2022 About Page

Thoughtful Wanders, a digital platform centered on sharing my journey [un]learning about the world, society, and self. The work I create is based on seeing the world through my brain as a curious and creative person where I try to make the implicit explicit and process my learnings out loud.

2022 About Page
Observe Proactively, Think Critically, Process Creatively

Sharing an older Thoughtful Wanders About page, in case you're curious! Have decided to shorten and make it all more concise since then!

Welcome to Thoughtful Wanders

Hi there! Welcome to Thoughtful Wanders, a digital platform centered on sharing my journey [un]learning about the world, society, and self. The work I create is based on seeing the world through my brain as a curious and creative person where I try to make the implicit explicit and process my learnings out loud. I am currently a full-time traveler on a journey to learn where my curiosity takes me and to share it with others via this newsletter. To better describe Thoughtful Wanders’ essence, I’ve included some core values below.

Thoughtful Wanders Is…

a creative digital space centered on processing the outer and inner world while embracing nuance and complexity

This is a space driven by an innate curiosity to learn about the many worlds contained on this earth, from the external to the inner world we hold. Thoughtful Wanders centers on digging deeper around learning and encountering something new and unfamiliar, grappling with nuance, and receiving with compassion and an open-mind. Beyond travel, society, and culture, I am curious about the human condition and the humanity in us all. Thoughtful Wanders is therefore a creative space that harbors my own processing of the world as I wander, encounter, and observe the world.

driven by the question “how does one encounter and process the world beyond and within our selves?”

I ask this as a third culture kid / diasporic Taiwanese American who grew up in South Africa, Taiwan, and had formative travel experiences in the Global South & Global North. Being exposed to different opinions, cultures, lifestyles from a young age meant being inundated with a lot of information and processing it all was overwhelming, especially after I learned that there is rarely a simple or right answer. My life experiences have taught me that the world is a multi-faceted and complex place and yet we are taught simplistic, black-and-white narratives about the world and each other. I want to challenge these norms and simplistic narratives by digging deeper and unpacking the messiness and uncertainties of the world we live in.

embracing these c’s: critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, complexity, compassion, connection, comedy, change…etc

How do we learn about the world, each other, and ourselves in a way that holds complexity and nuance, allows for critical thought and room for change, while cultivating awe, compassion, awareness, and connection. How do we work towards greater self & social awareness? How do we stay critical and open-minded, aligned with our values and non-judgmental? Beyond the C’s, how do we foster joy and a sense of wonder and adventure while living in a reality that is often filled with hopelessness, oppressive systems and constraining norms?

about prioritizing creative freedom, self-trust & personal growth

I’ve spent most of my teens and twenties in stifling “should” environments and lost a sense of self-trust in my own creativity and capacities, including writing. Creating Thoughtful Wanders is a journey in leaning into my own inner compass and creating based on my own intrinsic desires rather than external norms or pressures.

embracing a perpetual beginner mindset — accessible, educational, intellectual, relatable content & conversations

I’m someone who is quick to admit when I don’t know something, even when I do know the general gist, I tend to stray towards disclaiming I don’t know the full extent. I feel discomfort around sounding like an expert or authority on any subject. I need to have done a lot of research to sound vaguely sure of my knowledge, but even when I do research, I’m rarely confident and comfortable with the extent I’ve done. The more I research and learn, the more differing perspectives I also absorb, and then quickly my not knowing just becomes even greater “not knowing”. I embrace having a perpetual beginner mindset and try to be receptive to learning more and not be taken aback by new information or perspectives. As a result of the “I don’t know” mindset, it means I am also quick to know when I don’t understand something when something is explained to me. This means I’ve had a history of being the first to raise her hand to ask a question in the classroom then later a peer would tell me “thanks for asking that question, I was wondering the same but felt too scared to ask.” This has happened enough times now that I feel fairly confident that if I have a question, even if it is a very basic one, someone else is wondering the same thing and needs it explained more explicitly or simply. Hence, Thoughtful Wanders is a space for accessible learning and conversations, one where there is never such a thing as a “stupid question”.

described in the illustration below


About Lydia

First time experiencing snow in my life and it was in South Africa! I was 7 years old. The snow lasted 1 day.

I’m a writer, artist, digital creator, low-key traveler and high-key over-thinker. I’m a third culture kid, diasporic Taiwanese/Chinese American who’s life and worldview has been formed by the fact that I grew up in different cultures and contexts. I spent the first ten years of my life in a small industrial town in South Africa, the next eight in Taipei, Taiwan where I attended international school, then I moved to the U.S. where I lived for ten years. I attended undergrad in the midwest at a liberal arts college where I got a Bachelor’s in “Sociology and Anthropology”; though my main interest then lied in social and critical theory and a lot revolved around postcolonial, feminist/gender, and ethnic studies.

I’m a highly sensitive person which means it is normal to get easily overwhelmed just by existing and particularly when it comes to taking in new information. Since I am also highly curious and like to be out and about learning about the world a lot of the time, it can be a lot to travel and expose myself to so much external stimulation. Over time, with mental health support and rediscovering my creativity, I’ve learned to handle the “overwhelm” by giving myself plenty of time and space to process what I am absorbing and explore my inner world too. My brain jumps around a lot, constantly making connections at rapid speed it seems, so what I am trying to do in my creative work is to demonstrate and share how my brain makes sense of the world. Sometimes the connections can be random and silly, other times insightful, and often, it’s both. My Myers Briggs is INFJ, my Enneagram is Type 5, and I’m a Libra (Sun & Moon). Though I only half believe in these things, I do relate to the definitions.

Trekking the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal (Fall 2014)

After college, I moved out to the Bay Area, California and found my way into working non-tech jobs in the tech world that paid the bills (and saved to later fund this trip & project). Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I traveled a lot which led me to be even more interested and curious about the world that I made it a have-to-do to make time for traveling and learning. In the 5 years after college while working, I started to make art and write creatively again. At some point, everything was falling into place to push me to take the leap to pursue my dream to start and do Thoughtful Wanders full-time!

As for my interests…I love nature and the outdoors just as much as I enjoy city life and being at home laying on a cozy couch reading or working on a DIY project. Which means, I’m not a particular pro at any one thing because I prefer being a generalist and doing all the things (mediocrely). I do aspire to be more of a proficient outdoor adventurer, but am also happy staying amateur at those skills. I’m an equal cat and dog lover (yep, really) and aspire to own as many as I can when I am settled down one day. I could go on and on about random interests, so I’ll leave the rest to share in my Substack updates :)

Snorkeling in Cenote Jardin del Eden, Mexico (Summer 2021)

Why subscribe?

If after reading all of the above and you’re still not convinced, I encourage you to subscribe to join me on my very open-ended adventure and journey as I travel and create! I’d say I am a fairly resourceful person who is hoping to tackle the next few months (? years?) embracing uncertainty and open to whatever life throws at me. I think it would be lots of fun to embark on this journey of learning, exploring, and adventure together. Who knows what we’ll encounter or what we’ll learn each day? You can subscribe to join along for the ride, whether to join me in on my joys and successes or secretly laugh at my failures and mistakes (just kidding, I know you’re better than that), I guarantee to only share quality and well-thought out content. Maybe the work will vibe with you, maybe it’ll provide a different or new perspective. Maybe you’ll learn something, or you’ll think “wow, she just learned that?” No matter what, I’ll ensure this is a worthy journey to tag along on.

Come on, hit subscribe and let’s go on an adventure of learning & discovery! Yosemite National Park, California, USA (Fall 2021)