Second Chance at Life – Start Living Life!

How the Journey Started

Sitting in my cubicle working 50 plus hours a week I started to become stressed and burned out over the same weekly routine. The added stress of just going through a divorce led my mind to wander throughout the day. I would often think of travel and living in a warm tropical paradise. At this point in my life, I had never been to Asia, only Europe and Central America.

The Plan

        I started to devise an action plan to get to a tropical paradise. I had already decided that I wanted out of the rat race and onto a life with no stress and no more winters. The problem was that I had debt, not much in the way of liquid savings and my current job was not going to get me there anytime soon. I decided to deliver pizza after my shifts as a claims adjuster 3 or 4 nights a week and started paying off debt quickly. Although I was paying off debt quickly, I was not yet able to fund a trip or start an emergency savings other than my 401k which I could not touch. So, I decided to try my hand with online teaching to Chinese kids. I ended up turning this into my way to sustain myself in the Philippines.

My First Trip

         I finally had saved up enough money and paid off my debt to make my first trip to the Philippines which was in September of 2015. I decided to take (about 4 weeks) and travel to Davao. I explored Davao city, Mati, Cateel and Samal island. I instantly fell in love with the natural beauty, the friendliness of the people and the fact that I could communicate in English was a bonus. When I got home, I planned for one more trip to SE Asia. Thailand was next up for me in February 2016 where I spent another 4 weeks.

Preparation for Moving

       Back in my cubicle in the US and with the money saved up and debt paid off, it was time to prepare for the move to Asia. I had the income and the job teaching ESL online so I was ready to move. I decided to make things easy and become a minimalist. I sold all I could sell and gave the rest away to charities. Some keepsakes like photo albums and various other memorabilia I stored at my mom’s place. As I was finalizing my preparation for my move a friend told me he saw a teaching job posted in Cebu, Philippines.

Working In the Philippines

        I contacted the job in Cebu and 3 skype interviews later I was hired. I decided to wait till December, 2016 to start my new job as I would be able to get my last Christmas bonus with my current job. The first week of December I donned my winter jacket and hat for the last time as I was driven to the Minneapolis airport and abandoning my winter coat in my friend’s car I was on my way to Cebu.

The Rest is History

        Going on 6 years now in the Philippines with a brief 6-month stint in-between working in Vietnam, I have never looked back or regretted anything.  I still am traveling The Philippines searching for the ideal location for me to settle into less of a nomadic lifestyle, as of now a few cities have made the list but that is another blog.

26 thoughts on “Second Chance at Life – Start Living Life!”

  1. Thanks for sharing Gio. Sometimes in life you have to take risks if you want to be happy. I hate change so was just content to stick to my boring job which was safe and paid the bills (been there over 19 years now)
    After turning 50 I realised the years were slipping away and I wanted more from life. Aussie girls annoyed me as thet just seemed to be interested in what you owned and how much you got paid so I started looking elsewhere. I dated a Nepali girl and after her a Chinese lady. I was hooked on other cultures.
    Our company has an office in Makati so I regularly spoke to my female friends there and they convinced me to find a Filipina for myself. I’ve been in an LDR realtionship with my girl for alomost 6.5 months now and am spending July with her. I can’t wait.

    1. Congratulations Norm..!!! Consider yourself fortunate for your personal discovery at the age of 50. Still plenty of years to enjoy a different lifestyle in an another culture. Many of us can relate to your circumstances. As an American, I dated American girls in my youth. I was fortunate while young to be in a business where I met many foreign women in the US. They were my new “go to” of my dating repertoire. Over my lifetime I have had a few life-in gf’s. I have discovered although of foreign descent, they too adapted to the American female stereotype. I am now in my 60’s and am in pretty good shape for a guy my age. Prior to the “sickness” I explored some of S E Asia just before the world closed most of its doors. Before summers end, I and others will join you in the Philippines. We hope what was lost in our home countries decades ago does not infect our new culture, if the government there allows us residency. I am wishing you the best on your new journey. Many blessings and ENJOY..!!!

  2. Hey Gio

    I’ll bet getting that divorce sure helped in getting rid of all your stuff. You know why
    divorce is so expensive? ……………………………It’s worth it.

    Good luck my friend.
    Bob L.

