In this podcast episode we chat with Kelly Merks, a Texas expat who has lived abroad since 2011, in Japan and in the Netherlands. Her Twitter bio tells is: “A Texan full of fernweh (NOTE: “fernweh is a German word that means “ A Farsickness or Longing for Unseen Places.). Noob knitter and clay thrower. Fairy godmother of @WeAreXpats, a project of @xpatarchive: http://wearexpats.org “
@WeAreXpats is how Kelly and I first met online and connected over discussions of place, social medianess and expat life. For those of you not familiar with rocur accounts, they are rotating accounts where usually 1 person in that category (in this case, an expat) tweets for a week and then the account will rotate to another person after that. Kelly started this rocur account while she was a volunteer at the Expatriate Archive Center in The Hauge where she now is their Public Relations Manager. Outside of the EAC, Kelly also is raising a tiny human with her husband and somehow finds time to write about her geographic pondering in her blog, Bullet Trains & Bike Lanes.
In this podcast episode we chat with China-United States Binational Documentarian Hao Wu about how his movement between these two countries has affected what he has done online, both in personal and professional capacities. Hao grew up in China and has had healthy movement from China to the U.S. and back in his adult life. Although he is currently based in New York City, he admits that he is most interested in stories about China.
One of these China focused projects, People’s Republic of Desire, is about the Chinese live streaming platform YY and specifically about two popular Hosts on the platform. This documentary was screened in Shanghai, where I am currently living, earlier this year. Shannon Martin of Podbean and our local Host of the Podcast Brunch Club was there as well. In fact, during the screening and for days after the event, Shannon and I exchanged ideas, questions and ponderings about the documentary. We are very grateful that Hao was kind enough to agree to an interview so we could ask him about when the Internet became an integral part of his daily life, how creating a documentary about the trials and tribulations of live streaming for years affected his own online activities and the how his online tasks change, even now, when he flies from the U.S. to China and vice versa.
Note: Hao’s new project, All In My Family, about his alternative family journey from within a traditional Chinese family structure, is on Netflix May 3rd.
In this podcast episode we chat with long term China Expat Andy Curtain about his geographical movement from Melbourne, Australia to Shanghai, China and what effect it had on his online activities/presence. Even though he was online quite early in Australia with IRC and ICQ, he admits that most of his current online activities have been utility based, focusing on his stand up comedy promotions and community building.
As a fellow Content Creator (and Influencer, lol), I find it very interesting that the making of his podcast, Stuck in the Middle, helps him process his own comedic material. There is so much to say about Andy, the deep impression he has made on the stand up comedy scene in China and his own business savvy that has impacted how I think of my own creative endeavors on and offline in the short time since this interview took place. But for now I will just say thank you Andy for coming on the show and sharing your story.
In this podcast episode we chat with Eva Yoo, a Korean Tech Journalist who has lived in the U.S., the UK, Ecuador, Israel and China. Last year she completed an 8 month cycling trip from Shanghai, China to the UK, along the ancient Silk Road.
During this trip she did many interviews with people working in startups. But Eva is so much more than the sum of these actions: she is a kind, thoughtful and curious person who makes the balancing of IRL and VRL (offline and online lives) look easy and I greatly admire her for that.
In this episode we chat with Alexandra Talty, an American who has lived on and offline in Italy, the Dominican Republic and Beirut, Lebanon, where she has been based for 4 years now. Over the years Alexandra has taken full advantage of online opportunities available via blogs/blogging, social media platforms, and YouTube.
She maintains a healthy IRL-VRL (online-offline) balance with regular social media fasts and by participating in and hosting online groups that meet in person. She is very honest and candid about her experiences being a foreign, American, female Journalist and all of the advantages and disadvantages those pieces of her identity invite as she works online while living abroad.
THIS WEEK we chat with Greg from the Bangkok Podcast . Greg moved from his passport country of Canada to Thailand 17 years ago. His IRC chatroom habits at home changed quite a bit since this move and we try to sort out (Canadian vowel here folks!) if it was the changing digital landscape or his move to another country (and all of the cultural and social changes that go with the expat experience) that brought on these changes, including writing his blog, Greg to Differ and creating the Bangkok Podcast.
Note: If you’ve been following Virtual Expats Podcast for awhile you may recognize the Bangkok Podcast from a review I did of it back when the podcast was called the Armchair Expat (not available online anymore, sorry!) Special thanks needs to go out to Greg’s co-hosts present and past of the Bangkok Podcast: 1. Ed Knuth is the current (and wonderful) co-host of the show but we also need to mention Greg’s previous co-hosts on the podcast: 2. Evo Terra (master of many projects but the one I am, a Podcaster, currently obsessed with is “Podcast Pontifications”) and 3. Anthony Joh of the “Speak Up Asia” Podcast.
THIS WEEK we chat with Creatrix Tiara. Tiara started interacting with others online in chat rooms at 10 years old while IRL living in Malaysia. Over the years Tiara’s geographical path has included locations in Malaysia, Australia and the U.S. While Tiara’s geographic life shifted, Tiara’s online life seems to have had an upward trajectory in notariety and impact due to the candid and eloquent vocalization of immigrant and queer issues.
Like many Online Content Creators, Tiara’s work going viral has not balanced notoriety with financial freedom. But perhaps that will change with the Queer Lady Magician show Tiara is currently doing (the next round of which will take place at the Melbourne LGBTQ Festival Midsumma from January 30-February 3, 2019). Judging from the voluminous body of work, Tiara will no doubt keep writing and creating for as long as possible. This passion to analyze, share and question is what first led me to Tiara’s creations and is why I love keeping up to date on what Tiara is doing.
THIS WEEK Alison Maciejewski makes us think long and hard about food photos on social media, wanderlust articles that try to tackle culture and the linguistic barriers of the Internet. But the conversation is not all serious, we have some fun comparing emoji options on Line (in Thailand) and WeChat (in China), what and where “ugly delicious food” is, and how using teen dramas are a good way to learn the Thai language.
THIS WEEK we are proud to have Anh Ta with us for a conversation about how geographic movement from Vietnam to the U.S. has affected her online experience. Anh is an Artist with a strong online presence that she carefully curated for both professional and personal usage.
She originally moved from Hanoi, Vietnam to the U.S. for her Bachelor’s Degree and has just completed her Master’s Degree in Art recently as well. Congratulations Anh! She is currently creating art and sharing it and other aspects of her life online from New York City.
THIS WEEK we chat with Steve, who left the UK for a trip to Spain quite a number of years ago. After that trip he ended up living in Greece for a year and just reached his 6 year anniversary in Asia this month. After living a number of years both on and offline in mainland China, he moved to Hong Kong earlier this year, where he now works as a Life Coach.
Like yours truly, he has been an avid user of online technologies and social media from the beginning and has a lot of stories of wonderful and not so wonderful things that have happened online. And, also like myself, he has a lot of questions about what the hell we are doing online and how sustainable our virtual selves are going forward. His expat geographic life and VRL (virtual reality life) do in fact seem to affect each other in a rather interesting way, so have a listen and let us know what you think.