Sunday, February 19, 2012

Social Media Week Hong Kong Wrap-Up & Blogging 101

Last week, I participated in my first international Social Media Week as both observer and speaker for the Blogging 101 panel. I thoroughly enjoyed the Social Media Week Hong Kong events I managed to attend; How Social is Empowering Global Movement was especially inspiring and thought-provoking.

Speaking at Blogging 101 was incredibly fun, even if I get really self-conscious when I have to speak in public. Yes, I AM aware I say "um" a lot, which makes me even more self-conscious and then I say it even more! Public speaking is a work in progress for me...

Speaking at Blogging 101, photo courtesy of Matthew Chong

The Blogging 101 panelists were tasked with discussing the various ways in which we started our own blogs, gained our audience, and what blogging tips we could advise other bloggers. To be honest, I wasn't sure what sage advice I would be able to bring to the discussion, but I spoke from the heart and my best piece of advice was that other bloggers do the same.

Here are some other interesting comments and blogging advice made by the Blogging 101 speakers:

Speaking with fellow Blogging 101 panelists (from left to right): film critic; James Marsh of Marsh Attacks, food blogger; Janice Leung of e_ting the world, and Razlan Manjaji of You Got Me Blogging
  • : "Don't just broadcast - build a conversation! feeds us great blogging advice at Blogging 101!
  • : "Story ideas are everywhere... don't be afraid to look at others for ideas" says
  • Use catchy titles and key words so that people can search and find you (but no pathetic blog titles) says 
  • "If you want to be a famous blogger,you must have great content" says
  • : Know your audience, be timely, relevant and respond, interact, encourage. Blogging tips to live by   
  • "Adding ads takes away from what I want to do, which is inspire" says (I know would agree too!)
  • Stats and analytics- it's about the quality of the clicks, not just the numbers says
  • "A blog cannot survive without interaction with your readers" wise words from
  • : So true!! 'You don't have to be a techie to be a blogger' says
  • "Reply to all comments, don't be afraid of negative comments," says at Blogging 101
  • : "As much as you love blogging, you MUST get offline to meet your readers" says
  • : Big theme of #SMWHKblog: You gotta love what you blog!   
  • : How to get readers? Easy! Be social (online and offline), guest blog, share, interview and learn from others advices
  • Friends, word of mouth, twitter and facebook are vital tools of promotion says

I also received a very special surprise from the folks at Nokia_Connects during my presentation. Knowing that I was currently using an ancient Blackberry as my mobile device, the nice guys from Nokia presented me with a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 SmartPhone! I was completely shocked and surprised, not to mention excited to be given the opportunity to live in the present!

Out with the old and in with the new, thanks to Nokia_Connects

Thank you again to everyone who joined us for Blogging 101! It turned out to be a great event and sounds like some people left with some good insight and inspiration, myself included!

If you are interested in watching the recording of Blogging 101, or any of the other Social Media Week Hong Kong events, check out Jay Oatway's Youtube channel. At the time of posting, the Blogging 101 videos have not yet been uploaded but Jay promised that they would by this week.

**Update** Jay has posted the Blogging 101 videos for viewing. Catch them HERE!

A special thank you to Casey Lau for organizing the event and inviting me to speak on the panel!

*All photos, unless otherwise noted, used with permission by Yon Chung of Very Photography. To view the full album from Blogging 101, please go to Very Photography's Facebook page.

© Connie Hum 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Travels from A to Z

I love travel memes so when Gray Cargill of Solo Friendly tagged me for an alphabet-based retelling of my past travels, I couldn't resist! I hope you enjoy finding out more about me and my travel adventures as much as I enjoyed reliving them for this post!

Taking a closer look at the world through travel

A: Age you went on your first trip.
Nine. As a child, I often went on short trips around the California redwoods and beaches, but it wasn't until I was nine years old and went on a HUGE family trip (a seven-van caravan) to Yosemite that I really felt like I was "officially" going on a trip. I remember feeling excited about such a big adventure that required driving for so many hours and packing ALL that food!

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where?

