>  Adventure   >  2020 – Updates, Apologies & What Next?
Back in Ireland!

If 2019 had been the year for me to attempt to finally revitalize this blog, fill it with tales of adventures and travels; then 2020, as I think we can all now safely agree, has been the year to burn the blog to the ground and forget it ever happened!

So, where do we start? I guess an apology perhaps – I always intended this blog to be a moving diary of my travels, adventures, trips and things that have happened; and my Instagram to sort of support that with imagery that you could be sure I hadn’t made everything up (or may have made it up and then stolen nice photos from the internet). Instead, as the months went past and the global drudgery of covid-19 took over, changed, and in many cases destroyed, our lives as many of us knew them to be – I literally couldn’t muster one single feeling of energy or enthusiasm for writing a post. I will try – but there are absolutely no guarantees or promises – to do better.

The good news is that, I still have a truckload of potential posts from before the pandemic monopolized our lives, and I do still intend to post them; I have folders on my desktop brimming with photos of travels from late last year and earlier this year, and while I initially intended them to be reviews, like usual, they may now serve as a pleasant historical reminder of what travel looked like BC (Before Covid).

Kuala Lumpur skyline
Malaysia, it was a lot of fun…

Last of all, and news only to anyone who doesn’t use Insta, I have relocated back home to Ireland after a wonderful, educational and fascinating 7 years living and working in Malaysia.

That’s right – while everyone was being sensible, staying home and keeping to themselves in mid-June, I was enjoying business class one final time for what I expect will be quite a duration, and enjoying views like this beautiful sunrise;

In-flight sunrise

Alright, I won’t lie, I was also busy necking as much complimentary champagne as I could possibly stomach, knowing that a) it too would be the final opportunity to do so for some time, and b) I redeemed the ticket on miles, and so attempting to drink most of my body weight in alcohol was not just a desire, it was a need in order to obtain maximum value from my miles.

How was flying in the dead-centre of a pandemic? Well, – and I do want to answer this in its own dedicated post – but pretty damn surreal. Finding a flight that would in actual fact operate proved to be one of the toughest parts of the entire ordeal, but once Qatar Airways rose to the challenge of serving the worlds’ outstanding travel needs, we were good to go. In many ways, it was the most luxurious journey I’ve ever undertaken – very few fellow passengers, crew eager to keep pouring drinks and chat (unfortunately also including in that, their pleas to fly with Qatar again and concern about their jobs), and a feeling that – even temporarily – covid-19 didn’t exist, other than us all wearing masks.

Qatar Airways QR17 to Dublin
Qatar Airways QR17 to Dublin

‘Why move home?’, you probably didn’t ask, but I shall answer anyway. I had an absolutely amazing time in Malaysia for the past 7 years, and it’s such an easily livable and enjoyable place to be that leaving feels somewhat stupid and a poor decision; but ultimately it’s also not home, and living on constant work permits, the general financial insecurity around that (for example, being unable to access credit in Ireland because I don’t earn here, nor there where a work permit only suggests you may be around for a year or two to repay any loan) and critically, missing the growing up and general life stages of family and friends moving on with their lives had begun to weigh on my mind.

In other words, there’s only so much fun you can have knocking back drinks on planes, weekends in exotic locales and trying the patience of airport lounge staff before it’s time for something more. I know, surprising, right?

So I set out looking for a role back home (or Europe, which would also have done the trick) back in January – incidentally, before covid-19 was really a problem. To my surprise, I interviewed and was quickly offered a role in Limerick, in Ireland’s mid-west, and accepted.

Limerick City
Quite a change from KL, but still, give it up for Limerick!

In exchange I gave up a huge amount (at least, temporarily); great friends who’ve been incredibly understanding and supportive over many years in Malaysia, my very lovely apartment which was brand new when I moved in and almost felt like it was actually my own; and lastly, a blossoming relationship (to be replaced for now by a free crash course in Irish immigration).

I will leave you all to decide what kind of a trade-off that was – especially as we face into incredibly short, wintery days here in Ireland. And travel? Now that my mid-pandemic escapades are done, I think that’s back out of the question for the rest of the year!

But I will start writing more often again, and everything will fall into place in time – and Ireland? The hikes are great, the scenery is beautiful, but do you have to be so cold and wet?!

Reformed backpacker & former ultra-cheap traveller, Andy now atones for his past by overspending on premium travel experiences and failing at making the most of the miles & points game. Former expat now returned to Ireland, he is a product manager by day, and travel aficionado by evening and weekend.

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