Hi! I’m Mel. I’m your humble writer, travel guide and tea sommelier. As a child I was an asthmatic, highly anxious, book-loving, nerd. Not much has changed! I set out to travel the world because stories I heard led me to believe it would be amazing. I kept traveling because it was true. I’ve met some amazing people, seen some crazy things and had a lot of great tea.
If after reading this blog, you make better tea and renew your passport, I’ve done my job.
I started blogging on Tumblr in March 2012 when I landed in Tokyo, fresh off the plane and ready for my student exchange in Yamaguchi, Japan. In terms of a ‘blog’, it was total chaos. Mostly just me posting pictures of things I thought were awesome in the land of the rising sun.
When I got back home, I realized I was addicted to blogging (whoops) and missed it dearly.
Growing up I spent a lot of time in my Dad’s study, flipping through National Geographics and cutting out the pictures when he wasn’t looking. I was raised on a diet of steady stories about serving with the overseas military band from my Opa (by way of Holland) and learning the WAYS OF THE WORLD via my Nana’s various editions of World Book (she was a door-to-door World Book saleswoman — how cool is that?).
What I’m saying here is that I’ve always been curious. Always loved a good story.
In high school I went on exchange to Hamburg, Germany where I made lots of awesome teenage friends who I could drink beer with (yay, Germany!) and played in a youth orchestra that toured Bavaria, which was an awesome experience until I got pneumonia and spent a few feverish nights in a youth hostel looking towards the Austrian border and hallucinating Mt. Crumpet (ugh).
I’ve been lucky enough to have also spent time as an intern for a national Canadian broadcaster in England, spent a month volunteering for an NGO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, taken a month to drive across North America with my best friend, found a café shaped like a giant camera in a field in the middle of nowhere, woken up at 3 A.M. to chant with Buddhist monks in South Korea, amongst other adventures and met so many amazing friends through the blogging community.
But what about this tea thing?
Right. The tea thing. This is my binder from Grade 11:
I feel like this establishes some baseline weirdness for how long I’ve loved tea.
But Mel, why do you love tea? It’s not even coffee.
I could say it’s the elegance of one plant being simultaneously interpreted thousands of different ways by people around the world. I could say it’s the ritual and history surrounding it (tea caused the Opium Wars, guys). I could say it’s because the act of making tea is a beautiful act of self-care and reflection (and caffeination).
As a cold-blooded writer with poor circulation, tea and me are a match made in heaven. I don’t know why we’re together, we just are.
I started studying tea seriously a few years ago, and I’ve been lucky enough to be to some amazing tea gardens and tea houses. But as Ariel the Little Mermaid sings, “I want mooooore.” I’ve also passed all 8 of the Tea Association of Canada’s tea sommelier training courses.
What else can I tell you? I’m in the middle of a Master’s of Journalism — I finish in April 2017. I’m the year of the Metal Horse. My blood type is B+. Is this enough?
I live with an AMAZING fiancé who makes breakfast and our two fat cats, Taters and Trout. I read a lot. I like musicals, and samurai movies. Planet Earth is a fucking treasure. I also like learning languages. Hit me up on Duolingo!
I also work as a freelance journalist. Here’s some of that work.