Enjoying Efes with a friend in Istanbul

Efes in Turkey. I'm not really a fan of beer but when I was living in Istanbul in 2009, I spent many hot summer afternoons reading a good book and drinking Efes beer. It was cheap and refreshing, and Efes beer really grew on me. I'm still not a beer drinker by choice, but to this day, I can't resist a nice, cold Efes.

C: Cuisine (favorite) 
The famous Ippudo ramen

Japanese. I love Japanese food! Everything from sushi to teppanyaki to ramen, I can't get enough of Japanese cuisine! Maybe I haven't planned a trip to Japan yet because subconsciously I've been afraid of how much weight I might gain in Japan. No, I know I will get to Japan one day soon!

D: Destination (favorite and least favorite).

Sorry to say but Koh Phi Phi was just a bit shy of paradise for me

Least favorite: I honestly can't think of a single place that I've been that I didn't like but IF I absolutely have to choose, I guess I would say Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. I found it too touristy and although parts of the island were quite beautiful, not exactly the paradise many claim it to be. Plus, those bucket deals are a killer.

My mother visiting me in Istanbul

Favorite: On the other side of the spectrum, every single place that I've visited holds a special and unique place in my heart. Cheesy as that sounds, it's true! Again, IF I absolutely have to choose, I'd say Turkey. Specifically Istanbul. I completely fell in love with the city, the people, the food, the culture, the history, the back alleys, EVERYTHING.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow.”

This hardly does the Aurora Borealis' "wow" factor justice

Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland. I literally stopped in my tracks and stared, mouth agape. "Wow" is the perfect description of that moment.

F: Favorite mode of transportation.

Sandy feet in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica

Walking. In my mind, there's nothing better than exploring on foot. You can discover and connect with so much more than any other mode of transportation. Some of my best travel discoveries occurred because I was wandering on foot and stumbled upon something interesting that I would have missed had I been traveling any other way.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling.

Self-reliance "rocks" in Petra, Jordan

Self-reliance/empowerment. When I used to travel alone, I always felt a surge of pride in myself for getting from Point A to Point B without harm or death. It's a great feeling to know that you can rely on yourself and to know that you are indeed competent. That knowledge is empowering and absolutely priceless!

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to.

Not moving to stay as cool as possible in India

Calcutta. In the summer. Not only was Calcutta blazing hot, it was also unbearably humid too! Honestly, that's the WORST combination in the world. The moment you turn the water off in the shower, you were already sweating. And drying anything? Forget about it. In these conditions, going out exploring almost becomes a sluggish chore. Almost.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?   

Kathyann and her incredible Caribbean cooking
Friendly waitstaff in Grenada. My friend and I were enjoying lunch on a beach in Grenada when we asked our friendly waitress for directions to a local waterfall. She started explaining how to get to the hidden trail, but then told us she lived near that particular waterfall and could take us there herself on her day off the next day. She proceeded to invite us to her house for lunch as well! It turned out to be the best meal I had in the Caribbean, not to mention an incredibly fun day with Kathyann and her family. Now that's hospitality! 

J: Journey that took the longest.

Re-defining the word "crowded" on Cambodian buses
Somewhere in Cambodia.
I can't remember from where I started or to where I was going, but I just remember taking a number of extremely long bus rides in Cambodia over muddy and bumpy terrain. Oh, and did I mention that you're sharing the bus with motorcycles, chickens, raw fish, and wooden furniture? The most time-consuming trip I had in Cambodia started sometime in the afternoon and ended in the evening the next day. A hostel shower and bed never felt better after that long journey!    

K: Keepsake from your travels.

My New York City living room and world map with pins
I collect pins of country flags for all the countries I've traveled to. Back in New York City, I used to pin them onto a world map in my living room to remind myself of all the places I had been to. It served as a great conversation piece too! 

L: Letdown site and where?

The best part of Bilbao's Guggenheim is the outside

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain. Don't get me wrong. The building itself is spectacular. It was my first Frank Gehry building and I was thoroughly impressed with its sweeping lines, dramatic shapes, and fluid arcs. Once inside, I regretted paying the entrance fee when the real art was just outside. I guess I'm just not into modern, abstract art. 