  3. Gio, interesting story, thanks for sharing. Wondering if your Military experience helped you put the plan into action. You looked at where you were at and where you wanted to be and took on the change. Looking back, my dad was military and his guidance helped me in my discipline when it came to work and planning. Like you I have been through a few divorces, no kids. Both had big impact on my life and thinking about things, as you know, it will wake you up. Long ago I decided to retire early and not be one of those guys that dies working at the office. Somewhere after retiring about 8 years of not doing much an old flying friend who had been going to Thailand every six months of the year said I should check it out. The thought of experiencing travel in far away lands interested me. I started to follow retire cheap JC and plan a trip to Thailand. My friend then said I’m not in Thailand anymore go to Philippines they speak English and girls are nothing like America. So I found Reekay’s channel and your new channel. Started studying the in and outs of visiting with the thoughts of living in South East Asia. Before that first trip I decided to downsize my life too even though I still have more than I need. Along this journey our paths crossed (actually I hunted you down in Dumaguete for coffee and had a motor mouth. Haha) and we became friends. Your Youtube channel has been fun, interesting, and educational for me and others. Thanks Steve

  4. Very cool site. Watching your videos I never knew your background: desk job, living in MN, etc. So nice to learn of people’s background. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This was a very brief introduction. I would like to know more, about your time in the military / army and how long you spent in? Rank? What was your MOS or career field? Education? Divorced? Children?

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. We all have our personal reasons for choosing the philippines , but I believe many of the underlying issues for leaving our home countries are the same for most of us.

  7. Well written article Gio! Glad that you are able to support yourself via teaching English as a Second Language, as my daughter did that for 5-years, while residing in Incheon and Seoul, South Korea.

    What many people fail to take into consideration, is whether they made the right financial choice ahead of time, prior to making a permanent move to the Philippines. As a Retired U.S. Air Force Vietnam Era Veteran, who predominantly resided most of my Air Force Career in the Far East, I can attest to a certain degree, that it’s much cheaper to reside in certain countries in the Far East. Hence, it was my former (now deceased South Korean-American Spouse) and I to pre-plan our retirement move to Seoul, South Korea 30-years ahead of time. Yet, when I lost her to Stage-4 Ovarian Cancer, I believed my future of living overseas would be just a dream.

    However, after meeting the second love of my life (a Widowed Filipina) and, now my Philippine-American Spouse, the thought arose as to where we should retire once she was ready to retire from Registered Nursing and I was ready to retire for the second time in my life, from a Civil Service Career of 20-years. Thus, we made the decision to retire to Clarin, Misamis Occidental (,_Misamis_Occidental), Mindanao (North of Ozamiz City) and, after living here for 8-years, I can honestly say, that this was the correct decision that we made.

    So, everyone should be financially prepared when making a permanent move ahead of time, making multiple trips to the country (in this case the Philippines), to get acquainted to the weather, the people, the food and, the cost of living. Only until the individual is 100% sure of what they have learned, can they make a decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives or will break them. As for my wife and I, we are very happy residing in a Provincial Setting with all the modern day items that we had in the U.S. and, this will be our final resting place right up until we die and are buried.

      1. Beautiful post! Good for you brother! As a retired Marine Officer and 100% disabled veteran, I have a solid income for the rest of my life. I am designing a plan that will sustain me in the PI.

  8. Well written blog Gio. Your open and honest communication style is what I like best about you. You don’t pretend or stage things you pretty much shoot from the hip. I’ve been following you since the beginning of the pandemic when you started vlogging daily. I think by interacting with all your viewer constantly it has made you one of the best go to sites for information about the Philippines. You understand your viewers and what’s important to them. I hope to follow in your footsteps soon on the travel side so seeing your maps and distance traveled is of great interest to me. You also interview people very well. You listen and don’t make the interview about you. I know how difficult it is to get most providence Filipinas to talk but somehow you are able to. Thank you for all your excellent information and observations. Good luck on the blog and safe travels.

  9. hi Gio, I watch all on youtube but no live stream. from Australia wishing I could have been as you are doing. Your content is amazing thanks

  10. Good evening Gio. I have been devouring our videos of late. I am a 50yr old retired USMC Officer and Pilot. When I retired in 2019, my wife left me because I was home too much. Hahaha. Stupid American woman. Anyway, after trying various dating apps, I realized that the dating scene with American women is very toxic. In 2009, I spent a month in Vietnam and fell in love with the Asian culture and women. Fast forward to today and I am most interested in a certain Philipina. She is a widow with 2 boys. I have 3 kids the same age, so I think we are a great match. So far, we both understand the attraction to the other, and want to move to the next step of me visiting. I am hoping to visit her this summer. She is in Bacolod. Do you have any tips for my trip? Is Bacolod a safe area? I have subscribed to your blog and will do so on your YT channel as well. I appreciate all of your info. Thanks again!


  11. Hello mate! I was wondering, do you still plan to go to Malaysia? I did some research and it seems like a sweet place to live!

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