Ultimate Guide To Using VPN In China

Before we moved to China, my husband told me we would be using VPN to get around the infamous Great Firewall. My first reaction was “Isn’t that illegal?!” I’m still not 100% sure how to answer that question, but fast forward to just a few months later and I was using VPN every single day with no hesitation! This guide will get you to that point before you leave for China!

Ultimate Guide To Using VPN In China

Yonghe Temple AKA Lama Temple in Beijing, China
Lama Temple in Beijing. Click the pic to watch the vlog!

What Is VPN?

VPN stands for “virtual private network”. Basically, VPN enables you to sidestep The Great Firewall by making it look like you’re on the Internet in a different country.

The Best VPN Service

There are a lot of options, including some free and very cheap ones, but the service that I relied on and the one that I owe my sanity to is ExpressVPN.

Full disclosure: ExpressVPN is the only VPN service provider that I personally have experience with. I was so happy with the service that I signed up for their affiliate program, so any ExpressVPN links you see on this page are affiliate links. Just know that I would never recommend something I don’t genuinely believe in!

https://www.linkev.com/?a_aid=laurenwithoutfear

When you’re a foreigner living in China, you inevitably end up having a conversation with an expat about which VPN they use. My blogger friends in Beijing all used ExpressVPN. A lot of people who used free and cheap services ended up switching to ExpressVPN. What I’m trying to say is that I am fully confident you will be very happy with their Great-Firewall-Jumping services!

If you’re headed to China for an extended amount of time and you’re going with your spouse or partner or teenage children, I highly recommend you each get on your own VPN plan. You can be using a single account on up to 3 devices, but Eric and I couldn’t make it work between the 2 of us after about 30 minutes on that first night in Nanjing. Plus, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee so if you find you don’t need the second account, you can get your money back.

https://www.linkev.com/?a_aid=laurenwithoutfear

What Is The Great Firewall?

Technically, “The Great Firewall” refers to a variety of legislation surrounding media in China. But most people use the term to refer to Chinese internet censorship. Basically all the social media I use on a daily basis is blocked in China.

According to a Harvard study, at least 18,000 websites are blocked in China including 12 out of the top 100 global websites. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all blocked in mainland China.

The Great Firewall applies to mainland China, so if you go to Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau you don’t have to worry about any of this! You lucky bastard, you.

Why Does It Exist?

There are actually a lot of reasons for internet censorship in China. One of the big ones is to protect the values and ideologies of the Communist Party. The goal is to ban the spreading of information in China that causes people to question the government, form negative opinions about government officials, or incite riots.

But there’s this whole other economical reason for internet censorship that I can totally get on board with! Banning all the top websites meant that China opened up the playing field for Chinese companies to step in, grow, and dominate some major online industries in China. Since Facebook is banned, there’s a Chinese company called WeChat that’s done very well in China. Since Twitter is banned, more Chinese people are likely to go on Weibo. And you know how we change Google to a verb? As in, “just Google it”? Chinese people do the same thing with the local search engine brand Baidu.

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Hiking Gubeikou, an unrestored section of the Great Wall. Click the pic to watch the vlog!

What Is It Like To Use VPN?

The best way to describe this to you is by linking you to this part of a video I made. While you’re over on my YouTube channel, don’t forget to hit that little red subscribe button!

Using VPN In Hotels

The Great Firewall isn’t a filter system that prevents things from showing up. You can put anything you want on the internet in China, but eventually somebody will see it, and if it doesn’t meet the guidelines they’ll take it down real quick. Internet providers are technically responsible for their customer’s conduct, and that’s why sometimes you can’t use VPN at hotels.

Oh, and sometimes the internet slows way down on Chinese national holidays.

Is It Illegal To Use VPN?

People have been arrested for spreading information on the internet in China, but I’ve never heard of a foreigner being arrested for using VPN. VPN usage is very normal in China! It’s not scary at all, I promise.

The Chinese government is fully capable of detecting and blocking VPN, but it’s rarely done. What’s banned in China is less about using Facebook and YouTube, and more about using them to promote information that the Chinese government doesn’t want to spread around. Don’t use your Instagram to try to incite a revolution in China and you’ll be just fine.

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A local produce market in Nanjing. Click the pic to watch the vlog!

One More Thing

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you won’t be able to watch Netflix. Even with VPN 🙁 Netflix is blocked in China, and Netflix blocks VPNs. Blame international law for that one.

Despite that one disappointment in VPN usage, I hope you have fun watching your computer metaphorically travel to countries you’ve yet to explore. More importantly, have fun in China! I’ve got a bunch of other content like this that will help you prepare for China so that your trip or move is fun instead of stressful.

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,

 

Some Links You May Like

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Beijing vs Shanghai

Headed to China soon and trying to decide between Beijing and Shanghai? Or have you been to both and you’re ready to defend your favorite in the comments? Welcome to the Beijing vs Shanghai Ultimate Throwdown!

Quick Disclaimer: My time in Shanghai was limited to quick trips, but I actually lived in Beijing for about 4 months.

Beijing Vs Shanghai

Click the image above to watch this in video form on my YouTube channel!

Overall Vibe

Beijing

The city of Beijing is massive! It’s spread out over an area of 6,000 sq miles and houses an estimated 21.7 million people. Even though that’s a lot of people, the population density is lower than you may think. Beijing is 1/3rd as dense as Shanghai, and 1/6th as dense as Hong Kong, so at times it can feel, dare I say, suburban!

You cannot escape the influence that the government and history of China has had on the city of Beijing. The head government offices are here. The top university for future government employees is here. Tiananmen Square still features tanks and marching soldiers. Chinese history is alive and well in Beijing and manifests itself in the dozens of historical attractions throughout the city.

Shanghai

Shanghai is the opposite of Beijing in so many ways! There are about 24 million people living in just 2,500 sq miles of space in Shanghai. This city is the total embodiment of the word “metropolitan” with skyscrapers, shopping malls, and rooftop bars scattered throughout. As a visitor to the city, I found Shanghai to be a lot more walk-able than Beijing.

Unlike Beijing’s constant nods to history, Shanghai is changing by the minute. The photo below shows the city skyline as if you were looking across the Huangpu River towards the famous Oriental Pearl Tower in 1990 and then in 2010:

Shanghai is home to large corporations, luxury shopping, and 173,000 expats. It feels international, new, and vibrant.

Attractions

Click any of the pics below to watch a video clip of what each attraction looks like.

Shanghai

French Concession

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This area of Shanghai was occupied by the French for nearly 100 years. It’s a beautiful neighborhood full of European architecture.

The Bund

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A wide walking street situated on the Huangpu River. I wasn’t too impressed by it to be honest, but the views of the city skyline across the river were pretty awesome.

Shopping on Nanjing Road

One of the world’s busiest shopping streets full of luxury options.

City Vista Points

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Rooftop bars, observatories, river cruises – any angle you want to see Shanghai from is available to you.

Shanghai Disneyland

The most recent Disney location opened in June 2016 in the Pudong area of Shanghai! It’s the first Disney resort in mainland China, and I think it’s finally not sold out?! Don’t quote me on that.

Beijing

Forbidden City

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This is one of the top tourist destinations in all of China! It’s huge, beautiful, historic, crowded, and if you don’t go your mom will question what you even did to China.

