Conversations with friends: Queenie Lee

My very first interview simply had to go to my good friend Queenie. You’ve probably met her before – like last year, when we visited Paris together, and when I wrote about dealing with long distance friendships.

Three and a half years ago, Queenie moved to Hong Kong to start fulfilling her ambition to see the world. In that relatively short time, she’s travelled all over Asia, sampling more culture, cuisine and creativity than I could imagine. Luckily, she’s documented them all on her blog, Queenie Lee, so I can live vicariously through her adventures.

I’ve always been in awe of her bravery (how scary does it sound to uproot yourself and move thousands of miles away!?), unfailingly positive attitude and unstoppable tenacity. So, despite the fact that she’s currently travelling across Vietnam without her laptop, I managed to bag an interview.

Have you always been set on travelling the globe?

Yup, there’s so many exciting things to see and do in the world and I want to experience it all, especially while I’m still young and not tied down with a career or a family!  

What made you decide to move to Hong Kong?

I decided to move to Hong Kong because I didn’t know what kind of work I wanted to do in the UK. Straight after graduating, I worked part-time at Wetherspoons and a Chinese takeaway. My friends were scattered all over the country so I guess it felt quite lonely too, especially since I was used to seeing my friends every day.   

My mum suggested teaching English in Hong Kong and I figured it would be more fulfilling than my current part-time jobs. Also, it would be exciting to live in another country, especially a hot one as I hate the cold and England is cold about 85% of the year, haha!  

Was making the move scary?

Not at all, as I’d been to Hong Kong many times before and most of my relatives live over there.   

What’s your favourite thing about living there?

My favourite thing about living in Hong Kong is how compact yet diverse it is. The public transport makes it so easy for you to get around. You can be in the middle of the city one minute and at a beautiful beach the next.   

Also, the food here is incredible, with restaurants serving food from all around the world. I love the Japanese buffets!

What do you miss the most about the UK?

Obviously family and friends. Also: fresh air, charity shops, car boot sales, big houses, roast dinners, proper fish and chips and fry ups, British supermarkets and my beloved Primark.  

What are your top 5 travel tips?

I’m by no means a pro and I guess this depends on what kind of travelling you’re doing!

  1. If you’re backpacking, staying in hostel dorms is a great way to meet like-minded people and get some tips on where to go next. I’d recommend going for highly rated ones on sites like hostelworld or However, if there’s a big group of you, or you want to feel a bit more like a local, book an airbnb. I’ve had such great experiences with these in Korea, Bali and Japan!
  2. Try to learn a few key phrases in the local language. Although English is used in most countries around the world, don’t rely on locals to speak your language. Plus, it’s always good to learn a new skill 😉
  3. Try all the local delicacies. I know it can be tempting to stick to what you know, especially since so many restaurants around the world cater to Western tourists, but make the most of the food that the country is known for, not something that you can get at home.
  4. Take lots of photos and take notes on where you’ve been so that you’ll have lots of great memories to look back on. It can also be fun to take videos. We used a Go Pro to film our time in Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Borneo and Tokyo – you can check out our videos on YouTube 😉
  5. Send postcards to friends and family. In the digital age, everyone just sends photos and messages online but I personally love writing and receiving something tangible through the post.

What’s your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is probably the photos that I see from travel bloggers and Instagram. When I see an amazing photo of a country, I always want to go and see it for myself.  

Also, I can’t answer this question without a cheesy inspirational quote now, can I? This is one of my faves: ‘The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page.’

Tell me about your favourite trip:

The best trip I’ve ever taken was last month’s visit to Tokyo with Ry. It was my favourite trip because we stayed in an airbnb near the Shibuya Crossing, which was a really good location for getting around the city and made us feel like locals. Also, as this was our second visit to Tokyo, we had quite a good idea of what we wanted to do. Having 11 days there meant we didn’t have to rush around trying to fit everything in.

We did a spot of vintage shopping around Shibuya, Omotesando and Harajuku, ran around the Tokyo Imperial Palace, walked around the beautiful Ueno Park and Yoyogi park, visited the Ghibli Museum, the old town of Yanesen and Tsukiji Fish Market. We checked out the anime stores in Akihabara, visited a cool comic book exhibition about Le Louvre at Mori Museum, and took a trip to Asakusa and the Tokyo National Museum. We also had the best ramen at a restaurant in Harajuku called Kyusu Jangara and an awesome seafood restaurant in Shibuya called Kaikaya.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Tokyo to everyone! Everyone I know who’s been has loved it!

And your 5 favourite blogs? 

Last question! What have you got planned next?

I’m currently travelling around Vietnam with my friends from school for a month. I’ll be heading back to Hong Kong to end my flat contract at the beginning of September and then I’ve got a single ticket to Australia for mid-September – I’m really excited about it! I may stay to work and live there if I like it enough.

If you’ve fallen for Queenie a little bit – and who wouldn’t – you might want to follow her on Instagram. And don’t forget to read about her adventures on Queenie Lee.

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