What to Pack When Moving Long-Term to Another Country

After 11 years of living abroad in the United States, I’m packing up my life (and the cat) for my move back to Malaysia.

Eleven years worth of belongings. Deciding what to bring back, what to sell, give away or simply leave behind — it’s a bit of a nightmare.

I’ve mailed about 118 kilograms (260 pounds) of items back, spread out over about 10 medium-sized boxes. On my flight, I’ll be carrying a total of about 45 kilos (100 pounds) in carry-on and checked luggage. And the cat.

“It’s just STUFF! Just throw EVERYTHING away,” one of my older lady friends practically screamed. Continue reading

How Does A Traveller Define Home?

“No celebrations as there is little meaning without you and Xx around. I miss the family togetherness every once in a while maybe because I am getting on in age.”

One thing you should know about my dad. He never says things like that. Not in print; and definitely not in person. Even on the rare occasion that he did say “love you,” it was because one of us said it first.

So when I read this line in his email awhile back, I gulped with guilt. Here I was, blissfully involved in my own world here in the D.C. area. Nary a thought for my dad’s feelings. Still, I stuffed away his words into the deepest crevice of my mind and carried on. Moved in with the (then) boyfriend. Attended socials, birthday parties and weddings of friends. Travelled. Adopted a cat. Broke up with boyfriend. Started a new job.

Recently, a post on the International Herald Tribune’s Rendezvous blog, which was titled, “Dark Side of the Expat Life” made me think of his email again. Continue reading