It had been a while since I‘d started working at Automattic. One of the many perks the company offers all its employees is a paid sabbatical. It is actually encouraged you do so to freshen your perspective, renew your passions, dedicate more time to your family and friends, or simply to unplug and come back refreshed. To each their own, as they say.
And it had been exactly five years since I’d started to the day, when I packed my stuff and went on a solo adventure to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong had always intrigued me as this mystic, multi-faceted area geographically so close to China but yet so unique in the culture it preserves. Iconically pictured in so many movies in this noire vibe, but often backlit by the vibrant neons, and its bustling neighbourhoods and streets.
I must say HK surpassed any expectations I might have had, except maybe for the neon signs I was so keen on seeing, that are quickly being replaced by their much more cost-effective LED counterparts. In any case, Hong Kong is still pretty much the perfect embodiment of that 80’s Outrun-y, synthwave aesthetic.
Going back to the fact that I was traveling solo, this was a new experience for me. Other than the traveling I do for work, in which I fly by myself and might have a day to explore a city, I don’t remember the last time I spent a whole week solo. Luckily, from our experiences in Japan, I knew that Asia as a whole is pretty friendly in terms of solo-travelers, but I also had an ace in my pocket…
You see, my good friend Luís (aka Vincent) was living in HK at the time, and offered a place to sleep in his apartment. It couldn’t have worked out better, because the building was on Hennessy Road, right in the center of Wan Chai, and Vincent took a couple of days off to show me around town.
We went off to the races (quite literally) in Happy Valley and won some money, had quite a few feasts with the likes of dim sum, ramen, char siu pork and Hong Kong-style milk tea, visited Sham Shui Po and the markets, went up to the unmissable Victoria peak, and spent some quality time with each other. Thank you for being the greatest of hosts and showing me around town!