In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
We journey in a “close to the
bone” style of travel. Taking local transport, we stay in hostels or a
2-3 star hotel and sometimes we book an ocean view resort. It depends on
value, available deals, what we want to do, and how long we want to
Photo courtesy of Compass Living
While we were living in Panajachel,
Guatemala, a startup venture contacted us about previewing one of their
properties located in
Saigon, Vietnam. It took some coordination for us
to twist our minds around returning to Asia, a place we had not been for
eight years. But after a few conference calls to work out details and
letting us know what they were looking for from us, we decided to give
it a go.
Because we have had
experience with the opening of the Four Seasons Resort on the island of Nevis
West Indies, we agreed to give the CEO, Head of Marketing and the Head of
Housekeeping our feedback on their staff, service and the quality of the room.
We were also asked to appear in some promotional videos and brochures. In return
we receive two months of luxury lifestyle, compliments of
Breakfast and lunch are delivered to our room each day, we have access to a
personal driver, and we receive weekly massages, manicures and pedicures.
Laundry service, daily cleaning of our room as well as evening turn down service
preparing the bed and closing the drapes are also provided.
I know it seems like a
tough assignment, but somebody has to do this.
In the past we have
dealt with the never ending rule changes on
Thailand's visas and having been to
Vietnam before, we knew a visa was required. But we were in Guatemala and there
was no way we were shipping our passports along with photos and forms filled
with personal information to the closest Vietnam Embassy in Mexico City. That
posed too much of a risk.
Well, let us tell you
that Vietnam has awakened to a new era and Immigration made it extremely easy
for us to receive a letter of approval online for a $33.00 dollar fee. We
printed out this letter of approval and presented it upon arrival along with two
current passport size photos in order to receive our three month visa stamp.
This visa stamp was an additional $45.00 dollars. The whole process was
surprisingly easy and efficient.
On the go
Our flight from Taipei,
Taiwan to Saigon was on time and after clearing both customs and immigration, we
were on the lookout for a poster sign from our Compass Living driver. There at
the exit of the airport were about one thousand screaming girls (think Beatle
mania) which we thought were there to welcome us! It turned out that a Taiwanese
rock star was in Business class on our flight and our own personal welcome was
slightly more subdued.
We saw the sign and the
Compass Living driver was waiting along with Robert the CEO, and Vivian, Head of
Once we boarded the van
and the driver stored our gear they gave us cold bottles of drinking water;
perfect for the hot climate here in Vietnam.
Driving through the
streets of Ho Chi Minh City past the famous Independence Palace, in short order
we arrived at Compass Parkview which will be our home for the next two months.
Checking in at the desk
was a snap as the clerks did most of the work filling out forms from the
information in our passports then we simply verified the info and signed them.
This is normal procedure in this part of the world.
Photo courtesy of Compass Living
Up the elevator to the seventh
floor we arrived at our spacious air-conditioned studio suite. Our 700
sq. ft. room was smartly decorated with black satin finish lattice work,
teak wood and blistery white bed linens with views of the city on two
sides. The kitchenette was well stocked with a hotplate, microwave,
blender, large refrigerator and kitchenware. The living room had a firm
mocha-colored pressed velvet couch, a teakwood style table, a 42 inch
flat screen TV with English channels and an efficient office area.
Everything was here for us; all we had to do was unpack our gear and
By now hours had passed since our
last airline meal and between fatigue and hunger we were having trouble
making decisions. This is the familiar jet lag.
Notifying the concierge
at the front desk, we had him order a pizza and asked that he also pick up a six
pack of beer. The friendly staff is here to serve and they are very eager to
please answering any of our questions and fulfilling any of our requests. Half an
hour later Steve arrives with the pizza and beer, and we settle in for a short
This is a whole new
style of living for us, one to which we could easily adjust. But since we are
used to making our own beds, preparing our own meals and dropping off laundry
ourselves, this luxurious approach to living is an adventure! And one we are
stories and photos of Vietnam,
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.