JJ Fong is the creator of MEME, TVNZ OnDemand from March 27

What are your strongest memories from your first overseas trip?

Fiji when I was 9 or 10. I remember getting my hair braided with my cousin, and the kids club was the absolute best. I remember being really enamoured with the club organiser, a jovial Fijian man, who always told jokes and sang songs. We participated in fun activities such as egg-and-spoon races, painting classes, and swimming competitions. Time of my life.

What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?


We had a one-bedroom bach at Waiwera, and we would go up there each Christmas, all four of us (and then sometimes friends and other family members) and pack in for a week. Swimming, eating KFC, and playing with the neighbouring kids were the highlights.

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Who has most inspired your travels?

My parents. They always encouraged me to explore the world and learn from other cultures, get out of my comfort zone and be independent.

What is the greatest trip you've ever been on?

Travelling to New York with one of my closest friends, Lucy. It was a girls' trip but she was married and I had recently broken up with someone. We were at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, yet we had a blast together and learned so much about our friendship in the process.

And the worst?

In Beijing, where I was pickpocketed on the train. They took my wallet, which had my hostel keys, money and cards. Luckily they left my passport.

What's your approach to packing?


I used to take a lot, but I now proudly sport a hand luggage bag and I take that everywhere. Pack light, no extra fees and you get out of the airport faster.

What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?

Mum is an avid runner and she got lost running the streets of Rome. We spent nearly two hours trying to locate her before we had to leave for the airport, and we were about to call the police when she turned up red-faced and puffed out. That was a bad destination.

What's the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?

Have a REAL coffee. New Zealand has the best coffee without a doubt. Then I do copious amounts of washing.

What do you miss most about home when you travel?


The people, coffee and the fresh air.

Where is the one destination you must see before you die?

My mother's village in China. I travelled to my father's village in 2019 and it was a trip of a lifetime but I want to do the same with my mother because it made me understand where I came from.

What's your favourite thing about travel?

Meeting new people, getting out of my comfort zone, and the food. Appreciating my life, family and friends and the privilege to be able to work my dream job.