New Norm Magazine
I was born and raised in Hong Kong but have spent a large parts of my life living abroad – first for school in the UK and then in Vancouver for my undergraduate degree at UBC.
After graduating my travels took me from the mountains of Pacific North West to the plains of Ghana, before I finally moved back to Hong Kong in late 2018. Since returning, I’ve been working in the advertising world as a senior brand strategist.
While I’ve always been an avid writer, my love for photography and design only began about 2-3 years ago and I only launched Sage Stories – my photography business – at the turn of this year. It’s very much still a learning process and I’m fully aware that this is only the beginning of my creative journey, but the more and more I practice this art the more and more I want to spend every day behind a lens.
Where are you from / call home?
I’m officially British, but having been born and raised in Hong Kong I’ve always considered HK my home. That being said, I am moving back to Vancouver this year as I hope to make that my base for the foreseeable future. It’s been exciting to develop connections to the three different cities - HK / LDN / YVR - throughout the years.
What are some simple pleasures that you’ve rediscovered during the coronavirus pandemic?
Being away from work for such a prolonged period has allowed me to spend some time focussing on myself – I’ve been doing a lot more meditating, honing my editing skills, and finally taking a few investment courses. I’ve been trying to appreciate the down time, be thankful for what I have, and not focus on things that are out of my control.
Embracing slower living
How have you and your creative process changed?
It’s definitely allowed me to be more thorough – especially in terms of conceptualizing larger projects and experimenting with different styles of editing and design layouts etc., which in turn has led me to discovering certain nuances that I’ve tried to infuse into my recent work. I still consider myself an amateur and so having this time to dive deeper into the learning process has been greatly appreciated and highly nourishing.
For example, I’ve been able to study the work of a number of photographers that I admire – both new and old, this has helped me further find my groove and develop a picture of what I’d like to be creating in the coming months.
What are some of the things that have changed in your country as a result of the pandemic? What is the new normal?
It’s been an interesting time in Hong Kong because obviously prior to the pandemic there was the socio-political movement from last year – so I’m not sure many of us remember what “normal” consists of. I’ve probably only had 4 or 5 full weeks of work in the past 12 months.
What I would say is that I think the prior epidemics - such as SARS - has meant that Hong Kong was better prepared than many other countries. So, while there has been fairly stringent restrictions in terms of quarantines and social distancing, these measures have been highly effective thanks to understanding and compliance of the general public.
Travel from home
What was your favourite destination and why?
Damn, that’s a really tough one.
If we’re talking in terms of sheer wonder and amazement then I’d probably have to pick Iceland. Why? Because it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The landscape feels extra-terrestrial and as an avid adventurer and budding photographer there was jaw-dropping moments around nearly every corner. I was also lucky enough to visit with some of my closest friends and we simply drove around the island for a week camping, playing cards, and taking photos. It was a special trip.
Honourable mentions would also have to be given to Flores, Indonesia and the Côte d'Azur.
What are some of your most memorable moments during the trip?
In terms of the Iceland trip, sleeping under the aurora borealis has to be up there, it’s simply mesmerising. Also the waterfalls, so many waterfalls. But honestly the whole experience was brilliant, there’s not many better things than driving around in a 4x4 exploring a new world with your buddies.
What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?
I’m not sure I believe that there are certain things that only travel can provide, for people encounter all elements of life in their own way, through their own experiences. That being said, travel often provides greater access to, or heightens, certain ways of thinking.
Perspective, humility, and novelty, would be the greatest facets that I’ve gained from my travels.
I know it’s a modern trope but I truly think that travel, particularly to new places, is a way of injecting fresh ideas and concepts into your way of understanding the world. There’s also the wonderful interaction you have with cultures, food, and people – “don’t listen to what they say, go see.”
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, where would you go?
24 hours isn’t particularly a lot of time! I’d probably fly me and some friends over to Kyoto, Japan and spend the day taking photos, eating ramen, and drinking sake!