In the spring and summer of 2001 Ruth and I spent eight months in Kuala Lumpur, the longest of any of our fourteen working vacations. We had a superb time, and our stay was filled with fun adventures, trips around SE Asia, even political intrigue–check out Chapter 10 of the book for those rather unusual details. However, because of the length of our stay we saw much of what the country has to offer, and when I accepted the invitation to be an external examiner and return to Malaysia some of my friends were a bit surprised. What they didn’t understand is that sometimes you accept a posting not only because of where a place is but also because of where a place is near.
In 1991 I spent a month in Japan (described in Getting Out of That Rut) but, sadly, without my wife–the only extended trip I have taken without her. I promised her that someday we would return so she could see what she missed from twenty years ago. This trip to Malaysia was the perfect opportunity.
The air route from Minneapolis to Kuala Lumpur is via Tokyo. Once I accepted the school’s offer I asked my hosts to extend the layover in Tokyo on the return trip from four hours to twenty-one days! They were happy to oblige, and I ended up with a free ticket to Japan. I did the same thing a few years later when I accepted a six-week working vacation in Mongolia that included a glorious fourteen-day stopover in China
So, when planning a working vacation don’t just think about places you want to see but also places that are nearby things you may want to see. This way you get a “two-fer” all for the price of none!