, I am so excited for you. I had an opportunity to spend my senior high school year in Thailand with an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. I didn’t go for personal reasons I won’t disclose, but I’ve always understood what I missed.

    I have been looking at Central and South America for places to move because I think I could afford a few of them, I’ve lived in Peru and Venezuela many moons ago, and my Spanish, although quite rusty, could get me by. I had nixed Thailand because I was thinking it would be more expensive than I could afford. Now, you have me rethinking that. What an adventure it would be to move there!

    I love the photos of you that you provided; they gave me a strong sense of vicarious excitement for your coming move. My very best wishes for a safe journey.

  64. Ignacio

    Such a relocation project is always a challenge and an opportunity. Best wishes for you there in Thailand!

  65. John Beech

    Hope Thailand suits you. If not, Costa Rica is nice. Very dear friends recently moved to Panama (been two years, now). They reside in Boquete, which is reasonably close to David (airport and hospital plus the usual amenities of a city). If you’re unaware of the geography, David is near the Costa Rica side of things and at about 4500′ of altitude, which makes for a very nice climate. If you decide to opt for this part of the world, reach out and I’ll help you make connections.

    Speaking of my friends, they also have a condo on the beach (community of Gorgona) and split their time. Nice thing about David area is being mountainous and at an altitude, the climate is such as to not require air conditioning. Open air living is easy (in fact, their home has a fireplace).

    Life on the beach is open air – if – it suits but most scurry to the air conditioning immediately as it’s typical beach-type muggy weather and breezy, both. A lot like Florida, where we reside. And FWIW, we once owned a home not far from their beachside condo and thus, I speak from experience (15 years living in Panama, in fact).

    And there are very nice expat communities associated with both areas (but you’ll find that everywhere if that’s your thing). During our time spent living in Panama, we tended to associate more so with locals. Anyway, the expat communities sometimes split along US/UK lines, but mostly both are held together by a sufficiently similar language, if not values (and Canadians fit in with either Commonwealth or USA types so you find them, too). Occasional Oceana types, too and they sound quite different as they pronounce their vowels, especially their ‘e’ sounds, rather distinctively. Your ear will soon distinguish. Rather expect more of them in Thailand according to my brother. Speaking of which, my youngest brother spent ten years in Thailand so if you have any questions I can put you two in touch.

    So have you ever lived beyond American borders, or will this be the first time?

  66. Phichibe

    Bon Voyage!

    I’m sorry your sojourn in Alabama proved unsatisfying. I relocated in mid-life to a college town in New Mexico still found it hugely difficult to make friends or “fit in”. To the poster above who accused you of deserting a sinking ship, you tried to change things with Econned and yet here we are. Go in good conscience and enjoy the next chapter. I look forward to reading many years of your ex-pat writings. If the New Yorker knew what was good for them then they’d offer you a regular “Letter from Bangkock” gig.

    Color me green with envy in the best way!

    Best wishes!


  67. Irrational

    Late to the news. Sounds fantastic – as others noted food + culture amazing (if they are separable). All the best for the house sale, the move and the settling in.

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