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About Us

Hello! Welcome to Books and Bao

Find out about us and our regular writers below.

We love guest posts so if you’d like to write for us or make any post suggestions then email us.

Want to find out more? Download Our Media Kit Here

Jessica Esa

Jess is the creator and editor of Books and Bao and is passionate about sharing her travel tips with others, and capturing those perfect moments.

There are those who start a journey with a rigid plan, and those that wing it. Jess blends those attitudes together, understanding that, to see the most of a place, you must do your research. She’s passionate about travel, travel photography, and travel writing.

Jess left her hometown of Swansea in 2011 and proceeded to live in every corner of the UK, graduating with an MA English while working in several coffee shops, and journalism jobs before finally admitting to herself that home, no matter how big, is always too small.

She moved abroad in 2014, finding a new home in East Asia (with lots of trips elsewhere). She hopes to inspire others to make the jump to get out, dig in, and explore.

Follow Jess’s adventures and latest photography on Instagram.

Will Harris

Will Harris was once asked why he doesn’t simply take vacations and visit places for a week, and this question lies at the heart of his exploring and his writing.

Never satisfied with just seeing a place, he reads the literature, learns the language, studies the history, and explores what is off the beaten track.

Will became a high school teacher in the UK in 2012, but was immediately dissatisfied, and so (after meeting Jess at a job interview) used his career as an opportunity to jump ship in 2014 (with Jess). Since then he has lived in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul. East Asia is the place he calls home, but he will never be done learning.

Will writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.

Will believes that reading a culture’s literature is the fastest way to find its heart, and here he aims to pass on what he deems to be the most valuable literature, and occasional biographies and travel stories, to you.

For Will’s latest book recommendations visit his Instagram.

Get to Know Our Regular Guest Writers

Kristen Rossi

Kristen Evelyn Rossi is an international jazz singer and entrepreneur.


Born in New York, she is the product of a theatrical mother and a childhood filled with music. In 2006, Kristen graduated with a BA in Theatre from Point Park University. Shortly after, she packed up her bags and moved to Bangkok.

Since 2008 Kristen has made a niche in Asia working her way around the region performing for luxury hotels in Bangkok, Vietnam, Macau, and Hong Kong and landing roles in film, commercials, and voice-over.  In 2015 she branched out to Europe and was the resident singer at The Mandarin Oriental in Geneva, Switzerland.

Kristen is the co-founder of Broadway Babe and Musical Theatre for KIDS Bangkok, both with the mission to share her love of Broadway and the American songbook.

She hopes to share her stories, musings, and lessons learnt from ten years living abroad in her column: Life lessons learnt in Asia

When not in Asia Kristen spends her time in the United Kingdom. Follow her on Instagram. To find out more visit: www.kristenevelynrossi.com www.musicaltheatreforkids.com

Ashley Portero

Ashley Portero is a writer, traveler and bibliophile based in Miami, FL.

Ashley is pretty sure that the only activity she has consistently pursued throughout her life is reading books – her first introduction to the world outside of the United States.

Inspired by her love of history, classic literature and science fiction, Ashley began writing her own short stories as a teenager and eventually expanded into journalism as well. After studying abroad in the Netherlands during college, Ashley was bitten by the travel bug. She has walked amongst the ruins of ancient Troy, watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat and admired China’s expansive landscape from the Great Wall.

After graduating from Emerson College in 2010, Ashley worked as a digital reporter in New York, before relocating to Prague to teach English as a second language. She lived in China for almost three years before returning to the U.S. in late 2016. You can read about her Chinese travel and cultural adventures on her blog, Stranger in a Red Land.

For more info, visit her website: www.ashleyportero.com