One of the coolest things about living in Shanghai is the ability for us to leave and have at our fingertips a hundred different places we could go. Whether it’s Australia, Thailand, Bali, or Japan, some very awesome countries are just a short plane ride away. But, as focused as we all are to jump the China ship as soon as possible, we can forget just how cool this country can be itself.
Now, I’m no better. Whenever a golden week or Chinese New Year rolls around the first thing I’m thinking is: “Okay how can I get as far away from Shanghai as possible?” There is something so super tempting about escaping the mainland that is hard to describe. However, in our annual (for some bi-monthly) exodus from our home and as we look to a different foreign country to go to, we forget to consider just staying put.
I don’t mean a staycation at a fancy Puxi hotel - I mean travelling China! Right now I have a few friends leaving China for good and it’s because of that fact that they are in a mad panic to see as much of China as they can while the clock is slowly ticking to repatriation day. It’s funny because for the two or three years that they have lived here, travelling around China was never even on the radar, and it was only when they were faced with no longer living here they were like “OH CRAP - I haven’t seen the Great Wall!”
Tomorrow I board a plane for Guilin to see what all the fuss is about. I’m expecting no less than a picture perfect holiday surrounded by the kind of beauty I expected to see an hour outside of Shanghai before I truly knew what was an hour outside of Shanghai: spoiler - it looks like more Shanghai. I’m ready to see the kind of China that we all kind of forget about sometimes when we’re stuck in our umpteenth traffic jam in the city. The China that’s as beautiful as our pins on Pinterest make it out to be!
So from here on in I’ve decided to try to do a China based trip at least once a year with my family. There are so many places here to go it’s like visiting 10 different countries with diverse landscapes all in itself. From Yunan to Hainan – before our time here is up I want to cuddle pandas, ride a llama, roll around on the sands of China Hawaii and see ice sculptures. I’m going to do my best to avoid that mad dash at the end of our contract going “WAIT I NEED TO SEE A TERRACOTTA WARRIOR!”
I guess seeing your friends leave teaches you a few things about exploring within your own backyard while you can.
That being said, if you were to ask me how much of Canada I’ve explored I’d say “Meeeeh, I’ll get to it eventually. There’s lots of time.”