Travel Diary » Preparing to leave Australia ... again
Tomorrow we fly out of Australia for the second time since starting our travels. We thought we were going on Sunday but turns out Colin had the dates wrong and it's actually Saturday morning. The shipping container came a few days ago and all our gear is waiting to be shipped to Malaysia. If I thought seeing all our furniture crammed in a storage shed was frightening I still have a list a mile long of things to do this afternoon ... you'd think I'd learn not to leave things to the last minute! But no ... that's just not my style!
I'm excited to be heading off overseas again ... but a little disappointed that we're not off to discover new horizons - at least not just yet! I've loved spending time exploring Australia. Some of our best travel memories are here. Kookaburras stealing sausages out of our frying pan, dodging possums, camping, seeing the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road, exploring deserted unpolluted beaches ... it's been amazing. The beaches in Asia might be beautiful but there's something to be said for having a beach to yourself with no touts and no rubbish!
But we've spent the last month back in Brisbane doing ... well not much at all. I have itchy travel feet. I want to explore a market in Turkey, eat mexican food in Mexico (yes I know it's supposed to be better in the States but I need to experience that myself), or walk along the Great Wall of China. But for now we're heading back to Penang ... which is exciting and there's still so much we haven't seen in Penang ... but it's not new.
I'm ecstatic that we're shipping our gear rather than selling it all ... but I'm scared that things are going to go wrong when we hit Malaysian customs. Things going mysteriously missing or unexpected taxes. "Oh no didn't we tell you there's a 300% tax on bringing second hand books into the country. Sorry our bad." Or what if the container falls off the ship with all our gear inside? It happens, we've seen Madagascar! OK so they're silly fears but I can't help it! Shipping our gear overseas was expensive - I guess I'm just worried that it's not going to be worth the expense.
I can't wait for the kids to see all their friends back in Penang and catch up with our own friends ... but of course we're really going to miss having friends and family around.
I'm excited to be setting up a house in Malaysia ... but a house comes with mundane things ... dirty words like "bills"! One of the things we've loved about travel over the past year and a half has been the lack of bills to pay. We have daily expenses and that's it! There's no quarterly electricity bill waiting to turn up right on the same day that your car breaks down. No monthly rental agreement or gas bill. Setting up a house in Malaysia gives us a fantastic base to travel from. We can rent it out, do house swaps, or just enjoy having our own things when we are in Penang ... but it also gives us bills! I'm not looking forward to bills. That seems far too much like normal life!
But mostly I'm just excited to be heading back to Asia. Roti breakfasts! Dinners out! Yep we've missed how cheap it is to eat out in Asia. Grocery shopping in smelly wet markets where you have genuine interactions with people rather than the supermarket. It's smelly but there's no comparison between buying fresh food at the markets to shopping in a supermarket. Exploring new cultures, catching up with friends ... yep I'm excited. We're even starting to miss the heat after a recent cold snap in Australia. We'll gladly swap the cold (unless it means snow) for year round swimming and watching tropical thunder storms every day as the sun sets. The kids are also really excited about going back to Penang. In some ways they think of Penang as their home already. Hayley especially remembers life in Penang more vividly than our old life in Australia.
NO! Well in the short term YES but NO not really ... umm ... are you confused yet? Welcome to our world!
One of the aims of travelling for us was to find a place we were happy to call home, or at least a temporary home. For now that's Penang, but we're not ready to stop travelling just yet! We fly to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and then drive up to Penang on Monday with another travelling family we met here, the Guests. Until November we will stay in Penang, although we plan to do quite a few weekend trips away to other areas of Malaysia once Colin has some of his work finished. We have the whole east coast of Malaysia to see yet! Cherating, the Perhentians, Tioman! They are all on our to-do list for the rest of the year and we'd like to check off at least a couple of them. In July/August we're also planning a two week holiday to somewhere new in Asia. We're not sure yet - somewhere new! In November we're heading up to northern Thailand to catch up with friends in Chiang Mai and see the Yee Peng festival before flying to Europe for a white Christmas. After that we'd like to spend a month or two in southern Europe before making our way back to Penang in early 2012. Are plans are all still very fluid but the main thing is, no we're not stopping travelling. Just taking a different approach!