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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.

The Bag Fix

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Billy has a favorite travel bag that has seen more miles literally and figuratively than we can count. It is special to him because the insides have a variety of pockets and zippers to organize his "office." Having these cards, notes, cell phone and a pen handy whenever he needs them is a comfort when we travel. There is no jumble and he doesn't have to go and fumble around in a cavernous, dark bag to find what he is looking for.

My man likes an organized bag; a place for everything

My man likes an organized bag; a place for everything


An important zipper in a key location went on the fritz a couple of months ago and it soon became a major irritant, as he uses his bag daily.

Try as he might, he couldn't find anyone to repair it in Panajachel, Guatemala. We even went travel bag shopping in Saigon, Vietnam to replace his favorite companion. Bags were either not his style or didn't have the required pockets and compartments.

Definitely not Billy's style. He wouldn't be carrying any of these bags!

Definitely not Billy's style. He wouldn't be carrying any of these bags!

We had a plan B - I would give him my exact copy of a travel bag and then I would look for a new one myself. Something fresher, more stylish perhaps, sporty but feminine and a lighter weight version of rip-stop nylon. I didn't require the "office" set up and never used mine. So long as I had a variety of compartments for my passport, camera, credit cards, notebook and change purse I was set.


But Billy is sentimental. I have repaired this particular bag numerous times and he has (OMG) the little nubs of thread in several locations where I have reworked a hole. I have encouraged him to replace the thing, but this bag was like an old shoe; comfortable, familiar. And he didn't want to part with it.

Ladies, what can I say?

"The Man" in Vietnam

"The Man"

So we began the hunt for a vendor who could repair the zipper in his ratty ol' bag.

We must have come across three or four tailors and shoe repairmen. They all tinkered with the problem, but none could solve the issue.

Then, on one of our outings, we came across "The Man."

Threading a needle, Billy's bag on the side

Threading a needle, Billy's bag on the side

Confident he could repair the problem, The Man began right away, threading his needle, getting his tools ready to proceed.

Sewing side to side

Sewing side to side

He begins to sew side to side so that the unruly part of the zipper is separated from the otherwise functioning section.

The Man works his magic on the streets of Saigon

The Man works his magic

This seems to take a little bit of time, but The Man is undaunted. Others tried clamping the zipper tighter or offering the suggestion that the zipper be replaced by someone else. Not them, of course, because they did not have that sort of zipper. But this guy just dove in head on.


Billy couldn't be happier; a satisfied customer

Billy couldn't be happier; a satisfied customer

20,000 dong (about $1USD) was exchanged for his labor and both sides were happy with the deal. Billy's weathered bag was returned to him in complete operating order and he couldn't be happier. Papa's got a brand new bag! But I didn't get mine...

Notice that this man's "shop" is right on the sidewalk. Traffic is zooming past in front of him.

For more stories and photos of Vietnam, 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, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, 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 available on their website bookstore or on

Retire 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.

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