Mao For Something Completely Different

“The traveller’s-eye view of men and women is not satisfying. A man might spend his life in trains and restaurants and know nothing of humanity at the end. To know, one must be an actor as well as a spectator.” – Aldous Huxley (or Huxtable, depending)

And so with this starts my new journey…

I am someone that finds patterns in things and gains comfort from those patterns, and so I guess it is natural that I would be comparing my feelings of last year’s departure to London to my launching off towards China – the problem, I am finding, is that there are very few similarities.

Last year I left to explore a world that I had no idea about. I was a virgin to international travel and had few well-founded expectations of what I would find. I had little in the way of a set plan or itinerary and was only certain that I wouldn’t be in any one spot for a large amount of time.

Now, my relationship to travel has changed. Rather than that unknowning anticipation that comes only with firsts, I have something more mature. In place of those longing glances and first kiss feelings, I have a more comfortable, “what’s for dinner” attitude. And though there are a thousand things I’ve yet to learn, I can’t help but feel a bit of loss for those wide eyes and fearful first steps I took only a year ago.

Also different this time around is I’m heading to a set place where I’ll be situated for a set amount of time, and it is all quite a bit more organized. I’m certain that there are many new and exciting challenges in my future, and I can only wonder what they will give me, and what I’ll be able to give in the process.

Tomorrow I head to San Francisco on a 5:55 a.m. plane (via Vancouver) and will be staying with Christena and Jeremy, two Globalfreeloaders, there. Though it would appear that good weather is not likely to be present (forecast calls for rain all three days I’m in town), I hope to still be able to see the classic touristy things there (Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, various gay and lesbian couples, etc.).

Friday I hop back on the BART and head back to the airport to continue far west to the Far East (our “western” terminology needs updating, especially considering the Western world is actually far east from me). With all luck there will be a little sign with “Future School” on it awaiting me at Dalian’s airport, and pushing that luck a bit further the sign will be attached to someone (at least temporarily) that will be taking me to my new home.

Last I was told, my appartment may not be ready upon my arrival, as I’m arriving about five days early.

Something that should be immediately apparent if you are reading this (which you are, trust me, I’ve got it on good info) I’ve changed formats for my journal. Whereas I’ve always used LiveJournal I’ve now committed to this blogging thing a bit more and gone all out with my own site. I’m now using as my journal’s backend, as it is infinitely more friendly to publishing directly to an FTP and stuff. I am also planning to have an entire site dedicated to my travels and what not (providing a home for the archive of journal entries from all my trips, plus photos, things learned, links, etc.), but after some debate I have scrapped all my initial designs and am reworking it.

I really have no idea what to expect when I arrive in China, but seeing as I’ll be in one place for the better part of eight months, I will likely set myself up with some form of Internet connectivity and will in all likelihood have regular access to e-mail (hint HINT!).

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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