Whether from friends back at home in the US, colleagues here or local friends we meet in our travels, we get the question a lot…why Malaysia? Why Kuala Lumpur? What prompted the move from the US to this little peninsula on the other side of the world. The answer is part of what gives name to our blog…and the answer in short, is that it was simply part of our 5-year plan.
In the summer of 2008, Jenny had just finished teaching with a colleague from India. This friend was adamant that we travel, try to live and work abroad, and most importantly do it early before having kids. Furthermore, she encouraged that in a place like her home country we could quite likely both teach English and coach rowing or give private lessons and live on a fraction of our income. She painted a picture of exotic travels, other-world experiences and all while doing what we enjoy and saving loads of cash for our return home and settled-down life to begin.
So one day after church at lunch, Jenny says, “Okay…I think I have this plan but just hear me out and don’t get mad.” She proceeds to describe the idea noted above and how we should do that in two years, or best case scenario in 12 months. “Then after two years abroad”, she continued, “we could settle down in Winston-Salem and coach Wake Crew or settle back in Atlanta and continue coaching here.”
“I’m in!” I said, always up for an adventure. I think that surprised her a little as she appeared to be expecting more resistance. Having lived a year in Europe I was excited about another international experience and not too picky on where it might be. We were ready for a change of pace and a new chapter in our lives. So in what began as a casual lunch, that became our unofficial, official 5-year plan. But, as a good friend and mentor often told me, “Hope ain’t a strategy.” So while we certainly didn’t have all the details ironed out (and there was A LOT that had to be planned and done before such a move could take place), we left lunch excited about a new goal, a new destination and a new purpose. It became our Uncharted Plan – new territory for us with some details yet to be determined, but nonetheless, a clear idea of what we wanted to do and why.
Some of our Favorite Inspiring Quotes:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)
“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” (Barbara Hall)
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” (Lao Tzu)
“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)