• Blaine Hoppenrath

How I Ended Up at Shake Shack... in Hong Kong

Updated: Dec 26, 2019

I do a lot solo. And I am proud of that. My working theory is that I’d rather do something by myself than not go at all. It’s also how I ended up at Shake Shack. By myself. In Hong Kong. You see it wasn’t exactly the meal I was planning on having. But it was the meal I got.


For context: I had 10 hours to kill in Hong Kong while flying back from Delhi to LA. And I wasn’t going to sit at the airport all day long (even though it is a VERY nice airport). So I thought I would explore the city. I made my way through immigration and after a 20 minute train ride, I found myself in the city center. I perused a few city blocks when I came to the realization that I was overwhelmed. Could I order from the local food stall? Probably. Was I feeling frustrated and defeated with my ability to not speak the language? Absolutely. There was no way I was going to be able to order food without crying out of pure frustration. Besides, there was also a lunch hour rush and I could tell the locals had things to do and places to be and I was not about to hold them up.


So, I walked back to the mall above the train station and stumbled across Shake Shake. F*** It, I thought. I have spent the past two weeks on a fantastic, but exhausting trip and if I want a burger, I’m going to get a burger. So I ordered a SmackBurger, cheese fries, and the Milk Tea Shake (a Hong Kong exclusive). And guess what! It was delicious.



Am I disappointed in myself that I didn’t get the meal I originally wanted? Yeah. Am I going to lose sleep over it? Nah. Because traveling to a foreign country can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience.


I am often told how brave I am for traveling, exploring, hiking, adventuring, the way that I do. And I think there is some merit to that. Being on a 10+ hour flight is draining. Immigration can be confusing. And jet lag is a real thing. It is frustrating to rely on other people to know English because I can’t read or speak any other language (and Paris humble any hopes I had at conversational French). And sometimes, even when I am in the most fantastic places that the world has to offer, all I want is to be at home, in my own bed, snuggled up with my cat.


I wanted to write about this experience because I would like to see nothing more than women around the globe by themselves or with other female friends. My guy friends typically don't get told how brave they are for going skiing or hiking alone, they aren't considered adventurous if they go to Europe solo. And while I don't mind the compliments (I can be a little vain), I do think that perception can limit women who want to travel by themselves.


Don't get me wrong, I have some AMAZING lady friends that travel this way, but I always think there could be more.


So, for all you females out there wanted to do that Euro trip, or trek to Everett Base Camp, or relax on the beaches of Bali, just do it. Your trip won't be perfect, and you will hit some speed bumps along the way but at the end of the day you do have the strength, wisdom, and courage to make it in a new place. Even if you end up at Shake Shack and missed out on some of that Dim Sum or Roast Goose that is supposed to be pretty good in Hong Kong.

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