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel

A moment to reflect and love travel in Sacsayhuaman, Peru
Every moment.
It's true! I find that I constantly fall in love with travel every time I go somewhere new. There's always a defining moment where I just literally, have to stop in my tracks to think, "This is unbelievable. I LOVE traveling!" I don't think I'll ever stop falling in love with travel. 


N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at.

Private suite in Nai Yang, Phuket, Thailand

Nai Yang Beach Resort in Phuket, Thailand.
This isn't necessarily the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in, but after trekking in the Himalayas for 14 days with the barest of accommodations, arriving into Phuket and staying in a small, private villa with constant running hot water, air conditioning, and swimming pool was simply divine.


O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

My feet getting down and dirty in the streets of Cairo, Egypt
My feet.
They do so much for me in my travels (refer to F for why I love my feet so much) and I like to take photos of them at various locations to commemorate how far I've come and how much work my feet have put into the journey.


P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?

My beloved passport
In no particular order: Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, China, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, United States (re-entry), India, Nepal, Peru, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Grenada, Slovenia, Germany, and Switzerland. *My passport with over 20 European countries and stamps not included in this count was stolen in 2005.


Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?

Crazy, sinking city of Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy.
It's a city. That is SINKING! How crazy is that?


R: Recommended site, event or experience.

Learning local custom, and wearing a sari, in India
Crash an Indian wedding.
Technically, I was invited but the wedding I attended in Maharashtra, India was amazing. I think everyone should get first-hand experience of traditional customs and cultures of all the places they visit. It's the only way to really get to know a country.


S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling.

I only wish the higher price also meant more food
As a foodie and lover of eating loads of food, I have no qualms about splurging on a good meal during my travels. I'm equally as happy eating street food with the locals too. It's good to get both sides of the culinary spectrum when you travel. The point is that I love food and am willing to spend extra on it while traveling. Or any day for that matter.


T: Touristy thing you’ve done.

Sharing a moment with the lovely Sphinx in Giza, Egypt
Kissing the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt.
Come on, we've all done it before. The random and silly, but totally obligatory perspective photos that make it seem as if we're much closer to landmarks than we really are. I've got some lewd ones of me in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as well, but as this is a family-friendly blog, I've decided to keep it clean.


U: Unforgettable travel memory.

So much excitement after watching the Space Shuttle launch
Watching a Space Shuttle launch LIVE.
I'm a space geek, it's true. For my 29th birthday, I celebrated by knocking off one of my great bucket list items: I went to Florida and watched a live Space Shuttle launch! It was a dream come true and the experience is truly unforgettable. I even cried a little as I watched the Shuttle disappear from the skies. That's how happy I was.


V: Visa. How many and for where?
China (x 2), Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), India, Thailand (x 2), Cambodia, Hong Kong (employment), Turkey (x 4), Jordan, Egypt, and Nepal.


W: Wine. Best glass of wine while traveling and where?

Content with my wine in Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania.
To be honest, I don't remember a single thing about this wine! All I remember is how perfectly content I felt in that moment to be sitting in the afternoon sunshine, sipping a glass of wine, and watching the activity bustling around me in one of the most charming squares I'd ever been lucky enough to encounter: Piata Sfatului in Brasov.


X: eXcellent view and from where?

The stunning Himalayan mountain range in Nepal
The Himalayas.
I completed the 14-day Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal and everyday was a new marvel at the sheer beauty of the Himalayan mountain range. It's stunning to think about all the natural beauty our world is capable of creating.


Y: Years spent traveling.

Waiting to board my first flight abroad with my family
At least seven.
Although I took weekend trips all over California as a child, my first international trip was in 2005 and I pretty much haven't stopped traveling since.


Z: Zealous sports fans and where?
No idea.
What a way to end such a great travel blog post, but I can't think of a single instance where I ran into zealous sports fans. Sorry!

