One year in China. Let's do this!

Getting Familiar with the Unfamiliar

This past week has been dedicated to figuring out “outside of China” travel plans.  With a couple of long weekends approaching as well as a nine day break at the end of September, there has been a flurry of activity around the workplace trying to figure out the best, cheapest, and coolest places to go from Shanghai.

Asia is at my fingertips.  How rad is that?  Yet, there is this flurry of anxiety in the pit of my stomach every time I start to click around.  I did not realize how little I actually know about other countries outside of China until I decided I want to go to them.

Looking at Air Asia, Spring Airlines, and China Eastern has shown me that my knowledge base of world cities and countries has not really expanded all that much from when I failed abysmally in the 6th grade Geography Bee.  Google searches have become incredibly “fruitful” as a result:

When you don't know anything about the country other than its name...

When you don’t know anything about the country other than its name…

And then, when it comes to figuring out flights, and where exactly I am supposed to fly TO if I want to go to Korea, Laos, Cambodia, I have absolutely no idea where these cities are.  Take note:

Fruitful searches.

Fruitful searches.

The thought of actually travelling in these places is daunting.  Here in China, I have the comfort of a familiar language, an ability to interact with the people because I have some basis of the cultural norms, and I have spent a substantial amount of time in China.  Phnom Penh, on the other hand, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA.  Not only do I kind of mumble…’I would like to go to Phhh Pemmmhhh…you know, that famous place in Cambodia…yeah yeah, that one with the two Ps’, but I have no clue as to what to do when I get there.

So once the flights are booked and the days until the first big Asia trip draw closer, I will be spending a lot of time with my new best friend, Mr. Google, and we will have lots of intimate evenings spending hours only talking to each other.  There might be fights when he doesn’t tell me what I want to hear (i.e. This flight will cost you ONE MILLION DOLLARS) and there may be moments of rejoicing (i.e. there IS indeed a ferry from that place in ppp pppp to that other place in Laos).  But we will work through it together and we shall succeed.

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