Have you ever not realized how much your brain needed something to shake it up? I’d not realized how in need my brain was of something completely different till recently when we went on a big trip.
I’m not good at being “in the moment”, my brain is always moving, usually bouncing around future and past thoughts more than present thoughts. It is hard to not think of things elsewhere from where you are, whether it is a worry, a project, a conversation you recall out of nowhere.
We took a trip this spring that I was looking forward to (we’d been planning it for 2 years) but didn’t realize how much it would impact me. We were to visit China (Beijing, Guilin & Shanghai), the husband had lived there in his 20s and wanted me to experience it a bit, and after China a stop in Kyoto Japan (my choice due to a long love of most things Japanese) for cherry blossom season.
China was our first stop. I knew Facebook was banned there, but forgot about Google being banned – and thus my email, which is a gmail account. Immediately, I had no contact with anyone back home and decided to take that opportunity and run with it by not going online to read daily North American news. It was a complete disconnect from all things tech and news from everything at home – which was wonderful.
Not that I had the time for tech and news anyways! I was blown away by China. Beijing and Shanghai were wonderfully fascinating places to visit. We saw some amazing sights (the Great Wall, Hutongs in Bejing, the Marriage Market and Propaganda Museum in Shanghai) and learned so many interesting bits about life from various guides. But my new love on this planet is the Guilin area of China.
I’d long wanted to see the mountains around the Li river and we spent several glorious days there with a suburb guide. We climbed up peaks in the dark to watch the sun rise over the mountains, we rode on small rafts on the river surrounded by gorgeous vistas, went to ancient villages and met the most amazing people who let us take their photos and told us about their lives. I can’t even being to describe without writing a novel how many things I learned, how much I cherish the experiences we had, how wonderful and warm the people were. My brain never once thought about anything back home (except checking in on the beloved dog) the entire time we were here – every day was simply amazing. I hope with all the hope in my body that I get to return to the Guilin area one day.
We had a week+ in China and on our plane ride to Japan both remarked how wonderful it had been and that we could have happily gone home at that point and counted it as the best trip ever. But we got one other week in Japan which was spent in Kyoto – I’ll share more about that with you in the next blog post.
So I’m home now, with a rested brain that is humming with Chinese and Japanese inspired ideas. 🙂 It will be fun to see what all comes out of it (kind of want to try and learn some basic Mandarin now). The 2 weeks of being so stimulated with everything new and interesting that it didn’t allow my brain to be anything other than “in the moment” has sort of held. I’m doing much better at being in the now and looking forward to the rest of the year in a much more relaxed mode. Think my brain was really in the need of learning and seeing some new exciting completely different bits. Before this entry gets any longer, will end with a bunch of favorite photos from the China portion of the trip, and a wish that you too get to experience a brain shake up (in a good way) soon. 🙂
Shanghai (Pudong side) at night
Great Wall & Me
Shanghai food seller
Shanghai (Pudong side) and never ending boats on river
Fun statue outside Confucius temple
Beautiful calligraphy at Confucius Temple
Confucius Temple – Shanghai
Temple grounds with modern building encroaching, Shanghai
Communist era gate – Shanghai
Street scene – Guilin area
Amazing 92 year old woman we met near Guilin
near Guilin area
Old building, Shanghai
Marriage Market – Shanghai, parents advertising their kids for marriage
Food market – Guilin area
Love their doors
Most amazing lunch ever! Guilin area
Obsessed with these mountains
Love seeing some koi….
Another cool 3 week truck
Female lion playing with cub under paw
Super cool man we met near Guliin
Showing us how to use a nut breaking tool
The nut breaking tool up close
Near Guilin area