Now I know my ABCs. Next time won't you sing with me? Tag, you're it!  
Anne-Laure Toullec of The Further, The Better
Rain Guatno of Rain's Travels        

© Connie Hum 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: What's New in 2012

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "What's New in 2012!" 

Q1 via : What are you most looking forward to in 2012?
  • Bhutan in May, Sicily in July
  • : My honeymoon in "I still don't know where" :) Maybe Argentina
  • : Traveling to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore with my Mom this April 2012
  • : I'm hoping to be able to go to Northern Greenland this year. That is one amazing country
  • : My summer Eurotrip: Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, and Ruisrock in Turku
  • : Thailand Beaches for my 36th birthday and Angkor Wat this April
  • : Taking steam-pulled Grand Canyon Limited train from the canyon to Los Angeles 

Q2 via : Name what you think will be up and coming destinations in 2012 and why
  • : I look forward to the Middle East and Central Asia to opening up more, especially the 'Stans
  • : Burma - has first democratic elections for 20 years & is opening up to tourism offering visitors insight into traditional SE Asia
  • : Jordan, Croatia and Iceland. All three have seen a rise in tourism and have been getting lots of great coverage
  • : As a surfer, it appears the hot travel destinations are Nicaragua, Uruguay, and parts of Africa- Namibia for one
  • : I do think it will be India. And I think it will be India for awhile. They have it all and are ramping up the tourism
  • : Upcoming destinations: Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia I think are going to be very popular. Ukraine too
  • : New Zealand just after Christmas when The Hobbit movie comes out

Q3 via : What NEW countries/cities/places are on your travel itinerary for 2012?
  • : Biri Island and Tuguegarao in the Philippines are on the list this year. Planning on a jaunt around Taiwan too
  • : The tiny Euro countries (Andorra, etc.), Balkans, Iceland, maybe a few North African countries (Libya, Morrocco)
  • : Germany... in Winter... earmuff/warm coat extravaganza I'm thinking
  • : Might drop everything and go to Istanbul for a few weeks, which would be a first
  • : No plans yet but would love to explore some new cities in the US: Detroit, Seattle, Savannah, San Antonio
  • : Poland, Norway, Canada
  • : Great Barrief Reef
  • : All over Germany, Vienna and Pompeii

Q4 via : What's your number one must-see destination for 2012?
  • : I'd prob say Vietnam before it gets over-run by tourists thanks to the new direct flights from Heathrow
  • : Cuba before Communism ends
  • : Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls
  • : Dominican Republic! I'm going for the first time in six weeks
  • : Antarctica, I leave tomorrow
  • : Machu Picchu. Tickets already purchased for March 2nd

Q5 via : How will your travels in 2012 be different than your travels in 2011?
  • : Won't be backpacking solo anymore this year! Partner's by my side
  • : Travel without a plan
  • : I'd like to stay longer in some place and try Housesitting. Where? Possibly in South Africa
  • : 2012 is going to be a sustainable year for me: Less flying more overland travels
  • : Less trips but more time spent in a place
  • : This year we'll take more pictures, share more memories and stay longer in more countries
  • : More planning will be involved
  • : Hopefully won't differ at all. More exploration of some of the great destinations around the world

And there you have it, "What's New in 2012"!   

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "Home Travel!" Submit your questions HERE! And don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "What's New in 2012" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Taiwan's Night Market Food

By now, it's no secret that I love street food. It's saddening that night markets are becoming more and more rare in my travels. I wish more countries embraced and retained the night market culture the way that Taiwan has. In Taiwan, night markets are still some of the most lively and popular places to hang out with friends, enjoy a first date, or spend time with family.

Bustling night market activity at Ningxia Night Market in Taipei

It just tops the cake that you can eat some of the country's best food there too!

The most (in)famous Taiwanese night market staple is Stinky Tofu. As I've previously written a full blog dedicated to Stinky Tofu, I'll just merely mention it here. Love it or hate it, no visit to a Taiwanese night market is complete without a Stinky Tofu encounter, but that's mostly because you can't escape its intense aroma even if you tried!

