My grandfather brought me up, and when I was young, I used to play with a mini globe all day long. My grandpa told me that I could find all the countries on this tiny ball. Looking hard for Taiwan on the globe, I found out that Taiwan was unbelievably small compared to the other countries.
When I started to attend to school, I realized that my knowledge of my homeland was so little. Every time I read the articles praising Taiwan was the Kingdom of Butterflies and Bicycles, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all true or not. This wondering stuck in my head for a long time until the year that I left Taipei for university in Hualien. This change allowed me to see Taiwan in a very different perspective.
About a decade ago, Hualien was not as flourished as nowadays in terms of tourism. Many stores preferred “one-off consumption.” To put it simply, instead of keeping the customers coming with good quality and service, they only thought about cutting off as much meat as they could from each customer. A few years later, following the trend of blog, travel posts and delicacy posts went viral which brought many more tourists to Hualien. The government also told people that with more tourism income comes a better quality of life. However, I discovered that the poor quality of tourism only brought the local people in Hualien heavy traffic and polluted environment.
I always wanted to do something, but never had a good way of approaching the problem. Dream finally came true when I met Peter, the founder of Topology Travel, and became his second employee.
I found out that many foreigners who are working or studying in Taiwan like to travel around the island during the weekends. Unfortunately, once they set foot out of Taipei, there is not enough information written in English or other languages for them to arrange their own tour. The tourism environment of Taiwan was still not friendly enough to the foreigners. This is where Topology Travel comes in. We fill this gap with great service from our travel consultants and tour guides. This was totally different from what other travel agencies were doing back then, which was to focus more on the Chinese tourists. We chose the path less taken by providing English-speaking tour guides and customized tours so that foreign travelers can experience the real Taiwan in a way they prefer.
Through my work, I bring foreigner travelers into Taiwan which allows me to know friends from all over the world. Through them I learn how special Taiwan is and have more sense of belonging. Today, I don’t need to travel abroad to interact with foreigners and to learn different cultures. Taiwan possesses many unique qualities, such as super high level of convenience and quality of service. I truly believe that my hometown has a lot to offer, and for that I strongly recommend you to come and see for yourself.
Setting off from the small island in my memory, I have been searching for Taiwan’s position in the world and also working hard to let the world see the real façade of Taiwan.
Local Recommendations: As someone who spent his college life in Hualien, I recommend Chihsingtan Beach and Sanjhan River to you. Hualien is a fantastic place for downshifting; that is, doing nothing is the right thing to do. Just lay on the beach, listen to the whisper of the ocean, and let your body and mind wander in the wind.