I remember returning from a visit to Malaysia in 2013 and thinking I have to live there. Something about the place struck a chord with me and I felt a strong urge to live in another part of the world. With that desire came so much uncertainty… What would we do to make money? How would we do the most basic of things like shops and pay bills? What will be different? What will be the same? Will we even like it? And so on. Moving to another country is a scary prospect. I needed some kind of reassurance, some first hand experience of what to expect, the good, the bad and the ugly. So I did what I have always done, turn to books. Whether it be an emotional problem, an unfamiliar situation or just a need for entertainment to help with the mundane-ness of everyday life, a book has always been my solution. So when I was thinking about living in another country I sought out advice.
Living in Asia
I’d stumbled upon Sara Aldersons book Can we Live Here through an article about moving to another country. It’s a book about a writer quitting her job and along with her young family travelling the world to find somewhere new, to put down roots. I loved this book and have read it a few times now. Hearing her talk about Bali made me want to live there, fuelling my passion to live in another country further. Hearing about how she made it work, gave me a sense of reassurance that everything will be ok in the end and if it isn’t, you can just move on to another place.
Living in Denmark
I started reading The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell just before we moved to Malaysia. A book, again discovered through an article about how living a Danish life could actually make you happier. This book was laugh out loud funny and I loved Helen’s voice. I quirky and hugely reassuring book; if she can move to the middle of nowhere in the deepest of winters, then moving to KL would be a doddle!
Living in Malaysia
Growing up in KL – 10 Years of the Bangsar Boy by Niki Cheong appealed straight away as it was about the Kampong we’d chosen to live in. A collection of posts from Niki’s column in a local paper about what it was like growing up in KL. An interesting look at life as a KLite, which really helped me to understand what being Malaysian is like. Understanding the background and some of the cultures gave me a look at the history of this fabulous country. We picked up Malaysia’s 14th General Election: The Big Issues by Kua Kia Soong after seeing him talk on the subject. A very interesting read which is well written and provides a well-argued solution to the current situation. Written with a clear passionate about the subject, which is evident. It works better to dip in and out of as it is articles taken from a collection of the author’s recent writings. It offers a good standing of the current political situation in Malaysia and makes a compelling case for change.
Moving to another country – my advice
Finding books written by locals about the country really helped me to get to grips with the history, the culture and the way of life here and has made me love it even more. To anyone who is debating moving to another country, my advice; read blogs, books and news articles to get a feel for the place and just do it. If it’s not right you can move somewhere else, but chances are it could be perfect for you and the only way you’ll know, is to take a chance.