Embrace The Unexpected

Human’s are creatures of habits. We like our routines, we like our life stabilized to a certain extent and when unexpected surprises hit, we tend to get thrown off a little bit- regardless of whether it’s a good or bad surprise.

Growing up in an environment of changes, friends coming and going, saying goodbye as quickly as saying hello – it teaches you to embrace change and be excited about the next adventure for yourself and your friends.

Since leaving Hong Kong after high school 7 years ago, I’ve lived in multiple cities, met new friends everywhere I’ve gone, and enjoyed the city as much as I could. Regardless of how much fun I had in those respective places, I was always ready and excited to move on to the next adventure….. until now.


To my surprise, life’s adventures brought me here to Austin over a year ago and I’ve fallen in love with this magical city. Some may not call Austin a city (to be fair, it’s not fair to call Austin a city after having lived in Hong Kong), however, it’s also not a small town. At least not personality wise.

Austin is the first place I’ve lived in where I haven’t yet felt the need on a regular basis to “leave” on vacation. Microadventures are every where every night in Austin. It certainly does not allow me anytime to rest or sleep, but it certainly fills my soul with absolute joy.

Unfortunately, due to uncontrollable circumstances, I will be saying goodbye temporarily to Austin in just a few weeks. In the last month, I’ve experienced a wide spectrum of feelings from gratitude, to sadness, to excitement for what’s to come. Every moment out and about in this city, I feel the magic of the music and the constant excitement of the people. The next two weeks are going to be hard. I know it’s not goodbye but I also know the Austin chapter of my life experienced the last two months will never be re-lived.


Some are surprised and some are impressed at my calmness during this uncertainty. What they don’t see is the fear I embrace (or try my hardest to embrace) at every moment of change. Fear creates discomfort. Discomfort pushes us to create and get better.

What am I going to create (aside from this blog post)? How am I going to push myself to get better in the next few months? What adventures is this next chapter of my life going to bring? 

Those are all questions that I am constantly asking myself, and day by day brainstorming more and more answers. Regardless of whether you are going through a drastic change in your life of now, these questions, if seeped into your daily thoughts, will push you to overcome your fears, to explore the world, our cities, our cultures, to connect with each and every individual we have the opportunity to meet, and to create in such a way that provides joy and impacts the community around us.

Austin, the next two weeks may be sleepless and tiresome, but I’m going to make the most of every single moment from swimming holes, to live music, to community events. The goal is to have so much fun that when the day comes to leave, I’ll be even sadder that I am today.

24 Hours of Inspiration

Are you letting the season of your life take advantage of you? Or will you take advantage of the season of your life? 

A lot has happened since the last time I’ve written, I’ve taken a few trips outside of Austin but more importantly, I’ve taken a lot of micro adventures within Austin. Those are important. Each micro adventure serves to rejuvenate our souls and our energy despite everything else that is going on in our lives.

The most recent micro-adventure lifted my spirits to the moon and more. Some of you may have heard of their existence and events, some of you may raise your eyebrows and think I’m nuts when I tell you what they’re all about: Daybreaker.

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Daybreaker is an early dance (6-9 AM) movement in multiple cities around the world. It begins with an hour of yoga, fitness, meditation, etc of exercise followed by two straight hours of dance. My first experience of Daybreaker was in LA on a boat about a year ago. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, all I knew was it was way too early to be up and dancing but hey, they had coffee and breakfast snacks. With my eyes half shut, feet dragging at every step, dressed in a Tigger costume at 5:30 AM walking towards the boat, I could hear the excitement from afar. Greeters at the door gave out hugs with pure kindness and welcomed us into 2 hours of dance ecstasy.


For those who know me, you know I’m not much of a dancer. I don’t spend my weekends wanting to go out to a club to dance (although I do wish I was a better dancer), but daybreaker is a different type of dance. Enough about my LA experience, fast forward a year later and I find out Daybreaker was coming to Austin. More importantly, they were throwing a slumber party at a hostel the night before. Did someone say hostel slumber party?

I managed to get two friends to go with me. (Do you know how hard it is to get friends to pay to stay in a hostel for a night when they have their own apartment already AND entice them to wake up at 6 AM to dance? More difficult than you think.) This past Wednesday evening, we arrived in the evening at Native Hostel just in time for yoga led by Wild Heart Yoga. After a long day of work, and receiving news that impacts my life on a pretty drastic level, a private session of yoga and meditation was just what I needed to calm my spirits.

I left yoga with my head held high and heart content, ready for a beer and to meet new friends. Little did I know, the night continued to blow me away. Within minutes, I found myself within a group of connected souls discussing various topics such as self-growth, personal development, and how to build a more connected, better world.

