‘SJ Explores’ is all about the spirit of exploration. I’m ‘SJ’ – Sofia Jin – and I’m passionate about seeking and promoting experiences that meaningfully engage people with the world around them through travel, culture, outdoors adventure, and education, and doing it with good humour. Part personal blog, part creative portfolio, I designed this site to aid and inspire fellow ‘everyday explorers’. My aim is to build it into a resource of travel tips and stories, interviews with adventurers, musings on science and culture, and my own photography.
In brief: I grew up in (and love) cities, but my favourite places to travel to are the outdoorsy ones – great scenery, activities, natural wonders and wildlife. I live what I write and photograph: I’m out there climbing, hiking, diving, and striving to create lasting relationships wherever I go.
My love of places began within my family. My Korean mother and British father both travelled their whole lives (Dad was actually born in El Salvador and spoke Spanish before English), their paths eventually crossing in Hong Kong. Clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because for me, too, ‘home’ was always characteristically impermanent. First London, then Shanghai, then Singapore, it became not a fixed place but a sense I could acquire in many different places.
As a high school student, I worked part-time at a hotel. I was a “spare part”, there to do all the things that needed extra help on any given day i.e. working in the kitchens, cleaning, setting up wedding banquets, serving as a human climbing frame in the kids club. An aspiring writer, I entered short story competitions and tried to get my poetry & prose published in youth literary journals where possible. My involvement in competitive debate took me all over the world in my teen years and even to the finals at Yale University (my first time in America), where my team (comprised of myself and two boys) came third.
In the summer of 2018 I was an editorial intern at Conde Nast Traveller. I now work part-time as a content writer (fondly referred to as resident “wizard of prose”) for a creative hospitality agency.
My hobbies: I love Muay Thai and have been doing it since I began at age 13. I love science and regularly attend physics events in London. More often, you’ll find me at comedy gigs and the theatre. I love the ocean and am currently a certified PADI Rescue Diver, hoping to get my ice diving & divemaster certifications within the next two years. I enjoy bouldering and hope to get to grips with alpine & ice climbing. I’d like to get a skydiving A license one day, too.
I’m interested in all aspects of travel, from the ‘behind the scenes’ of how hospitality is executed to the activities at the forefront. I think when you take the time to learn about different topics, you benefit from a great holistic approach to travel. But, you don’t need to travel to explore. Learning is the most valuable method of exploration. Ultimately, I believe that we are all explorers at heart, and that is the message I want to spread.
Enjoy the journey(s!),