Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living the Dream

During a recent conversation on facebook, an old school friend suggested I was "living the dream".

Living the dream in Kuantan didn't begin with a lap of luxury or a turn of luck. I can tell you it all started in a strange and unknown town, amongst complete strangers, with no job and very little money.

It took a lot of belief and very hard work to reach the stage where I'm now "living the dream". At times, Kuantan seemed a difficult and impossible place to live, let alone realise dreams. We had problems regarding finances, employment and my immigration status, continually having to leave the country and go through Singapore to get a fresh stamp in my passport. I have numerous stories on this topic, and although I have almost filled two entire passports, it was by no means easy, and quite terrifying at times.

But six years on and we have created our own dream and are really living it right now!

Let me share a few points as to how I am "living the dream".

Firstly, employment. In England, I used to have some agency work as a picker in a warehouse. It was tough work, heavy lifting and carrying 8 hours (or more) per day. I enjoyed it and gave it my all, but I knew it was temporary in nature. I don't know if I could work in that way on a long-term basis.

I always loved English and teaching English, but opportunities for that in England were limited. I didn't fancy teaching a class of 30-40 children at a secondary school, and I didn't have any experience or qualification to do that anyway.

Malaysia has been a much more fertile ground for teaching English. I'm living the dream by teaching English from home, choosing what hours I want to work and accepting as many students as I can fit in my classes. We have registered our own company, Horne Learning Services in a few simple steps. My wife wrote me an offer letter and along with an application letter from me, I received the necessary permission to work freely in Malaysia for Horne Learning Services.

I decided to walk in to the Vistana Hotel one day to advertise myself as an English teacher. Now I'm working in partnership with the hotel and teach a class of staff every Wednesday.

Being our own boss is a luxury I'm so glad we've achieved. Working from home enables me to spend all day long with my family, being with my wife and children, as well as doing my life's work, which I love! If we want a holiday, we have a holiday. We work for no-one, which means our income is as much as we want it to be.

This leads to the second point - freedom. Being entrepreneurs brings increased responsibility to make things work, but greater freedom too. Working hours are dramatically less, whilst still earning a good income. We are free to take holidays, re-arrange classes any time the need arises, and spend all our time with our children to raise them just the way I dreamed of doing.

Our recent holiday in Kuching. We stayed for a night at Damai Beach Resort for my sister-in-law's engagement ceremony, and enjoyed the lovely scenery as shown in this photo.

Not having to "go" to work means we can spend plenty of time with our children. Such a joy!

The third way I'm living the dream - every day feels like a holiday! Kuantan has turned out to be a beautiful place with gorgeous hot weather every day and lovely, attractive places to go and see. The beach is a 15-minute drive from home, a living dream I would never have imagined to have.

Being from the all-too-gloomy England with its infamous rain and wind, living in Kuantan, Malaysia, really is living the dream. Waking up to bright, warm sunshine is such a blessing and motivation. I just couldn't ask for more.

And it's not just the marvellous weather, but the Malaysian lifestyle in itself. Life is so different here compared to in England. Things are much more relaxed in Malaysia, everything is generously priced, even the TV channels and packages are far more extensive. I see more sports for a better price than I could ever have dreamed of in England.

One can cycle down to the beach or a park and saunter the time away. With the vast majority of my English classes at 8-10pm, I'm pretty much free for the entire day. What a lifestyle!

Finally, I think there's something about making it in a foreign country, including overcoming obstacles and finding success amongst a people who originally are wary of your foreign status. Being able to overcome that barrier and work together with locals is "living the dream". Perhaps my friends, Robert in Kuantan, and Linda in Italy, will agree.

Living the dream is living a lifestyle that you choose, not one that is thrust upon you. I'm extremely fortunate that I've been able to create my dream and live it.

You too can do it if you put your mind to it!


  1. It's great to see everything is coming together for you so well over there in Kuantan! Hopefully very soon I'll be able to pop over and visit you in your hometown!

  2. Wonderful post Duncan. I love the photo of you and your family.

  3. What a wonderful dream life you have created for yourself, Duncan! And of course, Malaysia welcomes you. Kuantan is a nice place to live in, with Teluk Cempedak just a short way from your home. And look at Damai Beach Resort, a typically enough wonderful scene to be found on most Malaysian beaches!

  4. A touching story indeed Duncan! Keep up the good job and keep making dreams into reality!

  5. Hi Duncan, I was really really inspired by your post today. In fact, the subject of freedom has been on my mind, as I'm struggling to work for myself and home educate our son. I recently have been offered a lead on a "secure" type of employment at a college library and thought seriously about applying, yet I feel so strongly about being able to raise my family as you and Fedelia are able to. That is the best gift! And I'm inspired because of your bravery in leaving the familiarity of home to find a new life. Teaching English as a second language is such a wonderful experience too; you are helping to make the world a more connected place and that is an amazing gift.

  6. Kuantan will be great if their drivers are not so rude.Anyway,welcome to Kuantan,Duncan!what a nice family u have!~

  7. Sounds like it was a long journey but you've received some awesome benefits from it call! Congratulations and keep on enjoying everything!

  8. Thanks for all the comments. I love hearing from my readers, old and new. Welcome to my blog Kim Rara and Jard the Great!
    Jennifer, I'm sure you'll find the freedom you're looking for - keep at it!
    Keith, let me know when you arrive in Kuantan :)

  9. A lovely post Duncan and you are right one has to be prepared to treat life as an adventure if you want to Live the Dream. Well done to you for having found yours and a lovely family to enjoy it with.

  10. Hi Dunc, for me, I believe 'living the dream' is being able to be fully happy with your life. I am still a poor student, same as my husband, we don't have expensive possessions or our own house or even a car, but we are happy because we have each other and enjoy spending our time together. So because of that, I feel like I too am living the dream. It is important to remember that everyone's 'dream' is different. I am content to be married to a wonderful man and settled together, which was always my simple 'dream', therefore, I can experience a similar feeling to you right now. I am sure with time our dreams will expand a bit but I can honestly say now that I am truly living my dream!


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