Category Archives: Travel

Travel Updates

Not all of my friends follow my Dopplr, and would be upset if I don’t tell them where I am going. To avoid that, here is the notice, boys.

I plan to fly to New York from September 20th until October 4th. If I don’t answer to your phone calls, it’s probably because I am in another time zone.

My flights would touch the ground in the evening on October 5th.

A couple of days later, I’ll fly to Tokyo on October 8th, and stay there until October 22nd. I won’t answer your calls either, as I don’t even have a 3G SIM card, so it simply won’t work in Japan.

Where to go next? You’ll never know.

I hope everyone is satisfied with the info now. 🙂

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Here in Dallas, again

Yes, I am in Dallas again, waiting this time 4 hours to Tokyo, Japan. It’s early morning here, so every process is faster due to less people. The customs official “welcomes” me is having a Monster energy drink. Really?! Having that at six in the morning?!

Welcome to the United States of America.

Life Takes Turn as It Wants

“What are you working on online?” my mom asks. First of all, my mom is not online generation, let alone “born digital“, so you should at least admire her for saying the word “online”. Secondly, to be clear, she now uses computer and internet on weekdays, but only to check out stock prices. That’s why, to her, having a son working as freelancer (= insecurity) and working online (= intangible) can be one of the most confusing concepts to accept.

Ever since she knows I want to be a freelancing translator, she keeps encouraging me to translate at least a book, which is “more substantial”, in her own words. True, my translations can be around you all the time, on product instructions, in press releases, PowerPoint presentations, or even as a website, but you normally won’t see my name attached. We are invisible translators. I have shown to her my works on Global Voices, with my name on it, but it’s still not persuasive enough to her.

And now she is more confused. Why would someone invite her son to give talks for works he’s done online?

See me speak at SXSW 2010 (http://sxsw.com) Mom, it just happens. I wasn’t aware four years ago that my life and career will be deeply connected with internet. But now it is.

South by Southwest Festival came to me for the first time in my life in this post on GV by Juliana. At that time, it looked cool to me, but I didn’t expect to attend at all. After all, it’s in faraway Texas. It’s a long, long flight from Taiwan. (Yes, I know, the flight from Taiwan to Chile is even longer, but we’ll deal with that later.)

Not until one week ago.

That morning when I opened my inbox, I saw an invitation letter saying hi to me, so two weeks later, I will say hi to Austin, Texas.

Also fortunately, I have experience the painful US visa application last year, otherwise I won’t be able to travel with such a short notice. Phew..

Working online connects people in unexpected ways. My life indeed takes turn as it wants, especially since I start to work online. I really cannot say for certain where in the world I will visit this year, but the picture is getting better and better.

Another turn of my life from online work is coming soon. I’ll unveil when I can.

But now, at least we can enjoy SXSW Promotional Video:

GVers I met in 2009

The last month of the year. Everything surrounded is rushing you to sum up. Everyone seems can’t wait to move on to the next year. New calendars are on sale. TV channels and newspapers are reviewing and ranking incidents of the past year. People start to say “see you next year” instead of “see you next week”. Clients are booking available dates in January (not a bad thing at all!). Not many people are paying much attention how to cherish or make the best use of the last month of 2009. Sometimes, it’s like thinking about dinner place before enjoying lunch’s desserts. For a sweet-lover like me, it’s a crime!

This is a fortunate year to me. Seeing many GV people means I have the chance to travel much around the world, since Taiwan is definitely not a popular visit place for other GVers. Hey, we are not New York. What do you expect?

Anyway, I just want to make a list of GV people I have met in 2009. Long or short, it’s such a pleasure to be with you guys in person. Will I miss anyone? Probably, I don’t have a computer head, after all. What’s the order? There’s no order.

Solana Larsen
David Sasaki
Georgia Popplewell
Ivan Sigal
Jeremy Clarke
Rebekah Heacock
Lova Rakotomala
Amira Al Hussaini
Eduardo Avila
Lokman Tsui
Jillian C. York
Ethan Zuckerman
Rebecca MacKinnon
Elia Varela Serra
Miquel Hudin Balsa
Portnoy Zheng
Sami Ben Gharbia
Oiwan Lam
Paula Góes
Marc Herman
Anna Gueye
Sylwia Presley
Percy Balemans
Mieke Tulp
Agnieszka Kwiatkowska
Tonyo Cruz
Tharum Bun
Rezwan
Chris Salzberg
Hanako Tokita
Tomomi Sasaki
Jannie Lung
Scilla Alecci
… …

Lucky me!

