Gwendolyn Tan is a food loving social media queen, working in international social media management across Asia. Currently based in Melbourne, Australia and originally from Singapore, Gwen spends a lot of her time travelling the world chasing the newest flavours and sights from her favourite places.
Gwen currently manages the social accounts of some of her favourite food spots from around Asia, while working with a collective who offer some of Asia’s top food vendors a home to display what they’ve got to offer. One of these places is HWKR street food, located in the heart of Melbourne. Gwen’s current travel goals are set on exploring the land down under, and experiencing all Australia has to offer. From the vast open deserts, bustling laneways, award winning beaches and unique flora and fauna Gwen has a lot of travelling ahead to see all that Australia has to offer. We had a quick chat with her about some of her top suggestions for places around Asia to grab a bite to eat, her ideas on how travelling impacts creativity and how she thinks travel is changing for the solo millennial.
Places been: Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia
Going to next: Probably Adelaide, Australia. Maybe I’ll go in February too because Fringe Festival is on then and they have some really incredible international acts I’d like to see. And pretty good food too.
Ultimate travel tip: Plan where you want to go in advance. It helps having an itinerary, especially if you’ve not been to the place and you only have a few days. It helps you build up the excitement too.
Favourite country in Asia for food: Japan has the best food for sure. I don’t really have a specific place in mind, but I suggest the fish market (Tsukiji I believe). One of the most interesting foods I’ve eaten was raw horse meat sushi. It tasted way better than it sounded.
As a creative person, do you find that travelling inspires you? Which destination have you found has inspired you the most and why?
Definitely. I love Japan the most. Tokyo was a great place with amazing food and culture. They are very advanced in technology and you get to learn quite a bit. I went to Akihabarai and there were so many interesting and new things. One night I went to a Robot cafe which my friend recommended I go and see. It was amazing how the people had choreographed their performance with the robots and got me thinking about the future of people and machines. Another place I thought was cool but bizarre was the maid cafe, where there are girls dressed as traditional western maid who you can take photos with and drink interesting teas.
Taiwan was another place I found which was very rich in culture and again, had crazy delicious street food. I went to the museum of strange things and I got to see really weird creatures like (alive!) three-headed turtles and fish with two mouths. These experiences are etched in my mind, which could become useful whenever we need some creative ideas for campaigns!
What advice would you give to anyone travelling to Australia for the first time?
Plan ahead and do a bit of research. Travel with someone who can drive too because you’re going to need it for all the road trips. Some of my favourite road trips in Australia are the 10 day trip around Tasmania, driving up the East Coast of Australia, and many of the beautiful drives in Victoria all within a couple of hours of Melbourne.
How has your experience moving to a new country impacted your view of the world and how you travel?
I would say I became more open. I feel that my ideas are more accepted here compared to my home country. Melbourne is a very creative city. It inspires me everyday, from its streets to culture to food. I am also more independent than I was previously. I feel like I can be more creative now and express myself better.
How do you think social media has changed the way young people travel? How do you think it’s changed the way we experience food when we travel?
Those travel videos on Facebook and Instagram Stories and posts makes people want to travel. There’s this travel bug going around when you see amazing and beautiful snaps of a certain place. We save these posts so we can revisit them or they could be a reference when travel to that particular destination. It’s kinda like a bucket list (I’ve done a similar campaign that saves IG photos where you can build a bucket list). For food, obviously we’d love to save those social posts we want to eat. #foodporn is one example of how people who love social media + food came about. We travel with our smart phones and updates our friends/followers almost instantaneously wherever we are. E.g. If I’m at the Grand Canyon, I want people to see that I’m there and share the beautiful sights. I saw a friend share her snaps on Grand Canyon a couple of days ago. I was so jealous!
What advice would you give you travellers who want to take more creative photos, see more creative places, or embrace creativity in a new way?
No advice. Just be yourself! Capture whatever you feel will tell a great story. If you want to experience wild and crazy things while you’re overseas, obviously the experiences you have will affect your capacity to take crazy photos (like the one I took when I went skydiving). If you’re into more calming, relaxing travel, then find your niche and stick to it. I think authenticity is important because we travel for ourselves, not the camera or the internet. If you’re having a good time, and experiencing what you want to, then just so happen to capture it in a photo – that’s going to be so much more valuable than trying to plan your trip around pleasing the internet.
