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Why I Will Never Buy A House

Perpetual travel is the most secure way of living that I know of.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia- I rented a rather nice apartment near a major transport junction in the southern outskirts of KL. We booked it on Airbnb and when we arrive everything seemed nice. A few days went by and everything still seemed nice.  

Sweet. 

Then one day in the early evening I noticed a column of smoke rising up from the little community that sits down behind our building. 

Our apartment is located in the liminal zone of Kuala Lumpur — the threshold between urban sprawl and the rural villages which once were the area’s standard. In a way, the building that were staying in is like a colony of middle class SE Asia planted out in what not long ago was countryside — a patch of grass growing up between the cracks in the sidewalk of the expressway-landia that this area has become. 

This billow of smoke was caused by people in the village below burning their garbage. They had tree branches and leaves and plastic packaging all raked up together in these big piles which they ignited into flames. 

The smoke from which came right up into our apartment on the 15th floor. 

Well, that sucks. 

But I didn’t fret about it too much. My theory on environmental health hazards is that if you keep moving — if you never stay anywhere for too long — no matter what toxins that you are exposed to will be enough to do much long-term harm. 

Then I started thinking: what if I’d purchased this apartment rather than merely rented it for a month? Would I want to live for years — decades perhaps — in a place where the neighbors burn their trash in giant piles right below my windows? 

Probably not. 

What left me disconcerted was the fact that I would have never of known that this would happen prior to making the purchase. I wouldn’t ask the realtor if the neighbors happened to set their trash alight and if the smoke of plastic and rubber and who the fuck knows what else would become a part of regular life. 

No, I would be stuck. 

That’s another reason why I travel. No matter what, I’m never stuck. If I don’t like something, I just leave. 

And this is the most secure way of living that I know of.

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Filed under: Accommodation, Malaysia, Perpetual Travel, Travel Diary

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 83 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3215 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Johor Bahru, MalaysiaMap