Sabah-born Colin Mukri, 30, has been handpicked to travel the world for a year with his family – and hopefully visit his hometown again after being away for years.
The self-employed designer, filmmaker, and songwriter from Tawau moved to South Carolina when he was 19 and has not been to Malaysia since 2017. But he will soon have his chance to come back with his wife Meg and two daughters since Airbnb has chosen the family to embark on a tour, covering expenses for transportation, accommodation, and various local experiences.
“Ever since I began to work fully remotely, the thought of working from anywhere with Meg and the kids was constantly a daydream,” Colin shared in a press release. “We decided to put money aside each month to be able to afford living somewhere else for a month each year.”
Colin then found the vacation rental company’s Live Anywhere experience and applied for the program. He was later picked, along with 11 others, out of more than 300,000 applicants. Other chosen participants include those from places like Singapore, Argentina, Canada, UK, France, U.S, Russia, and South Africa. All they have to do is to share their travel insights with Airbnb to help the company plan for long-term stays in the future or any other upgrades its platform could use.
Colin and Meg brought their eldest daughter on a tour of Iceland, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, Malaysia, and Thailand in 2017. This year, his sponsored travel plan will cover places including Europe and New Zealand. Colin is most excited for the chance to meet his family in Tawau just in time for Chinese New Year (hopefully Malaysia’s travel restrictions will be lifted by then). Colin wishes to visit Kapalai or the Kundasang region and enjoy local cuisines again.
“Living across the world, it’s important to my wife and I that our kids are able to spend time with family over the holidays,” he said. “Being a Sabahan we’re spoiled with the abundance of natural beauty. I have lots of fond memories of family vacations in the towns surrounding Mt. Kinabalu so a road trip around Sabah would be high on the list.”
“Not to mention the amazing food all along the way! My mom grew up in Tanjung Bunga and we spent a lot of time there as well, so Penang is another top contender for us,” he added.
This article, Sabah designer chosen to travel the world with family amid pandemic, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.