Another popular Taiwanese night market street food staple is the oyster pancake. I'm not really sure where the name comes from because there's nothing "pancake"-like about this street food. I tried a couple oyster pancakes and I wasn't impressed. It wasn't until I was shown by the locals where to find a great oyster pancake that I was convinced of how delicious they can be! A fantastic oyster pancake is marked with fresh ingredients and an amazing sauce, much like the one above that I tried at the Ningxia Night Market in Taipei!

My grandmother used to make sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves for my cousins and I when we were children. To this day, I still love the warm, gooey richness of sticky rice, peanuts, fresh cilantro and tender, seasoned pork. The biggest danger with sticky rice is how filling it can be. Make sure that you share with others (I know, it's difficult but trust me on this one) so that you can leave room for all the other night market snacks!

Local friends took me to try a pork roll wrapped in bean curd during one of our night market food outings. I'm sorry to say that this was my least favorite of all the food I ate. I'm not a fan of fried foods and this roll was lightly fried, and even that gave the dish too much oil and grease for me. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the pickled cucumbers that accompanied the pork roll. 

Tea eggs are a popular road-side snack all across Asia but in Taiwan, the flavors of the tea eggs really come out! I'm not sure what the Taiwanese add to their tea eggs besides the usual black tea, soy sauce and star anise concoction to give their version that fuller flavor and delicious fragrance, but I have begun to suspect that the secret ingredient may be crack. Eggs just can't be that good but in Taiwan, they prove that they can be.

Taiwanese sausage is a sweeter version of the standard sausage and I found it to be an ideal snack to help stave off my hunger in between meals. I'm not really sure what mystery meat comprises a Taiwanese sausage to give it that extra sweetness but whatever it is, I love it! 

Speaking of sausages, perhaps one of the strangest, if not, slightly intriguing foods I encountered was in Taichung at the Feng Chia Night Market. Yeah, they were penis-shaped waffle cakes. Yes, that's right, I said it. Weird Google searchers be damned! Penis-shaped waffle cakes! Pretty funny, right? I especially like the vendor's nonplussed expression! Unfortunately, I didn't actually get to "test" these um, waffle sdicks because by the time I had "come" across them, I was already "stuffed" from all the other night market foods I had deep... Okay, enough of the lewd penis gags (eh, eh)! I didn't try them for the novelty factor this time around, but there's always next time right?

These soft, toasted waffle sandwiches come in a variety of fillings, such as custard, red bean, and vegetables. My favorite was the custard-filled sandwiches for a delightfully sweet, yet mild treat on the go. Part of what makes these waffle sandwiches so good are the crisp, toasted edges so make sure you eat them hot off the grill as they tend to go a bit soggy if you wait.

Brown sugar bubble tea. I've dedicated a whole blog post to this one drink. That's how good it is! Don't believe me? Go ahead. Give this drink a try. I dare you not to love it.

Shaved ice for dessert doesn't appeal to me. It's shaved ice! Give me something warm and fresh from the oven, oozing with chocolate and I might just fall in love with you forever, but shaved ice? I was pretty skeptical but my foodie friends insisted I try so try I did. NOT bad! There are numerous toppings you can add to make your shaved ice more interesting, such as fresh fruit, nuts, and even the weird-to-consider-but-somehow-it-works red bean. Since I was unsure to begin with, I opted for the simple pudding and condensed milk shaved ice. It was simple and refreshing, perfect for a hot night out in Taipei.

Thank you to my knowledgeable and accommodating foodie friends: Stephanie, Brett, Kevin and Noliko, for taking me out and feeding me well in Taipei! I will definitely be coming back to Taiwan to see you guys again, and of course, to stuff my face silly with street food!

Are YOU hungry for street food yet?

© Connie Hum 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comilonas: Private Kitchen Dining

When I lived in New York City, I absolutely LOVED having friends over for good food and wine. My monthly dinner parties were some of the best nights I had with my friends and certainly some of my best memories of New York City as a whole.

When I moved to Hong Kong, a city notorious for its tiny living space and even tinier kitchens (never mind the fact that I don't even have a functional kitchen in my apartment), dinner parties became non-existent for me.

