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Marg and I have both been living in Asia for the past 18 years. While Marg hails from Scotland, my first country is New Zealand, but we both call Australia home! We have both extensively traveled around a large portion of the world, both for pleasure and for work contracts, having started our travels when jet flying was even fun! Seeing new sights, tasting new foods and listening to the sometimes raucous noise of exotic places is one thing that we have never got tired of, and favour every new place that we travel to with its culture, cuisine and local character.

Both of us have always been travelers, with Marg traveling in France and around in her native Britain and me traveling around New Zealand from since we were still quite young. After meeting in Australia and then working together in Britain for a year, we set up our home back in Brisbane and spent quite a bit of time and effort over the next few years renovating it our house.. An old Queenslander, it was inner city and ended up being placed on the market when we again got the opportunity to travel and work overseas. Sheraton enabled us to first go to Germany for a year and from there into China, working at the Great Wall Sheraton. What started out as a very unknown quantity has now extended to sixteen years and many trips both for pleasure and for business. Most of our lives therefore over the last years has been lived in Hotels, (our room at the Calcutta Grand pictured above right) usually with a living room and bedroom, but always under scrutiny and always with Hotel staff around! Some rooms have been very nice, with gardens and terraces around, while others, I must admit, have been quite difficult to live in!

For example, our room in Bali before the Hotel was ready was in a local establishment, that had most of our hotel staff who were staying there catching rats and snakes that wandered into their rooms, when they were not engaged in just getting a decent meal to eat. The kitchens left a hell of a lot to be desired, being black, grimy and fly infested and it was amazing that we all survived to open the Sheraton Nusa Dua! Mind you, on opening Holiday Inn Hotel in Kunming, most were not so fortunate with their health. Spring City it is named, and yet the day before I arrived from Bali it was snowing and I was freezing! Working from a basement in a building site with concrete floors and aluminum partitions the dust level was amazing as well as the chill that crept in! Most of us ended up with pneumonia and other illnesses, and it was common for one or two staff to be out of action and placed on drips in their sick beds for a week or two at a time! Right - In all the hotels we have lived in the accommodation has been very good, as in our rooms shown here in Singapore.
Mind you, the one I am in now is not much better, (pictured at left, - The Park, Chennai) with leaks all over the place and the operations trying to work around a hotel that is being messily and slowly built! But, never mind, the joys of working in these countries, and this page is about our lives. Why the expatriate life? Difficult to say! I think that you need to be totally self sufficient and a bit of a loner to do what we do. Family left behind usually takes second place, although there are people who do regularly take trips back to their native countries each year. Marg and I, we like to see the world, and have utilized many of our holiday breaks and times between contracts to do just that. It is not always glamour the work, with long hours and six day weeks, but you do get a certain amount of recognition being a \"farangi\" on overseas postings. Certainly, we enjoy the opening hours of shops in Asia, the life in 5 star hotels, (two of them are pictured below, Goa and Mumbai), the dinners we share and the friends we meet. Also, the level of service encountered in Asia is usually very good and we do get a bit spoilt! But, on the downside, living in some of these cities can be extremely frustrating. Service may be good, but professionalism can be miles behind! Road conditions, crowding, pollution and traffic are definitely hazards to be lived with. Try also to obtain the foods you like and you encounter just plain frustration and unavailability! And then there is the bureaucracy and the bribes! I have come across some letters that I have written in the past about our lives and trips to friends and family, so have posted them here as they make interesting reading a few years later.Stop by Letters from the Past for a quick browse around! As an update on the state of our hotel, before we move onto other items, I am happy to say that the rains have stopped, and so have the leaks! Actually, the building is coming along, no less frustrating mind you with workmen still around, but the Banqueting is finished, the suites are now being completed, and the pool, Night Club and Spa Club and certainly within finishing distance finally!

Family is also featured here with Marg's page and my page and our families. We do not get enough time with our folks, and see too many of our younger relatives grow up and leave their homes before we even get to know them! So, look at the family pages, which we shall continually update as we go along and get to know some of the history of the Willsons, travelers and hard working people all! So, onto the pages of our travels and we show a lot on India and of Chennai ,a old British city that we were quite impressed with eight years ago, but has sadly been neglected a lot recently. Also, there is Kerala,Mumbai,Pondicherry,Sri Lanka and other places that we have visited or lived at. In Goa, we thought that we may be able to settle for a while and so Junna came along and became a part of our lives. Pets we have had before, with Marg also saying good-bye to a cat at one stage that had been with her longer than I had! But Junna as something special and, as when we say good-bye to various people we meet, the parting was quite hard. She has a page with some of our other temporary visitors!
Our apartment in Chennai, took some getting used to, but quite comfortable for Chennai and very close to the hotel. Unusual having ground floor apartments here and we find it great for the cats
Our small, but quite pleasant garden in Chennai, which the cats find a great place to romp and hunt and as even weeds do not grow in the poor soil, very maintenance free!
On the hill of Paddington in Brisbane, our first house bought partly with a credit card cash advance and which we spent seven years renovating both the house and the gardens before selling in 1987 and starting our "second" overseas trip
A base maybe one day in New Zealand with this place in the quiet town of Cambridge to at lest give us a little bit of stability in life!
The Kenilworth Beach Resort in Goa where I worked for 18 months.
The Leela Kempinski Mumbai where I spent another 18 months after finishing in Goa.
We lived and worked at the various hotels for 16 years before once again living out in Chennai. This was our room in Oberoi Calcutta, very comfortable
Our rooms in Singapore still had the artifacts from Indonesia filling up every space, but with the shipping back of household goods every now and again, we have goods stored in New Zealand for 18 years waiting to be unpacked
Seiko the parrot that I bought for Marg while in Bali to keep her company when I went to China and opened up the Kunming Holiday Inn, and sadly perished a while later from what could have been a spider bite
We have always had pets, right from dogs as a youngster to cats, as in Chayya here fascinated with the nail file, to Junna and many other, all find a home in our house
Our pride and joy in NZ, the Rover with its black sheep skins and the personalized number NZXPAT
The Esteem car in Chennai which gets us from A to B, is especially useful come monsoon time, when it can be pouring down in buckets
The motor bike that I bought here - my other pride and joy, a Royal Enfield Thunderbird - a single cylinder, 350 cc vibrating machine!
Our transport for a while in Chennai, nice guys these ones, but driving around in "putputs" can be frustrating as hell with no fixed fee and every one knows how to get somewhere until you start off and get to the first corner!