A Little Revelation…Traveling versus, well, Traveling

I wrote this post two weeks ago as I was sitting on the airplane on my way to China and feel like it’s a great way to kick off the coming posts about my whirlwind travels through Beijing, Yangshou, and Shanghai.

Groggy from the rude awakening blaring out of my alarm clock at 4:30am it was far too early to even bat around the term “awake.” No, it was pure instinct that kept me from endlessly hitting the snooze button this morning.

Instead, I grabbed my comfortable-but-not-a-hobo travel outfit I had carefully laid out last night and politely lit my way to the communal bathroom with my iPhone while I dodged the other Couchsurfers sprawled on mats in the large, open communal room. Within 15 minutes my bag was re-packed, teeth brushed, and I found myself standing at the door of my host’s house, the red brake-lights of my waiting taxi gleaming in stark contrast to the pitch black sky.

Darkness in the early morning, pre-dawn hours.

Uncaffeinated and bleary eyed, I had managed to avoid all complex thought throughout the rote morning tasks of a travel day.

Then it hit me all at once.

I’m going to China! Right now.

Cue an impromptu happy dance on the sidewalk because suddenly the adrenaline of actually being back in the travel saddle hit me.

It’s been ages since I felt this way. Coming back to Southeast Asia was a different kind of excitment; there’s a familiarity in Thailand and different (arguably fewer) challenges in my temporary expat lifestyle. I still consider myself traveling because I’m not living in the US, but it’s “slow travel,” versus, well, travel.

But China. China is a whole new ballgame. A whole new culture.

And staring at those taxi lights snapped it all back into crystal clarity for me; now once again I feel the adventure and newness that caused spontaneous smiles and a bear hug good-bye to my traveling friend as I did the Charleston toward my waiting cab.

I have a new language to cobble together over the next two weeks, markets to explore, and there is Chinese food to be eaten!

Check back throughout the month as I sprinkle into the mix some stories from my travels through China.

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20 Responses to A Little Revelation…Traveling versus, well, Traveling

  1. Joshua Johnson April 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    yay for impromptu happy dance!

    • Anonymous April 7, 2011 at 12:46 am #

      Gotta love the power of the happy dance! :)

  2. Scott April 5, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Never been to China, but I know the feeling well and it never gets old! Looking fwd to your posts!

    • Anonymous April 5, 2011 at 6:44 am #

      Thanks Scott! Do you do the happy dance too? ;-)

  3. Lindsay Hogg April 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Haha awww!!! I’m very excited for you. I loved China! And the food… OH THE FOOD… nom nom nom…

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

      Thank you Lindsay! It’s actually not everyday that I hear someone rave
      about China :)

  4. Mike April 4, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Can’t wait to read more as I’m headed to China at the end of this month. I’m excited but more than a little nervous. I’ll enjoy reading about your experiences as I prepare myself for China.

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 8:20 am #

      I had some whirlwind days through a few of the cities, so hopefully you go
      at a slower pace! Nothing to worry about but some fun peculiarities :-)

      • Mike April 4, 2011 at 8:34 am #

        Good to hear. I am going to go slow and take the full 30 days on my visa. After all, the visa was expensive. I want to get my money’s worth :)

        • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 8:36 am #

          I hear ya – and good call! :)

  5. Erica Kuschel April 4, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Please provide a video of the small happy dance. :P

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 7:10 am #

      Hehehe, once we meet you’ll be sure to see it. It ain’t particularly pretty,
      but it’s a signature Shannon move :)

  6. Andi Perullo April 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    So excited for you! China was the reason that I fell in love with traveling!!! :)

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 1:42 am #

      Thanks Andi, the country is really challenging but already love the people
      and experiences! :)

  7. TravelnLass April 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    “It’s been ages since I felt this way.” Ah yes, that giddy excitement of embarking on a whole new travel adventure. Now if we could just somehow package that delicious feeling… (we’d all be RICH, no?) ;)

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 1:43 am #

      Hehe, we would be awfully rich – plus it’d be nice just to have it on tap as
      a pick me up occasionally! :) But I guess it just means we have to keep
      traveling to experience it…darn ;-)

  8. TotalTravelBug April 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your China adventure! I recently spent 6 months in SE Asia and didn’t make it to China and I’m really disappointed now. Hopefully I’ll pick up some tips for a future trip!

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 1:39 am #

      Thanks Monica! I think it was probably wisest that you didn’t tackle China
      in those 6 months though…there is so much to see in SEA that China
      warrants it’s own trip for sure – and now you have a really good reason to
      come back! :)

  9. James Clark April 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I love that happy dance when you are about to go somewhere new, and you described it so well. My former housemates always noted an extra spring in my step as I leaped to their car, ready to be taken to the airport.

    • Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 1:41 am #

      My smile is always just a bit wider on my way to the airport :) Glad I’m
      not the only one with spontaneous fits of happiness!

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