Pro Tip: Don’t be confused when you see signs to “The Palace Museum” – it’s interchangeable with the name “Forbidden City”.

Tiananmen Square

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This is the historical center of Beijing. It contains the National Museum, the Mausoleum to Mao Zedong, the Congress building, and the entrance to the Forbidden City (including  that huge portrait of Mao).

Jingshan Park

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I went to Jingshan Park because from the top you can see a bird’s eye view of the Forbidden City for only 2 RMB.

Summer Palace

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An 850 year old summer abode for ancient royalty. It’s got gorgeous buildings, killer views, and a massive lake.

Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)

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Stone ruins from a palace that was destroyed during the Second Opium War.

Lama Temple

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A vibrantly-colored, historic Buddhist temple with a record-breaking Buddha statue.

Temple of Heaven

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A big temple complex that was used for ritual sacrifices by Ming and Qing dynasty emperors. I had way more fun visiting the Temple of Heaven than the Forbidden City!

The Great Wall

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Admiring the view from the top of Gubeikou, an unrestored section of the Great Wall.

Certainly not in the city center, but you need to make a trip out to see it if you’ve already made it to Beijing.

Wangfujing Night Market

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A packed night market known for food options like scorpion, starfish, and stinky tofu.

Beihai Park

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A massive 11th century imperial garden.

Houhai Lake

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A scenic lake surrounded by unique shops and restaurants.

Bird’s Nest

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An iconic building on the site of the 2008 Olympic games.

Silk Street Market

A market filled with knock-off designer goods.

Hutongs

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Photo by Tonkie on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Narrow, winding alleyways lined by traditional courtyard homes. Hutongs might be my favorite thing about Beijing.

Food

Beijing

The most iconic Beijing meal is definitely Peking duck.

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The typical spread at a Beijing Roast Duck restaurant.

The reason Peking roast duck is so delicious is because the meat is seriously tender and the skin is perfectly crispy. The reason this dish is so iconic is because the entire process has been consistent since imperial times. As you can see above in the picture, the duck is sliced thin and arranged on a decorative plate. Alongside duck, you always get scallion, cucumber, a sweet bean sauce, and thin pancakes to roll it all up in. Eating Beijing roast duck is an experience that cannot be missed in Beijing.

Shanghai

Shanghai’s most famous dish is xiao long bao, AKA soup dumplings.

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I’m not going to sugar coat it – I’d rather eat soup dumplings than Peking roast duck. The duck is delicious, but soup dumplings are incredible. Xiaolongbao is usually filled with pork, and always stuffed with a cube of meat aspic, which is a type of jelly. When the dumplings are steamed, that meat jelly melts and becomes a savory soup. Eating these dumplings can be hazardous to your mouth because no matter what you do, you’re probably going to burn yourself. There’s a whole technique to it which you can see here. Trust me when I say this: It’s SO worth it.

http://www.laviesanspeur.com/?p=507

Cost

After searching for hotels and restaurants in both Shanghai and Beijing, I was almost certain Shanghai was more expensive, but I wanted to find something more concrete than my memory. Here are the side-by-side numbers from expatarrivals.com:

  • Unfurnished 2 Bedroom Apartment:
    • 9,000 RMB in Shanghai / 7,000 RMB in Beijing
  • 1L of Milk:
    • 17 RMB in Shanghai / 12 RMB in Beijing
  • A Dozen Eggs:
    • 16 RMB in Shanghai / 13 RMB in Beijing
  • 3-Course Meal for 2 at a Mid-Range Restaurant:
    • 300 RMB in Shanghai / 150 RMB in Beijing

Yep, I was right. Overall, Beijing is more affordable.

*Click here to see what our apartment in Beijing looked like*

Transportation

This is easy, because both cities have excellent public transportation! There’s just one thing very different about the major airports.

Beijing

When we arrived to Beijing Capital International Airport, we had planned to take a taxi to our hotel in the Chaoyang District. Based on legal cabs we’d taken before in China, we estimated it would cost no more than 100 RMB. The Beijing airport has a desk that you walk up to where they give you an estimate of how much your taxi will cost, and they quoted us a shocking 280 RMB. However, on the way back to the airport we flagged down a taxi outside our hotel and it only cost us 60 RMB.

The best option to get from Beijing Capital International Airport into the city is by taking the Airport Express metro line. It’s only 25 RMB and connects you to the two circular subway lines, which basically means you can get anywhere in Beijing.

Shanghai

The primary airport for international arrivals is the Shanghai Pudong Airport. We were quoted crazy taxi prices inside the airport, but as soon as we stepped outside and got into the queue to catch a legal cab ride, there was a chart estimating how much it would cost. The prices were actually reasonable! I believe it cost us around 100 RMB to get to the Shanghai Railway Station.

If you’re going super budget option in Shanghai, I would recommend taking the Maglev Train out of the Pudong Airport. The Maglev line connects to lines 2, 7 and 16 of the Shanghai metro system. It’s 50 RMB and only takes about 8 minutes.

La Vie Sans Peur, travel and lifestyle blog | Shanghai view from the bullet train
View of Shanghai from the bullet train – the best way to travel between cities in China!

And The Winner Is…

Beijing! Before visiting either city, I lived in Nanjing. Despite having 10 million people, Nanjing often felt like a conservative small town to me. My husband and I spent a weekend in Shanghai during that time and I thrived in the busy metropolitan atmosphere. But it was lacking the “authentic China” feel. Several months later we visited Beijing for the first time and I fell in love fast. Beijing had so many things to see and do that I was never bored. Plus it had the “authentic China” feel that I had come to love in Nanjing.

That being said, everyone is different! Skim back through all that stuff above, make your own pro-con list, and let me know which city you end up in!

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,

 

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How To Bike In China

So you want to learn how to bike in China? The safest way to bike is like a local, and this is your step by step guide to getting there!

Don’t feel like reading? Click the image below to get all the same info in video form!

Step-By-Step Guide To Biking In China

Step 1: Acquire a Bike

If you’re living in China for a study or teach abroad program, you probably want to get an inexpensive used bicycle. I highly recommend going for one that doesn’t look expensive because it’s less likely to get stolen.

Nanjing

While I was living in Nanjing, my husband and I took the bus to Tang Zi Jie off of Shanghai Lu and bought what were probably stolen bikes. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it from a moral standpoint, but we got an incredible deal. We paid about $45 USD for 2 fixed gear bikes with bells and U-locks. I even asked them if they could spray paint over the brand name printed on the frame so it was less likely to be stolen, and they were happy to oblige. Before leaving Nanjing, we sold the bikes to our bicycle repair man for 100 RMB ($15 USD).

Beijing

We struggled for a while to figure out where to buy a used bike in Beijing, but eventually a bicycle repair guy told us to go to the Beixinqiao subway station and walk south – it worked! Here’s a link to a video explaining where we bought our bicycles in Beijing. We paid a bit more for these bikes, about $65 USD, and that didn’t include the U-locks.

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Buying a used bike in Beijing

You’ll Also Need…

Helmet

Legally, you don’t need to wear a helmet in China, and very few people do. I didn’t wear one, but for safety I recommend you go against the grain and get yourself a helmet.

