China is what Happens When You’re Making Other Plans

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may have noticed that China was not mentioned anywhere in my original itinerary. I was supposed to be headed to New Zealand for the month of October (Sorry Matt). I’d done the research, made connections, and was getting psyched to go sky diving to celebrate my 26th birthday. I came thisclose to buying a plane ticket. Only about a month before departure did I make the decision to trade all of that for China- a country I’d barely ever even considered visiting.

Chinese Empire

So what happened?

The most obvious, unexpected thing in the world: I met a boy.

Yes me, Miss “Being single is SOOO great, I’m not going to wait around for anyone, I’m going off to see the WORLD.” I still believe what I said completely. I was all set to ride off into the sunset on my own, but life had other plans for me. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say it was that independent will and attitude that attracted this guy in the first place. Funny how that works.

I had, I still have, big plans, but I am not so set in my ways to recognize a golden oppurtunity when it is smacking me upside the head. A guy who understands, and shares, my passion for travel and philosophy of life. Someone in the throes of his own world exploration. Someone who thinks I’m capable, not irresponsible, and sees my independence as an attractive quality. And the bonus: he’s smoking hot. Someone like that does not come along every day.

And when, after a perfect summer, someone that awesome invites you to come visit him while he’s teaching English in Xi’an China, you find a way to make that happen!

As I said above, it has never really crossed my mind to go to China. It seemed closed, remote, the kind of place you would be lost without a tour guide. But aside from a frustrating afternoon at the visa office so far things have been startlingly easy.

Auf nach China
photo credit: Max Braun


It’s going to be really great actually: I’ll be ferrying from Osaka into Shanghai, catching the tail end of the World Expo, before heading up to Xi’an for a couple of weeks and then onto Beijing. Instead of bungee jumping for my birthday I’ll be stuffing myself with Chinese food and hopefully getting to visit some pandas (I LOVE pandas). New Zealand isn’t going anywhere, but China is a dynamic, rapidly changing country, and I’m excited to peak inside.

This unexpected, but totally awesome turn of events has been a real game changer for me. I thought I knew where I was going, what my life for the next year was going to be about, and how it would look. I forgot that life has a funny way of laughing in the face of know-it-alls.

So my trip has already changed before it ever began. I was looking at the world from one perspective, and now I see that I need to be more flexible, and open ended in my planning. I can read all the guides I want, try to plan ahead, but in the end I ust don’t know what’s going to happen or where I’ll end up. At this point I know where I will be up until New Years, but after that we will just have to see.

And once again travel takes me places I never thought I’d be.

83 thoughts on “China is what Happens When You’re Making Other Plans”

  1. BOO YEAH! That’s awesome that you stopped looking and then he popped into your life unexpectedly. Isn’t that how things always go?

    Can’t wait to read about your China travels…and do we get to see a picture of you and this strikingly handsome fellow traveler?

  2. China is a great place to be right now. It seems to be the place no one planned to come to, but somehow ended up. Chinese New Year is the best time to visit New Zealand. Good summer weather and long holiday escaping the cold for those of us working in China. Have fun!

  3. AH! I AM SO LATE TO THIS! How exciting a romance is now tangled into this crazy web travel weaves 🙂 Yep, so glad you WENT to be with the boy. It always seems crazy in your own mind… at least it was for me to come to Oz. All of my friends were like GO TO OZ – it’s amazing, you’re young and you’re in love! And, now I just put in my partner visa here! So interested to see where this takes you 😉

    1. Yup- I feel like risks like that are always well worth taking. It’s always a battle for me between being open to romance and not sacrificing what’s important to me, but I seem to be striking it right this time.

  4. This is exactly the sort of reason I advise people not to bother so much with plans for long term travelling. If you stick strictly to a plan when travelling, then you’re not doing it right and enjoying yourself in my opinion 🙂

  5. you just described the absolute best part of traveling! enjoy China–it’s a magnificent place to change your plans. and do tell more on the boy……??!!!

  6. Life is just full of surprises, huh? It’s very cool that you were open to changing up your itinerary and followed your heart, and ended up somewhere you hadn’t planned for. I hope you have a wonderful time!

  7. I think that this will really work out well for you. Maybe you’ll even find a place to come back and teach after you’re finished with your travels!

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