As many of you know by this point, I’m leaving Malaysia.
Yes, it is official. But as to the standard follow-up question, no I’m not coming home. Not yet…
After more than a year in Malaysia, I decided it was time to move on. Since I moved here in July of 2010, I have seen and learned some incredible things. But as I began to enter August of 2011, the start of my second Ramadan in Malaysia, I realized that much of the novelty of this country had worn off for me. I’d already experienced every major holiday here, visited my top travel destinations in Southeast Asia and felt I had gotten a fairly thorough understanding of Malaysian culture. And frankly, as grateful as I am for the experience, I decided that one year in Malaysia was enough for me.
However, I realized that I was still not done with Asia and certainly had not attained the goals I had originally set out for myself (as mentioned in my previous post). So I have decided to continue to achieve them, but to do it elsewhere…in India.
Before I came to Malaysia, I didn’t have a good understanding of Asian culture. All I really knew about Indian culture was that there were a lot of people, they had good food and they were Hindus. But after living in KL where ethnic Indians make-up 10 percent of the population, visiting Hindu temples, meeting Indian people and attending Indian festivals, India has shot to the top of my travel destination list and is a country that I want to explore hardcore.
So when an old friend of mine messaged me that he was planning on backpacking India for three months starting in the fall, I thought it must be more than a coincidence. How often does one come across someone with the same time, money and timing to take a dream trip? It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. After much consideration, I officially resigned from my job.
The feeling was both absolutely freeing while absolutely terrifying. Since I was 20, I have found continuous ways to travel, either through studying abroad, working abroad or short trips. And while I’ve always said I wanted to travel around the world, I’ve never traveled continuously for more than a few weeks at a time. For years, friends and family have kept waiting for me to get this travel bug out of my system, but I really don’t think that is going to happen until I really have the chance to travel freely. So it’s all built up to this: the trip of a lifetime.
The plan is now to meet James in New Delhi starting in the beginning of October and just go: wherever we want, for as long as we can. No job, no income, no restraints, no guarantees: pure travel and all that comes with it. While James is planning for a three-month trip, I honestly don’t know when I’ll be back. If I love India, I plan to use the full extent of the six-month visa and maybe have the ashram experience. I might also try to volunteer for awhile, either in India, Nepal or perhaps another country entirely. And if I run out of money, I may move again somewhere and teach English or search for volunteer exchange programs. I honestly have no idea where I’ll be in six months, but the great thing is, I don’t have to.
So now begins the great challenge of both leaving Malaysia and preparing for my new adventure. Already I have resigned from my job and am now in the process of getting out of my contract, clearing my tax forms, selling my car, selling my furniture and electronics and getting someone to take over my lease. I am also in the process of obtaining my Indian visa, getting all my vaccines, researching the country and mentally preparing for what could be the biggest challenge of my life, but quite possibly, the most rewarding.
I have one month left to figure everything out. Here’s hoping for the best!