After hearing about a number of private kitchens in Hong Kong, my heart skipped a beat. I could (in a way) have dinner parties again! Sounded great to me so I started looking into the various private kitchens before deciding upon Comilonas.

"Home" grown cooking at Comilonas

Located in a converted apartment in a rather obscure and unassuming residential building in Sai Wan, Comilonas specializes in Catalan food. Lovingly run by husband and wife duo, Chef Lluis from Barcelona and Carrie, a Hong Kong native, the dining experience at Comilonas was charming and completely homey.  Their enthusiasm for sharing authentic Catalan food was evident and created a fantastic dining experience. Even my non-foodie friends enjoyed the special attention that Chef Lluis and Carrie paid to presenting the food and explaining the preparation and traditions behind each dish.

Chef Luis and Carrie making sure we were enjoying our meal

To start the meal, Chef Lluis demonstrated how to use a porró, a traditional wine pitcher typical of the Catalan region. For the inexperienced drinker, the basic goal in using the porró is to pour wine through the narrow spout into your mouth from as far as your arm can reach without spilling the wine on yourself. Trust me, it was even more difficult than it sounds!

Trying my best not to spill from the porró

I found most of the tapas served at Comilonas remarkably tasty and reminiscent of the Spanish food I ate during my time traveling in Spain. Here are some of the more outstanding dishes I found on the menu at Comilonas:

Chorizo in wine sauce

The chorizo in wine sauce was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The chorizo was the perfect amount of salty and the red wine sauce was simply divine. So good in fact, that I emptied a whole basket of bread sopping up the rich and flavorful sauce!

Black ink rice paella

I love black ink anything and the black rice paella was no exception. This dish was absolutely perfect from the distinctive yet subtle briny taste of the squid ink to the rich, buttery cream mixed in right before serving. I couldn't get enough of this dish and good thing it was served in such a generous portion because this black ink rice paella was certainly popular with my friends too!

Caramelized orange with vanilla ice-cream

The caramelized orange with vanilla ice-cream was the ideal sweet to end the meal. The orange slice overlaid on top was expertly caramelized to a hardened crisp, sweetly complimenting the mild tartness of the orange underneath. I almost died and went to heaven when my friend Johnny, who does NOT eat dessert (seriously, who doesn't eat dessert?!?) offered me his.TWO caramelized orange desserts! Who cares about being a little piggy when the dessert is this good?

By the end of the night, my friends and I were in high spirits from the combination of delicious food, good company, unique interaction with Chef Lluis and Carrie, several shared bottles of wine (did I mention there was free corkage?), and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Comilonas.

Friends and I enjoying our meal at Comilonas

Enjoying a meal at Comilonas was just like having friends over for dinner, but with better cooking than what I could have ever made back in my Manhattan apartment. The experience of having a shared meal with friends in a homey place was exactly what I wanted and for $380 per head, that's a small price to pay, especially given that a meal of this caliber can easily cost two or three times as much anywhere else in Hong Kong.

Comilonas is currently closed for the month of February, but according to their website, will re-open in March with new dishes on their menu. I'm already eager to go back and can't wait to see what new recipes Chef Lluis and Carrie will be cooking up!

Comilonas, Flat 22, 1st Floor, Yip Cheong Building, 4-16 Hill Road, Sai Wan, Hong Kong
(852) 9863 2270

© Connie Hum 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#TTOT Round-Up: A Weekend Away

Every Tuesday, it's Travel Talk on Twitter! There are two scheduled sessions to join: 9:30am GMT and 9:30pm GMT. Follow the #TTOT hashtag on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Here's the round-up of this week's #TTOT on "A Weekend Away!" 