We spent the next 5 hours technology-less, fully focused on getting to know one another and not just on the surface level. I’m not even sure we asked one another what we did for a living. A brilliant, incredibly creative game that prompted many of our conversations is Cards For Connection.


Created as a tool to engage and inspire personal connection and experiences, these cards not only force you to dig deep into your own personal values but also brings out the creativity and Guru in us. Cards range from interactive “Tell a story while another player does an interpretive dance” to soul searching “In the past year, I’ve seen growth in ____. It’s made a difference in ___.”

Hours later, we found ourselves in a group hug at 4 AM, knowing that we have made friends for life. A quick hour nap later, I was up and about helping set up for Daybreaker. Perhaps I was wide awake from the spiritual and mental high, or perhaps I was awake from adrenaline, but all I knew was I was empowered, alive and ready to dance my body off for the next 3 hours. P.S. I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit at 7:30 AM. That’s a big time record. Only at Daybreaker.


A few of us spent the rest of that day together, lounging by the pool, continuing our conversations. By the time we left each other’s presence, I was physically exhausted yet mentally alive and in awe of the last 24 hours.

Life has a very timely way of reminding us of the power we have to create our own adventures. Despite receiving news that my work visa didn’t come through, I felt oddly at peace and inspired after being surrounded by fellow creatives, entrepreneurs, and connectors.

If there’s one advice I will always recommend day after day, it’d be to make sure you’re constantly seeking to connect and grow. Allow yourself to meet strangers, go to events that may make you feel uncomfortable, and never stop striving for personal development and inspired.

When we are inspired, we are connected “in spirit”.

What better life is there than one in which we’re connected in spirit? 


The downside of being a Traveler

This is the first official summer that I’ll be working full-time, staying in one city, not being able to travel and see friends for weeks at a time, or simply work in another city that I’ve lived in for the rest of the year. It’s a pretty wild thought. Throughout under grad, I would be jetting off every summer. During my Master’s program just a few years ago, I worked in San Francisco for the summer and studied abroad in Costa Rica. Last year, I moved to Austin, TX and spent the summer exploring and job hunting.

Today, I’ve got a job with a great company. I’m living in a great city such as Austin with an infinite amount of activities and events to go to and yet, life remains uncertain due to visa status.

However, this post is not about the uncertainty of visa status. Instead, its a reminder of how fortunate I’ve been to have lived my whole life until now jet setting every summer.

As I witness Paul, and friends we’ve made here in Austin, jet set to various parts of the world for their internships this summer, I’ve felt a sense of jealousy and sadness. The excitement for what they will accomplish and experience parallels my bittersweet desire to have the same experience. Perhaps it’s all a form of FOMO.

That is the hardest part of having the #travelbug: to watch everyone leave while having to stay. In addition, since I am currently awaiting visa results, I am unable to leave the country. (Not even to Canada to visit my parents visiting from Hong Kong..)

With all that said, I know there are going to be days in which all I want to do is get on a plane somewhere, to experience being abroad, to experience the unfamiliarity of another culture but for all those days, there are also going to be days where I’m experiencing full hand what an Austin summer is like.

I plan to focus on work, climb a few times a week, attend social events, read, sun tan, and take a few trips here and there in Texas or in surrounding states. It’s not the same as being in another country, but I simply have to remind myself of all of the incredible summers I’ve had in the past and all the experiences I’ve already had.

Gratitude is always the first step to happiness.



In the midst of chaos, listen

The last few months in the United States has been a bit of a whirlwind. On November 8, 2016, there were many tears shed. These were both happy tears and fearful tears. In addition, there were also lots of anger and denial. This is not a post about specifics of the political situation, nor is it an op-ed about who I support and who I don’t. Rather, this is a post about the necessity of trying to understand one another- especially in this time of chaos.

As someone who likes to strip down all political affiliations and get to know someone for what their values are, and how they feel- I found myself wanting to learn all the reasons supporters of Donald Trump feel the way they do and how we came to such a wide political divide in the United States. With that, I picked up a recommended book to begin understanding the “deep story”. This book is called Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russel Hochschild.

In Strangers in Their Own Land, Hochschild- a renowned sociologist based in Berkeley California embarks on a journey to the Deep South, Louisiana, to find answers from the conservative right. She attempts to find out why one of the poorest, and most impacted State from policy decisions made by the Conservative right continues to support these same candidates. She coins this “The Great Paradox”. Throughout this process, she finds out much more than meets the eye.


