About

Hello!

I like researching, walking, shoestring backpacking to places that took a long time to find information on, and making maps.

I transitioned out of the 9-5 work life in 2014 and work mostly based in Asia, but also remotely for clients in the tech industry.

I focus on information in Asia that isn’t readily available in English or that I believe could be given a better cultural context such as Japan travel and culture, LGBTQ travel, and job searches in Asia. Occasionally, I write something that’s coherent about East Asian culture and intersectional identities to counter stereotypes and misunderstandings that I get frustrated about.

I have deleted all the coffee walk maps on this site for English places, such as Vancouver and London. The places I have kept are Tokyo, and Taipei, but those may go eventually when enough English writers write about them.

Other projects you’ll find are:

  • Business 3.0 which is a project I started with 3 other people in Hong Kong and Japan to share product and business development wisdom from business owners and startup founders in those two places. The focus is on peopel who have not been profiled much in English.
  • LGBTQ Glassdoor is an opensource LGBTQ-friendly workplace directory for Hong Kong that I had started with the support of many people from Oursky, a former client
  • Open-source maps at Niche Tokyo
  • Content marketing consulting
  • Personal & startup writing on Medium
  • Photography on Unsplash used by companies like AdobeXero, and Buffer.

Longer bio:

I’m a Vancouver-born, Chinese-Canadian content marketing consultant, writer, and project starter. I run a content marketing agency based in Hong Kong, specialising in the web and mobile app development, impact investing, and startup industries. I’m passionate about sharing East Asia’s entrepreneurial talent and creativity with an English-speaking global audience.

I have worked in social innovation and startup spaces in Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Japan. Some of the organisations I’ve contributed to are TEDxYouth@HongKong as a founding team member, SOW Asia, LearnLab China (光合空間) to create accelerator programs in Hong Kong and China, LaunchPilots (領創派) and MakerBay (工匠灣), Hong Kong’s first makerspace.

I am an avid reader and history enthusiast, heavily influenced by post-colonial theory. I highly appreciate aesthetics, attention to detail, and technical aptitude in any field of pursuit. I love waking up to a fresh early morning, bouldering, and brewing tea or coffee. My preferred modes of transport are cycling, walking, and taking trains.

I am also the co-project starter for Business 3.0 and LGBTQ Glassdoor map-maker for Niche Tokyo and have contributed to publications such as Tech in Asia and LifeHack and Mogul.

I’ve founded a community project in Canada that was featured in Pride Toronto 2011., and bilingual conferences in Hong Kong that run on shoestring budgets.

I’ve has judged regional Asian social entrepreneurship events, presented at startup, tech, LGBTQ and international development conferences, and done the occasional interview.

Credentials include Honours Bachelor of Arts specialising in East Asian Studies and English Literature from Trinity College at the University of Toronto, a Masters of Social Science in Media Management from Hong Kong Baptist University, and a Masters of Science in Population and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with a thesis on the long-term development effects of weather seasonalities in South Asia.

For more: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram

8 Comments

  1. Oliver Dunskus

    hi athena, thanks for your travel blog on shikoku henro. i am currently preparing my 3rd trip intending to complete the round, your blog is so much fun to read and so helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Oliver,

      Thank you for the kind message! Where are you starting from for your last trip? Matsumoto? When did you take the previous ones? I think it’s been snowing quite a bit, so be careful and take care!

      Also, best wishes for 2017!

      Like

  2. HI Athena,
    I’ve been reading your Shikoku henro blog and appreciating it. I’m preparing to start in late June (middle of summer). All other websites and online discussions refer to this as the worst time. I see that this is when you went. Is the weather as bad as they say?
    Cheers

    Like

    1. Haha, yes it is. Rains a lot, then it’s super hot. But each to their own. It was tough, but I didn’t mind it. Too hot to sleep some times. Bring lots of mosquito incense…. That was what got to me most. Also bring a poncho so your belongings don’t get soaked. I also liked that there weren’t many people, but the flip side is places close for summer. That I wrote about in my Kagawa stretch.

      Like

  3. Hi Athena!
    I saw your article about entitlement/privilege and being a digital nomad on Medium when Kirsty shared it. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful piece. As someone from a similarly privileged background it’s taken being married to someone from a totally different background to open my eyes to so many things that I take for granted. Thanks again! Kate

    Like

  4. Christine Donoghue

    Hi there, I would love to see your food map of Tokyo!! We leave for there on Saturday from Boston. We are super excited! It said something about “put in your email” so I am hoping this works… Love your pages here!

    Like

  5. George Schmeltzer

    Athena,
    Yours is an amazingly well-organized and well-written presence on the web. I’ve enjoyed every word. I am looking for a Japanese/English speaking companion to undertake the 88 Temple Walk starting in September 2018. I walked the Camino a couple of years ago and I feel that I am in condition to undertake the Temple Walk. Do you know of any blog or other site that caters to walkers trying to locate walking companions? I appreciate any direction you can provide.
    Regards,
    George

    Like

    1. Thank you for the kind words!

      I think try the Henro forums? There’s also a Henro guide website that collects writers like David Gilbert (randomwire) and others. You should be able to meet some people.

      Like

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