Why did you move abroad?
I am always looking for new tourist spots to make websites or write books about. Taiwan stands out to me, as it's not known by many people. It's not quite as cool as Japan, but not as cheap as south-east Asia. It sits in-between, and that really intrigued me.
How have you been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis?
It delayed the launch of Taiwanna Travel, which I am now focusing on getting ready for when borders open up. I hope though that after the crisis is over, people will be very eager to travel again, and will want to use Taiwanna Travel. Taiwan is very safe compared to other countries, so it will be better prepared for when borders open up to tourists.
What sort of measures are in place in the country where you live?
There are new rules in Taiwan, such as having to wear masks on the trains and social distancing in stores. Apart from that, things aren't too different. For example Taipei managed to hold it's gay pride parade this year, unlike almost any other city.
How do you make a living?
Luckily, I also write travel guides under my other business, Super Cheap Japan. While sales are down compared to previous years, books are a great Christmas present, so book sales have kept me going recently.
What is your personal opinion on the way the pandemic is currently managed by the country? What is your view, especially in comparison to what has been done in the country you come from ?
Taiwan has done an amazing job. While in some countries it's big news to see a jump of hundreds or thousands of covid cases, in Taiwan it's big news if it's more than a few! I think it's because Taiwan had an early start at prevention and border controls, and had been planning for such a pandemic for a long time. The UK did not prepare in such a way, and was slow to do things such as border controls, so unfortunately the UK is currently in another lockdown.
Without thinking about the current pandemic, what's your favorite thing about being an expat in Taiwan?
I think it's the new adventures I can have, almost every day. It feels like there are always new places to discover, new words to learn!
And what’s the worst thing about being an expat in Taiwan?
Getting that next visa renewal is often quite stressful! Taiwan is relaxing its visa rules though, so this should get easier after the covid pandemic is over.
What do you miss most?
I think I miss Indian food to be honest! England has the best Indian food, and it's something that is lacking in Taiwan. I'm still searching though, and am hopeful to find chicken tikka masala like they make it in my hometown.
Before the social distancing measures, what did you do to meet people in get familiar with you country?
I met a lot of new people from the Chinese language courses I went to. We were all in the same boat, new to the country, and all wanting to explore it as much as we can. These days, it's still possible to meet people, but doing outside things such as hiking is best in terms of safety.
What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Well, I knew Taiwan bubble tea was popular, but it is unbelievable how many bubble tea shops there are here. They are a bit like convenience stores in Japan, wherever you go you can find one. The teas here are really cheap too, compared to back home. It has really become a strong part of Taiwan's culture.
What is a myth about your adopted country?
The strange thing about Taiwan is that there aren't many myths. People in the UK often don't know much about it, and they often confuse it with Thailand! Anyone moving here will have to explain what Taiwan is to many of their friends and family back home.
What advice would you give other expats?
Learning some Chinese, or even some Taiwanese, is helpful when you are traveling around the more remote parts of the country. Lots of people speak English in the cities though, and are really helpful and polite to foreigners.
When and why did you start your blog?
When searching for information on places to go in Taiwan, I usually found it rather frustrating. Information and the websites themselves are often horribly outdated and difficult to use. I therefore decided to create Taiwanna Travel, which I hope to become both super useful and super easy to use as a travel guide and blog.
How is having a blog been beneficial?
Connecting with other bloggers has been great, sharing tips on places to go as well as on how to promote and share by blog posts. There is such a vibrant community of bloggers, and Youtubers, in Taiwan. I've learnt about so many new tourist spots from them, including some very off-the-beaten track spots.
The blog details: Taiwanna Travel
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