From New Zealand to Malaysia and Beyond: Tiki Touring Kiwi
Hi, I'm Jub from Waikanae, New Zealand. I'm currently in Ipoh, Malaysia for some time before hitting the road again. In the last three years, the longest I've spent in one city is Vancouver, Canada where I was for six months at the start of the travels.
1. Why did you move abroad?
After graduation university in Wellington, it felt like everyone was moving to Australia as a rite of passage. So I followed. After a couple of years there I've been living and travelling around the world, working in various ways to keep myself fed.
2. How do you make a living?
Right now I'm volunteering at a hostel in exchange for accommodation while doing a bit of writing for income. This year I've worked on farms in Bundaberg, Australia and wineries in Martinborough, New Zealand in addition to a little bit of income via my travel blog, Tiki Touring Kiwi.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Home, to me, means being at Dad's house. We aren't big on chat but will Skype once a every 2-4 weeks. In regards to other friends and family, I'm talking to people from New Zealand most days thanks tot he joys of social media.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Malaysia?
As Malaysia is a British Colony, the majority of people speak English pretty much fluently. It's not always the case in Asia and it's nice to not have to put my charade skills to the test every day.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Malaysia?
Outside of Kuala Lumpur there doesn't tend to be any thriving expat scenes. While I'm fine with meeting locals, it can sometimes be a bit harder to connect with them compared to fellow expats (especially New Zealanders and Australians).
6. What do you miss most?
When people speak about New Zealand people, they always mention how friendly and relaxed we are. I have to say that's what I miss the most. Meeting people from all over the world is awesome, but kiwis are the best (slightly bias)!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Despite the minimal language barrier, I've found it tricker to integrate with people here in Malaysia for some reason. Ipoh doesn't have a Couch Surfing community which is my usual default option, nor are there any co-working spaces or Meet Up groups.
There's very few western expats here as well which is another factor that contributes but still, I've found a few restaurants I frequent. That's the easiest way to integrate in my opinion, get a routine and make your face known to people close to where you're staying.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Eating with the hands in Indian restaurants to me is something that I will never understand. I managed to 'master' chop sticks in Thailand, but when it comes to eating with my hands I simply cant get used to it.
I get awkward. All the locals can do it without it looking awkward at all where as I slyly try and scout out where the forks and spoons are.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That there isn't much for tourists to do in Malaysia. For some reason, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos get all the tourists with Malaysia an afterthought. It's convenient if you're flying to and from KL to spend a few days, otherwise you explore other countries in depth.
But Malaysia has world class diving, awesome mountains, world class food, a variety of architecture, year round festivals, wildlife and fun street art in all sorts of cities.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Malaysia is definitely cheaper than Australia and New Zealand! The best part about Malaysia and so many other countries in the world is the affordable cost of eating out for every meal. Myself, I hate cooking so having people who enjoy cooking serving awesome food is awesome!
11. What advice would you give other expats?
There will be bad days where you feel homesick. There's plenty of ways to get in touch with people from back home, so reach out to some of your closest friends and chat via video. Video rocks!
If you find yourself in a rut, go explore a new area or tourist attraction in your adopted city. You probably don't realise how quickly you fall into a routine (which I mentioned above is good) and forget about the reasons you moved in the first place in addition to that routine making weeks, even months, going by without talking to the people closest to you.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog a few years ago having met a couple of travel bloggers in Chiang Mai and reading travel blogs myself. It wasn't until December 2015 when I started to take my blog more seriously and the hard work has started to pay off, slowly but surely with a growing readership and even some (tiny) income.
Jub's Blog, Tiki Touring Kiwi
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