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It is hard to believe that we have been based in Penang for over two months now. It has been a fabulous two months, and we are definitely planning to keep using Penang as a base throughout this year. We are very happy that we chose Penang as the place to start our new life. It feels like home.
For new readers to our blog, you might want to check out our last update about living in Penang which describes why we did this and all the practical details of our life like where we live, what we eat, etc.
It has not been hard to adjust to life in Penang. It has been very easy to set up a home and all the practical matters that that entails. Our lifestyle is good.
What has been harder, though, has been to adjust to life as digital nomads and the mindset adjustment this takes, especially for J who wasn’t working online before we arrived here. It is quite an adjustment to get used to not having a regular income and trying to work out future plans when we have no idea what our work and income situation will look like next week, let alone next month or at the end of the year.
It is a nice problem to have and one that is exciting as much as it can be worrying. It is all going well though. Every month we make more than the last and I am hopeful that in the next few months that I will be earning enough passive income (meaning income we will earn without doing any direct work) to support our monthly budget. This is the ultimate goal and it would be great if J no longer had to do freelance work. Although we are happy with any income that pays our bills, we would prefer to be earning the money in a smart way – where we don’t have to directly exchange our time for money. You can read more about how we are making money in our income reports.
The other thing that can be challenging is to STOP working. We are building up our own business. There are no clear lines of how much work we need to do every week and it can be very hard to not let work take over our lives. I am constantly reminding myself that we did this for a better lifestyle. I do love my work and the challenge it presents, but I am not happy without work/life balance either. We are earning enough money, and I don’t want to fall into the trap of continually chasing more as I don’t think that leads to happiness.
Not much has changed since our last update. We are still in the same house, driving the same car and the kids are going to the same preschool. We do have a twice weekly cleaner though which is fabulous.
Preschool is going so well that we changed how often the kids go. S was begging to do the full preschool program (which runs every morning), so now she goes every morning and two afternoons, and Z does slightly less than this. It is absolutely amazing to see how well S is going in her classes, especially in languages. She is reading and writing more in Mandarin than in English.
I thought it might interest people who are thinking of doing something similar to see a regular week in our life. Here it is!
Monday: Both kids have preschool in the morning and I pick them up after lunch. It is a full work day for J so I look after the kids when they are not at school.
Tuesday: The kids have preschool all day. We both work and the cleaner spends the morning at our house.
Wednesday: The kids have preschool all day. We both work.
Thursday: S has preschool in the morning. J and I take turns working and having some special time with Z and entertaining the kids in the afternoon. We do our supermarket shopping with Z which is quick since we don’t cook.
Friday: Both kids have preschool in the morning and the cleaner comes. It is a work day for me and J looks after the kids.
Saturday and Sunday: We try very hard to do as little work as possible and spend the time as a family. We tend to go to at least one new tourist attraction and see friends.
We eat out most lunches and dinners. The food is just too good to self cater and we don’t necessarily save much money by doing so. J and I enjoy a lunch break out together Tuesdays and Wednesdays which is nice. It is so good to eat occasionally without any kid whinging!
The weeks are quite full on especially as we work basically every evening as well. I hope we will feel confident enough in our income to stop that soon. It does get counter balanced by the fact that we are regularly travelling – only a week or two a month follows the routine above strictly as we have a family holiday once a month, and I am setting off on my own once a month at the moment.
We try to not work much while we are travelling – I just keep up with my email, social media promotion and writing notes about the destinations we are visiting for future posts. It is really nice having these regular breaks to look forward to, although I think me going away every month as well is just a bit too much. It can be exhausting.
We are in Penang for another month, at which point we travel to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks. We are coming back to Penang after this for nearly a month before we head on to Bangkok and Europe.
We plan to return to Penang from Europe in late September in time for S to complete the final term of preschool. She wants to go to the school concert that happens then and it will make dealing with her transition to her first year of primary school next year easier (assuming we head back to Melbourne 😉 ). All up we should spend about 6 months in Penang. We love it so much here that I think we will be very sad to leave.
You can also read our guide to things to do in Penang with kids.