In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we chat with fashion and lifestyle blogger Tommy Lei from My Belonging. Learn how this Hong Kongese turned a passion for fashion and has become one the best styletelling globetrotters in the industry! From Mexico to Denmark to LA, learn what are his favorite places and where he is headed next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
The first time I boarded my Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles as a US immigrant, I fell in love with the infinite skies and the mesmerizing oceanic views below. I think this one very poignant and pivotal moment in my life sparked a dormant wanderlust in me that wouldn’t surface again until I was in college.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
I work mainly as a creative consultant and freelancer for fashion, lifestyle, travel and hospitality organizations in the luxury space, so it is very dependent on my schedule. Already this year I’ve accumulated some serious flight mileage, starting off 2017 with a trip to Iceland then London and soon thereafter New York City for Fashion Week Men’s. It’s quite a whirlwind schedule; I would estimate that travel occupies at least 30-40% of my agenda throughout the year.
When I do have some downtime, I like to just pack up my bags on whim and fly to Mexico City — which remains one of my favorite cosmopolitan destinations.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your articles, videos and Instagram?
What I intend and hope to do with my travel content is to stress how important it is to go beyond our comfort zones. I sincerely believe tolerance and compassion develops overtime as we continue to open our eyes and hearts to people who may be unfamiliar with on a daily basis. I also want to convey that travel is attainable and should have no ulterior objective — travel whenever you want, where you want is always my mantra.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
1. Mexico City, Mexico
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
3. Aarhus, Denmark (although I love Copenhagen equally).
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
For Mexico City:
Hotel – Habita Hotel. You’re smacked right in the center of a beautiful avenue centrally located within the ritzy Polanco neighborhood.
Lunch – El Balcon del Zocalo. Get a table right on the balcony and be prepared to be amazed by the incredible views of Centro Historico.
Sight See – Museo Soumaya. It’s an architectural marvel to behold.
Dinner – Lardo. This restaurant hotspot is redefining the art of rustic meets modern Mexican cuisine with a killer wine list sourced from Valle De Guadalupe — Mexico’s premiere wine region.
How many countries have you visited so far?
I’ve visited over 18 countries and counting!
Your top three favorite cuisines?
1. My mom’s cooking (Cantonese-Chinese)
Favorite restaurant in the world?
This is a tough one as I have so many, but my love affair with Providence (basically a 3-Michelin star restaurant) on Melrose in Los Angeles is still going strong.
Your favorite travel movie?
I love to catch up and indulge on a Forensic Files’ marathon. Yes, I am a true thriller masochist.
Favorite international airport?
KEF in Keflavik, Iceland. By far the most efficient and friendly international airport I’ve been through!
City with the friendliest people?
It’s a tie between Reykjavik, Iceland (they’re just so wonderfully down-to-earth and beyond honest) and Mexico City netizens.
Your favorite traveling companion?
My Bellroy passport wallet — it keeps all my cash, identification and even a pen in one compact space.
Best way you kill time while traveling?
I never try to kill time. In between unexpected delays, I try to remain productive whether it’s editing my photography for my next project or reorganizing my schedule.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Presently — Reykjavik, Iceland (it’s like a living snow globe during the winter time)
In the near future — Marrakech, Morocco!
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Learn how to pack lightly as soon as you can, always be over prepared and be ahead of any flight time by 2-3 hours if possible.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My laptop, headphones, iPad mini and a leather backpack.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Your favorite travel quote?
“Traveling. It leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Where to next?
Known as the Styleteller behind MYBELONGING, Tommy Lei is a multi- hyphenated creative incessantly devoted to high fashion menswear and has developed an expertise on the finer and luxurious details and things in life: hotel hopping, immersive travel private dining engagements and curated experiences.
A graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Tommy’s high-and-low personal style and body of work continually aPracts the recognition of major press outlets – from GQ, WhoWhatWear, Refinery29 to, most recently, Buzzfeed. He currently works with a growing roster of both established luxury and contemporary names – the likes of LuisaViaRoma, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Calvin Klein, Montblanc, amongst other high caliber brands.
With an acute creative eye, energizing work ethic, widespread and growing reach, his capabilities go far beyond the realms of being just a digital influencer – it encompasses digital consultancy, event hosting, ambassadorships, speaking panels and capsule collections.
Hong Kong-raised and LA-based, Tommy is conversational in both Cantonese and Mandarin. He is deeply cultured, well-travelled and extremely adaptable – making him the ideal candidate for partnerships with a global emphasis.