Lock

Get yourself a U-lock before you ride off with your bike. Bolt cutters won’t even cut through it, so its definitely the best way to assure your bike won’t get stolen.

https://www.linkev.com/?a_aid=laurenwithoutfear

Basket

Obviously it’s not necessary, but I recommend trying to find a bike with a basket. If this is your main mode of transportation, you’ll be thankful to have a basket on your trips home from the market.

Bell

You NEED a bell!!! I’m being serious. If you’re from the US, you’re probably like – hey girl, I biked for years without a bell just fine, but trust me on this one. You. Need. A. Bell.

Step 2: Forget Everything You Know About Biking

Don’t try to apply the rules you follow while biking in your home country to your bike rides in China. The quicker you can let go of it the better.

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Step 3: Remember The Following

Now that you’ve thrown out all your old bike rules, here are some new ones to follow while biking in China. If you can put all these to practice, whizzing around the cars, scooters, bicycles, and tuk tuks will become second nature.

Green Does Not Mean Go

Just because you technically have the right of way, or the walk signal says go, or the light is green, does NOT mean it’s okay to go!! Running red lights and stealing the right of way is really common in China, so if you see a car coming, don’t assume they’re going to stop just because they have a red light. People don’t follow driving rules as strictly as I’m used to and they drive more aggressively, too.

Size (And Price) Matters

Don’t mess with buses! There’s a pecking order on the road, and size matters. The bigger or more expensive the car, the higher up the pecking order they are. Don’t cut in front of them and don’t assume they’ll stop. I cut in front of cars from time to time, but I wouldn’t dare cutting in front of an Audi, BMW or Lexus!

People On Their Phones Are Dangerous

It’s legal to talk on your cell phone while driving or biking in China, and it’s terrifying. If you see someone on their phone, assume they’re too distracted to see you or watch out for your well-being.

Biking On The Wrong Side Of The Road Is OK

I regularly biked the opposite direction on the road, in the bike lane, and on the sidewalks of China without any problems. Some people will honk or ring their bell at you, but it’s not because you’re doing anything wrong. 

A Ring Or Bell Means “Watch Out, I’m Going!”

People honk and ring their bells a LOT in China. To make sense of this, it’s important to understand that technically it’s illegal to drive around a corner in China without honking your horn. Few people obey this rule, but knowing about it helped me to understand why people kept honking at me. Your horn/bell is your mouthpiece, and you use it to regularly communicate with the people around you. Most of the time, a bell or honk means “watch out, I’m going!” and doesn’t require a response, or even eye contact, from you.

People Park In Bike Lanes

It’s really annoying. I recommend moving to the sidewalk when you run into this issue, but I’ve biked on the streets with the cars many times. They just honk a lot and angrily pass you. NBD.

Be Aggressive

Take this with a grain of salt and don’t put yourself in any kind of danger, but understand that in general you need to be aggressive to bike safely in China. If you’re overly polite to other bikers, you may be putting yourself and others at risk.

No Eye Contact, Just Go

If you’re serious about crossing the street and want that crazy taxi driver to know you’re not letting him go first, do NOT make eye contact – just go! Eye contact is submissive when biking in China.

Sometimes You Need To Be An A**Hole

Sometimes while you’re biking in China, you’re going to need to make moves that would be seen as a**hole-y in your home country.

Hanging In The Middle Of The Street Is OK

You’re totally fine to cross the street bit by bit like Frogger! People do it all the time. I don’t recommend stopping in between lanes, but stopping in the median is fine.

Calm Your Rage

Part of driving culture in the US is getting mad at the other drivers when they do stupid things. China isn’t like this at all! I’ve seen many bikers and scooter drivers get dramatically cut off and honked at by cars and not even react.

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Step 4: Lock Your Bike Smartly

The best way to lock your bike is to a stationary object like a tree, a bench, or a metal fence, but that isn’t always an option. Sometimes you’ll have to lock your back tire to the frame and leave your bike as is, but do it smartly! Don’t leave it by itself – make sure it’s tucked into a cluster of other bikes – and don’t leave it anywhere you could easily imagine someone throwing it into the back of their truck and driving off.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6KOTBpRPxym4poLSIzMGXSkEx7IEqS9p

Step 5: Locate Your Bike Repair Guy

They look a lot different than the bike repair shops in the US!! Here’s a screenshot from a video I linked above showing what your average bike repair shop looks like:

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Step 6: Practice!

The best way to learn how to bike in China is to just start biking in China! Don’t forget what you learned here, be confident, and be safe. I know I covered a lot of things that sound dangerous, but biking in China can be really fun. It’s one of the things I miss most about living in China!

祝你好运! Good Luck!!

Talk to you soon,

 

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10 Must-Try Chinese Dishes

I’ve been saving tons of vegan recipes on Pinterest lately to try out in my new kitchen (AHHH!!), but I can’t help but reminisce about what I used to eat while I was living in China. Here is a list of 10 things I think every foodie should try while visiting China! Putting this together made me really hungry…

1. Stone Bowl Cauliflower

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Photo By timeoutbeijing.com

There’s something magical about the green-stemmed super-crunchy cauliflower commonly found in China, and this dish maximizes it’s potential. We ordered ganguo huacai (干锅花菜) almost every time we saw it on the menu. Crunchy cauliflower florets are mixed with green onions, chili peppers, and Chinese bacon in a heavy stone bowl, par-cooked in the kitchen, and finished up by a blue flame at your dining table.

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2. Jian Bing

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Photo By Karen Brooks, Producer at Portland Monthly

Jian bing (煎饼) is so popular in China that it’s spreading to the west! I’ve heard about food trucks in Portland, NYC, and LA selling the popular Chinese street food. The traditional Beijing jian bing is a giant buckwheat crepe with an egg cracked on top, brushed with a sweet-savory sauce and filled with fragrant veg like cilantro and green onion, crispy thin fried bread, black sesame seeds, and your choice of meat. It’s a textural explosion that’s best eaten hot off the grill.

3. Lotus Root

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Photo From aheadofthyme.com (click through for recipe!)

This root vegetable was entirely new to me when I arrived in China, and I fell in love at my first bite. Lotus root (蓮藕) can be breaded, fried, boiled, sauteed, or eaten fresh, and no matter how you do it it literally always stays crispy. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, but the texture is perfection.

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4. Hong Shao Rou (Fatty Pork)

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Photo From chinasichuanfood.com (click through for recipe!)

Oh fatty pork, how I love thee. Let me count the ways… you’re crispy and oh-so-savory, you melt in my mouth, you’re well-seasoned with traditional Chinese spices, and no matter where I eat you, I’m never disappointed. If you like bacon, you’re going to die when you try hong shao rou (红烧肉)!!! “Hong Shao” is a traditional way to cook and season a product in Chinese cooking, and when you do it to “rou” – AKA meat, AKA they almost always mean pork when they say meat – the results are so delicious that I almost typed a swear word.

5. Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)

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Even though I love me some pork belly, xiao long bao (小笼包) is my all-time favorite Chinese dish. It’s a traditional Chinese dumpling recipe, but with a cube of aspic (meat jelly) inside. When steamed, the innards produce this kind of soup that stays trapped inside the wrapper. The result will burn your mouth in a heartbeat if you’re unfamiliar with how to eat them, but trust me – it’s worth the pain.