Just Got Back

Just got back to Taipei. It’s a wonderful trip. It not only inspires me during the experience, but also fulfils my mom’s dream for many years. As a son, bringing mom to where she wants to go for a long time is probably the least I can do.

This time I get to know another different face of Tokyo and Japan as well. Being versatile is what makes a city great, or at least stand out.

It’s always worthy to meet Global Voices people in person during every trip. Thanks Tomomi, Scilla and Jannie for coming to the meetup. Now they are more than just a 75×75 jpg to me. 🙂

Thanks Chris and Hana for your guest room offer. I’ll book it soon! Please keep my (and Eddie’s) bike for the next visit!

I must say Jason and Trent, my other two friends, have successfully made me don’t want to leave Tokyo this time. They share their precious foods, places and experiences with me. They are all unforgettable.

Cities are great, but it’s always these friends that make a city special.

Amsterdam, on the way

After 1.5 hours of flying, I am currently at Hong Kong International Airport, waiting for my flight 45 minutes later to Amsterdam. Finger crossed that there will no be crying/yelling/whining babies sitting close to me, so I can overcome the jet lag during the flight. I have never really get to know Amsterdam, although I have met some people from there before. They’re all really nice.

My friend Lokman is one great example. It’s kind of strange to visit the city, while the locals are not there. It’s like sneaking into someone’s house while the owner is away. 😛

I am going there for the Open Translation Tools 09 conference. According to others’ experiences two years ago, I look forward to the event very much. It would be a great experience meeting people I have or have not known before. Good things are going to happen, for sure.

My flight is going to arrive at 6:30 am Amsterdam time. Once again, I am the first of our group to be there. It’s already like a routine everytime attending conferences in the US or Europe. The good news is, I don’t have to wait for others at the airpot for 6 hours in this trip. Thanks to good public transportation system in Amsterdam. I’ll try to have a speedy city travel during the day. Hope I won’t get lost. (Normally I won’t, especially abroad.)

My flight is 40 minutes away when I finish this post. I’ll try to keep the travel journal during this trip. Don’t know if it is going to be as funny as the Solana-in-Taiwan series, but I’ll try my best. 🙂

Day 6: Beyond Stereotypes

Admit it. We all have stereotypes to others, one way or the other. It’s not our voluntary fault, most of the time. They are created, strengthened and amplified by media, be it TV, movies, internet, and books, especially guidebooks. It has a far-reaching effects to tourists and others.

I am translating a GV post about stereotypes, and it talks about how media and create and break them. According to my 1.5 years of experiences working in a bookstore, Lonely Planet definitely stands top in the chart. It’s influential as so many people buy them as the sole reference for travelling around. Solana brings a Lonely Planet Taiwan with her this time (but she still has Global Voices as references). It’s the latest edition (published in November 2007, ISBN 9781741045482), but it still has some things that may need to be clarified.

The section “Don’t Leave Home Without” is on P. 23. It has a few lines sound interesting to me. It says you need to bring “Tampons – If you are travelling outside Taipei” and “A Towel – If you are staying at cheaper hotels and don’t like to dry with tea towels”. I don’t know why people have to be panic about that, since we have drug stores, wholesale stores and supermarkets, not to mention many of them are opening 24/7. By the way, we also have somthing you may be familiar: 7-ELEVEN. The total number of franchises of this convenient store is 4810 today on their website (at the lower left corner of the page). Relax, people.

In the same page, it also warns tourists to bring “Underwear – especially for women; you won’t like what’s here.” I am not sure why authors, Robert Kelly & Joshua Samuel Brown, are interested in women’s underwear in the first place, but we do sell Calvin Klein here, fortunately according to our field trip to department stores. Solana, as a female at least for this moment, says it looks totally the same as in the United States. I wonder what they saw and/or bought.

At the night of this day, Solana and I go clubbing for dancing and relax, which happens to be my first club experience, both locally and internationally. It shows that Taiwan does have quite a few tourists from Western countries. Maybe they just live like owls and all concentrate to clubs and bars at night. I suppose that is also a new thing to learn – beyond stereotypes.