All In

Apologies for the radio silence last week. It's been a weird couple of weeks.

My holiday in Vietnam and Bangkok was awesome, but very full on.

The weekend after I hosted the August edition of my Meet & 2 Veg supper club - a fun but knackering experience.

All the while I was performing my last two weeks as a corporate drone.

I've was unsurprisingly a little wiped out.

Let's put the lack of correspondence down to fatigue-induced writer's block.

Yesterday was my last day at work.

From here on in, it's all about the food!

I have to say I'm bricking it. Excited... but bricking it!

Just shy of 7 years at this job, despite having just moved across continents a year ago, it seems like another good opportunity to reflect.

Reflection 1

Finding the best food isn't always easy.

It's funny that just a few weeks ago I was penning a blog about how to eat well whilst travelling, yet in Bangkok a couple of weeks ago I felt I failed to experience the city's full culinary potential (despite the 2 Michelin stars at Gaggan).

Just to be clear I had an absolutely fantastic time and ate some absolutely fantastic food, however I definitely feel I need to go back for a real foodie exploration.

The trouble was I broke Rule 2: Do your research.

We did a fair amount, however mostly on the fly and at the exact point we were starting to get hungry.

This, compounded by Bangkok's size and traffic, meant too much time was spent travelling to places to find them closed. Otherwise we were wandering aimlessly and picking whatever came first.

Fortunately you're never going to eat badly in Bangkok, however there was definitely better options to see.

On the other hand we definitely experienced Bangkok's full potential as a mixology destination...

There are some fantastic speakeasies there (as there is here in KL) serving up inventive and delicious tipples. (My top 3 were probably - Teens of Bangkok, Find the Locker Room and J Boroskis)

However, the obvious side effect was this made it incredibly hard to get up and go to a produce market... (that's rule 4 broken too!)

Arguably the best Negroni I've ever had at Teens of Bangkok (crap name, great cocktails!)

Reflection 2

Going forward I need to get a plan in place.

So, from today, I'm a full time culinary researcher.

This is not "Gap Yah" 2. There will not be chunder everywah...

I'm serious about this (though I would understand if anyone was a little cynical).

The plan at the moment is to divide and conquer. Devise a series of trips to different regions in Malaysia, all based around a certain cuisine of even just a dish. Eating, doing lessons, befriending chefs and cooks, begging old ladies for recipes... generally doing as much as I can to integrate into the local food culture.

I will also continue to do Supper Clubs, whenever and wherever I can back in KL (although I move out of my lovely large flat in October).

I will also have much more time to dedicate to getting my thoughts down in writing for this blog - so watch this space.

An insight into my planning process

Reflection 3

I need a break.

A couple of weeks ago I would have told you I was rearing to go...

"Let me at the Laksa!" I would have roared.

Things have shifted a little since then.

I wrote an article last year about my mental health, and have tried to be more open about it ever since. A huge part of how I manage to deal with it has been recognising unhealthy thought patterns. I'm fine, but over the last decade I have become pretty good at spotting these things a little before they really hit.

Part of this is probably the stress of making a huge life-changing decision. Another part is probably the logistical stress of organising this kind of a project (certainly doing tax returns aren't fun when all the forms are in Malay!).

However, I think there is also a more ingrained behaviour that comes with working in a corporate structure for a while. The pressure, deadlines, expectations of that kind of environment don't exactly translate to 6 months of loosely structured travel and research.

I've realised I'm going to need to re-set, get used to the change of pace, and maybe just sit on the beach doing bugger all for a bit...

Fortunately, I lose my visa next week and have to go off for a visa run (returning as a tourist).

It's a welcome excuse to go spend 10 days in Lombok, Indonesia. Before that I'm going to nip of for some Scuba diving in on the beautiful Tioman island to the east of Peninsular Malaysia.

I will still be writing my blog (and shamelessly updating people on Instagram...) but the plan is to look at fish, read books, drink cold beer, and sit in a hammock (god I hope there is a hammock).

Then when I'm back, the work begins.

If you're feeling even remotely the same, then I suggest you come join me :)

The Plan (though not actually Tioman).

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