Q1 via : What are your ingredients for the perfect weekend getaway?
  • The three S's: sun, shopping and staying up to party all night
  • : No cell phone. Yes to wifi but no phone call from home or work
  • : Think my stomach may be in charge when I'm on a long weekend. It's all about the street food
  • Excellent company. Inspiring destination. Great food. A deck of cards + a good poker face
  • : Dance shoes, salsa music, jacuzzi tub or a massage after 3 long nights of dancing
  • Adventure, Eats & something I've never seen
  • : My wife, no mobile phone, no kids at the beach house

Q2 via : Where's the furthest you have traveled for a weekend away?
  • Did Dubai to Istanbul for a weekend
  • New York from London - that was one mad weekend
  • : Manila to Hong Kong for the weekend. Two hours flight and you are in a city with different culture
  • : A weekend away in Morocco..but I live in southern Spain so it's not TOO far
  • : Flew from Reykjavik to Barcelona for a U2 concert. Soooo worth it
  • : Santiago 2 Atlanta. Did it about 20 times in 2010
  • Last summer I flew from Ohio to Vancouver for a weekend to go to TBEX! Definitely far for just 3 days

Q3 via : What do you pack for a weekend away that you don't for a longer journey?
  • Kayak
  • Sketchbook, usually can't be bothered to lug it around on longer trips and opt for a notebook instead
  • : A change of clothing for each day
  • : Fewer toiletries, as I believe in stealing shampoo from friends and loved ones
  • : More stuff! Somehow I can travel with a lot less on longer trips
  • I definitely pack more shoes, makeup and accessories for a weekend away
  • : A tent and an "esky". Weekends away end up being camping weekends

Q4 via : What are your top 3 ultimate destinations for a weekend getaway?
  • Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, Prague if in Europe. Bangkok, Mumbai, Hong Kong in Asia. Melbourne, Brisbane, Queenstown in the Pacific
  • New York City; Newport, Rhode Island and the Berkshires, MA
  • Top 3 have to be Krakow, Lisbon and St Andrews
  • Bangkok, Amsterdam and Bali
  • Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Stockholm are all pretty cool, if you'll pardon the pun
  • : Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe
  • : If no money constraints or I had my own jet? Berlin! Dublin! London 
  • Ayayaya... LOMBOK. Melbourne. And Ho Chi Minh is my top ultimate weekend getways

Q5 via - Name three items you consider essential for a weekend away
  • : Good company, an open mind, and a stack of cash
  • : Toothbrush, a change of underpants and a smile
  • Good company, nature, relaxation. (vs. running around like a nut
  • : My camera, my journal, my sense of adventure
  • : Significant other, camera, toothbrush 
  • : Great company, music, and comfortable shoes
  • Bathing suit, camera, caiprihina
  • An open mind, friends/laughter, and snacks
  • Quiet, laughter & an excellent bottle of red

And there you have it, "A Weekend Away"!     

Next week's #TTOT topic is: "What's New in 2012!" Submit your questions HERE on #TTOT's fanpage and don't forget to follow the #TTOT every Tuesday at 9:30am and 9:30pm GMT to chat about all things travel!

As always, a HUGE travel community thank you to our #TTOT hosts and organizers: traveldudes, , , , , , and !

Have YOU got anything to add to the "A Weekend Away" discussion? 

© Connie Hum 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Social Media Week 2012

February 13-17 marks the third annual Social Media Week, a unique international platform that celebrates and reflects on the impact that social media has on culture, social change, economics, and politics. Expanding to 21 cities in just three years, Social Media Week is a growing global event that creates dialogue and discussions around the world on emerging trends in social media.

I'm pretty excited that Hong Kong is one of the cities in which Social Media Week 2012 has expanded to, and even more excited that I'll get the opportunity to take part in Social Media Week Hong Kong on Friday, February 17 for Blogging 101, a panel discussion on getting started with (you guessed it) blogging!

Joining me will be lifestyle blogger; Razlan Manjaji of You Got Me Blogging, food blogger; Janice Leung of e_ting the world, and film critic; James Marsh of Marsh Attacks.

It's a fabulous group to be speaking with and to be honest, I'm not even sure how I ended up on such an esteemed panel, but I'm pretty psyched nonetheless!

If you're in Hong Kong, be sure to attend Blogging 101! There are other fabulous events happening in Hong Kong, as well as the other 20 cities participating in Social Media Week, so get out there and get social!

© Connie Hum 2012

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