Some of the side comments in my posts probably require some context. I was born in Vancouver and am a happy product of Canadian public schooling. I have studied in Vancouver, Toronto, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. My degrees in East Asian Studies and public policy for international development heavily inform my opinions and writing. Professionally, I do content marketing consulting, mostly for East Asia, and mostly for tech companies.
I tend to live in places that offer views of the vast Pacific. I have personal bikes in various cities. The places I am fondest of are Japan, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. That has almost no correlation with where I spend my time. My time is spent on routines. One routine includes 7am squash every other day, followed by fresh soy milk. Another routine involves morning bouldering, followed by camping out at one specific cafe in Vancouver’s Chinatown, doing what most people do on weekdays: working (remotely).
You can find my past work on LinkedIn, personal interests on Twitter, and travel-related posts on Instagram. Of course, I am always open to work opportunities. You can contact me at athena [at] piccoloportfolios.com
I also get involved with side projects, some of which are listed below in case you are interested:
- 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 Adobe, Xero, and Buffer
- TEDxYouth@HongKong (2010-2018), which has since been rebranded to TEDxYouth@VictoriaHarbour
Background on the blog
Most people who know me associate me with being a digital nomad, which I am not because I do not see the world that way. Having said that, everyone is still right about me being a frequent remote worker by virtue of the privileges I have to travel.
I am always curious about how things came to be the way they are and am always on the hunt for different perspectives (including many that offend me). Travel is one of the ways I learn, through physical experience of places and their peoples. However, it is only one method of learning that I compliment with many others, usually reading and podcasts.
When I do travel, my assumption is that locals know best. This means that I try to search for information through key words in a local language, even if it is a language I do not know. As a result, I end up compiling information that is usually not available in English.
Though I am not a developer, there is a software engineering mantra that may be familiar: “Don’t repeat yourself.” Wouldn’t everyone benefit from more collective knowledge so that we don’t have to repeat ourselves? This blog emerged out of my sharing reflex in 2015.
The first post I felt really strongly about was compiling a list of free and budget lodging for the Shikoku Pilgrimage, which I have since updated. This blog was set up as an exercise to write. My first major project was writing my Shikoku Pilgrimage Diary. When I finished the daily entries, I covered Third Wave Cafes in Tokyo because there were dozens that had not yet been covered in English back in 2015.
This blog is an evolving personal experiment. For two years, I extended the idea of covering cafes, thinking that I could help other remote workers and digital nomads find interesting local places to work out of. I have since decided that there is enough information out there for that community, and I am not particularly interested in attracting their attention. Nonetheless, formalising a structure for posts was a useful exercise. After I finished, I deleted all the English-region cafe posts in a day. The places I still have are Tokyo, Taipei, and Seoul because it looks like people are still reading them. I look forward to the day when other websites cover them well enough so that I can delete my posts.
If you are a returning reader (firstly, thank you!), please do not be surprised with deleted posts. I like spring cleaning and happily remove my posts when I find someone else has done a much better website or post than mine.
The blog continues to be where I share the lists I make, from my 2018 booklist to favourite podcasts. I’ve also tried to provide some information on LGBTQ information in Asia, including city-specific information for Tokyo and Hong Kong, as well as LGBTQ podcasts for Greater China.
With a bit more experience now, I am more certain about what I like to spend time on. You can expect more posts that involve the following:
- translated travel information
- random, niche travel topics that don’t have posts on English Google’s 1st page
- commentary on East Asia and overseas Chinese experiences
- practicing writing and improving how I articulate personal opinions
If you actually finished reading this, you might like my (at most) monthly newsletter.
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