6 years ago Debra and I (Founders of Hiro & Jack Co.) decided to take a grand adventure and start our very own company. At the same time we also started a family and decided to walk their learning journey with them. We grew a business, home schooled and built a family all at the same time. Quite often in the flurry of being busy, we forget that to make time for the ones that mean the most to us.
In December 2021, I (Vincent) lost my dad to a rare blood cancer. The journey from diagnosis to death was a very difficult one. It was made worse by the separation, isolation and distancing needed during the pandemic. I was privileged enough to be able to spend many days of alone time with my dad although it wasn’t at the most exciting of places; the hospital’s specialists clinics. After his death, i realised how important it was that we made memories together. As much as i’m grateful that he provided for us as we grew up with more than we can ever ask for, it was the memories of travelling together, having meals together and facing the doctors together that i cherish most. It is about making the journey together.
Debra, the kids and I are still grieving his passing. It is hard especially when the children cry and say they miss their ye ye. It still breaks our hearts that he is not here with us anymore. It is still incredibly difficult for us to juggle our grief, homeschool, work and the day to day pressures of life.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
We knew we needed a break away from the daily grind to just enjoy each other and the journey. We needed time to find ourselves, relax, reflect and reconnect with each other. We looked for destinations across the world from Svalbard to Panama and also across Europe. To be honest Malaysia isn’t our first choice because we grew up visiting Malaysia. However, the pandemic is far from over. Flight routes that usually took 12.5hrs took 22hrs with crazy detours and absurd prices. Car rentals are more expensive than actually buying a car. PCR swabbing two young kids multiple times just takes the fun out of the experience. Then in late march 2022, both Singapore and Malaysian governments announced the reopening of the land borders.
WHY WEST MALAYSIA?
Being a familiar place, it actually played to our advantage. We knew of places that we would all enjoy. If you are fully vaccinated, there is no swabbing or quarantine requirements for Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia via land border. Just make sure you get your My Sejahtera app, verify your vaccination! If you want a full step by step guide on how to navigate the procedures to smoothly enter Malaysia, please let me know in the comments!
Day 1 (Johor)
We spent our first day just across the causeway to ease the children into being away from home. They have not had conscious memory of living out of their suitcase, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed and not going home. To some this may be unremarkable but we thoroughly enjoyed watching television together, eating together and putting our work away. We gave each other full attention. It felt really nice to not be rushing for our next destination or for the next task.
Day 2 & 3 (North South Highway to Genting Highlands)
We took a 4.5hour drive from Johor before we arrived at the amazing Genting highlands! I absolutely love the all-year-round 19 degree celcius temperature. Matthias exclaimed “It’s the first time in my life i’ve seen a REAL fog”, Gwyneth marvelled and squealed “HEY! That’s from Andy’s!” as her Cbeebies programme came to life before her eyes. She saw really old and tall trees as well as HUGE ferns. Debra and I just enjoyed the thrill of the mountain road and we drove through the clouds. The view was just gorgeous. I’ve been to Genting countless times but it’s just different every single time.
I thoroughly enjoyed the liberating experience of driving the wide expanse of roads at 110km/h across hundreds of Kilometres. (Unlike some people who chose to illegally do hands-free autopilot driving and post about it LOL!). Long drives really are therapeutic and heals the soul for me. I think i no longer have the stamina to do 17 hours at one go from Singapore to Phuket though. (Read about it here! ) I tried using the adaptive cruise control but i just found the acceleration too aggressive when tackling hills. Proud to say i did all the driving MYSELF! Isn’t the view just INCREDIBLE?!
We’ll update you guys about our adventures as we go along! We will be spending close to a month in Malaysia so do stay tuned for updates!
Leaving you with this reflection: We snapped this selfie shot and didn’t realise there was a rainbow until we looked up to the sky! Sometimes we just need a new perspective to see the rainbow that was there all along. All we need to do is to look up!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.
Drop us an email at email@example.com