Ian: Tropical Expat
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Malaysia, etc.
I am originally from the UK, went to school and university in Australia, and lived in a few countries, finally working in London in IT before my wife and I decided it was time to retire.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I decided to start blogging early this year, being frustrated at not being able to find the information about Penang and Malaysia that I wanted. If someone has already written about something, and I have nothing to contribute, then I will simply refer people on to that source. After a while it has become a bit of a compulsion to write, but I always seem have plenty of topics in mind, and don’t run out of material.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I never expected to write so many blogs in this short time – 160 + so far in about 10 months. I haven’t had time to review and update them yet, and rarely look back at old blogs. My favourite blog is usually my next one, but here are a few.
And the readers’ most viewed blog:
Tell us about the ways your new life in Malaysia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
It was easy enough to adjust to life here, but as the Internet has developed far less here it is harder to source what you need, and often I wish I had brought more things with me.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Malaysia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I am quite flexible, I am quite flexible, so there were no major problems, but when I was back in the UK I had thought that it would be easy enough to get various things here, and I gave away many things I wish now I had brought with me.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
That puts me on the spot. All I can think of offhand is running into a friend coming from China at Immigration at KLIA, when I was returning from Cambodia the other day, having just met up in Cambodia with a friend who arrived there the morning we left – having arranged this meeting by Facebook the previous evening.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Malaysia?
- Rent before buying property, preferably in different places.
- Thus, if necessary, put your possessions into storage in your home country, and don’t have them sent until you decide where to settle.
- Consider buying a new car a while before moving to Malaysia and importing it, rather than buying here, as from Europe importing is cheap.
How is the expat community in Malaysia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
In Penang I’d say the expat community is fairly scattered. If you want, you can join various groups to meet expats. I did a blog about this once:
How would you summarize your expat life in Malaysia in a single, catchy sentence?
Life in the tropics with time to do what you really want.