Tommy Walker is a Journalist. Originally from Stockton on Tees, he now lives between Thailand and Taiwan; reporting all over Asia.
What are your fondest memories of growing up in Teesside?
Growing up, my fondest memories were going to Boro matches. My parents would drive and park in some old shabby industrial estate while we walked over to the Navigation Pub, then into the ground. Later on, my Grandad and Uncle would go to games with me. We’d go to the Merlin Pub in Billingham and get the bus to the matches. We used to listen to Ali Brownlee and Bernie Slaven on Century Radio. That’s what added about extra buzz to going to games. We would hear Ali’s commentary on the journey back, his overly ecstatic celebrations that would make us all cheery. Commentary has never been the same since those two.
Where did you move to?
I live between Taipei, Taiwan and Bangkok. But previous years I’ve lived mostly in Hong Kong and Australia.
How long have you been there and what do you do now?
I left Teesside 9 years ago. I work in the media mostly today, reporting on international news in Asia, such politics, democracy, human rights and health issues. Before that I was a travel writer. One day I’ll move into reporting on football. Back in Teesside, I once worked in a sales job for the two Powell brothers at Cleveland Cable Company in Middlesbrough!
Are there many differences between Teesside and where you are now?
Huge differences because of the climate, the culture, the cuisine etc. Everything’s more chaotic in Asia, but in a good way. Senses overload.
Do you get to go back ‘home’ much?
I try to get back at least once a year. For me it’s a time to rest. I eat plenty of Parmos, go to the pub and watch Boro. Right now with the pandemic, it’s nearly two years since I’ve been back, but I hope to soon!
What do you miss about Teesside/the North East?
Because I’ve lived away so long, and visited so many countries, coming back brings back a feeling of ease. The voices of my friends and family, and just being on the same wave length with conversations and banter.
I do miss a good parmo, and a good pub, too. But overall, just being able to relax around humble surroundings is what I enjoy most.