Travel Blogger Q&A Series – Swing Abroad

Travel Blogger Q&A Series – These are the amazing people that travel the world and share their stories on their blogs. Through this series, I aim to share a better understanding of travel bloggers apart from their blogs – a little more on the personal side of travel! Join me in this interview with Yen from Swing Abroad!

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Swing Abroad

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Yen caught his travel bug when he traveled to New Zealand for Working Holiday in 2016. Now, as a university student, he always takes full advantage of his holiday for some life-changing experiences. Follow this Malaysian boy’s journey and discover what he’s going for next at his travel blog Swing Abroad!


What is your earliest travel memory?

When it comes to earliest travel memory, I think it’s when I was 15 years old. I went for my first overseas travel with my parents and a big tour. You know, Asian tours. The 5 days trip in Bangkok didn’t leave me much impressions or memories. I was too young back then, maybe. But most probably it’s because all I did was taking photos and chasing the big group and tour guide. It was fun traveling with family, but I wouldn’t say it’s something that will stay in my mind forever.


Have you ever cried at the airport? 

Nope. I don’t even reckon crying overseas other than parting with my host in New Zealand and my last day teaching in Kathmandu, Nepal. I’ve tried sleeping in airports many times and had passport left in my previous hotel. But life’s been great to me so far.


What’s your travel style?

Most of the time I prefer going along with certain programs while traveling in one country. For example, Working Holiday in New Zealand and volunteering in Nepal. Both of them gave me an opportunity to explore the country deep into the locals’ lifestyle. These life-changing experiences made me eager to take full advantage of my status as university student and guess what, I’m going California for Work & Travel program on 19th June 2018!




What is your favourite city?

This is a tough question haha. But I would say Penang, Malaysia. It’s my hometown, the place I grow up along with my friends. There are world-renowned hawker foods and great people so I definitely gonna take this opportunity to promote Penang! But if you ask about city outside of Malaysia, I’m going to bring up Motueka, even though it’s a small town. It’s where I spent more than 3 months working in New Zealand.


What is the weirdest thing you carry while travelling?

A penguin neck pillow. Yep, penguin. I call it ‘Penguin’.


What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done on holiday?

Trekking Annapurna Circuit in Nepal for 14 straight days. Frankly I’ve never been to multi-day trekking. Some of my volunteer friends tried to talk me out of it as it’s dangerous during monsoon season. Me and my partner, Jimmy went anyway, and things went pretty smooth for us. Ahh, those days when we hanged underwear outside of backpack to dry it up. Literally like underwear vendor.


Nepal is one great country for backpacking. Check out Yen’s Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Nepal if it’s in your bucket list!

What do you collect when travelling?

Nothing other than photos. I’m a photography lover myself so I always go for good landscape photos and made them into postcards when I get home. It somehow became a habit now so I always spend lots of time looking for a perfect angle while taking landscape photos.




If you could time travel, which era and area would you choose?

Probably Kathmandu in Nepal in the 17th century. Kathmandu was in the golden era that time and the economy was booming. Trade between Tibet and India passes through Kathmandu Valley, making the kingdom prosperous like never before. Unfortunately, most of the history went unrecorded especially those regarding the ancient buildings. It would be great to go back and see how the kingdom looks like centuries ago. I’m a nerd, yea.


Which is your favourite international meal?

Momo! These small dumplings in Nepal made me craving for every single day after leaving the country. Well… Probably not every day but you get the idea. I really hate this question because Yeshi asked for ONE international meal, and I have a lot of favorite foods from other countries. But I love Bun Cha from Vietnam and White Curry Mee from Penang!


What do you miss most about home when you travel?

My parents of course, and my dog. Its name is… ‘Dog’. I’m serious. Not to mention the great foods in Penang I grew up with. I always make sure I call home every weekend, even noted the task into my planner app. Just in case they miss me too!


How does travel make you feel?

Travel always makes me feel excited and nervous somehow, especially traveling to countries that don’t speak much English. It’s quite awkward to ask a passer-by, only to realize they don’t understand what you’re asking. I’m sure most people can relate. Do you?

But still, this made me embrace myself to face the unknowns and step out of the comfort square.




Where is the best party scene? 

To be frank, I’m not much of a party guy. But the nightlife in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam during the weekend definitely kills it. The streets were sealed for the night. Enjoying the live bands performing at the junction with a cheap $1 beer and two sticks of roasted pork at the roadside is my best ‘party’ scene.


Worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?

So there was this one guy, a friend of my father who tried to talk me out of my decision to apply for New Zealand Working Holiday Visa back in 2016. But it’s totally understandable because it’s really something out of the norm. Some Asian elders love to advise younger generations to stick the routine life, sounds like I’ll be wasting my time working in orchards abroad. But not all of them, really. Most of Malaysians are still open-minded


What’s your ritual when you get to a new destination?

Ritual… I think it means ‘Eat all the street foods’ for me. This is especially true for traveling in Southeast Asian countries, where foods are the highlights. Sometimes I felt like my ultimate life goal is to eat all the great foods around the globe. Sounds pretty purposeful, huh? Haha.



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