It has been a few years since my family and I last left Hong Kong for a holiday and, as much as I would like to travel somewhere this Summer, we will be here. I know I am not alone, many of us will be here because we cannot get away.
So, how can we make the best of our time here in Hong Kong and keep FOMO at bay when we see our friends’ picture-perfect snaps of their Summer holidays abroad?
For me, I realised that I could actually try to change my thinking from “I wish I could go to ….” to “how can I make Hong Kong feel like a Summer destination?”. This enabled me to start thinking about what I could do here rather than wishing I could be somewhere else, and it actually got me excited!
I decided that I would try to recreate the Summer experience of being somewhere in South East Asia for my kids. This means we will visit the beaches around us (which are finally accessible again!); venture out to explore a few new neighbourhoods and malls that we have never been before; eat out more to try new restaurants and revisit old favourites; and throw in a few movie nights at home or at the cinema. I have also signed the kids up to a few outdoor adventure camps so that they have time off from me (and, just as importantly, me from them).
My top mission, however, was to get Mum to come join us in Hong Kong. I have not seen her for over two years, compared to pre-Covid times when I would see her a few times each year. My youngest child has doubled in age since she last saw him so it really is about time. As much as I wanted to go back home to see my family, we could not get away and she understood that, so there was no better option than to bring her over here and have some quality time with the grandkids. I just had to get her comfortable with the 7-day quarantine requirement.
Now, I know not everyone will be able to bring family here. Travelling during these difficult times can be extremely challenging, from the excessive costs (quarantine, higher prices, lack of availability) to uncertainty (flight changes/cancellations, policy changes, health anxiety) to just life being tough and the difficulty in stringing all the logistics together. You are not alone. A few of my friends have also decided that they will be staying here because it is just too hard to leave. Every family is different, and it is important that we do not judge others because we never know what they may be going through.
If you have decided to stay behind, you too could try to focus on the best of what Hong Kong has to offer. It will likely be quieter – visit the beaches, explore new neighbourhoods (be it the local mall, local restaurant or even venture out to visit a farm or ride a tricycle in one of the outlying islands), and maybe even try testing yourself and your kids with a humid hike (it’s a good challenge!).
Tell your kids that the brief is to make Hong Kong an adventure and that you are open to making it a bit more special like you would when you are on holidays. This might mean more ice creams and eating out and a few little shopping credits (just like you would if you were travelling). Whatever travelling means for you, feel free to sprinkle a few of these little treats into your experience here this summer. Before you know it, it will be back to school… because time flies when you are having fun!