Why travel? "I have this huge 'Kan Clan'. There're six kids. We've all lived in different countries and come back here. I came back to Hong Kong some seven years ago. Before then I was a world traveller and global nomad. Then, when I got back to Hong Kong, I did the conventional thing first. I got a job at a big advertising agency; I worked at OgilvyOne. I did the whole corporate ladder thing. I realised the rat race was not for me immediately, [but] it takes a long time for you to see what's wrong when you're a fish in water, especially in Hong Kong. Travel was like a testing ground for me to see what other lifestyles are out there."
Was there a specific trigger? "My little sister got ill with thyroid cancer. It was a complete shock, she was completely healthy. That was when we asked each other: 'What is on your bucket list?' It was just this crazy moment, we got so excited as we talked about what we wanted to do … we almost forgot that she had to deal with taking medicine and surgeries and all that. She's now totally fine after two or three years of treatment. I think part of [her recovery] was actually just living the life she'd always wanted. She now lives in Berlin, she's an artist and madly in love with a Berliner and we totally encourage each other. We dare each other to live the life we want to live."
What has travelling taught you? "At first it was just a form of escape, like [for] any other Hongkonger, but then I started to realise there are alternative lifestyles, there're all these yogis and permaculture-type people and fire dancers; all these artists and musicians who are living this seasonal lifestyle on the road and I was really drawn to it. I've done travel writing before; I used to write for Luxe City Guides. I've done my fair share of writing about spas, lifestyle features, and I thought, 'What if I were to actually just go for the dream?' So I had the craziest idea that I was going to do a travel show.
"I am not any gutsier than any normal person. I freak out. I just took a leap of faith and I really want to encourage others to do the same. If I can do it then I believe anyone can."
Where have you been recently? "I just got back from this incredible life experience. I was on the Tibetan Plateau, in Ladakh, volunteering. A friend of mine started this organisation and it was perfect in every way for me. It's a Room to Read [programme] - working with remote schools and monasteries all around the Tibetan region. I got to travel the most epic landscapes and bring books to these kids, so I could teach them English. Mainly I was just storytelling; reading Dr Seuss and broadening their imagination. And telling them what I do, and they were, like, 'What, you travel the world?' They are stuck in this remote mountainside and their only way out is through books.
"For me, the idea of offering back is just the natural progression of any traveller. First you go and you enjoy, and you're totally a tourist. Then you start to understand the lifestyle and you engage and you exchange, for real, something genuine."
Beach Life with Angela Kan airs on Mondays at 9pm, on TLC.