Preparing to leave Australia ... again


Our stuff!

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!

Last play with our bat

I'm not sure how I feel.

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!

Octopus Sandcastle

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.

Noah, Mason and Hayley

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.

So does setting up a house in Penang mean we're going to stop travelling?

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!

Monkey Beach, Penang

Next Post: Misadventures and house hunting in Malaysia Previous Post: Brisbane's Southbank: our favourite family day out!

About the Author


Tracy Burns

Tracy always talked about traveling a lot more than she ever traveled. Married to an avid traveler that thankfully changed. After almost two years exploring South East Asia and Australia, enjoying the most amazing food, temples, beaches, and more importantly every sweet food treat she can find, Tracy is keen to explore further afield. Tracy juggles homeschooling, playtime, blogging and learning more about photography while they travel. Some days she juggles them better than others!

Comments (20):

  1. I'm so excited for you! Good luck with getting everything done and hopefully your stuff gets there in tact.

    I can't wait to hear about your Malaysian adventures. I spent 6 weeks in KL and LOVED the country. Enjoy!

  2. Sounds so amazing....what a year you have with many different adventures ahead. You are so brave traveling to so many places. Looking forward to following your journey here at your blog. Thanks for sharing your travel plans.


  3. I hope it gets here intact as well!!!

  4. good luck for you guys!
    i'm wishing you will enjoy living in the house in Penang - and remember that every change in life is for a new and fresh success!

  5. Sounds like a great adventure!!
    Hahaha I know what you're talking about when you say Malaysian customs. Been there done that! Make sure you talk to different clerks when you deal with them, they all say/do different things. We just had a similar "no there's no extra cost" situation that we dealt with when moving.
    Can't wait to read more about your adventures.

  6. love this! how exciting, all of these fantastic travel plans.

  7. I love Australia...!! I've there on a vacation for almost a year and I'm thinking of relocating and live there permanently....the lovely beaches, the miss that!

  8. The East Coast islands are probably my favourites on the Peninsular. You should go before the monsoon season!

  9. We'd love to get there soon - do you have a favourite island or are they all great? We almost went so many times last year but never quite made it.

  10. Thanks Anna - our fingers are crossed that it all goes well. We've had a few 'fun' situations with things being posted to us last year - one package went missing, one got through with no fees and one got charged almost 30% tax. There didn't seem to be a reason for the variation, just as you say - the clerks all seem to say and do different things. So I'll be interested to see what happens with a whole container!

  11. Good luck with the move. I hope all goes smoothly at the other end. Negotiating with customs officials is never simple and you can always expect at least one surprise. We found upon arriving in China, that the duty on an old battered set of golf clubs was more than buying a new set. We live and learn as we move around the globe!

  12. I haven't been to Perhentian, but I think so far my favourite is Redang. I've been there twice!

  13. Thanks Fay, how funny about the golf clubs. That is probably the last thing I would have thought would attract duty! I am sure we will have many similar surprises. It shall make for an interesting lesson ... I'll be interested to see if we will ever again ship stuff overseas or if in the end it would have been better to sell it all off even with the hassle.

  14. I have heard Redang is lovely. I'm keeping my eye out for a cheap package there so we can spend a few days relaxing and teaching the kids to snorkel.

  15. You should be on a watch for the 10 cents promotion that AirAsia is having starting tomorrow noon (23 May 2011). It's a massive sale, and I'm sure you guys will have heaps of fun anyhow!

  16. Hey Colin,
    Got here from Twitter.
    It is really nice that you are able to manage an location independent lifestyle that too with 2 kids. We hope to reach there some day :) ... Your kids are really lucky to get this opportunity ... Can't imagine the kind of exposure they will during their initial years - Amazing!

    Good Luck and Safe Travels,

  17. [...] past week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Our gear finally arrived from Australia and we’ve moved into our house,  so I guess it’s not that surprising that it’s [...]

  18. The East Coast islands are probably my favourites on the Peninsular.

  19. We're just back from the Perhentians and they are amazing. So beautiful. I hope we can explore more of the East Coast Islands one day soon.

  20. Hi Tracy,

    I like and follow your blog, just curious which courier company and the costs for your shipping from Aust to Penang ? cause we might need that for our relocation to Pg as well :)

    so are u still in KL now ? haha have fun !

    Kah Loon

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