HANA TAM'S LOYAL TO BEING UNIQUE With over 360,000 subscribers and 48 million accumulated views to date, few people have fans as loyal as Hong Kong-based YouTube star Hana Tam, who has been sharing nearly every moment of her well-traveled life since 2006. From candid vlogs of trips abroad to detailed videos of her latest shopping hauls in Seoul and Tokyo, her carefree, one-of-kind spin on life has inspired followers around the world to be comfortable in their own skin. "I can do whatever I want on YouTube. That's why I always film a lot of videos," she says. "I love my job so much because I get to travel and make people happy just by being myself."
In this exclusive interview with DFS, she tells us about the places she's been, the friends she's made, and the joy of being yourself no matter where you are.
What does loyalty mean to you? To me, loyalty is like keeping a promise. It could be to a person, a place or an idea. When I was a child, I did not believe I was particularly good at anything. I was not tall and I was not rich, but I always wished that when I grew up I could see more than other people.
Is that why you love to travel? Yes. Wherever I go, I like to take videos and pictures of the scenery and share them with my friends and followers. That's what I enjoy most when I travel. Each time I press the record or shutter button, I feel a great sense of happiness and accomplishment. Recently, however, I took a very memorable trip to Nagoya in Japan. I rented a car and drove around almost the entire city. For the first time, I put down my camera and used my eyes to capture what I wanted to remember. I didn't need to record anything. All my memories were stored in my heart. It was a very inspiring trip. After I returned to Hong Kong, I wrote more than ten songs.
How would you describe your packing style? I don't have a knack for packing at all. Every time I open a suitcase, I just throw everything I need into it. There are a few things though that I always keep in a very small bag that I pack for every trip. It carries my daily skin essentials, such as makeup remover, facial cleanser, all-purpose cream, cotton puffs, facial toner and antiperspirant.
What is your beauty regimen like when you're abroad? I seldom put on makeup when I travel, but makeup remover is always a must-have. Some cities are so polluted that facial cleanser is not enough. You have to use makeup remover first, then cleanse your face afterwards to get all the dirt out.
I also always bring a bar of all-natural soap. You can use it to wash your face, your hair, your body, even your clothes. It especially comes in handy when you've underpacked and run out of clothes to wear during the week.
What else is on your packing list? I like to wear hats when I travel, so it's always the first thing I pack. I think a hat can turn any ordinary outfit extra-ordinary. Next, I pack shoes: flip-flops, a pair of high heels and a pair of sneakers. You need to plan your daily activities before you leave. Choose shoes that are appropriate for your itinerary. I also pack lots of eyewear. I usually carry several pairs of eyeglasses and sunglasses. They can be round-shaped or rectangular-shaped. When you have glasses on, you don't need to put on makeup. It also gives your face character. Finally, I carry a cardigan or scarf in my bag. If it doesn't fit, I wear it around my waist or over my shoulders.
Do you prefer to depart or arrive? Whenever I have a trip planned, I always feel unwilling to leave. But no matter which country I go to, I always enjoy the moment of arrival the most. That's because the moment you arrive is when it first hits you that you have left your comfort zone. Its okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes. It can be good for you. It helps you grow.
Once you've landed at your destination, how do you like to go exploring? I like to go jogging in the morning. When you go jogging, you get to see a lot of things that you may not see when you ride in a car. As you jog, you get to see different things and the local people going about their daily lives. In the evenings, I bring out my guitar and sing about some of the things that I experienced that day. One of the best things about traveling is getting to meet new people. In each country I have been to, I have been fortunate to meet some very nice people. With some of them, I even exchanged telephone numbers and connected with them through Facebook and WhatsApp. It's fun making friends around the world.
Of all the trips you've taken, which has been the most inspiring? Every year, I fly to Kenting to spend a few days on the beach. Why? Because, each April, a large music festival takes place there called Spring Scream. Since the first time I went, it has given me so many great memories that I cannot resist going back. Also, I have a group of friends that I meet there each year. And each year, our group grows. I hope while I'm still young, I will be able to continue meeting my friends there and rock out and be silly with them.