Stuff shuts down in China for their new year celebration. We had no idea what to expect. We heard that stores would be shutting down and people would be going home to their hometowns and villages. We figured it was a good idea not to plan on doing much. I tried to get all of my groceries for awhile to avoid holiday shopping. I avoid stores in the USA during holiday times too so I figured it could be a thousand times worse here. My husband worked from home for the first few days of their new year. New Year’s Eve was preceded by random fireworks going off all the time. (Fireworks go off here on any old day too.) We knew it was going to be bad. LIKE A LOT OF FIREWORKS! However, nothing could have prepared us for hearing in one night a total culmination of seeing and hearing more fireworks in one day than in my entire life of +4 decades. AND…. That was just in my neighborhood of about a 10 block radius. We don’t even live in the city center. We worried at times that our house would start on fire and we wouldn’t have anywhere to seek refuge since everyone was literally celebrating. Luckily, we awoke the next day intact. I am very happy all the festivities are over. It was quite the ordeal and the country practically shuts down for a whole month. If you live for fireworks then you may enjoy finding yourself in China for this event, if not, STAY AWAY!!!
I didn’t really want to spend Christmas in China. You can get cheap flights to Australia from there if you look, but I didn’t want summer for Christmas either. My Christmas dreams include a foot of fresh falling snow so Australia was out. We came to Europe where cold temperatures and Christmas markets would put us in the Christmas spirit. We took some long flights and ended up in Prague. The winter chill was definitely there. Was my coat up for the challenge?
I’ve just spent a week at home in Utah, USA. I was there to visit my family, but I always manage to get in some nature hikes. I flew into Las Vegas and it was funny how small the skyline appeared in comparison to my Chinese city. I have been to Vegas innumerable times, but never really for any of the stuff it’s famous for. **usually just hitting the airport** Or… before internet shopping it was for actual shopping other than the small town stores’ slim pickings. Las Vegas is not just for losing money, it’s a great launching pad for awesome destinations. For me, it’s pretty much my airport of choice. It’s closer to my home and the famous Southern Utah parks than Salt Lake City.
Tokyo is a big city is an understatement. I’m not really a city person though I’m living in one in China at the moment. Tokyo is made up of massive buildings that seem to go on forever. We have not scratched the surface there, but this was our second glimpse. It’s an expensive place, but there is a good website called : www.tokyocheapo.com I used their information on both my visits. We were able to get a 24 hour subway pass though for a pretty good deal. We allowed my 16 year old to choose our city itinerary and it was fine. We travel a fair amount so I rarely get set on must see stuff cause there is stuff to see everywhere. I think you could really enjoy some amazing food there too if you want. We really just end up eating where we are when we get hungry. We had watched some YouTube people showing us what to eat in Harajuku so we planned that. We had ice cream for breakfast, but I couldn’t wash that down with more crazy sweets like they do so that was the extent of our wild foray into YouTube recommendations.
we came back to Tokyo Disneyland/sea. We got some super sore feet from lines and saw a lot of tourists. I know social media has made tourism grow exponentially, but we were really surprised by the difference. When we were there in December 2014, there were about a dozen (max) of us white folk in the park that day. The other day, it was tourists from all over. AND LOTS OF THEM! It was so much more diverse. Was it social media or simply October? Maybe a bit of both. The crowds were doable by Disney standards, but sore feet are my worst enemy there. It seems that my feet do not enjoy standing in one spot. At ALL!
You quit your job to travel the world and then what? My blog is about a pretty mundane subject, but the years of blogging have come and gone. I know (in a way you know strangers on Instagram) some people who have “sold it all” and have zero sponsors after a long time. They quit their jobs. They sold their homes. They cashed in on the equity in their house; their furniture, their clothes, their doodads, to travel. It sounds crazy! Cause it is!!!!! I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. Maybe they’ll get famous and it will all be made right. Not likely! It took us years to get where we are with our not so perfect furniture, but good career. I realized early on I couldn’t sustain any momentum to do what it takes. I’m not going to hike Kilimanjaro one day and follow it us with something better the next week. It’s too much. We had a trip to Chile planned for this summer, but our career sent us to China. I could have done both. Nobody was stopping me, but me. It’s no piece of cake to do what moving entails. Nope. I don’t want to throw a first trip to South America into the mix. I’ve been trying to go for 20 years. It will be or it will not be. I tried a thousand times to use my funds from my Aeromexico flights that were going to go unused to no avail. I learned that I’m not going to book flights with them ever again because of the headache. My seats were empty, but they won’t get another dime from me. Lesson learned!
Besides a national park pass, the best thing I’ve spent my money on is family pictures. We didn’t have engagement pictures done. We set a timer on an old fashioned nineties camera on a hike and went with those. I didn’t have a dime so I didn’t know better. When we went to Hawaii for the first time, I wanted to book a professional to take pictures of our family. It was one of my best purchases.
We live very near the ocean here in China, but it took us awhile to make it to the tourist beach. There is a huge Hilton resort, helicopter pad for tours, bikes and watercraft for rent. The usual beach vibe, but with a very Chinese flair. The water was warmish, but the waves were crazy.
This is China. We have gone on a lot of walks. It has been humid. This week I was reminded of our seemingly mundane walks in Oregon daily. How do you keep your kids fit in the summer? We walked a lot. It was free. We would bring some snacks and water and pretty much do it every day. We would usually do one small camp per kid per summer to learn a new skill of choice and swimming, but walking was always free. It could be seen as boring, but being outside moving your body is never a waste. The mundane walks to the park to play quickly turned into teens growing up.
My cousins grew up in Wyoming so we grew up going to Jackson Hole. It was always cool, but now it’s very pricey. What you can do that won’t break the bank is go to the nearby National Park or watch an old West shootout.