Travelling with friends, or allowing yourself to meet new people along the way can often be the best way to discover new and creative places. If something is underground, it’s underground for a reason. The more you talk to people and explore, the more you’ll learn and discover. Also, travelling to places where you might not speak the language isn’t always an issue if you’re good at making friends or know how to use technology. I find that no matter where I go I can always find someone who can speak English and Chinese (I speak both) as well as the local language. We help each other out. Otherwise, the internet has really good translation apps, and oftentimes you can pick up on social cues to work out what’s going on.
Written by Stefan Petersen.
As 2017 passed us by, it was all about the lavish escapes and Insta-worthy dining experiences. Moving into 2018 (can we believe it’s already February!), the year ahead in travel will be about heading off the beaten track and diving into new underground cultures around the world. We’ve tapped into our Insiders around the world, talked to you, our customers, looked at the latest industry news and insights to predict these five travel trends for 2018.
1. A new kind of family travel 一种新型家庭旅游
Back are the days of National Lampoons style vacations. Modern family dynamics will innovate and reinvent family travel. Multi-generational holidays are making a comeback – Millennials are sucking it up and going on cute vacays with the families more often. This will continue to evolve this year. Often overlooked, Gen Xers might not be the largest market out there, but they are the generation with the most money and time to spend on travel.
过去都是在国定假期才会旅行。现代家庭加入了创新并重塑了家庭旅行。多代人假期正在卷土重来 – 千禧一代正在吮吸它，并与家人更频繁地度过温馨的假期。今年将继续发展。无名一代（出生于1970年代的美国人，Gen X），可能不是最大的市场，但他们是最有钱和最有时间旅行的一代。
As Day of the Dead celebrations come to an end in Mexico, we look at both Co-Founders favourite country in the world, and ask our chozun Insider, Miguel Martinez what the up and coming, uncommon destinations are to visit next in Mexico.
Families across parts of Asia gather together on 4 October to celebrate the infamous Mid Autumn Festival – “we gather together, eat, laugh, play games & do a lot of KTV for fun,” tells Rico, our local Chinese Insider.
亚洲各地的家庭在10月4日聚集在一起庆祝臭名昭著的中秋节-“我们聚集在一起, 吃, 笑, 玩游戏, 并做了很多 KTV 的乐趣,” 告诉波多黎各, 我们当地的中国内幕。
Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié is a huge celebration in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Korea and other countries in Asia occurring on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunisolar calendar—when the moon is thought to be at its fullest. A tradition taken seriously, and well respected in the East. For nearly 3000 years, families have been coming together to pay respects to the moon – a symbol of peace and prosperity.
中秋节中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié是一个巨大的庆祝活动在香港, 中国, 新加坡, 韩国和亚洲其他国家在第八月的第十五天在阴阳历日历-当月亮被认为是在它的最充分。一个传统被重视, 并在东部很受尊敬。近3000年来, 家庭一直聚集在一起, 向月亮致敬–这是和平与繁荣的象征。
As you wander the streets of many major Asian cities in the lead up to Mid Autumn Festival, they are bustling – people madly rushing about, preparing for the Festival. Lines, long ones. With many people, waiting to buy the perfect gift. We take a look at the most popular gifts this season for Mid Autumn Festival.
当你漫步在许多主要的亚洲城市的街道上, 在引领到中秋节, 他们是热闹的人疯狂地奔波, 为节日做准备。线, 长的。和很多人在一起, 等待着买到最完美的礼物。我们来看看本季最受欢迎的中秋节礼物。
Escape the world of instant coffee and over-priced lattes with some of our favourite spots for an envy-inducing drink across the globe:
The cat cafe’s edgier younger sibling, Tokyo’s Ikefukuro Café lets customers sip their espresso alongside one of their fourteen tame owls. Owls not your thing? The city also boasts goat, reptile and even robot cafés to satisfy any tastes.