Departing Hong Kong for a badly needed (emotional) break

With Hong Kong’s protest movement heading into uncharted waters, it’s time to get away for a bit.
Cam MacMurchy

The unrest in Hong Kong over the last two months has been all encompassing, dominating discussions at work and out with friends, while news coverages oscillates between showing the very best of Hong Kong (two million people marching through the city) and the very worst (violence). In some moments it seems like maybe things are looking up; other times one feels nothing but despair. One of my colleagues came into my office the other day and closed the door behind her, then began to cry. Several times close friends here have asked me if I will leave Hong Kong, and it breaks my heart.

I haven’t written much on here about the unrest because so many people are doing that already. I’m also not quite sure what to say — I live in Hong Kong, but it’s more than that: it’s home. I love it here; I love nearly everything about it. So this isn’t just some juicy news story, it’s impacting my life in many different and personal ways. Having said that, I’m among the luckiest ones because it’s relatively easy for me to pack up and head out — something very few of the seven million Hongkongers can do.

So I’m skippin’ town for a while.

Earlier this year I discovered a travel secret (well, a secret to me): Cathay Pacific award availability opens up quite remarkably during the week before departure. I had spent hours trying to figure out a way to get to North America by experimenting with airline awards programs and cities, but no combination worked well enough for me to take it. That changed last weekend, when several business class seats on Cathay opened up to New York City. It didn’t take long for me to snap one up.

I’m already looking forward to the 16 hour flight, because I’ll be able to turn off my electronic devices and read a magazine or book. In fact, if you’ve got some suggestions for some excellent fiction, please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for something new. I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the flight, or the fact I’ll be in New York City! The truth is I think both are going to be great. I’m already slotting Sadelle’s and Katz’s into the itinerary.

I don’t have the foggiest idea of what to expect when I return to Hong Kong at the end of the month. I hope against all reason that some reasonable, middle ground is found that preserves what makes Hong Kong so special and gives hope to the next generation. Unfortunately that isn’t looking likely.

I’ll be following closely as events unfold.

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