Meet: Seth ShySki, Hong Kong Hiker, Sustainable Traveler, Dad | The Expedition
Seth ShySki holding daughter in mountains

Meet: Seth ShySki, Hong Kong Hiker, Sustainable Traveler, Dad

Many people are drawn to Hong Kong for its glamorous urbanism: the city’s busy harbor, glittering skyscrapers, hidden alleys and vibrant nightlife. 

Seth and Julia “ShySki”—their online family pseudonym—moved there for the outdoors. 

“It is more green than anything else,” Seth says. “In fact, about 70% of Hong Kong’s landmass is undeveloped. We came to Hong Kong because it provided us a good balance between work and life, had lots of outdoor areas for adventuring and, of course, is a major travel hub.” 

Seth is originally the Boston area, Julia from North Dakota. They met while teaching in South Korea and eight years ago moved to Hong Kong, where their kids Peri and Kai were born.  

In 2017, they started sharing their travel advice with the world. They call their brand ForSomethingMore. “When we travel we are always looking for something more than the typical tourist traps that are so easily found on mainstream travel sites,” Seth said. 

He shared their advice for living with less stuff, more excitement, and a lot of time outdoors. 

In three words, our travel style is…

Minimalist, off the beaten path, adventurous. 

The main way we explore Hong Kong is…

By hiking. From the family-friendly hike on Lung Ha Wan Trail to routes that are more intense such as a hike up Sharp Peak, we love exploring on foot, and by now we’ve explored countless off-the-beaten-path gems in Hong Kong.

What made us fall in love the traveling was…

What isn’t there to love about traveling? More specifically, it’s the opportunity to experience things outside of our comfort zone and the personal growth and change of perspective that results which truly made us fall in love with travel.

The first trip we took with kids was…

When our first son was 2 months old, we took Peri to Guilin China for a weekend trip from Hong Kong.

If your family wants to live a more minimalist life, go…

On a backpacking trip. Not car camping, but backpacking. And go for five or more days. Into your backpack, place everything you think you’ll need for the trip, then go on the trip. When you return home, take note of what you actually used. Also take note of whether or not it was worth carrying all that extra stuff on your back. Then, with your newfound knowledge and ability to distinguish between a Need and a Want, start getting donating stuff. 

ForSomethingMore_Poon Hill Nepal.jpg

At age 17, I discovered the difference between…

A need and a want, when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. When you have to carry everything on your back, you quickly discover this distinction.

If you want to be more adventurous, you should…

Do stuff that makes you feel a bit nervous or stuff that you feel yourself hesitating about. Certainly don’t take uncalculated risks, but when you feel that sense of hesitation or doubt, push forward. It’ll be worth it in the end, no matter the outcome.

Families can reduce their travel carbon footprint by…

Traveling slow. Don’t worry about how far you travel from your home, but rather focus on how deeply you travel regardless of the location. In my own backyard, I can get deep into small details that I’ve never noticed before, and at the end of the day, I get a similar feeling to the one I have when I’m in a completely foreign culture. 

Also, don’t buy material things when you are traveling. Pay for experiences, but say no to the souvenirs. 

Lastly, don’t eat meat. 

We have actually used…

Reusable diapers while traveling. We basically keep the dirty ones in a dry bag (as they’re durable, don’t leak and can be easily cleaned), then we launder them in a sink when possible and/or we use laundry mats. However, we do use disposables at times. 

Our best family travel hack is…

Tape a baby bottle to a selfie-stick, and that way you can feed your child when she/he is riding in a hiking backpack. 

Our must have travel gear is actually…

the guru maps app for offline navigation. It gives you worldwide topo-maps right in your pocket, and you can use it offline. It’s our go-to tool for finding off-the-beaten-path gems. 

If I could change one thing about travel, it would be…

Making travel less about taking something away from the experience and more about giving something of yourself to the experience. 

I think kids can learn from traveling…

The real question is what can’t kids learn from traveling. More explicitly, I think kids can learn anything from travel, truly anything.

The hardest thing about traveling with kids is…

Just going at a slower pace. Before kids, we’d be exploring a place from dusk to dawn, day on day. Now, we need to build in nap times and the expectation that we’ll just have to move at a slower pace, but we still love traveling with our little ones!

We decide where to travel by…

Trying to find places that are not mentioned on TripAdvisor and more mainstream websites. If a place does NOT have much information published in English, we consider that a good sign!

The trips on our buckets list are…

Cycling from the U.S./Canada border down to the tip of Chile, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, full-time RVing throughout the U.S., thru-hiking the Via Dinarica Trail,  trekking to Poon Hill in Nepal again and doing the whole Annapurna Circuit, and so many more thing.

Families can learn more about us…

On Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or at our website, forsomethingmore.com

Sara Clemence is a freelance journalist, formerly travel editor for The Wall Street Journal and news director for Travel + Leisure. She's the author of Away & Aware, a guide to mindful travel.

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