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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.


Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The Lisu tribe mostly inhabit the southern Shan State of Myanmar (Burma), but started to migrate to Thailand in 1921. There are several villages just outside Mae Hong Son, so we hired a driver for half a day to take us to one.

Just ahead is a short dirt covered log bridge that must have been washed out during the last rainy season.


Although it is the middle of March, the leaves on the rutted road give the appearance of an autumn day.

This long winding road would be impassable, soupy mud during the rainy season.


Forty minutes outside of Mae Hong Son we arrive at the Lisu village. Their lineage is from Northern Tibet, and their language comes from a subgroup of the Tibeto-Burman family of languages.


As with many of the hilltribes, they are tri-lingual. They speak their native tongue, Thai and some English. This woman is in her 50's, and told us she has 10 children. Here, she is preparing to make another row of dried leaf shingle for the roof tops of the village houses. Some are brought to town and sold to the city dwellers of Mae Hong Son.

At 20, this daughter's own baby is in a carriage behind her as she weaves the split bamboo thread through each leaf. Rows of completed leaf shingles are piled up to the right.


Meticulously, she stacks the leaf shingles in rows.

You can see inside the split bamboo house with its dirt flooring and more bamboo interior walls.


An outside view of another hill tribe home with the leaf shingles in place, held down by bamboo poles.

This roof has probably already seen a season or two.


Somehow there is money for a community children's bicycle. Still in its protective plastic wrap, the brand new bicycle provided a great time for these kids.


Shy boys smile by their father's parked bicycle.

The split bamboo walls behind them allow the breeze to blow through the house, wanted or not.



Conscious of their heritage, the word Lisu means culture person. They make their living out of hunting and cultivating crops, and Father is preparing to go hunting now. His arrow has a rubber sling mechanism at the bottom, and a 4 pronged metal spear at the top.

He was sharpening the metal prongs before this photo.


This woman was weaving her leaf shingles before we walked up to her home. Upon seeing us, she pulled out her handiwork to sell to us.

I always marvel at how clean they can keep their work, and such bright colors!


Meanwhile, it's laundry day and Grandfather is washing some clothing with water from the spigot.


Another close look. The hill tribe folks were very open and friendly. There was no sense that we had interrupted them.

They seemed to enjoy the company.


It is heartwarming how open and gentle these people are.

Their native dress is one of the most colorful of all the hill tribes that span this area of Thailand.


This woman saw me purchasing from another and came up with her bags of handicrafts to sell.

The Lisu love the brilliant colors!


Appearing out from nowhere, a woman returns to the village with her basket of harvested greens.


You can see the machete sticking out at the back of her basket, and her betel nut stained teeth.


She trudges on to somewhere else in the village.

A better view of her machete at the back of her basket.


They invited us in! A wondrous inside view of a well kept home. Large spacious rooms, compact dirt floor, clothes on hangers, and a foot pedaled sewing machine to make the handicrafts. No electricity!

The photo of the King of Thailand is on both calendars. Although it was hot outdoors, the tall ceiling made it cool inside. Note that you can see straight through the back wall to the outside.

A view of the neighborhood.

Rustic, clean, quiet.

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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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