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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.

Roger Rocks!
Billy & Akaisha Kaderli

It is said that Luck is when opportunity and preparation meet.

It also takes a keen mind, willingness to take a chance, and the ability to actually see that opportunity when it's offered.

Over the many years we have visited Thailand, we've frequently seen Roger relaxing by the pool at our Bangkok hotel. Maybe he's having breakfast or reading The Bangkok Post over a beer. But we never really spoke with him other than giving the usual head nod or hello. Then we started seeing him at our Chiang Mai Guest House and we were intrigued. He looked so laid-back, mysterious and completely integrated into his life here in Asia, that we just had to know.

ROGER IN HIS POOLSIDE OFFICE CATCHING UP ON THE LATEST NEWS IN THAILAND

So, for the price of a beer, he told us his story.

People’s lives are often woven together with scraps of seemingly unrelated talents and uncoordinated events.

In 1971, at the age of twenty-two, Roger was an out-of-work carpenter. Hearing that Germany was building a village for the Olympics at the time, he eagerly took advantage of that opportunity and flew to Munich. He learned German, got to know the city and made some hard cash.

Then in the middle 1970’s he found himself hitchhiking in the American southwest, literally out in the middle of nowhere, with only $38 Dollars in his pockets. He was picked up and given a ride by a man who couldn’t promise to take him all the way to his destination, but only about an hour further along the road. Now, when you are out in the middle of the desert, what could possibly be only one hour further down the road?

A SAMPLE OF ROGER'S UNIQUELY CARVED AND ARRANGED GEMS

"A turquoise mine" the driver said, and he would be taking a hard left off the main road. It was there that he was to pick up some turquoise stones to sell in town.

Roger’s interest grew, and since he had no pressing schedule, he wondered if he could go along for the ride?

Roger ended up buying a pail of turquoise (a bucket of rocks, as he put it) for thirty of those cherished $38 in his pocket. He went home and sold that lode for $60 bucks, doubling his money. Good deal.

 

Excited to buy more blue stones to sell, Roger returned to the desert, but the miner approached him with an even better offer.

“Don’t just buy these rocks from me,” he said. “I’ve got a business proposition for you. Every time I leave my mine to go into town to sell my stones, people come in here and steal from my mine. How about if you dig some turquoise out while I’m in town selling and I’ll give you half of what you pull out, for your pay.”

Sounded like a good arrangement to Roger, and voila! he became a miner. He learned the ropes from this man; how to mine turquoise and how to cut the gemstone.

ROGER'S ARRANGEMENT, SET IN 14 KARAT GOLD FOR A RING

Roger continued to sell his turquoise and purchased some machinery to cut these rocks himself.

And he worked all the trade shows.

He then met a man from Nepal who wanted to do some jewelry import/export. Roger said “I can do that!” and explained that he cuts gems, well, er, stones, anyway… and he and the man went off to Nepal.

They ended up working together for a year, and Roger learned more about the business of gem cutting and selling. He now knows how to tell if a gem is of quality, what occlusions are, and what to look for in color and type. He can rattle off the official names of gems, and the countries where the best ones can be found, which brings him to Thailand, world-known for their rubies and sapphires.

UNPOLISHED RUBIES AND SAPPHIRES SOLD LIKE HOTCAKES IN EUROPE

With all this new information and expanded talent, Roger returns to Germany to sell one and two karat rubies to jewelers there. But he is not part of the upper crust gem community, and breaking into this field can be difficult. Although he does well and enlarges his business to supply London, he discovers that the ‘have- to- be- perfect’ world at this level of jewelry selling and cutting is boring. To him, there is more intrigue in the ‘rough’ stones that are discarded and disrespected - the ones that other gem cutters throw away. It was here that Roger saw value, fascination, and more importantly, potential.

He begins to utilize the discarded rough stones and brings the higher level of cuts to their ‘imperfect’ colors and shapes, with the lines, cracks and shatters proudly featured. He specializes in odd configurations, refusing to make ‘perfectly matched sets’ but rather, offers ‘compatible’ stones and arrangements for those who crave a more artistic flare. This becomes Roger's trademark, and his business takes off.

THE CABOCHON CUT
ROGER WAS KNOWN AS THE MAN WITH THE BEST 'CABS'

But there are always surprises.

Some years ago on the day before one of his many trips to Germany and London to sell his loose stones, he went to his factory to pick up the rubies and sapphires that should have been polished and cut. His workers had left him high and dry without polishing the stones left in their care. Roger only had a half-shipment of dusty looking gems, like ocean washed glass one finds on the beach. Rather than cancel his trip, he collected them as they were and brought them to Europe anyway.

 

Into the high class jewelry stores he went, showing his ‘new line’ of unpolished gems. The jewelers snapped them up! Setting them in unpolished gold to compliment this 'rustic look', these pieces now sold for $1,000 pounds each!

It's an honor and a pleasure to meet such a dedicated craftsman. One of the many rewards of traveling is one never knows where conversation over a beer will lead.

Decades later, Roger is still selling his distinctive gems. Shipping worldwide, both loose stones or pieces placed in settings are available. Roger can be reached via email at RVNHill@yahoo.com or by cell phone 089.214.9304 - And tell Roger we sent you!

To read more interviews with Expats, Early Retirees and Interesting Characters, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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