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I'm originally from Scotland, but have lived with my husband in Hong Kong since 1996. We arrived here around 10 months before the handover to China. People always ask me if there have been a lot of changes. There have certainly been some, but Hong Kong is still a good place to live.

Both me and my husband love to travel and spend most of our free time doing just that. We travel to: 1/ see new places, 2/ meet new people, 3/ try new food and drink and 4/ get lost and confused in new places.

We are both teachers which is great for travelling for two reasons: we are able to work in different countries and we get long holidays.

As well as living and working in Hong Kong, we have lived and worked in Finland, Turkey, Cyprus, Austria, Poland and Malta. Teaching overseas has often given us the opportunity to see a place at our leisure and really get a feel for it. I also love to visit and re-visit places. You always find something new, plus it is good to go back when you already know your way around.

My first overseas trip was when I was 14 years old. My parents did not have a lot of money, but when my mum saw how keen I was on going to the school classics trip to Italy, she scrimped and saved so I could go. The trip was fantastic. We visited Rome, Sorrento, Naples, Pompei, Paestum, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius. My wanderlust was born. This trip also instilled in me my love for history and historical remains.

If wanderlust is herediatry, I must have got it from my mum. Both my dad and sister detest travelling. My mum never had much opportunity to travel. When she reached her 60s she had only ever been to Scotland, England and Ireland. Then my aunt persuaded her to go out and visit my husband and I in Northern Cyprus. She loved it, though she discovered she was allergic to the sun. A point you may never be aware of if you've spent your whole life in Scotland!!! I invited her back the next year but she refused as she was off to the USA. Then she started saving for a trip to Australia, but sadly she died before she could achieve this.

Living in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a good place to live. It's quite small, but with many, many people so it's crowded and you quickly get used to having little space.

There are always things going on here. People work long hours so the streets are busy and alive all day and all night.

Much of Hong Kong is built up and covered with tall buildings, but there are still quiet places to escape to. You can go for mountain hikes, relax on a beach or catch a ferry to the outlying islands. A big downside of living here, however, is our terrible air pollution. Another downside for me is that so many places of historical interest have been demolished. Not much has been retained.

Our upcoming travel plans include a return to Dubai in 2014 with a visit to Al Ain included, hopefully and a return to Northern Italy. Last year we visited Milan, Bergamo, Pavia, Lake Como and Genoa. This year we plan to visit Brescia, Lake Iseo, Verona and either Mantova or Cremona.

Travel pages for places we have visited recently include our summer trip to Slovenia where we visited Maribor, Ptuj, Celje, Ljubljana, Skofja Loka, Kranj and Bled. We also visited Zagreb in Croatia and Fuerth, Bamberg, Regensburg and Passau in Germany and Vienna and Graz in Austria.

I am also in the process of scanning photos and writing about earlier trips. I want to do pages for all the countries we have lived in. I finally got round to writing about our life in Northern Cyprus, Istanbul and Isparta. The only country we have lived and worked in that I still need to write up is Malta.

I am also busily scanning photos and writing up old trips if they made a strong impression on me, or I am especially attached to my photos of them. For this reason I have just written up our trips to Leningrad when it really was Leningrad and all the places we have visited in Japan - a country that we both love very much.

  • Intro Updated Oct 26, 2014
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Irene McKay
Hong Kong
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Oct 31, 2009

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