Week 3: Where Have I Been?

great wall

Of my early 52 Weeks of Me questions, this is by far the one I’m most excited to write about. Traveling is one of my greatest passions and one I love to share with others.

Here’s the short-list of where I’ve been:

  • US (about 1/3 of the states)
  • Scotland
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • China

I’ve traveled around quite a bit of the US and a bit of Europe, but my top two are Scotland, where I lived for 4 months in college, and China, where I spent 2 weeks traveling the country with my brother who lives there.

Scotland

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In the Autumn and Winter of 2008, I spent a semester studying at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland. Stirling is a small city approximately halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to the William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle.

I’m sad to say I wasn’t exactly the best student that semester. It was my first time out of the country and I’m pretty sure I was experiencing a bit of culture shock without even realizing it at the time. Not to mention the hardcore tonsilitis I contracted during finals week that left me unable to eat, drink, or sleep for 2 days straight.

In any case, I took the opportunity to visit Edinburgh frequently, receive a polite smile and nod of acknowledgement from J.K. Rowling, meet Evanna Lynch (the actress who plays Luna Lovegood), tour bits of the Highlands, and make some friendships for life!

On top of it all, I fell in love with Scotland in a way I didn’t believe possible. It’s one of the few places in the world I actively want to live.

China

coin toss

China was a particularly exciting trip to make. At the time, my brother had been living there for about 3 years and I was the first person in the family to make it out to visit him.

We carefully arranged the visit to coincide with Spring Festival, the month-long holiday surrounding the Chinese New Year. We had 2 weeks to explore the country, and that meant being rather picky with where we went. If you didn’t know, China is a pretty huge country. Like… super big. So seeing as much of the country as possible while still experiencing it in a 2 week period is a real challenge.

We started in Shanghai then went to Beijing for a couple days where it was below freezing and we hit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Silk Market. Next, we flew to Kunming for a couple days to enjoy the Spring City (Kunming’s nickname, if I recall correctly) and do a bit of tea shopping. Then it was a very long bus ride down to Jinghong in XiShuangBanNa, a beautiful tropical area of China. We enjoyed a day trip to the small town of Menghai then there was another long bus ride up to Dali, where we hiked halfway up a mountain to a temple then welcomed the year of the Rabbit in style. Finally, it was another day in Kunming and Shanghai before I flew home.

dali

Now, my brother has been in China for 6 years and I’m still the only person to make it out there. But now something has changed – he’s getting married.

I’m super excited to share the news that my brother fell in love with and is marrying a woman born and raised in China. Their wedding is taking place April 26th this year and I couldn’t be more excited for him. Unfortunately, no one else in the family has the ability to attend.

I’ve made it my mission to represent the family for my brother on the day of his wedding. I don’t make enough money to do this without essentially screwing up my financial situation entirely, so (at the prompting of friends and family) I’ve put together a few super fun rewards to offer anyone willing to help me get there.

I can bring you tea, send you a postcard from China, and even bring back of box full of bizarre Chinese things! Heck, I’m even offering to carry around photos of contributors on popsicle sticks and take pictures of them “on their own personal Chinese adventures” for the pure fun of it all.

So this is the part where I hate to ask, but please take a moment to check out my page and see if any of the rewards strike your fancy and don’t forget to share with anyone else who might be interested. Even the smallest contribution makes a difference!

Thanks to everyone for reading this far and I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my some of my adventures to date!

 

 

 

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