Well, things around here are escalating rather quickly. There are only 6 sleeps until Matt and I wake up, grab our bags and head out to the glorious Brisbane International airport. We’ll board a flying aluminium tube with hundreds of strangers, sit there staring at a tv screen for 8 or so hours and get off feeling craptacular but really, really excited. It’s my first time visiting Hong Kong and China and I’m really looking forward to visiting a brand new country.
All up we are gone for around 4 weeks, starting with 6 nights in Hong Kong and then onto China. I’ve been reading ALL of the internets, stalking Instagram hashtags and scouring blogs looking for the best things to do and see. My whole plan of attack is primarily based around food. I plan to eat as many dumplings as I possibly can within a 7 day period. I’m after some real local experiences too, to get my hands (and teeth) on some delicious local food. Those are always the best experiences, am I right?! Crouched in a tiny restaurant packed with locals, lots of noise and action buzzing all around, eating the best food of your life. Those are the travel moments I live for… total anonymity, immersed in a new culture.
I haven’t even begun to think about packing. Bear in mind we are in the middle of moving house, so half my clothes and other things are at one house while the other half is still at the apartment. There is a really, really good chance all my photos from this trip could involve me wearing track suit pants and graphic-print tee-shirts from 2004. As per usual I will probably be throwing clothes in the general direction of my suitcase the night before we leave, hoping I pack enough stuff then realising I have nothing to wear when I go to get dressed each day.
After Hong Kong we catch a train up to Guangzhou for 5 days and then onto Beijing, before exploring Huangshan and Hangzhou. I absolutely loved studying history at school so Beijing is a real treat for me. I’m going to get my geek on and marvel at all the sites I read about in history text books. I also have plans to visit some botanical gardens and recreate as many scenes as possible from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I think everyone involved would really enjoy that.
I’m trying to think when my last big trip overseas was, I guess it would’ve been Singapore and Thailand at the end of last year. I think it was in November. Time goes so fast over that end of year period it’s really easy to lose track of where you were and when, before you know it it’s April and you’re going stir crazy. I’ve been getting really restless lately, itching to get out of Brisbane for a little while and have a big adventure.
Brisbane is my home and I definitely can’t see myself living anywhere else long-term, I love having my home base here. That said, I start to feel off kilter when we haven’t been anywhere in a while. It’s like I start to panic that I’m getting a little bit too comfortable and worry I’ll start growing roots or attach myself to my home like a barnacle on a ship and never, ever leave. I have to keep moving and getting out of here to keep fresh and centred.
I love the completely wild feeling that comes with travel. Those moments when you find yourself sitting on a bus packed full of locals, looking out the window as a new world whizzes past you and you have absolutely no idea where you are. The kind of moments where you know nobody can find you, you’re out in the world and you’re completely lost and you don’t mind one little bit.
Those moments always give me a lot of clarity and perspective. They’re the moments my mind starts to fill with ideas and words and all the restrictions and resistance are removed. Without the usual comforts of your physical world around you, you can hear your inner voice clearer than ever. Mine gets really loud and I become very sure about what I need to do next and where it is I’m going.
I’m really looking forward to figuring out how we approach our travel differently on this trip. It’s the first time Matt and I are travelling together where Little Grey Box is officially our business. It’s going to be a strange mix of ‘this is our job now’ and ‘let’s have fun, we’re on holidays!’ I’ll be learning how to balance having fun and chilling out with getting photos, videos and information to share on LGB, especially as it’s such a long trip. I’ll also be learning how to keep sharing posts on LGB and not just disappear for a whole month. It’s the longest trip away I’ve done since leaving my job last year and it’s going to be fun figuring this all out as we go.
My focus for this trip is being present in each moment and enjoying each day. I can tend to be the type of person to always be looking ahead, waiting for the next big thing to happen, which means I can skip over how awesome the current moment is. My mental checklist can sometimes get the better of me, so I really want to focus on taking the time to slow down, be present and enjoy what’s right in front of me.
Until then, I’m enjoying the last few days in our old apartment before this big new chapter in our lives begins. It is Matt’s last day at work tomorrow, we officially move house on Sunday and then shit gets real from Monday onwards. It’s all systems go, up in here!