Meet Globetrotter Kin, the Storyteller Family Travelling Hong Kong and Exploring the World
June 27, 2022
The Globetrotter Kin family, a young K-named trio of eight-year-old son, Karson, mother Kimberly, and father Kelvin, are your typical Hong Kongers: sharing a passionate love for travel.
With the concept of rural schooling foreign to many residents of the city, it is the principle of educating through exploration of the world and its sights that excited the couple. When their son was born in 2013, the world became Karson’s classroom and playground.
North American-born Hong Kongers Kim and Kelvin began travelling with son Karson when he was a year and three months old in mid-2014. Until the pandemic hit in early 2020, the K-named trio were able to cover 15 countries, cultures, and landscapes across the world.
Their fresh Instagram page, garnering over 20,000 followers in two years, documents their exciting journeys in Hong Kong, discovering the city’s “hidden gems” during the pandemic and their habitual globetrotting to the world’s four corners.
Matriarch Kim of the Globetrotter Kin family is a self-described Chinese-born Canadian, with roots found in Vancouver and her teenagerhood living in the countryside of Alberta, Canada.
“I lived with a lot of cows but love the connection I had with nature. We road tripped, did a lot of outdoorsy stuff, camped, and lived in caravans,” she said.
When Kim and Kelvin met at law school in Hong Kong, a love for their adopted city, travel, and exploration flourished. Kim’s youth in Canadian nature and Kelvin’s early life in green upstate New York taught the couple to treasure the bustle of Hong Kong whilst constantly seeking adventure and relaxation.
“We realised that we have this nine-to-five life and it’s really mundane and boring,” Kim said. A lawyer husband and corporate consultant wife, the pair sought to escape from the stress of their jobs in Hong Kong and connect with the world: weekend breaks to Southeast Asia, Europe backpacking, and visits home in North America.
As Karson was born and grew up, the couple knew a worldly education was vital for him to explore beyond the bustle and hecticness of Hong Kong.
Globetrotter Kin began in its infancy as a blog, with self-admitted non-tech savvy Kim preferring the written word to describe the family’s travels. In January 2019, Kim brought her family platform to Instagram and created their now popular page. Sharing their family journeys on Instagram was a way for the family to connect with like-minded followers who share a passion for world learning and travel.
In 2019, the family travelled to a new country every month: Germany, Hallstatt and Salzburg, Australia, Jeju, Korea, Kyushu, Japan, Singapore, Chiang Rai, Thailand, Vancouver, Seattle, the U.S., Sabah, Malaysia, and Yangshuo, China.
Travel is for creating memories, Kim told The Beat Asia, but admitted planning is key to their family journeys and travel and lifestyle content creation. With limited annual leave for both Kelvin and Kim – about 12 to 14 days each year bar public holidays – the couple work around school holidays and weekends to schedule time to explore. Kelvin is methodical with travelling that he has created Excel spreadsheets detailing hour-by-hour itineraries for the family holidays.
Whilst attending the middle school in Wong Chuk Hang, his parents sought to enrol him in “World School,” the worldwide space to learn through exploring diverse cultures, environments, and places. Weekend trips in Southeast Asia would expose Karson to his back garden culture and adventures in Europe piqued his deep interests in history.
“We want him to be more empathetic.” Being a city kid, as Kim explained, one can appreciate the luxuries others may lack and become attached to materialistic things. “In reality, you’re missing the connection with nature, roaming the black forest in Germany, runes in Croatia, connecting with small tribes in Thailand.”
“Karson used to be timid before and not outspoken. We wanted him to be more comfortable and find a deeper connection with exploring the world, to jump out of this situation of living in a box in Hong Kong.”
Kim and Kelvin’s need to explore and travel the world with Kalvin came out of a need to remove him from the digital world that “kids nowadays have become sucked into.” With schoolwork during the pandemic era consolidated online and students learning through Zoom, his parents wanted him to use his eyes and sense to feel his outdoors environment.
“I am not a stay-at-home mom,” Kim said, referring to her demanding career working in consulting. “We are not able to be attentive 24 hours to [Karson’s] needs, but when we travel, we get to spend time together, we can be mindful, we can build memories, understand a bit more about each other. This is what is important for his childhood.”
The best place the trio have travelled? Hawaii. “[The islands] had the best vibe. The food was incredible, and the people are so happy, we met so many good people with that aloha spirit.”
Kim also recounted when the family were in Croatia during the 2018 World Cup when the national football team were battling England in the cup semi-finals. Karson, reserved and quiet with the noisy crowds dominating the air, was given a Croatia flag by a local resident to wave around in celebration of the event. His eyes lit up as he was welcomed with that European love and warmth, a favourite memory for Kim and her son.
“These are the things that you don't get sitting at home not doing anything,” she said. “You get to meet people from different culture and truly engage with them. This inspires you to be a better person.”
When the pandemic hit Hong Kong in January 2020, forcing the tight closure of its borders, the Globetrotter Kin switched gears and began exploring the “hidden gems” of Hong Kong. Kim told The Beat Asia that this format of travelling around Hong Kong allowed Karson to “experience nature in his own backyard.”
Temporarily stuck in Hong Kong, Kim said it is “meaningful to tell [our followers] that you can still get out there, experience and enjoy what is there [in Hong Kong],” explaining that “there's so much to offer within the city.”
In the past two years, the trio family-clan have explored the remote northern parts of the New Territories, relaxed in five-star hotel swimming pools, adventured out to the woods of Sai Kung, kayaked around some of Hong Kong’s 268 islands, created pottery and house gifts in workshops, and found the best vistas to look at their special city. “You would think Hong Kong is a cement jungle,” Kim said, “well, it is not!”
The pandemic forced Kim and Kelvin to look inward and shift focus to greater lifestyle content rather than travel – local adventures rather than the international jet setting across the globe.
Kim told The Beat Asia that globetrotting has benefitted her relationship with her family and Karson’s interpersonal development. “This lifestyle has ensured Karson has the experiences and cultural awareness offered to him, with the opportunity to connect with different people from different cultures and from different backgrounds. He is no longer the shy kid, he’s inquisitive, and interested in the world.”
Before the pandemic swept over Hong Kong and forced the family to switch gears and explore locally, their last trip in December 2019 was a family visit to Vancouver. Kim and Kelvin hope in the summer to visit Vancouver and a stopover on the west coast for family time.
Future travels include a continent-wide trip to Africa, an area in the globe unvisited by the trio, and a trip on a hot-air balloon to tourist heaven Cappadocia in the central mountains of Turkey.
“Our ultimate goal [with our travels] is to ensure [Karson] has a happy childhood, and that he remembers his childhood as full of adventure and appreciative of this world.”
“When Karson is in his teenage hood, I'm pretty sure [we] would be [travelling] less and less for us to have these opportunities, especially when he's studying for exams. I think that until he says no, or until the situation doesn't allow those long trips, we will still push to explore rthe world."
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