This summer I was very fortunate to be able to visit family back home for a whole month AND more importantly, successfully returned back to China. Going home this summer was definitely a risk considering the strict border policies that China has kept in place. Considering I hadn’t been home since March 2020, I weighed the risks and went for it! I had a great month back home spending time with family, having days of doing nothing in the crisp Colorado air, seeing my goddaughter baptized, spending 4th of July in Wyoming, and so much more. But in the back of my mind was always the stress of completing the journey back to China. The travel policies and regulations of China have been the strictest in the world starting at the end of March 2020 when they completely shut down the border to all non-citizens. In the past 2 years they have “loosened” them somewhat with lots of caveats of qualifying visas allowed, testing procedures/policies to be approved for entry, and variations of quarantine after arriving. No tourists have been allowed into China since March of 2020.Continue reading
Well, this is one of the first few extended moments I’ve had to sit down and do some writing on what I’ve been up to since my mom arrived last week! It’s really been a whirlwind and I give her major props for keeping up the the crazy long days and excursions I’ve planned. I met my mom at the airport, shuttled her back to my apartment and told her to pack for the next day! What a trooper. I wonder where I get my go go go attitude and lifestyle…..for those of you that don’t know me that’s a joke. I got it from my mom, the original energizer bunny.
I decided to take a moment to do some yoga meditative poses on my nightly walk and reflect on the past few days and challenges that have come my way. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come as a person and my growth in learning to truly feel my emotions and to do my best to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion for myself and others. The past few weeks I have learned what are essential things to always have with you to make life easier and for basic survival skills. I thought my backpack I got at REI and it has been the perfect bag. It’s canvas, light, durable, has lots of room and I’m so happy I brought it. The first thing I learned was to ALWAYS bring an umbrella with you because rain or shine, the umbrella is critical to surviving the weather extremes and changes of daily life in Shanghai
During my commute on the metro back home this afternoon, it dawned on me that it is September. I arrived in Shanghai the evening of August 15th and the last few weeks have been somewhat of a blur between surviving the heat, welcoming afternoon rain showers, moving out of my hotel, training for work and exploring Shanghai. I recently received my schedule for work and was informed that I have the first week of October entirely off for the autumn festival. I can only imagine that this week is hectic with celebrations and busy assuming that most of the country has the week off.
I was pondering about how to start this post last night while I was madly pedaling away at my spin class. This spin class was my first chinese exercise class where my instructor looked straight out of a lululemon catalog and had the overly peppy personality to match. Chinese techno and pop music was being blasted in the background while I tried not to fall off of my bike and heard the Chinese versions of “YMCA” and “Ice, Ice Baby.” At one point the instructor had us doing body rolls while pedaling. I was very confused. Story of my life right now. I am mostly confused.
Well, it is now day four in Shanghai and what a few days it has been! I landed after the easiest flight ever where I had a whole row to myself from LAX to Shanghai Pudong Airport. My driver picked me up and deposited me at my hotel where I settled in. The next morning I immediately started exploring the city, using the metro system which is very intuitive, easy and reliable (so far). It really puts American transportation to shame!
We arrived safely in Bangkok and were picked up at the airport by some staff members of the tour company we had signed up to do Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with. When we had decided that we were going back to Malaysia, my mother concluded that she wanted to go to Cambodia as well as a life long goal and after the advice of several friends, we decided to go with a tour. A tour group has its pros and cons like anything, but we had an absolutely amazing time and loved getting to travel with a small group of fellow adventure and travel lovers. We also had an amazing guide and great in country guides as well that made the experience that much more beautiful. While I was the youngest on the trip, there was another young adult who had just graduated college and was with her grandma on the trip. I find that traveling with “older” people is way more fun and something that I would absolutely do again in a heartbeat.
College is the epitome of a beautiful conundrum. It is failing to learn and learning to fail, figuring everything out only to realize you know nothing, interacting with the best (and sometimes the worst) people and realizing that every moment of life is flying by and you might as well enjoy it to the maximum because none of us know the future. No class inside or outside the classroom can teach that. Embrace now.
Lately in life I have been lost in the world (as opposed to school). I have been far too distracted and interested in the world (and less in my reading) and can’t seem to stop moving; its as though I have an endless adventurous twitch in my body that won’t let me sit still. I had an amazing weekend and went on countless adventures, mostly by myself which was kind of perfect. I think a lot of people have a huge fear of being by themselves, solo and alone. I think there’s no better way than to be my yourself; we all are stuck with ourselves our entire lives, so you might as well learn to enjoy it.
(If you want to find the video link to our road trip adventure, scroll to the bottom of the article. However…if you do you will miss out on the best part: storytelling!)
There comes a point during an given amount of time in life where it is required to pack a small bag of clothes, grab your nearest friend, a family member, some kale chips, chocolate and hop in the car and hit the road for a good ole’ American road trip adventure. It doesn’t matter the distance or destination, but the open road calls us all at some point. As humans, I believe we all have an innate need and desire to explore and go somewhere beyond the current environment we know.