About Ryan

I’m a dad, designer, China expat and blogger – just like the label advertises.

Most people know me from my involvement and endearment of the online China expat scene. While much of this blog centres around and is coloured by my life as a foreigner in China, it also covers a somewhat eclectic collection of things that interest me: parenting, photography, technology, music, media, design and lots more.

I live in Haikou, on Hainan island with my beautiful wife, two adorable sons, and one slobbery pup. For most of my time in China I lived in Suzhou, and I started my China journey up in Dalian, a city in the north-eastern province of Liaoning.

In a previous life I worked editing and writing for several prominent Canadian publications. I often say I was a “journalist”, but as I never had any interest in interviewing politicians nor having brushes with death in war-torn countries, I don’t really deserve the title.

I have been known to write professionally, and may one day do so again. Currently my interests are focused on learning Chinese, blogging and Web design/development. In regards to that last one, check out my company, Dao By Design. If you want to know a few more details about how I got here, check out “How I got where I am“, a (slightly outdated) post that gives a basic rundown.

This blog isn’t the only blog I write at. I am also the founder of Lost Laowai, a site and blog for expats in China. From 2008 to 2009 I blogged “professionally” for CNET Asia about technology and how it relates to China. I also, somewhat infrequently, post tech and design related articles at Tip Trick Mod and my business blog, Dao By Design.

Though not strictly “blogging”, I also created and run the Hao Hao Report and the China Blog Network.

This Blog

I started this blog, then called TheHumanaught.com, back in 2003, when I first began a five-month trip backpacking around Europe and Asia. At the time it was on LiveJournal. The blog went on a short hiatus after I returned to Canada, but I picked it up again after deciding to move to China to teach ESL in January 2005.

At that time the blog was powered by Blogger, but in 2006 I moved it to the much more robust WordPress platform, which it has been on ever since.

Perhaps it was age, or time, but I had also grown tired of the pseudonym, and in the last days of 2010 I retired the moniker “The Humanaught” and migrated my blog to its current domain, ryan-mclaughlin.com.

Some other parts of the site you might find interesting:

  • Published Works: Here are some of the travel articles I’ve written.
  • Photo Sets: A collection of photographs I’ve taken through the course of my travels.
  • Video Blog: A once interest of mine – video blogging/editing. Here are some videos showing various aspects of life in China. One day I promise that new entries shall be made!

Elsewhere Online

Though this site strives to be my personal blog and aggregator of all I am doing online – I can often also be found online at the following haunts:


out-campaignI am also an “outted” atheist.

Though many of my thoughts and beliefs have changed and evolved through the course of my life, and I’m sure they will continue to do so; two things to me are constants:

The first is that there is no god nor gods. I don’t think that the god of Abraham has any more substance or relevance on modern life than the gods of the Greeks, Romans or Norse.

The second is that living a moral and ethical life has absolutely no tie to religion in anyway. Unlike religion – which tends to indoctrinate the young, weak and poor – morals and ethics are a personal choice available to us all. That a large segment of the world’s population continues to use archaic literature riddled with immoral, cruel and inhuman actions to guide their “moral” lives is both baffling and worrisome to me.

For more about my views, please see my post entitled: “I am an atheist“, which includes a lot of interesting conversation from both the religious and non-religious camps. It, unfortunately, contains some rather moronic arguments as well. Spice of life and all that…

I mention my beliefs here, both as a proclamation and as notice that some content on my blog (but not much) may attack or challenge beliefs held by others. I make no apologies for this.

Even More

Here are some odd or miscellaneous facts about myself:

  • I’ve run as a candidate in both provincial- and federal-level Canadian elections. Both times for the Green Party of Canada and both times losing by a very, very wide margin. I’m not sure where I sit on the political spectrum these days, but the Greens and their platform of sustainability will always remain foremost in my mind when I think of what government *should* be doing.
  • I can complete a Rubik’s Cube in ~3min.
  • I’m a fan of body art and body modification. I have a solid number of piercings and a moderate amount of ink.
  • I have a hard time staying put, and have lived in 26 different residences over 34 years – that’s about 0.75 places per year.