Well, this is a pretty huge post. Besides being my first blog post since November 2013 (Yes, that’s 1.5 years ago, for anyone who’s keeping track), it’s also probably the largest amount of biographical information about me on the internet. A lot has happened in this two years or so since I started blogging: I joined as partner with a small group of doctors and formed a business on Oahu, Hawaii which is something I never thought I would do…I finished my first ever travel guide eBook (Oahu Nightlife & Travel Guide) and started selling it on Amazon…I traveled to 10 countries all in the name of The Traveling Bachelor lifestyle…And of course, I attended The Hive conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which basically inspired me to do most of the above. Except for maybe that “doctor-forming-a-business-and-making-partner” stuff.
As part of an exercise to get to know all my fellow attendees, I’m supposed to write 40 facts about myself (#40Facts4TheHive), my personal life, random trivia, etc. After drinking a bunch of wine on the plane back from LA, I hammered this out for all of you. Be warned fair reader, once you read this list, you’ll probably know more about my life than 80% or more of my friends…maybe more than you want to know! It’s a little autobiographical, a touch of randomness, and kinda bizarre. But above all, it’s the truth and I didn’t make any of it up. Enjoy!
40 Facts 4 The Hive
by The Traveling Bachelor
1. I am the son of two Taiwanese Immigrants who basically never met before they were married.
2. I’m a partner in a small hospitalist group on Oahu, work as a doctor near the North Shore of Oahu, and work about 2 weeks on and get 2 weeks off every month. If you wonder what I do and have see Zach Braff in the TV show Scrubs, that’s exactly what I do…I just work a lot less and I don’t have a never-ending battle of wits with the hospital janitor.
3. Travel is one of my major vices in life. So far, I’ve been able to hit over 40 countries, from places as far away as Chisinau, Moldova to Cape Town, South Africa to Medellin, Colombia to Reykjavik, Iceland.
4. My travel to those 40 countries (besides going to Taiwan, my parents homeland) didn’t start until the age of 28, just 10 years ago. That’s an average of 4 new countries a year.
5. Last year, after being inspired to stop wasting time at the last The Hive conference, I finally finished writing a Hawaii travel guide eBook, called Oahu Nightlife & Travel Guide, and published it all over the world on Amazon in September 2014.
6. Even though I’m supposed to be a travel blogger, I’m pretty bad and inconsistent, with my last blog at the end of 2013. Probably due to my work as a doctor, all the travel, and all the time it took to finish my eBook. And I’m extremely lazy!
7. The inspiration for my name was from my mom’s two favorite scientists/doctors: Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer.
8. I can barely speak my native tongue of Taiwanese; I grew up thinking I understood Mandarin Chinese but it was just the Taiwanese dialect, because my dad was fiercely pro-Taiwan/anti-China. To this day, I can speak Spanish more easily than either Taiwanese or Mandarin Chinese.
9. I was a honeymoon baby from when my parents went to Disneyworld after their wedding. I figured this out at an early age, because I was good at math, knew how long a pregnancy lasted, and confronted my parents about it. 😛
10. Like all Asian-American kids in the 80’s, I started playing violin at the age of 4, was a violin prodigy giving concerts at age 5, and had a Justin Bieber-style blowout and quit at the age of 6.5, when I tried to throw a plastic chair out the window in retaliation for having to play 3 hours of violin instead of going Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. I had bad aim, and the chair bounced off the wall, split my forehead open, and that’s where one of my head scars is from. I restarted playing at age 14 and played until 21, but never became that violin stud I was all those years ago.
11. Also, like all Asian-American kids in the 80’s, I started playing piano at the age of 10 until the age of 18. I was never quite as good as I was with the violin, but always loved it more. I haven’t touched either the violin or the piano for the last 16 years. Now I just make music with my hips and my sexy dance moves, and occasional drunken karaoke.
12. I was struck by a car traveling 20 mph while riding my bike back from playing video games at a local neighborhood arcade. The driver who struck me was my classmates mom! My bike was totaled but I escaped with a moderate concussion and stitches in my head. That’s my second head scar.
13. I was the shortest member of my varsity volleyball team in high school, probably lowering our team’s average height by half a foot. But I could still spike a ball, thanks to my huge calves and decent vertical!
14. I never went to a high school party or had a drink before the age of 17. I think I’ve been making up for that fact for the rest of my adult life.
15. I also never got to go to prom, and I think I’ve also been making up for that fact the rest of my life!
16. My overachieving Asian parents only allowed me to apply to the top Ivy League Schools when I was entering university. My mom actually cried when I didn’t get into Harvard (even though I got into Yale, Stanford, and other great schools), since in her eyes our family had failed the American dream. The first care package/mail I got from my parents at Stanford was a transfer application to Harvard, while all my friends got cookies. #ToughLove
17. I turned down Yale for Stanford based on Stanford’s scholarship package, because Yale students told me I’d be happier there, it was in gorgeous California where I thought girls just studied in bikinis under palm trees, and because a secret society of naked, streaking Yale undergrads stampeded towards me in the main quad and traumatized me from ever studying in New Haven, Connecticut. True story!
18. Both Tiger Woods and Fred Savage (from The Wonder Years and The Princess Bride) were in my class at Stanford. Jennifer Connelly (from A Beautiful Mind and Noah) was in the class 2 years above me, Reese Witherspoon was in the class below me, and Chelsea Clinton lived with my brother during freshman year when he went to Stanford.
