It seems like the timing wasn’t quite right for me to work in Hong Kong, but I WILL be back. Visa sponsorship seems to be an issue since I don’t yet have any corporate finance experience from the US. On a positive note I have several interviews lined up in Santa Barbara, California. My flight leaves in 12 hours.
I am by no means calling this a defeat, especially since my original goal was simply to live in a foreign country for at least one month while studying the language and soaking in the culture. I’ve accomplished this three times over and the only bad thing to happen was the loss of my beloved iPhone 5s (luckily I backed up all photos, videos, and contact information to my laptop).
This was a very interesting time of year to visit Hong Kong. The weather was perfect but October, November, and December are the slowest months for hiring due to the 13 month pay cycle. According to the recruiters and employers whom I interviewed with, companies pay sizable bonuses at the end of the year. These bonuses keep turnover and hiring rates low until the end of Chinese New Year.
While jobs seemed scarce, celebrations here were plentiful! Never in my life have I attended so many parties in such a short amount of time. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many casual lunch or dinner meetings, I was able to meet some incredible people from all over the world and build lasting relationships.
I wouldn’t trade these past three months for anything. Right now I am working on organizing my thoughts and videos from this journey. I hope to share them with you all soon.
So there I was, standing at a blocked off street corner in Mong Kok, eating a $3 foot-long slab of red pepper crusted chicken from a street vender, watching seven old ladies dance in the crosswalk to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.
Hong Kong has some very peaceful parks. This is one of my favorites in Wan Chai. Watching the elderly performing Tai Chi on weekends is relaxing and entertaining.
Walking down Nathan Road at night was stressful when I first arrived, not anymore.
Part of me can’t believe I’m still here, and the other part isn’t surprised at all. The last few weeks have been spent job hunting and networking. I fully expect to be here until January, beyond that I’m not sure. I’ve had a couple interviews so far, both went very well but no offers yet.
Here is a short clip from The House of Dancing Water in Macau last month.
Shot with the iPhone 5s
Relaxing in my tiny room on the 26th floor of a skyscraper in Kowloon
Been on the road for 34 days. I have grown so much in that time it is impossible to convey in a single post. I probably should have been posting updates periodically but caved to the convenience of Facebook and Instagram. Luckily I am still writing in my journal nearly nightly and have yet to post even a fraction of the photos.
My flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles leaves in 10 days but I won’t be on it. A couple of weeks ago I decided Hong Kong is the place I need to be right now. By my calculations I should be able to stay until the end of November before I start to run dangerously low on cash. Legally I can stay for 90 days without a work visa. I declared my commitment by purchasing a laptop; figured it was impractical to research companies and work on my résumé via cell phone or public computer.
Right now I am spending the majority of my days doing three things:
2. Working out
3. Meeting new people people every chance I get!
During my final week as a bartender here in Destin, Florida I have been mentioning to my guests that I will be headed to Santa Barbara, California for a week followed by a journey to Hong Kong for 35 days. With very few exceptions the immediate response has been “Hong Kong?!? WHY?”
Here is my response.
First off I have always been intrigued by Asian culture, it just seemed SO different from the world I know. Not different in a bad way, or a good way, just different. In school I planned a hypothetical trip to Japan for an 8th grade geography class which included researching plane tickets, budgeting, and constructing an itinerary. In high school I can remember creating several powerpoint presentations on China.
Second, as a finance major and entrepreneur with an interest in international real estate and negotiations, it just made sense to checkout one of the world’s leading international financial hubs with one of the most frequently traded currencies in the world.
Finally, I stumbled upon Anthony Bourdain’s Layover episode where he visits Hong Kong and it blew my MIND. The food looks amazing, the people look diverse and friendly, and the scenery seems just as fascinating! Not to mention the convenience of not needing a special visa to enter, and much of the local population speaks English!
So…yeah, that’s why.
My mother and I went for a four mile walk this afternoon as a “dry run” for what it will be like to explore while carrying a loaded backpack. It was a very enjoyable experience, even the little bit of rain didn’t bother me since I had a plastic bag for my iPhone. My Ecco Biom trail shoes could not be more perfect for this mixture of sidewalks, grassy fields, and gravel paths. They are comfortable, light, and ventilate well. The excitement keeps building as September 23rd comes ever closer.
I bought a spiral notebook to help record my thoughts, ideas, and plans as I prepare for this trip to Hong Kong. Hopefully this will help my future posts become more interesting and useful.
To me, it’s clear that life is one big experiment. As a child I always loved science experiments, sports, nature, and of course food! Many people seem to lose touch with the things there were passionate about as a child. I refuse to let this happen to me. I refuse to “grow up” and become boring. I am an entrepreneur at heart and have always been pretty independent. This trip is a test to challenge myself to find a way to utilize my passion for experiments, sports, nature, and food with the hope that these experiences will mature me into a more well-rounded person.
This little gem was saved by my mother and included in a scrapbook for my high school graduation day. I think it’s pretty obvious this company turned a profit in the first quarter.
I have been saving for this trip for quite some time. I keep reminding myself that every $1 will bring much more enjoyment to me when spent outside the US. It’s going to be strange not having to work or go to school. I will be dedicating my time and money to learning the language and culture of Hong Kong in many different ways. I will do my best to document my struggles and success with the hope that it will be funny and helpful to others.
In other news, I had some basic business cards made via Vistaprint almost completely free. These have already been extremely useful for connecting and keeping in-touch with new acquaintances.
Much more to come.