Of wide-brimmed straw hats and black production crew tees, Mynn Lee of She Walks the World is a well-seasoned Malaysian traveller who wears many hats. The travel blogger, video producer, former radio DJ, vlogger, emcee, and now, new mother has walked the world (36 countries and counting!) and had her fair share of experiences. Read on to find out how Mynn navigates her travels during a pandemic, her outlook, and plans for future travels with her newborn, Ava.
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We love what you do. Tell us about yourself and your blog, She Walks The World.
I’m a travel enthusiast who blogs and vlogs about my travels. Though it may seem like I spend a lot of my time travelling, I do have a full-time job as a video producer, and I used to be a TV host and radio announcer on LiteFM and RedFM. I started my blog back in 2015 as a way to document my travels – and to also share my experiences with other fellow travellers who are looking for information or inspiration. I started vlogging slightly later; I figured that since I have lots of footage of my travels, why not turn them into videos and share that too. That’s how my YouTube channel came about.
What were your thoughts when you found out that we wouldn’t be able to travel for a long while?
I was so disappointed! I had a whole list of travels already planned for the year, which included trips to Dubai, Thailand, South Korea, and even summer in Europe! Some were already booked, and some were still in the planning stages. However, with or without the pandemic, some of my travel plans would have had to be postponed (or altered) anyway because just before the MCO began, I found out I was pregnant.
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How has Malaysia’s various iterations of the MCO affected you?
Being someone who is always on the go, it was really difficult staying home. I’m also a very family-oriented person, so it was tough not being able to see my family during the MCO. It was just me and my husband. So, I decided to spend all that extra time learning how to cook different dishes (I think I learnt a new recipe almost every day during the MCO) and catch up on writing some of my past travels and editing my vlogs. Since I was also pregnant, I used most of the time to rest.
Moving on to your blog content, how did the idea of your YouTube series, She Woks The World, come to be?
She Woks the World was actually my husband’s idea. During the first week of the MCO, I was already complaining about being bored, and because I’d been cooking a lot, he suggested doing a cooking show to pass the time. I wanted to tie the show in with my love of travel (and also to stay with the travel theme of my YouTube channel), so I came up with the idea of doing dishes that I’ve tasted on my travels.
My husband is a cinematographer, and has all the camera and lighting equipment, so we permanently transformed our living room into a mini kitchen studio to do our shoots! We also ordered an induction cooker and a wok online, and voila, She Woks the World was born.
It was so much fun researching the recipes and reliving my travels through food, and it was a passion project that my husband and I could work on together. The cooking show had kept us entertained during the MCO, and filled up our days with things to do. If time permits in the future, I would definitely love to do another season!
You’ve visited Sekinchan recently. What measures did you take to ensure you and your family were safe?
I stayed at home the entire MCO, and my trip to Sekinchan during the RMCO was my first trip out of the house. I’d become a little bit of a clean freak and slightly paranoid – constantly sanitising, washing my hands, having my mask on all the time, and showering as soon as I got home. I was heavily pregnant at the time too, so my family and I made sure we were more mindful in keeping clean.
Honestly, I didn’t feel any different travelling during the RMCO and pre-COVID times, except for the masks, that little extra personal space, and more procedures when entering restaurants and attractions. There are still plenty of people at the places I visited, and probably even more compared to pre-COVID times because now, EVERYONE is travelling locally!
Since international travel won’t be an option anytime soon, what’s next on your local travel bucket list?
I would love to head to a resort by the beach and just chill there for an entire week! Perhaps somewhere like Cherating, Port Dickson, or maybe Langkawi with my baby girl in tow. I definitely want her first trip to be to the beach.
Once Malaysia lifts its travel ban, do you see yourself travelling anywhere?
Even if Malaysia lifts its travel ban, I’d probably wait for a little while to see how the pandemic is affecting the world as a whole before deciding to travel again. I’ll definitely want to resume my travel plans that have been halted – Dubai, Thailand, South Korea and Europe. And I’ll start with somewhere near… so, Thailand first!
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Now that you’re a mother, what are your opinions on travelling with your newborn?
I don’t think I’ll halt my travels. Instead, I’m actually looking forward to learning to travel with my baby. It’s going to be challenging and scary, but it will be something new to share with my readers. All this while, travelling solo has allowed me to go on super exciting trips, but with a baby in tow, it’s going to be a 180o turn. Fewer crazy adventures, fewer risks, less impulsive decisions. I’ve had my fill of exciting travels for many years now, so I guess it’s time to mellow down a little.
Halloween happens at the end of this month, so we’re sharing travel horror stories with our readers. Do you have any scary stories from your travels to share with us?
These aren’t supernatural encounters, but more like scary situations where I feared for my life. On a trip to Manila, the Philippines, my friends and I got scammed by a driver who took us into a dark lane and tried to extort money from us. In China, I once booked a hostel that was shut down by the police and was left stranded in a small town in the middle of the night. I also got attacked and hurt by a dog while walking along a beach in New Zealand. I have a blog category titled ‘Short Tales from The Road’ where I share the good, bad, funny, and unexpected situations that I’ve encountered while walking the world.
Last but not least, let’s have you share your most memorable moments.
It’s really hard to highlight just one! I think my most precious travel memories are of the people I encounter. I have met many exciting individuals during my travels who somehow always add a little extra something into the place I’m visiting. So much so that when I think of that particular city, I would think about that person and the things we encountered and the conversations we had.
For example, one time I got lost looking for a waterfall with a new French friend I met in Thailand; or the time I got on stage and sang with a local band in Bali; or when I spent a day cycling exploring the temples of Angkor with a Canadian girl I’d just met. The people I meet on my travels are often the best parts of my whole adventure.