6. Beef Noodle Soup

10 Must-Try Chinese Dishes | food travel wanderlust china beijing nanjing north south beef noodle soup fish head tofu hong shao rou fatty pork kung pao chicken gong bao ji ding dumplings xiao long bao lotus root jian bing cauliflower taste eat eating foodie explore discover living in china live in china moving to china move to china

I never thought I would say this, but when I think of beef noodle soup (红烧牛肉面) I think of breakfast. This soup is a humble, comforting blend of beef bits (including bone), hand-pulled noodles, and fragrant veggies. I think it’s amazing when you add just the right amount of la jiao, AKA hot chili sauce.

7. Gong Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken)

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Photo From traditionalchineserecipes.blogspot.com (click through for recipe!)

I’ve eaten a lot of Americanized versions of Kung Pao Chicken, but the traditional Chinese version, gong bao ji ding (宫保鸡丁), tasted like a whole new dish to me. It’s almost an equal amount of peanuts and chicken pieces, fried in oil alongside plenty of Szechuan peppercorns (I still don’t understand how Chinese people can just bite down on those!!) and chili peppers. It’s spicy, crunchy, and crazy filling.

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8. Dumplings

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Photo From spafinder.com (click through for recipe!)

I ate a LOT of dumplings, AKA jiao zi (餃子) during my 10 months in China. Towards the end, I only bought them fresh from local people who handcrafted them right in front of their customers, and I was always ordering a combo of chicken with mushroom and pork with leek. Dip them in just the right combo of brown vinegar, soy sauce, and hot chili sauce for best results.

9. Fish Head Tofu Soup

10 Must-Try Chinese Dishes | food travel wanderlust china beijing nanjing north south beef noodle soup fish head tofu hong shao rou fatty pork kung pao chicken gong bao ji ding dumplings xiao long bao lotus root jian bing cauliflower taste eat eating foodie explore discover living in china live in china moving to china move to china
Photo From foodmayhem.com

I realize the name of this dish sounds highly unappealing to westerners, but bear with me!! Fish head tofu soup (魚頭豆腐湯) is the most heart warming Chinese food I’ve ever had. The process is long and tedious, and the result is a giant bowl of healthy, hearty, creamy dairy-free stew. The flavor is pure umami.

How I Traveled China Without Speaking The Language

10. Peking Duck

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Having lived in San Francisco for 3 years, I had seen plenty of bright red ducks hanging from shop windows in Chinatown, but I had no idea what the actual dining process was like until I sat down for traditional Peking duck (北京烤鸭) in Nanjing! The roast duck is hand-cut in thin slices in front of you and served with thinly cut cucumber and spring onion, a traditional Chinese roast duck sauce, and these small thin pancake things that I can only describe as a Chinese tortilla. Basically you throw all of that together in whatever ratio you like, wrap it up in the tortilla, and enjoy. The veggies are bright, the duck meat is tender with crispy skin, and the thick sauce is both sweet and savory. It’s a delicious explosion of traditional Chinese textures and flavors.

What’s your favorite Chinese dish?

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon 🙂

 

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10 Must-Try Chinese Dishes | food travel wanderlust china beijing nanjing north south beef noodle soup fish head tofu hong shao rou fatty pork kung pao chicken gong bao ji ding dumplings xiao long bao lotus root jian bing cauliflower taste eat eating foodie explore discover living in china live in china moving to china move to china

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China Photo Diary

My 2016 was spent almost entirely in China. Despite having been back in the US for two months now, I’m still struggling to explain what my year was like. My hope is that this hand crafted photo series will give you a better explanation than words ever will.

China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Crowds full of tour groups walk to the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Food vendors line the sidewalk outside a busy convention center in Beijing.

China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
View of Nanjing’s busy Zhongshan Rd from the Zifeng Tower Observatory (450m high).
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Visitors gaze at a painting at the National Museum of China in Beijing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
An overloaded motor vehicle drives down a tree-lined street in Beijing’s Chaoyang District.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A work truck overloaded with unwanted foliage at the Old Summer Palace in Beijing.

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China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Xuanwumen, the gate and main entrance to Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Inside the decaying hallway of an apartment building in Nanjing’s Gulou District.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A vibrantly painted building in Beijing’s Jingshan Park.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A market of off Shanghai Rd in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Visitors to Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake examine each other’s transportation methods.

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China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A neighborhood street tucked away in the alleys of Nanjing’s Gulou District.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A look at one of the waiting rooms at Shanghai Railway Station.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
The typical spread at a Beijing Roast Duck restaurant.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A man cleaning unwanted foliage from the water at Beijing’s Old Summer Palace
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A typical Chinese guardian lion outside of a Nanjing University building.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Ming Dynasty style doorway at Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Clothes hanging to dry and a large trash pile visible from a high rise apartment in Nanjing.

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China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Admiring the view from the top of Gubeikou, an unrestored section of the Great Wall.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A bright pink lotus flower at Mochou Lake in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Visitors attempt to toss coins into a pot at the historic Jiming Buddhist Temple in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
The decaying entrance to several high rise apartment buildings in Nanjing’s Gulou District.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Smoke rising from large incense pots at the historic Lama Buddhist Temple in Beijing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Sunset seen from the Nanjing Railway Station.

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China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
An alleyway restaurant in Nanjing’s Gulou District.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Boats pass along the Qinhuai River at Nanjing’s Fuzi Miao, AKA Confucian Temple.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A flower crown placed delicately around a stone railing in Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake area.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Bulk grain being sold at a market in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A foreigner passes through a round doorway at Nanjing’s Folklore Museum.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
Decorative stone stairway at Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A (mildly) chaotic intersection in Nanjing.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
View of Nanjing city buildings and Xuanwu Lake from the ancient city wall.
China Photo Diary | Beijing Nanjing Shanghai photo series what is china like feeling living in china moving to china american in china american girl in china expat travel wanderlust
A typical crowd at the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Leave a comment below if you’ve been to China or are headed there soon! I wanna know what part of the country you’ve seen/are about to see 🙂

Talk to you soon!

 

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33 Gifts Travelers Actually Want

I did a lot of traveling in 2016. Along the way I figured out what makes a nomadic lifestyle feel luxurious, and what gets thrown away in the hostel dumpster. I take forever to replace things that desperately need replacing and I’m constantly getting rid of things to keep my life minimal and packable. This is exactly what I kept in mind while crafting this list of 33 things travelers actually want to receive.

Global Entry Clearance

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Photo Credit: cbp.gov

The bane of a traveler’s existence is waiting. Global Entry Clearance is basically a way of registering yourself as a trusted global traveler, and as your reward you get to skip a lot of lines. This is the only gift on this list that the receiver will have to work for after getting it, but a $100 check made out to the CBP and application instructions wrapped up for your travel-loving friend will mean a lot.

Wanderlust-Inspiring Books

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I absolutely loved and devoured Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Personally, I can’t see a man relating to this story as meaningfully as a woman, so I would recommend you gift this to your travel-loving female friends.

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Everyone should read The Alchemist. It’s fast, adventurous, full of wisdom, and applicable at any stage of life.

