We survived 22-hour train rides, bus scams and heat-index temperatures of 120 degrees during our summer travels and have arrived home with tans and bags full of dirty laundry to prove it. It’s good to be back (especially in an air conditioned room) but had a great time seeing some amazing things. We decided to be a 100% spontaneous on this trip and do very little planning which made most of our destinations a surprise for us.
Many of the places we went were not international cities or traveled much by westerners. This had both positive and negative effects on our trip. I mean, we want to see all different parts of China, not just the big cities, but traveling in less popular places meant that English speakers were scarce, even in hostels catering to overseas travelers, which makes everything more difficult. All I can say is I am really happy that I had studied some Chinese because it came in handy several times. (We were also stared at a lot and now that I can understand a little more Chinese I could hear that everyone was talking about us which was a little annoying.)
Of course number one on my agenda was eating a hamburger (a real hamburger) and buying some English language novels as both are difficult to do in our hometown. Luckily, within the first few days we had achieved both and I was happy (for a few days at least until I finished all my books and couldnâ€™t find anymore.)
Our travels also took us to some of the oldest places in China, many with spiritual meaning. We climbed the most scared mountain in China (all 7,000 sacred steps), we stood in the same spot as Confucius had taught, looked at the finger holes bored into trees over decades of Kung Fu training at Shaolin Temple and went to a number of temples, cities and caves that had been visited by emperors and dignitaries for thousands of years.
So while I’m sorry that we couldn’t go back to the US like we had originally intended I am not sorry that we had a great time seeing some amazing, ancient, mysterious places in our adopted country. Over the next week or so I’ll be posting some pictures and entries about what we saw and learned so make sure to check back!
Oh, one more thing to mention. While I was gone I was featured as a case study on Rolf Pott’s site Vagablogging. Rolf is one of the kings of the long term overseas traveling and his bestselling book, Vagabonding, is a must read for any serious traveler. His articles appear regularly in National Geographic Traveler, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and now he interviewed little ‘ole me. (Okay, I dealt with one of his assistants mostly, but he did write me an email!) Anyway, it is a total honor to be featured on his site.
Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker.Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker. Doing all three in China
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