- Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung retired from their computer engineering jobs at age 31 as self-made millionaires.
- They have since travelled the world – so far, they have been to 40-plus countries.
- Shen and Leung are currently in Thailand, where they make time for wellness, passion projects, and their friends.
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Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung know how to budget.
Shen told Business Insider they have travelled to 40-plus countries so far. They’re currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a three-month stay and plan to head to Singapore after.
Shen and Leung are the authors of a blog (Millennial Revolution) and a book (“Quit Like a Millionaire“), both about the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. These passion projects keep them busy, but they also spend their days enjoying Chiang Mai’s local delights, hanging out with friends, and taking care of themselves – they find time for exercise, massages, and meditation.
Here’s what a typical day looks like for Shen and Leung in Chiang, Mai, Thailand.
Five years ago at age 31, self-made millionaires Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung retired from their computer engineering jobs to travel the world.
They have been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for two months. Around 8:30 a.m., they wake up in the condo they have been renting for $US650 a month.
The couple has forgotten how to use an alarm clock since becoming financially independent, Shen said, adding, “Today, we wake up from the sunlight, but generally we can wake up whenever we want.”
Shen and Leung aren’t fans of big breakfasts, so they usually have something small and quick half an hour after waking up.
Today, it’s a simple breakfast of egg and seaweed congee.
At 10 a.m., they head up to the condo’s rooftop garden to meditate with friends, complete with views of Mount Doi Suthep.
After, Shen reads a book on meditation for an hour. Her favourite author in the genre is Thich Nhat Hanh.
“Since we’re retired, we now have more time to read and learn about mindfulness, which is not something I ever had time for when I had a hectic job as a software developer,” she said.
At noon, Shen and Leung meet back up with friends for a lunch at “Rustic and Blue The Farm Shop,” which Sheng said is a popular brunch restaurant in the city serving western food.
Shen has an acai smoothie bowl. Leung instead grabbed lunch at a local Thai food stall, which Shen said serves “the juiciest and most delicious smoked chicken in the whole world.”
After lunch, they set up shop for an hour at coworking space CAMP to answer blog and book reader emails and respond to media requests.
Living nomadically out of two backpacks lets them work anywhere in the world with their Macbook Airs, Shen said. “Since we no longer need to work for money, all the ‘work’ we do in retirement are passion projects,” she added. “We choose to do them because they are interesting, rather than for the money.”
They also volunteer for non-profit organisations, like We Need Diverse Books.
At 2 p.m., they sign copies of “Quit Like a Millionaire” at bookstore Asia Books in Chiang Mai.
At 3 p.m., Shen and Leung reward themselves with an hourlong foot massage at a Thai spa that only costs $US7 per person.
“It’s easy to live a luxurious life in Chiang Mai for $US1,000 a month per person,” Shen said.
After, they head to the gym for an hour — something they had little time for when they were working, Shen said.
“I used to be on anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants, but now I haven’t taken any prescription meds for the past five years,” Shen said. “Bryce’s doctor diagnosed him as ‘obnoxiously happy’ the last time he got a full check-up. Now, with all the time in the world to work out, our health has never been better.”
At 5 p.m., they relax post-workout at the condo pool and sauna.
Their friend, Clover Lam, a flight attendant and world traveller, joins them.
At 6 p.m., Shen and Leung head to Digital Nomad Summit, a conference for travellers and location independent entrepreneurs.
They take a Grab, which Shen calls “the Uber of Asia” – the entire trip costs them $US3.30 in total.
“Since Chiang Mai is walkable, there’s no need to own or lease a car,” Shen said. “In fact, we’ve never owned a car. By living a nomadic life, we can rely on public transportation. By retiring, we no longer commute to work, so we rarely need to drive anywhere.”
For the next two hours, they meet and mingle with entrepreneurs and FIRE bloggers to talk about their travelling lifestyles.
They run into another pair of FIRE bloggers, Eric Richard and Kelsey Herron from Nomad on FIRE.
At 8 p.m., Shen, Leung, and their friends head to an Indian restaurant to have dinner, which costs about $US9 per person, including drinks and taxes.
“The variety of restaurants in Chiang Mai is mind-blowing – you could pick a different restaurant, night market, or food stall every day and never repeat in a whole month,” Shen said. “Since it’s so inexpensive to eat out ($US2 to $US10 per person per meal), we don’t bother cooking. In fact, many condos don’t even have a kitchen, just a hot plate.”
After dinner, they all get dessert at an ice cream shop and chat about everything from their favourite movies to passion projects they could work on together.
By 11:30 p.m., Shen and Leung are home. They plan a future trip involving elephants and mountain hiking and watch a Netflix show. By 12:30 a.m., it’s bedtime.
“We’re night owls, so we generally don’t go to bed before midnight,” Shen said. “It works out well since we don’t have to get up early the next morning. Gotta love retirement!”
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