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Travel blogger Brooke spent a year traveling the world solo, single, and on a budget. A Year To Myself is about her experience that year. I want to read this so bad!!

http://www.laviesanspeur.com/?p=507

Better Packing Containers

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I’m a packing cube convert. After moving from San Francisco to NW Washington to Nanjing to Beijing and back to Washington, I know what travel containers are actually helpful and which ones aren’t at all. I want this set of 4 myself.  [$23]

 

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A hanging toiletry bag like this is invaluable in a cramped bathroom, which seems to be the norm while traveling. Also, this comes in a ton of diferent colors/patterns, so it’s fun to pick out. [$12]

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Occasionally  I mix clean and dirty clothes in the same suitcase and this bag would probably convince me to stop that disgusting behavior. [$22]

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I used a tote bag very similar to this one all the time when I was living in China. It collapses into itself so it fits easily in your purse, and if you need an extra bag you can unfurl it and voila – a tote bag. [$20]

GoPro

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I own a DSLR, which obviously takes higher quality content, but I found myself capturing a lot more once I got a GoPro. It fits in my pocket, and I literally push a button to start recording video. I filmed most of my daily vlogs on it! [$130]

A Legitimately Nice Power Bank

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The only power banks I’ve ever owned were either free or incredibly cheap, and I’m just waiting for the day I can justify dropping $28 on this one, which holds a ton of charge, does the job fast, and won’t break after 6 months like my other ones.

A Drink On The Plane

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This is one of those clearly-impractical-but-justified-by-cuteness items you’d find at a kitschy small town gift shop, and I love it. The Bloody Mary cocktail kit comes in a little travel tin and has MINI PICKLES inside, I repeat, mini pickles. [$18]

http://bit.ly/2bLqa8m

Practical Accessories

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OK, OK, I know compasses aren’t a modern gadget to travel with, but they can be damn useful when you get lost in a new city. This working compass necklace is really similar to one I relied on while exploring China. [$12]

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Touchscreen gloves are essential for a modern traveler. I know this beause I don’t have them, and I feel their absence when it’s freezing cold and I have to take off a glove to find out where I am. [$38]

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This scarf has a hidden pocket perfect for carrying a concealed passport, hotel key, or cash. [$20]

Family Passport Organizer

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This little wristlet looks like a fashion-forward wallet, but it’s actually designed perfectly for a family who travels together. [$60]

Kindle or Book Credits

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I love reading books the old-fashioned way, but when I travel the Kindle is way more practical. [$100]

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As someone who has a Kindle but hesitates to buy books for myself, I can tell you that having a gift card to buy a few books is awesome.

Global Snack Box

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One of the best things about travel is tasting new food. These Try The World boxes are subscription boxes for unique snacks and new ingredients, featuring a different country every month, or you can buy them one at a time. I’ve never tried it personally, but it’s something I’ve been interested in for a while. [$40]

Chinese snack taste test video vlog american tasting snacks food trying tries

These. Trust Me.

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful
Photo Credit: Odditymall

I found out about these recently and I’ve been obsessed with the idea of them ever since. Have you ever tried to fall asleep with music on but couldn’t bear the feeling of your headphones while laying down? Sleep Phones are what we’ve all been waiting for. [$30]

Versatile Clothing

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My oversize circle scarf is by far the most versatile, travel-friendly item of clothing I own. I use it as a scarf in the cold, a blanket on the plane, a pillow case in a nasty situation, and a covering at temples. [$28]

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

I tried these shoes on once about 2 years ago and since then I’ve seen them on hundreds of people. The absolute comfort is still stuck in my brain, and I still want them. If they were waterproof, they would be the absolute best travel shoe, imho. [$100]

GorillaPod

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

I just bought this flexible tripod, and now I can’t imagine life without it. Forget selfie sticks – this can get you any shot you imagine. Compatible with tons of different kinds of cameras! [$35]

Wireless Earbuds

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Wireless earbuds are SO much easier to deal with than a tangled mess of wire, and these have really awesome Amazon reviews. [$48]

https://www.linkev.com/?a_aid=laurenwithoutfear

Luggage Scale

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my husband to estimate how much my luggage weighs. We’re usually wrong. A luggage scale would eliminate the guesswork. Also did you know a lot of international airlines have weight limits on carry-ons? [$8]

Scratch Off World Map

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

I’ve wanted a scratch off world map since I first saw one. A lot of travel maps don’t give you a chance to mark off just part of a country, but this allows you to scratch off however big or small a chunk of land as you want. Just because I’ve been to Beijing doesn’t mean I want to check Dalian off the list, ya know? [$23]

Old Lady Things They Secretly Want

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

Lavender sachets just like grandma sews to keep her clothes smelling fresh, except these have a fun, modern design. Smell good, feel good. [$24]

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

Packing clothes in your suitcase always leaves the weirdest lines and wrinkles, so I’ve been wanting to try out a wrinkle releasing spray. Look good, feel good, knowwhatimsayin? [$10]

A Better Travel Adapter

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I bought the cheapest travel adapter Amazon had to offer, and it works, but feels really crappy. A nice travel adapter is just one little piece of luxury that feels awesome while traveling… and won’t fall out of the socket. [$20]

A Packing List They Don’t Have To Write

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Sometimes I just want an easy button when it comes to packing. [$5]

Airline or Accommodation Gift Card

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

A gift card for an airline, Air BnB or a hotel chain might be the most foolproof gift you can possibly get a travel lover.

Travel Fitness Kit

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

It can be really hard to figure out what to do and where to go for a good workout while traveling, but a travel-size fitness kit means you can turn your hotel room into a temporary gym. [$40]

A Possibly Unnecessary But Very Cute Journal

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

In honor of my fellow school-supply-obsessed freaks (I know you’re out there), I feel obligated to suggest a travel journal. They’re adorable, and probably really impractical and about to sit on a shelf for a while only to be rediscovered during the next big home clean-out, it’s such a fun thing to receive. This colorful, hardcover beauty is on my wish list. [$13]

Travel Blanket

30 Gifts Travel Lovers Actually Want | traveler wanderlust christmas gift ideas guide 2016 what to get traveller blogger blog real unique actually want really want family passport global clearance clothing under $30 budget practical useful

Honestly I’m recommending this because I can’t stand the blankets they hand out on the plane. At least I have a chance at falling asleep with this cozy, compact option. [$30]

 

Happy Travels!

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Moving Home After Living In China

On February 15, 2016, my husband and I moved to Nanjing, China. It’s been exactly 38 weeks since that day and I’m writing this in my Beijing apartment, preparing to go back to the US in just a few days.

Why I Came To China

We came to China because my husband was accepted into a prestigious Chinese language program that involved a semester at Nanjing University and a 16 week internship. I came with him on a family visa (in other words, I cannot become employed in China) for 2 reasons: I love travel, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work full-time creating video and written online content. I never learned Chinese, and if you’re wondering how on earth I’ve survived 9 months in China, you can watch this video. Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s move onto the juicy stuff.

Moving Home After 9 Months In China | living abroad teach abroad study abroad anxiety depression reverse culture shock going home
My husband and I in Nanjing, March 2016.

Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock and post-travel depression are real. I know this because of what it was like moving home after 5 months in Ireland. Things that at first seemed like weird quirks became my daily life by the time I was getting ready to leave. I felt like a completely different person and when I got back my hometown felt exactly the same. My exciting European adventure was over and my old familiar life was waiting for me. Coming home was shocking and horribly depressing.

Coming home from China is going to be very similar, but completely different. Ireland didn’t have a language barrier, and it was a western culture, but this time I know the shock is coming.

La Vie Sans Peur travel and lifestyle blog | Killarney National Park mass rock muckross aghadoe hike wanderlust ireland irish study abroad
My roommate and I, 2 broke explorers, wandering around the Irish countryside, 2011.

Feelings + Anxiety

Everything Is A Circle

I think most of life’s events are theoretically circular, but this has been even more obvious to me as I prepare to head home. I’ve been living in Beijing since August and recently took a trip back to Nanjing to speak in front of the new students in my husband’s language program. After our presentations we spoke with several students, who had tons of questions for us. During our conversations, I realized that some time in the last 9 months I became comfortable and confident in China, and was now a source of knowledge for people whose situations I felt so familiar with. Hadn’t I been in their shoes last week? Or was it 4 months ago? I had mentally looped back to the beginning of my time here, and finally realized my circle is almost complete.

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Exotic Is Over

My most pressing (and selfish) concern about leaving China is that it’s the end of another exciting adventure. Despite anxiety, I’m an explorer at heart, and the lure of traveling to unfamiliar places is one of my biggest joys in life. I’m dreading the idea of leaving the chaotic streets of Beijing, the lively local produce markets, the vibrantly painted temples, the fact that I have to speak broken Chinese just to buy a bottle of water… the list goes on. These things make my life less convenient, but they make it more exciting, too.

Moving Home After 9 Months In China | living abroad teach abroad study abroad anxiety depression reverse culture shock going home
Lama Temple, Beijing, August 2016.
Time

I’m in a state of limbo right now. Life in Beijing has all but completely wrapped up, and the to do list of things for my arrival back in the states won’t stop growing. I have so much I could do, but I’m just not in the right mental state to do anything. Time is moving a mile a minute and standing completely still at the exact same time.

New Friends

Even though I spend most of my time in the apartment, working towards a life of self-employment, I’ve made a few friends here in China and I’ll be sad to leave them. There’s something different about the friends you make abroad – relationships build quicker because its always uncertain when you’ll fly home or what you’ll do to get the next visa. You’re both away from the friends, family and culture you grew up with. Without even speaking, you already know you have a lot in common. Relationships made fresh back home can take more work than the ones abroad, and talking about your travel experiences can feel like bragging, but to you it’s just an attempt at catching up.

Moving Home After 9 Months In China | living abroad teach abroad study abroad anxiety depression reverse culture shock going home
Ko Lanta, Thailand, July 2016.
Uncertain Future

I was standing on the Nanjing Railway Station platform preparing to board a train to Beijing when I had a realization. I’m going to miss China more than I’ll miss my husband. He’s headed back more than a month after me, so it’ll be sad to say goodbye, but I know exactly when I’ll see him again. China and I don’t have that luxury. I don’t know when we’ll be reunited. I never expected to feel at home here or to love this country, but I do, and in a way it’s heartbreaking to leave it behind, uncertain of our future together.

Travel Regrets

I didn’t get to see everything. No shit, right? China is massive, and I’m not made of money, so of course I didn’t see it all. But there’s still this hint of regret in the pit of my stomach. My list of places to see in China never shrank while I lived here – it actually grew – as did my desire to see it all. I’m leaving knowing I want to come back, knowing exactly what I want to see, and, to be honest, bummed out that I didn’t get to see more. That’s selfish and shortsighted because I’ve seen so much, but the feeling is there nonetheless.

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Practical Concerns

Making an international move requires a lot of planning on the way there, and just as much on the way back. On my return, I have totally new responsibilities to worry about: my dog, my car, my cell phone plan, taxes, health insurance, residency, and of course the big questions like: Where am I going to live? and What will my next job be? The emotional turmoil of moving home after living abroad is nearly doubled by the number of “adult” things there are to be done.

Moving Home After Living Abroad

Excitement

Despite all this, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited.

Living Standard

I’m not going to sugar coat it – my apartment here in Beijing is terrible compared to everywhere else I’ve ever lived. Cracked floor tiles, a moldy sheet as a curtain, plaster falling from the ceilings… I think you get the picture. As soon as I get back to the states, my living standard is guaranteed to improve. No matter my budget, I can almost be certain I will never live in a place like this in America because it’s simply not acceptable to rent out an apartment in this condition.

Stuff

I moved to China with a very limited amount of stuff and I’ve got all kinds of things stored back in the states – kitchenware, clothes, books, instruments – and I don’t even remember what half of it looks like. It’s like opening a ton of early Christmas presents that I don’t have to pay for!

Beijing Daily Travel Vlogger
My “moving to Beijing” look.
Convenience + Language

Daily life in my home country is going to be WAY more convenient than life here in China. I can read labels and signs, and I can actually communicate with people when I need help with something. The language barrier that makes everything here difficult is going to disappear the second I land in Seattle. On top of that, the cultural barrier will go away too, meaning the little differences that still confuse me will just cease to exist. I still don’t understand why it’s okay for little kids to pee on the ground, or why babies are always wearing those split pants with their butt cheeks hanging out, but I know that won’t be a daily sighting for much longer.

Food

Most of you know I’m an adventurous eater and that I love Chinese food, but the reality is that no food will ever comfort or fill me up quite like the Mexican-Asian-American-other-things-I’m-forgetting combo of what I eat when I’m at home. I’m excited for my daily meals to return to normal, and for my dietary preferences to be met with ease. (I’m thinking of doing a 30-day vegan challenge in January!)

dsc_0097edit
I’m going to miss you, xiao long bao (AKA soup dumplings).
Friends + Family

Above everything else, I’m excited to see all the familiar faces again – my family, my dog, my closest friends from high school, buddies from college, and the friends we made and quickly left behind back in SF. I have butterflies just thinking about all the reunions that will start just days from now 🙂

La Vie Sans Peur | Road trip from San Francisco to Portland. Moving to China!!! Instagram dog husband ray bans travel blogger moving out expat packing anxious dog anxiety oregon washington california portland san francisco seattle
Road trip from SF to Portland to NW WA before our move to China. That’s my dog being dramatic in the middle – he’s not a big fan of car rides. December 2015.

What’s Next

I’m still daily vlogging, so most of my reactions to returning home will be posted on my YouTube channel, but before that, you guys will see part 2 of my Moving Home After Life Abroad series (if you haven’t seen part 1, click here). A week after my move back home, I’ll post an update on this site to let you know how the transition is going, and from there you’ll have to wait and see 🙂

Thank you to everyone who’s been following this crazy journey!

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Moving Home After 9 Months In China | living abroad teach abroad study abroad anxiety depression reverse culture shock going home

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100 Enouraging Ideas

I’ve uploaded 100 videos to my YouTube channel! To celebrate, I challenged myself by putting together the most encouraging list I’ve ever crafted. Click the photo below to watch the video, or scroll through for Pinterest-worthy pics and 100 encouraging ideas!

100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur
Click this photo to watch my 100th vlog!

1. “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you. That’s who you really are.” -C. Assaad

2. “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say ‘why me’, say ‘try me’.” -Miley Cyrus

3.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur i know you're anxious but you forgot the part where you're a badass thelatestkate

4. “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face and you will always look lovely.” -Roald Dahl

5. “Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.” -Frank Tyger

6. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur travel brings power and love back to your life rumi cliff beach ocean sea

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7. “Inhale the future, exhale the past.” -Unknown

8. “When you let go, you’re creating space for something better.” -Unknown

9.

100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur go ahead you never know what could be on the other side fear fearless
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10. “Take time to do what makes your soul happy.” -Unknown

11. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us-Nicole Reed

12. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

13. “No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” -Ronald Reagan

14. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you get in life what you have the courage to ask for oprah winfrey

15. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” -George Addair

16. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you were never created to live depressed defeated guilty condemned ashamed or unworthy you were created to be victorious joel osteen

-Joel Osteen

17. “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” -Mandy Hale

18. “So far you’ve survived 100% of your worst days.” -Unknown

19.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur travel is my therapy

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20.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur no one else knows what they're doing either it's all going to turn out fine thelatestkate

21. “Anxiety lies. There is no doom incoming, and you’re managing everything just fine.” -TheLatestKate

22. “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” -Howard Zinn

23. “Right now, there are people all over the world who are just like you. They’re lonely, missing someone, they have painful secrets, they wish, dream, hope, they look out the window of the bus watching the people, wondering what they’ve been through. They wonder if there are people out there like them. They’re like you and could tell them everything and they could understand. You’re never alone.” -Unknown

24.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur we are never alone we are all aspects of one great being no matter how far apart we are the air links us yoko ono

25.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur progress is still progress no matter how small thelatestkate

26.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur it's okay to take things on as you feel ready you don't have to be your ultimate self right now thelatestkate

27.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you're the only one paying so much attention to your mistakes thelatestkate

28. “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Dumbledore

29. “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.” -Unknown

30.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur creativity is intelligence having fun albert einstein creative

31. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur shoot for the moon even if you miss you'll land among the stars les brown-Les Brown

32. Vera Wang designer her first dress when she was 40. It’s never too late.

33. At 25, Mark Cuban was a bartender sleeping on the floor of a shared apartment. It’s never too late.

34. Morgan Freeman landed his first major film role at 52. It’s never too late!

35.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday road trip compare comparison comparing wander

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36. “Life is to mysterious to take to serious.” -Mary Engelbreit

37. “Be where your feet are.” -Unknown

38.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur believe you can and you're halfway there teddy roosevelt-Theodore Roosevelt

39. “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we should dance.” -Unknown

40.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur if you work really hard and are kind amazing things will happen conan o brien o'brien forest trees woods happy happiness success successful succeed work for yourself-Conan O’Brien

41. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

42. “I am a citizen of the world and my nationality is good will.” -Socrates

43. “Wisdom begins in wonder.” -Socrates

44.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur for small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love dr dr. carl sagan

45. “Every adventure is worthwhile.” -Amelia Earhart

46. “We were wanderers from the beginning.” -Dr. Carl Sagan

47. The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder to be fearless.

48. “Adventure is not outside man, it is within.” -George Eliot

49.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur it always seems impossible until it's done nelson mandela possible believe believing success succeed successful

50. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur your mind is a powerful thing when you fill it with positive thoughts your life will start to change choose happy happiness books book worm reading read positivity

51. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur don't call it a dream call it a plan explorer wanderer

52.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur anything's possible if you've got enough nerve jk rowling j.k.

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53. “You don’t inspire others by being perfect. You inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections.” -Unknown

54.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur if you were able to believe in santa claus for eight years you can believe in yourself for like five seconds you got this

55.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire passion passionate success work for yourself successful self employed freelance universe

56. “You force yourself to get up, you force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, and goddammit you refuse to let it get to you. You fight, cry, curse, then you go back to the business of living. There’s no other way.” -Elizabeth Taylor

57. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you can't make everybody everyone happy you aren't a jar of nutella

58.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the best view comes after the hardest climb hiking hiker solo female hike woods mountain forest trail wanderer beginning

59. “An optimist is someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha.” -Robert Brault

60.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur everything you do now is for your future think about that kushandwizdom forward thinking

61. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I am not the only one.” -John Lennon

62. “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” -The Beatles

63.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur not all those who wander are lost j.r.r. tolkien jrr the hobbit lotr lord of the rings wanderer wanderlust wonderlust

64. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

65.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the more you like yourself the less you are like anyone else which makes you unique walt disney

66. “If plan A fails, remember you have 25 letters left.” -Chris Guillebeau

67. “Today is a good day to try.” -Quasimodo (from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame)

68.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the only way to do great work is to love what you do. if you haven't found it yet keep looking don't settle steve jobs success successful career happy happiness loving do what you love

69. “You only fail when you stop trying.” -Albert Einstein

70.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the people worth impressing your 5 year old self and your 85 year old self person you were yesterday future success successful happy happiness compare comparing comparison

71. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur say yes and you'll figure it out afterwards tina fey career success successful woman solo female comedy bossypants book

72. “Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.” -Unknown

73. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur cupcakes are muffins that believed in miracles believe

74. Today is a good day for a good day.

75. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur get up every morning and remind yourself i can do this coffee career success happy happiness successful solo female daystar

76. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you're mad bonkers off your head but i'll tell you a secret all of the best people are crazy insane anxiety anxious mental health alice in wonderland

-Alice In Wonderland

77. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur you don't have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. you have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you're holding cheryl strayed wild book solo female success happiness happy hike hiker hiking

78.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur how wild it was to let it be cheryl strayed book hike hiking solo female travel woods forest pnw pacific crest trail pct

79. “If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve.”

80. “It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.” -Shawn Achor

81. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage brene brown ted talk tedx

82. “Poetry, wisdom, and grace can be found in the words of people all around us when we simply take the time to listen.” -Unknown

83. “Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be.” -Rachel Hollis

84. “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde

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86. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur what feels like the end is often the beginning bitter painful beautiful mountains pnw forest woods nature

87. “There are 2 ways you can get through pain: let it destroy you, or use it as fuel to drive you, to dream bigger, and work harder. -Taylor Swift

88. “Let every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.” -Unknown

89.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur live your life by a compass not a clock railroad tracks forest woods

90. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur just be yourself let people see the real imperfect flawed quirky weird beautiful magical person that you are mandy hale

91. “Every day is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, smile, and start again.” -Unknown

92. “A large majority of people on this planet do not have perfectly symmetrical faces, are not a size 6, do not have a 6-pack or naturally dewy skin. But what we all are is beautiful.” -Lauren Conrad

93.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur follow your intuition be smart be brave tell the truth and don't take any shit kelly cutrone success career woman female feminist strong entrepreneur successful ceo

94. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur if you think you're too small to make a difference try sleeping in a room with a mosquito african proverb dalai lama

95.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur the planet does not need more successful people the planet desperately needs more peacemakers healers restorers storytellers and lovers of all kinds dalai lama

96. “The future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.” -David Brooks

97.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur your life is your message to the world make sure it's inspiring success happy happiness

98. 100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur good things take time

99.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur there's power in looking silly and not caring that you do amy poehler

100.100 Encouraging Ideas | Anxious fearless explorer adventure explore discover travel wanderlust anxiety encourage inspire inspiring lauren without fear quotes thoughts socrates philosophy philosophical inspirational inspiration post grad post-grad solo female blogger vlogger blog vlog career self-employed business owner entrepreneur dance free embarrassed amy poehler rule the world success

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,

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7 Unique Things To Do In Nanjing

I spent 5 months as a professional explorer of Nanjing, and came up with this list of only-in-Nanjing experiences you need to check out while you’re in town!

If you don’t have a hotel booked yet, I HIGHLY recommend this one! It’s budget-friendly, clean, modern, and not overly gaudy like many of the nicer hotels in China.

Quirky

Fashion Lady

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Photo Credit: x-stefan.deviantart.com
What Is It?

The most overwhelming and entertaining shopping mall you’ve ever seen. That picture above is what it looks INSIDE Fashion Lady. There is a wealth of Chinglish shirts, novelty socks, pajama sets, and baby bunnies? Yeah. They sell baby bunnies here. Unfortunately they don’t have a whole lot of large sizes, so if you wear above a size 10 in the US, you’ll have trouble finding clothing here. It’s still worth it to just walk around, though.

Where Is It?

Xinjiekou on the Pedestrian Street nearby. Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

If you’re planning to do some clothes shopping, wear a fitted tank under your shirt so you can try things on over your clothes, because there are no fitting rooms here.

Hours

9:30am – 10pm

Librairie Avant-Garde

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Librairie Avant-Garde video over on YouTube!
What Is It?

A hipster bookstore, gift shop, and cafe in a converted parking garage. I accidentally wandered into this place and was utterly fascinated (and very confused). They’ve got a crazy number of books for sale (nearly all in Chinese), a table where you can mail postcards to friends and family, a stage for book readings, a gift shop with handmade items, and endless hipster vibes. It’s weird and awesome and totally worth a walk around, even if you feel entirely out of place. Watch the video here.

Where Is It?

On GuangZhou Rd west of Shanghai Rd. Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

This is the perfect place to grab a gift for friends and family.

Hours

10am – 9pm (stays open until 10pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

https://www.linkev.com/?a_aid=laurenwithoutfear

Cultural

Fuzi Miao (AKA Confucius Temple)

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Fuzi Miao video showing a comparison between what it looks like during a weekday morning and a weekend evening.
What Is It?

Basically it’s an area of walking streets along a famous river. About 1,600 years ago, a university and temple regarding Confucianism were built here. None of that stands today, but Confucianism and old Nanjing commerce are still honored at the modern day Qinhuai River tourist destination. It’s a great place to try Chinese street food, take a boat ride down the river, and pop into some gift shops. More details here.

Where Is It?

On the Qinhuai River in the Fuzi Miao district. Say “Fuzi Miao” to any cab driver, and they’ll know what you want to see. Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

Don’t bother with the giant soup dumplings. They’re not very tasty!

Hours

Unsure – likely open every day from 10am – 8pm

Ming Xiao Ling

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Ming Xiao Ling video on YouTube!
What Is It?

A 600 year old Ming Dynasty tomb! I’ve been to a fair number of Ming Dynasty sites after 8 months in China, and this remains one of my favorites. It’s full of awesome history and stories, which you can read here if you’re craving all the details.

Where Is It?

In the Zhongshan (Purple Mountain) Scenic Area. Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

Stray away from the main path a bit to find all the beautiful hidden details. Also – this complex is much more than the mausoleum, so leave yourself enough time to explore the huge area.

Cost

70 RMB ($10.75 USD), but there’s a discount for students.

Hours

6:30am – 5pm

Nanjing Folklore Museum

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Nanjing Folklore Museum vlog over on YouTube!
What Is It?

The most underrated museum I’ve ever been to! I learned SO much about Chinese art and culture here!! It’s a museum featuring traditional Nanjing art forms and cultural practices housed in an old Qing Dynasty house. The best part was seeing 8 live artist exhibitions while we were there featuring 8 totally different mediums! More details here.

Where Is It?

On Zhongshan South Rd between Sanshan Rd and Zhangfuyuan station stops on line 1. Not too far from Fuzi Miao! Click here for a map pin.

Pro Tip

This museum is like a maze! Be sure you check out every nook and cranny. The maps posted around the place will help you a lot.

Cost

10 RMB ($1.50 USD)

Hours

9am – 5pm

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Scenic

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoluem

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum video over on YouTube!
What Is It?

A huge mausoleum complex honoring Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and the burial site of his body. I categorized it as “scenic” because the BEST part of this place is the rewarding view you get after hiking up the 392 steps to the top. More details here.

Where Is It?

The Zhongshan (Purple Mountain) scenic area. Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

Bring a selfie stick!

Cost

Free!

Hours

8:30am – 5pm (closed Mondays)

Zifeng Tower Observatory

7 Unique Nanjing Attractions | unusual quirky what to do living lived live in nanjing china chinese fuzi miao fashion lady librairie avant garde hipster offbeat free cheap tourist sites travel
Click this photo to watch my Zifeng Tower Observatory video over on YouTube!
What Is It?

A 450m (150 ft) high observation deck in the tallest Nanjing skyscraper! It’s an awesome place to get a 360 degree bird’s eye view of Nanjing. Watch the video here.

Where Is It?

Drum Tower Square. You CAN’T miss this building! Click here for the map pin.

Pro Tip

Wait for a clear day!

Cost

80 RMB ($11.88 USD)

Hours

9am – 9pm

 

For more Nanjing and China travel advice, click here to check out my YouTube channel!

Happy Travels!

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10 Types Of Wanderlust | The Good, Bad & Ugly Sides Of Travel

Hopefully I’m not alone in this, but my lifelong case of wanderlust isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but sometimes the desire to travel gives me feelings of anxiety, guilt, fear, paralysis, and a myriad of other emotions. My hope is that this list brings comfort to other travelers who periodically feel guilty for having negative thoughts about travel. You’re not alone.

10 Types Of Wanderlust | travel anxiety anxious wander wanderer adventure blog guilt fear satisfaction

10 Types Of Wanderlust

1. Wanderlust

The strong desire to travel.

2. Wanderlust Guilt

Feeling like you’ve lived somewhere too long and haven’t explored it enough. I think I’ve felt this way about every city I’ve ever lived in besides my itty bitty hometown.

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3. Wanderlust Anxiety

Seeing a list of all the places you want to go and becoming overwhelmed and anxious because there are too many places and not enough time (or money). #mylife

4. Wanderlust Fatigue

Doing so much travel you start taking it for granted.

5. Wanderlust Envy

Feeling envious after looking at pictures from someone else’s trip. Occurs most commonly while browsing Instagram.

http://www.booking.com/?aid=1175384

6. Wanderlust Cynicism

Thinking about places you want to see and feeling like you’ll never actually go. Particularly problematic for those who dream of seeing Antarctica.

Side note: I once lived with an Irish girl who had been to Antarctica. No joke.

7. Wanderlust Insatiability

When you finish a trip and immediately want to leave again. Warning: this may turn into a never-ending cycle.

8. Wanderlust Wonder

When you’re traveling and feel that moment of absolute awe. Most prevalent at the first sighting of famous world monuments, i.e. Grand Canyon, Great Wall Of China, Eiffel Tower.

http://bit.ly/2bLqa8m

9. Wanderlust Paralysis

When there are too many places to see and you can’t decide where to go next. A feeling often followed by a lot of mind-numbing cell phone games and sleeping.

10. Wanderlust Satisfaction

When you think back on your travels, proud and amazed that you’ve seen such wonderful things. My hope for all of you is that you feel this at least once in your life 🙂

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,

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Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Current Location: Beijing, China.