Our next interview is one that excites us. Perhaps it is because we were feeling stagnant in personal blogging style of late, or because we share a similar cliche love story, but we are left feeling refreshed by Chris and Etty’s sophisticated approach to blogging.
New to the blogging world, Chris explains the launch of rice/potato as a response to their frustrations with the overly generic travel blogging scene (guilty) and their drive to share the quirks of Thailand, beyond what the stereotypical bucket list.
This creative duo is an inspiring reminder to stay true to who you are and let that shine through everything you do. We just love the aesthetics of their Instagram page and are pleased to have stumbled across this gem among the many.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to…
Sawatdee krub! (That’s hello, in Thai). My name is Chris, a 25-year-old hailing from the Netherlands but living on the other side of the world in Bangkok, Thailand. I’m one-half of the travel-blogger duo Rice / Potato, a ‘magazine’ style online platform that we started to share our passion for design and travel (and the combination thereof), both in English and Mandarin. The other half is Etty, my girlfriend. She’s originally from Taiwan, but has been living in Bangkok since 2013.
Bangkok sounds exciting! We would love to know what led to your move and how life is treating you over there.
The story of how I ended up in Bangkok couldn’t be more cliché. It started with a big 8-month solo trip around Asia (cliché 1) in 2013. If you’ve ever travelled the region, you’ll know that Bangkok functions as a ‘hub’, so I kept coming back to the city. I fell in love, both with the city and with Etty (cliché 2), who was studying here for her masters’ degree at that time. After my trip was coming to an end, I had to go back to Amsterdam to finish my studies, and somehow convinced Etty to come with me. A few months later I managed to land a job in Bangkok, sold most of my possessions in the Netherlands and took a big leap to settle down on the other side of the globe – until today it’s probably still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Life in Bangkok is fantastic – the city treats expats very well, the food is great, and there are a burgeoning art and cultural scene.
Your blog is titled ” Rice/ Potato” Can you share the meaning behind the name?
Finding a catchy name for a travel blog is incredibly hard! We didn’t want to come off too cheesy, many words were off limits, and the few other ideas we had were already snatched up by others. After weeks of brainstorming (and thus procrastinating our launch), we finally settled with Rice / Potato – as a hint to both of our native cultures (Taiwanese and Dutch).
Where in the world are you now?
I’m currently not ‘on the move’, but at ‘home’ in Bangkok, where I’ve been living for the past three years. I just came back from Taiwan, which feels like my second home. This is actually a rare moment: I don’t have any flight tickets booked for the upcoming weeks! However, we’ll likely head over to Vietnam for a little while, a place I haven’t been for a few years.
How often do you travel?
For the past few years, we have never been home for more than 60 days at a time. We try to head out of town at least once every month, and abroad at least every other month. Partly because we’re avid explorers, and partly because we’re too lazy to do our 90-days report at the Thai immigration office – oh, the perils of being an expat! Luckily, Bangkok is such an easy base to explore the region out of. With two airports being a regional and global hub, tickets are usually affordable and too tempting to let go! As Etty works as a teacher and is bound to school holidays (which are, luckily, plentiful in Thailand), our trips are usually brief 1- or two-week stints, but every summer we try to head out for a ‘bigger’ trip such as Central America and Eastern Africa.
Favourite place you have visited?
That must be Lamu Island in Kenya – a magnificent Muslim settlement that’s steeped in history. It once used to be the ‘St. Tropez’ of Eastern Africa and you’d be able to bump into Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell. Bad stuff happened (terrorism…), and tourists avoided the place in recent years. Despite negative travel advisories, we visited in 2016 and found the place absolutely fantastic.
Other places we’d revisit in a heartbeat are Granada in Nicaragua, the Sichuan province in China and Marrakech in Morocco. Closer to home, wandering around Bangkok’s old town area still feels like traveling as well, and is one of my favourite pastimes.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
A lot of our travel plans revolve around hotels. Staying at beautifully designed hotels is one of our biggest hobbies- there’s something magical about waking up in a perfectly comfy bed and being able to call the front desk for breakfast. We are just as comfortable in a small-scale boutique b&b as we are in a fancy 5-star, but hotels with an interesting story and design really tickle our fancy. Our bucket lists consist mostly of hotels we’d love to stay at, with the historical Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok and various Aman properties around the world topping the charts.
How long have you been running your blog?
I just started Rice / Potato and had yet to work on a proper launch to share it with my followers on Instagram! Etty already runs a successful travel blog about Thailand for Taiwanese readers, and our plan is to merge this together and start over as Rice / Potato in two languages. Our aim is to provide information we’d love to read ourselves: no generic ’10 things to do in Thailand’, but thoughtful articles with hidden hotspots and places that people with an eye for design will appreciate. Bangkok has so much more to offer than Wat Pho and Khao San Road!
You can read more for yourself over on their blog. Links below.
We hope you are enjoying our 100 interviews in 100 day project. Please leave thoughts in the comment box below and we look forward to inspiring you again tomorrow.