Posted on Leave a comment

Off to Malaysia

I think it was about 70 or so days into lockdown. My wife said: “Let’s just do it. Let’s go on an adventure.”

This was not unusual. Tamlyn had been wanting to travel overseas for years, take the kids with and explore the great unknown. Of course, I did too. I just had a specific idea of how it should happen. I wanted to do it using music as the excuse and South Africa as the base. I just love the country and all it is – the good and the not-so-good. It is truly a great nation, and a place I have called home for 40 years.

My plan was that school holidays could allow for musical tours for me and travel education for our family. Plus, the extended family is all in South Africa. The presence of grandparents has always been a big deal for me, and I wanted my kids to have it as they grew up.

Somehow though, 70-something days into lockdown, I found myself asking the question: “Is this it? If this IS the end of the world, is this what my life has amounted to?”

Somewhere deep inside, I felt like I was dying. I just couldn’t escape a deep-rooted sense of curiosity that there simply has got to be more.

“C’mon babe,” my wife repeated. “Let’s go.”

“Ok,” I relented. “Let’s go.”

I will never forget the look on her face. Utter flabbergast-ment. “Really??” she gasped. I had always said no. And now, we were both of the same mind.

This set in motion months of research, paperwork, more research and planning. My wife has a British passport, and given my preoccupation with music’s influence on the brain, I was interested in pursuing a masters degree in psychology (UK universities offer a broader spectrum). So we told the kids, sold our house and put in our applications for visas.

A few months later, friends of ours who had moved to Malaysia sent Tam a notice of a job application.

“Why would you want to do that?” I asked. “We’re heading to England.”

“I want a backup option,” she said.

Rationalising that any job interview is good experience, I encouraged her to go for it. A week later, my amazing wife had not only nailed the job interview but had been offered a job in Malaysia.

Now we had to make decisions. It took me two days to recover from the psychological whiplash of the whole thing. And then I remembered.

I travelled to Malaysia in 2007 as a journalist, where I penned some of the lyrics from On The Edge and The Great Deep. Lyrics like:

“An open field to explore, a dream come true you can’t ignore”;

“the journey is the joy”; and

“the years so quickly crowd us in and keep eternity away”

So what if we were doing a handbrake turn in an aeroplane and skidding off east? Life is short. Live it.

That said, I’ve found life works well for my family when we read the season well. Plans and strategies have to evolve as children grow and as we get older. Our kids have had wonderful holidays and seasons with grandparents, and now it’s time for them to be educated by travel.

So Malaysia it is for the next two years. Tam has a contract for a job as the Head of Drama at an international school teaching IGCSE, and I’ll cook noodles.

Okay, not really. I have loads of things I’ll be doing… mainly learning along the way.

And then in 2024, we’ll see.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *