WHERE DOES YOUR WORLD END?
Many years ago, we stumbled across a small Hong Kong bookshop that featured a lot of travel books. We turned the stiff page of a Lonely Planet ‘New York’ edition, to see the phrase ‘All you’ve got to do is decide to go, and the hardest part is over!’ staring back at us. Ever since that moment, we have set our feet to many destinations around the world. The more we move, the more we discover, and the more we appreciate culture and its diversities.
It was a short visit to Vienna, where we came across coffeehouses dating back to the 19th Century, that encouraged us to open a coffeeshop back home in Guangzhou. Sipping the mélange, peering at the cobbled street corners where clanking horse-hoofs echoed, and seeing the names of great literary minds carved onto the very seats we were perched on, sparked inspiration inside us. A little seed, an idea to connect different cultures through a love of coffee, was planted in our minds.
The world is only as big as we make it; we continue to explore the infinite.
The world is only as big as we make it; we continue to explore the infinite. Crossing vast oceans in airplanes shortens distances, yet allows the world to expand in our minds. In Itami airport, we were drawn to a persistent flapping sound at the departure gate. As high-tech LEDs take over each possible corner of this planet, there are still some places that treasure the nostalgic, delicate mechanical masterpieces. No matter where we go, whenever we hear this flapping sound, the curiosity of what will come next at Itami Airport always surfaces. Not only do we explore the physical world, but also the intangible: memories, love, dreams, silence. We were once led by our friend Echo to a great exhibition by Shiota Chiharu in Mori Art Museum. Her observations and thoughts of life and death were knitted together into powerful installations consisting of red and black thread: ‘Life is the only one.’ In this short span of life, where does your world end?
Inspired by our everyday exploration, we have a strong desire to give back to the people who expand our world. At LOCK CHUCK, we met and became friends with a wonderful lady Christine. We often shared our traveling stories with each other. She once mentioned that her company CITIC BANK kept promoting their Global Visa credit card to encourage young generation to explore more. Why don’t we just collaborate together? We quickly decided to open a pop up store, themed as GO EXPLORE, to inspire more people to expand the edge of their world.
Professor Teemu Hirvilammi, a renowned architecture professor from Finland, is excited to join us to design our installation. We became friends over a coffee moment during his stay in Guangdong University of Technology as a visiting professor. We were so impressed by both his knowledge and his willingness to share his wisdom. One of his latest exploration, the design of his own family house, was to combine Finnish traditions and contemporary lifestyle to weave the old and the new. The first thought that came to our mind was the scaffolding that dominates the sidewalks of New York. We were both drawn to its raw, industrial beauty. Another two simple materials, polycarbonates and plywood boards, were introduced afterwards as we discovered their hidden charm.
Dynamics are enhanced by design. From the sharp lines, to the v-shaped table, to our thunderbolt, our logo hidden in the structure, the installation echoes Lock Chuck’s unique and unrelenting energy.
Split flap boards have been adopted, made by us in store. We thrive in the modern, but hold a love for all things vintage. Inheriting the spirit of creativity, we did a lot of research to develop our own boards. Beside our greetings, you will be met with the same flapping sound that amazed us in Itami Airport.
There are many other talents from around our world contributing to the project. Our good friend Miss Rwen, an architect running her own studio, has worked with Professor Teemu to visualize our concept. She has added in subtle details that make you want to linger for longer: asymmetry on one hand, the connecting parts painted in neon green on the other.
Our favourite local young artist Evan has again taken the visual design job. “To me, this mysterious world is a set of number codes,” he mentioned on one of our weekly brainstorms. Therefore, a set of random numbers are integrated into the posters, pins and stickers to fit our theme, neon green being picked as its brightness exudes our relentless passion and love.
“To me, this mysterious world is a set of number codes,”
Under the same roof, similarities attract. Our beloved photographer, William, who is based in Jakarta, knows too well how to build scenes through his camera lens. There is no better example than him to keep exploring the possibilities. We are constantly inspired by his work, and are pretty sure you will be, too.
Also among our talents is Seiji, our dearest Japanese friend who is building up his own studio. As a self-taught photographer, he never compromises to pursue capturing the best moment. When we were discussing the project, he came up with a lot of ideas to showcase the concept. Daring to experiment, and keeping enthusiasm at an all-time high, there will be four videos promoting this pop-up store. Olivier, our much-loved regular, will be on hand to help shoot the videos, too. How many great minds have come together to spark unexpected charms? You will see.
How will you explore the world?
THE RANGE OF EXPLORATION
Be it physical or intangible world, there’s so much worth of exploring. We enlist our good Japanese friend Seiji, a self taught photographer, to direct a series of short videos to encourage people to join in our discussion on exploration.
GO EXPLORE POP UP STORE @ CITIC PLAZA
WAHT DOES EXPLORATION MEAN TO YOU
GREAT MINDS THINK TOGETHER
There’s always a voice echoing in our head, that is to go explore. The range of exploration could be from the physical world to your the spiritual one, be it a city, a shop or yourself or interests. Since the first day we opened, we have become friends with a lot of talents. We invite some of them to write their stories relating to exploration. Wishing their stories can inspire more people who’re still hesitating to make their decisions.
Seek advice, confide in a good friend, be brave and ‘Go Explore!’
Growing up in London, there’s a lot of hidden quirks to the city that allow you to fall in love with the seemingly dreary and mundane. The city and it’s aggressively polite people, everyone with places to be, things to do, people to meet, foods to try, events to attend. London is the city of the grey and mild. But give us Londoners an ounce of sun, and watch the city thrum like a kicked bees nest.
All the placements in London were highly competitive, highly corporate and highly…not me.
With that said, you’d think my placement year would have me jumping at the chance to stay in London. Earn money, get work experience, all with the ease of living rent-free at home, well-fed by papa Luigi. But alas, it was not meant to be. All the placements in London were highly competitive, highly corporate and highly…not me. I am a creative that is infatuated by the natural world. I took biology at university and the idea of working in a grey, dull, fluorescently-lit lab sounded almost as bad as cutting out my pink and green hair, removing my piercings and wearing a suit and heels everyday.
No, London was not to be my playground for my placement year.
Where I did happen to end up, by mere curiosity, was in fact, China. And whilst I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I will likely not become a teacher in future, China opened up a whole new world to me. A new language, amazing people from both lands near and far, KTV, motorcycle taxis’, mountains, valleys, coffee shops, seafood bbq’s and rooftop cafes.
So you see, London will always hold a place in my heart, but China, well, I wear her on my sleeve. Literally. My last 24 hours in China, I spent getting a tattoo on my left bicep. I created the design by fusing images I from postcards I had bought of the avatars mountains (Zhangjiajie) in black and white watercolour whilst visiting the National Park. And whilst tattoos are a permanent reminder of all that my year in China encompassed, the design itself can’t even comprehend the memories it retains, one for every dot of ink in my skin. An adventure up a mountain with my two favourite Welshies (@undoubtedlythomas and @emily_leader), getting the tattoo recommendation from my favourite coffee shop of all time @Lockchuckcoffee and watching @lazycrazydaisyyy squeal whilst getting her first tattoo, are just a few in a drop of thousands.
In my 23 years, there are two things I know for certain:
There’s no place in the world like China. And there’s no place in the world like London.
Or .. then again, maybe there is. I guess I’ll have to just keep exploring.
PS I miss you, I miss Lock Chuck, I miss the Christmas party that made me feel so at home. Hope you are well and to see you in the near future.With love,
Lily Clare, United States
I don’t know if curiosity is a trait that can be attributed to one’s DNA but if I look at the women in my family, I suspect curiosity is hereditary.
My grandmother was born into a lower-middle class family. She didn’t have the funds to travel, but she was curious. She read books about far away places and listened to music from around the world. She hid her curious nature with grace and charm but her true self would eventually come through. She eloped with a man whom she met on a bus. She would sneak out of the house at night to teach herself to drive her husband’s car. She was always making friends from all walks of life. She sought out ways to expand and explore her world however she could.
Her daughter had that same curiosity about the world. She chose to study drama, exploring characters and places through theatre. She left her hometown and traveled to the big city of New York to study and then to England. After returning to the States, her desire to explore never faded. She collected folk tales and art from far off places. If she couldn’t go out to see the world, she could try to bring small pieces of the world to herself.
Then this woman had three daughters, one of which is me. Though me and my siblings all have a wild hair, I’m the one who ended up on the opposite side of the Earth. My mother and grandmother never asked me what I was thinking. They knew what was driving me.
One of my favorite explorations was when I was able to do my exploring with these two women.
Maybe it was the winding alleyways or the chilly wind, but Edinburgh had something that woke our explorative spirits. At that time, I lived in Edinburgh. Many of the things that had become common to me stood out to my grandmother and mom. The historic architecture, the green parks, the stone streets are not everyday sights to many people. There’s a castle in the middle of the city! How many cities have a castle on a hill right in the middle?! My grandmother was even impressed by more modern features like the robust bus system and convenient trains. Seeing the city through their eyes took me back to how I felt when I first saw Edinburgh. I was immediately refreshed.
My grandmother felt especially brave on this trip. In every castle we visited, she peeked in every nook and cranny, climbed up every staircase. One particularly dark and narrow spiral staircase attracted my grandmother. I did not think it was a good idea for her to climb, but she would not accept any limits based on her age. We slowly ascended the cold stone steps and at the top we found ourselves at a beautiful outdoor view of the castle grounds and the nearby river, the cold wind blowing through our hair and the smell of the water tickling our noses. At 90 years old, my grandmother had more zest than the average 30 year old. And for everything she saw, she had a sense of appreciation and awe. My grandmother and mom reminded me to hold on to my wonder. Edinburgh has history, romance, and mystery and I had almost forgotten.
I keep this in mind now in Guangzhou. Although I’ve lived here for four years, I continue looking at my surroundings with curiosity and wonder. I explore as often as possible by trying new foods, going to new places, or just trying to view my current situation through someone else’s eyes. This mindset of exploration keeps life fresh and new. It keeps me looking forward to the next day and the next adventure. The women in my family have given this trait to me and I now feel the responsibility to pass it on and encourage others to explore.
Aaron McKenzie, New Zealand
The Art of Exploring
“You don’t have to be a hero to accomplish great things or to compete.
You can just be an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.” – Sir Edmund Hilary
I grew up an “ordinary” kid, in an “ordinary” family but it didn’t mean I was destined to be just “ordinary”. I knew, I was destined to explore, through the art of travel.
The only way I knew to how to accomplish this was by leaving the village I grew up in and travel the globe. Knowing that there would never been an end to this exploration trip, just like the once great explorers seeking out new lands knowing they would never step foot on their homeland soil again, but all for the greater good.
For me, to explore the world, with its beauty, rawness, difference in cultures and people is one of the greatest adventures any person could hope to have.
The last 20+ years of travel has made me realise that my passion, or really what sparks joy daily, is motivating and submerging myself into challenging situations, complicated life puzzles, cultures so completely foreign, countries so far removed from my own homeland.
“I will go anywhere as long is it is forward” as David Livingston once said.
I always wonder why I would exist? Who I should be? Where do I really belong to? Am I born to be someone great and successful? Or I will just be nobody no matter how hard I try? All those questions are always flying around in my head.
I came from a very traditional Chinese family and grow up here in this beautiful city Guangzhou. I used to be very lazy and wanted no responsibilities on my shoulders, and surprisingly I knew exactly how to escape from it. I was gifted.
As all you know, a traditional family always comes with a traditional dad. It’s like a fixed package. I knew my dad loves smart kids. He would do everything to teach you all his life experiences and lessons once he finds out that you are seeking the knowledges from the society. By learning from a master who is too willing to teach, there are always coming with tons of pressures. To the young me that I used to be, pressures will be the last thing I would ever want to touch only second to touching a cockroach. So, I pretended to be so innocent and blank, cared about nothing, easily cried and easily smiled. That created a daughter image who was too simple to step into the society or facing any pressures, not even smart enough to pass an exam. Thanks to that, my dad most likely gave up to push me to become one of those top kids, and spending all his hope on my sister and brother. I had a very casual, non-pressure, free and easy childhood. I even thought I am ok with it when my dad said to me that I don’t need to be anyone successful, just marry a rich man, have a lot of kids and be a happy wife forever after.
I was so addicted to live an easy life, until one day, I was chatting with my favorite art teacher.
“Linda, I am wondering what the world outside of this country is like. Do you think it’s a good idea if I could ever go abroad and study? ”
“Are you serious?”
“Yea, too risky, right? I thought so too.”
Linda adjusted her sitting position and tried to give me a face with all the seriousness:
“You should definitely go, honey! Trust me! You finally realize your personality has nothing to explore here. I have been waiting for you to say it at the very first day you became my student. You have such a creative mind waiting for you to notice.”
In fact, I had never thought about whether my personality could be explored or not, but it was the first moment in my life I have had ever hearing some voices deep from my heart. I wanted to go out.
By the time, my sister was studying aboard in Arizona, United States. So she would be my one and only key to open the gate of getting out of here. I called my sister, making sure there will be a summer camp going on at her school, and let her helped me through all the paper works. Then here comes the big boss.
I walked in to my dad’s room with my classic innocent and know nothing about the world face:
“Daddy, do you think I can go to the summer camp at sister’s school? She strongly recommended me to give it a try, it will be an awesome summer to study different cultures and practice my English, don’t you think?”
He looked at me with his ‘don’t-lie-to-me’ eyes with a cigarette holding by his hand.
“Can you promise you will come back right after the camp?”
My dad surely had a hunch of what I was planning to do, but he was also sure that I won’t have the guts to not coming back.
“Of course I am coming back after the camp, where else can I be once the camp ended?” I answered with my guilty heart.
Maybe it was because I finally showed some curiosity of the world; maybe my dad was too sure that I was not an outgoing person; or maybe I was just lucky my dad was having a good mood. I got the permission nodded from my dad.
In July, I finally step my footprint on the land of United States. I took a deep breath of the air of freedom. The first thing I got to the school, I called my dad saying I am going to stay until I finish college. Yep! I am sure you can imagine the rest of story of what I’ve been through with my dad. And I started my independent life of studying aboard in the following 7 years.
Even though I am still nobody today to the world like I used to dream of, but I think I’ve made one of the best decisions in my life that I will be proud of forever. I completely changed my life, my personality, my spirit and all. I am finally ME.
It doesn’t matter why you exist. No one can tell you who you should be. You don’t belong to anyone or anywhere. You belong to yourself. The most successful thing you could ever do is to be YOU. There is no meaning of being successful without the soul of who you truly are. So I guess, I will just keep seeking the way of success, but along the way, who I truly am is the one and only thing I should never forget and keep exploring.
BEHIND THE SCENE
LOCK CHUCK is a bridge to connect different cultures. In this Go Explore project, we were so excited to have so many talents around the world to create something cool together. Here comes the moments behind the scene.