Long Division, The New Yorker (December 2013)


She begins to understand the “deep story”, this story that is true to each and every one of those people she interacted with. She finds that whatever their experience was, what motivated their decision making was based on their emotions. As I read stories of Americans Hochschild met, I learned that this political divide has emerged more from a class divide rather than a “republican or democrat” divide. These citizens of Louisiana felt they’ve been waiting in line for The American Dream for so long through their hard work, and yet time and time again, continue to fall back as groups such as “LGBT”, “African Americans”, “Immigrants” gain support from the government and American citizens who have already “made” it.

In addition, what increased the big divide is the unwillingness on either end of the spectrum to talk with one another. The right felt attacked from activists on the left, and yet, many on the left felt attacked from the right. This represents the empathy wall and lack of understanding that exists between both sides of the deep story.

“An empathy wall is an obstacle to deep understanding of another person, one that can make us feel indifferent or even hostile to those who hold different beliefs or whose childhood is rooted in different circumstances.” (Hoschild, pg 5)

Whether you agree with all of the above or not, I sincerely hope that at the very least, we agree that more listening & understanding to each other is necessary.  Today, tomorrow, and for the next four years, it will be crucial to proactively seek out information and learn from those whose viewpoints we do not agree with. It can become very convenient to live within enclaves of our own views; electronic enclaves, geographic enclaves, and media enclaves.

There are many resources to take us out of this enclave if we so desire. The first of which I would recommend is to read this incredible book. It will provide a new perspective on the “anger and mourning on the American Right”.

Other resources I recommend are as follows. Please feel free to comment and share any additional resources we may utilize!

Blue Feed, Red Feed: A Wall Street Journal project providing a way to see the Liberal Facebook feed and the Conservative Facebook feed side by side.

Interview with Arlie Russell Hochschild: Interview on Democracy Now on Hochschild’s motivation, intentions, and experiences throughout the process of writing this book.

What bedside reading do you have?

Each day, I lay in bed, glance over at my pile of books and wonder which one I should pick up and read. One day, I looked at it and surprised myself at the diverse collection I have accumulated.

Granted, it’s only a small percentage of what we’ve got on our bookshelf. One of these days, perhaps I’ll share with ya’ll what our bookshelf looks like but for now: we’ll focus on my bedside books.

Many say if you want to get to know a person, simply take a look at their bookshelf. I hundred percent agree with that. The last few years, I’ve started to accumulate books by the same author, books of the same genre, and professional business growth books that I know I will enjoy years and years again. I often look at the books I own and say to myself, “that speaks to my personality and who I am, without a doubt.”

On a smaller scale, this collection of books on my bedside dresser is a mini version of my bookshelf.

  • Haikyu – a graphic novel about a volleyball player in high school and all the dynamics with competition between high schools and players. Comics are a great relief from information overload.
  • The Rothko Chapel Writings on Art and the Threshold of the Divine (by Dominique de Menil) – a collection of timeless words and inspired thoughts of Dominique de Menil. Each piece is only a few pages long, a great book to have for when you only want to read a few pages before bed.
  • Strangers In Their Own Land (Arlie Russell Hochschild) – a thought-provoking, informational, well-written commentary discussing our current political climate in the United States, and why voters feel the way they feel. A must read for all who is having a hard time understanding why anyone voted/continue to support President Trump.
  • Bossypants (Tina Fey) – Comedic. Inspirational. Tina Fey’s words. Enough said.
  • The Airbnb Story (Leigh Gallagher) – A look into how three guys distrupted the hospitality industry, continues to change the world and yet, continues to create controversy in every city in the world on a daily basis. I haven’t quite started this book yet but Airbnb envisions everyone to have the mixture of tourism + cultural exchange that I strive for in all my travels. A must read to understand the disruption and changes in the hospitality industry today.

I hope to be finished with Strangers In Their Own Land soon and will write a longer, more detailed response (book review of a sort) to the book. Every night as I sit in bed and read it, I question my own thoughts and it forces me to question all the news articles and op-ed’s I read on a daily basis.

In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in simply surfing facebook, twitter, pinterest, or instagram on our Iphones prior to turning off the lights and falling asleep. I definitely continue to act on that habit, but slowly, night after night, I spend more time holding one of these books, and less time on my electronic device.

Sure, I still hit up FB, Instagram, or get that text message sent out I meant to send out earlier in the day. But each night if my time spent reading a book is more than the time spent on my iphone, I’d call that a victory.

What bedside reading do you have? Magazines? Books? What kind of books? Please share so I can continue to add onto my list! Sharing is caring. And learning is a life-long process. I hope to continue my habit of having diverse reads by my bedside in the future.