19. I once had to carry a large red brick and wear a cow costume, with (non-working) udders, throughout all my classes on Stanford campus as an undergrad, as part of a ridiculously creative initiation rite.
20. A large oak 3-person sofa fell 2 meters off a tall TV cabinet stand, hit me in my forehead, and split my head open during my sophomore summer at Stanford. That lead to my 3rd head scar. Don’t ask why there was a large sofa up on tall TV cabinet stand!
21. I took a year off after Stanford University to work a tedious administrative assistant/secretarial job, and to give me time to apply to medical school. I applied to 30 schools, got interviews at 15, and went to 10 of them before ending up at NYU Medical School.
22. I’ve taken the SAT 3 times (my parents thought I could do better each time) and the Medical College Admission Test 2 times (same reason), have borrowed more money for my education than the cost of most people’s houses, and have spent a total of 11 years in higher education and training after high school. And it amazes me how fast it all went by!
23. I was in New York City during 9/11, and my visiting brother watched one of the Twin Towers fall. One of my best friends was in the North Tower and ran down 51 flights of stairs, and got out 10 minutes before the building collapsed. I wrote a deeply personal journal article in 2001 about the 48 hours after 9/11 that I republish every anniversary, which you can find here.
24. I made it to the final rounds of the selection process for the 2nd and 5th seasons of the reality-TV show Survivor in America, when they were looking for their first Asian American male contestant ever, but didn’t get picked. My friend (Daniel Lue) became the first Asian American male picked and my former classmate (Yul Kwon) became the first Asian American male to win the entire reality TV show!
25. I actually moonlighted as a club promoter for Asian parties in Hollywood from 2004-2006 while I was doing grueling 80-hr a week internal medicine residency training and occasionally pulling 30-hour in a row overnight ICU shifts. Most of my LA friends are from that time.
26. I decided to try out working on the island of Oahu, Hawaii after 2 small vacations there during medical residency, where I fell in love with the islands. The job was basically handed to me from an old co-worker; I was originally only going to stay a year to try it out. Nine years later, it still tugs at my heartstrings and it’s the place I will probably call home for the rest of my life.
27. During my first destination wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the sister of my best friend, a large ceramic flowerpot fell on me and knocked my head into the side of a van, and (surprise, surprise!) split it open. I had to get my head glued together/Dermabonded while I was on an 8-hour layover in Atlanta, Georgia on the way back to Hawaii. That led to my 4th head scar.
28. One of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever done is do a tandem zip-line jump 500 meters above the Great Wall of China with my younger brother
29. I think that the 3 most overused words in the English language are “I Love You”; I’ve only said it to 4 other people in my life. Three of them are my younger brother, my mom, and my dad. The 4th was when I was not very sober, stupid, and with a girl who I was trying to get into bed. That didn’t go so well. 😛
30. Four of my former ex-girlfriends/flings ended up marrying the very next guy that they ended up dating, after I broke up with them. I think I’m sort of like Good Luck Chuck, but Taiwanese and hopefully less annoying than Dane Cook.
31. I only learned to ride a surfboard at the age of 30, have surfed Bali, Costa Rica, Maui, Puerto Rico. I’ve probably taught 30 or more people how to surf in the waters of Waikiki, but I’m only a marginally decent swimmer and consider myself an advanced beginner surfer at best!
32. I’m really active in the CouchSurfing community in Oahu, Hawaii, and have hosted more than 200 people from as far away as Ukraine and as close by as Maui. I’ve only personally CouchSurfed in Gothenberg, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark.
33. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder 3 times while surfing in the waters of Oahu, and had to paddle back from 300 meters out with only one hand. Also, I had to put my shoulder back in its socket on the beach myself all those times. All the rest of the scars on my body are all also from surfing.
34. I got shoulder surgery, since my only other options were to quit surfing forever or dislocate my shoulder again in big waves and potentially drown one day. The choice was simple. I was forced to give up surfing for more than a year in order to rehab my shoulder the right way and go through physical therapy.
35. In 2012, I started work part-time in the Big Island of Hawaii, and worked in the rural community of Kona, trying to help a struggling country hospital stay afloat. They would fly me out every two weeks to the Big Island, and I lived in a Hawaiian hotel resort for about half a year, which was totally surreal.
36. I’ve only ever lived together with one partner/ex-girlfriend. It was probably one of my biggest mistakes, but also simultaneously one of the most humbling and educational experiences of my life.
37. In total, I think I’ve attended more than 100 weddings so far in my short life (an average of 6 a year), been a groomsman at 2, and got ridiculously hammered at a majority of the rest. But my parents are slowly starting to lose hope that they will ever go to mine!
38. One of my most valuable possessions is a Transdniestrian Ruble bill, which I always carry in my wallet. Ironically, it has no value in any other country, since Transdniestr isn’t officially recognized as a real nation. I always keep it with me to remind me money is just paper, in the end, and the truly priceless things in life are travel and all the experiences and memories you can have!
39. This is going to be my 2nd time at The Hive conference (my first was last year in Copenhagen), and I am extremely excited to come back and get inspired again. Plus see if I’m one of the only Americans and/or males in attendance, like last year! 😛
40. As a thank you gift for everyone I meet, I’m giving away a FREE copy of my Oahu Nightlife & Travel Guide eBook (normally $3.99) on Amazon.com right after The Hive ends, on Monday, April 13th and Tuesday, April 14th. Feel free to share it with all your friends, family, and readers who would ever be interested in coming to see Hawaii. And please come visit, I’d be happy to show you around, take you around to surf, hike, beaches, parties, and host you!