Oct 18, 2022

Expat Life – What kept me in Hong Kong for a decade

Today marks 11 years since I landed in Hong Kong for the very first time. A chance LinkedIn connection empowered me to trade my life in New York City for Hong Kong without previously visiting. (Spontaneity keeps my life exciting!)😊 The weather was perfect and people were friendly, so I knew from day one that I would be here for a while. Living in Hong Kong has been wonderful for a very long time but the last few years have been particularly challenging for many Hong Kong residents. This year Hong Kong has recorded the largest population decline in over 60 years. However, I remained optimistic throughout all the changes and I am confident in saying that Hong Kong is still my place. I was curious about the world since I was growing up on the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent & the Grenadines but never had I imagined finding a place to call home in an Asian city almost 10,000 miles away.

Moving to “Home Kong” – as we affectionately refer to our city, has enabled me to pursue my interests, explore more of the world, and grow both personally & professionally. A few years after arriving, I took a career break to pursue my MBA here full-time. Doing so has led me to a semester studying abroad in London, an internship in Ghana, a 6-month solo trip across Africa by road, and ultimately to a career that I truly love. That time of reflection and the influence of the people I’ve met along the way have inspired me to leave my long-term banking career behind to become a color-loving creative. I am now the founder of Beam Bold, a vibrant fashion brand for color lovers of all size. My life here as a fashion founder is very different from my previous life as a banker but living in this city has made the transition seamless.

My journey has taken me to 76 countries across 6 continents but there’s no place like Hong Kong. I could not have asked for a better city to connect with other like-minded people who are eager to share their resources and who encourage you to follow your passion. Hong Kong is safe, efficient, has low income tax rates, and has a ton of social events to keep you entertained. The recent Covid restrictions have impacted the latter but events are back although at reduced capacity. I have managed to find my people from different walks of life who I call my Hong Kong family. I have a few friends of Caribbean descent who have also settled here. We would get together for Caribbean traditions like making black cake and sorrel around the holidays and sharing plantains and green bananas when we come across them in our neighborhoods. (We travel far for plantains & green bananas here!)haha

Skyscrapers are the first things that come to mind when most people think of Hong Kong but did you know that there are beautiful beaches here too!? There are over 250 outlying islands so I tend to spend a lot of time beach hopping and exploring new places on weekends when I am in town. Camping at the beach is one of my favorite activities so I’ve invested in a tent and proper camping gear. The beauty of camping in Hong Kong is waking up to the sound of crashing waves at sunrise, building a campfire, and enjoying the beautiful landscape with a great group of friends. I usually get away from the hustle and bustle of city living to experience the greenery and calmness by the seaside. Spending a day on a junk boat is another Hong Kong activity that I still get excited about. I’m an island girl so being by the water makes me happy.😊

I have not left Hong Kong since the pandemic began and must say that exploring my city during the last 3 years has deepened my love for this place. I have been to places that we would take for granted when international travel was not restricted. Sundays are made for self-care, relaxation, and endless enjoyment so you may find me with a coconut in tow spending downtime surrounded by people who I love. (Coconuts & plantains give me life! haha) In the spring and fall when the temperature is cooler, I enjoy hiking to marvel at the wonderful views of Hong Kong. This city is a foodie’s paradise so I’m always keen to explore new seafood & vegan places since I’m a pescatarian. You can enjoy just about every type of cuisine here along with a fusion of the most delicious dishes. Nevertheless, I believe that the best Caribbean meals are made in my kitchen. Haha

Moving to Hong Kong on a whim without ever visiting an Asian country has changed the trajectory of my life. I have come a long way from Flatbush, Brooklyn where I’ve spent many of my formidable years, and an even further way from Barrouallie – the tiny fishing town in St. Vincent where I was raised. My journey has not always been smooth as I have stumbled along the way. For example, 2020 was one of the most challenging years of my life when I experienced a severe loss. Shortly after the pandemic began in Asia, I learned that all of my fabric was stolen which forced me to pause my business operation. I had lost 500 meters of fabric & all income sources but never once considered leaving Hong Kong. When you have found your purpose, giving up is never an option. Having supportive friends around me enabled me to start over. Hong Kong will always hold a special place in my heart so I plan to make this my hub until I am ready to split my time between Hong Kong, a few of my favorite places, while continuously exploring the world.

I am a permanent Hong Kong resident so this means that I can reside here indefinitely without requiring a visa. This only changes if I were to relocate and fail to visit every 3 years. I hope to inspire you all to consider a move abroad, and do what you love with L.O.V.E.( Leverage your network, Overcome your fear, Validate your idea, and Expand through partnerships.) Let’s all lead with kindness & spread love the Brooklyn way! 😊


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *