China- A Land of Many People. Day 1.
Updated: Feb 10
Looking out the window of the train, I watched farm after farm. It was winter and the land was brown and dusty with dead crops. I observed people working on bridges, not just men but men and women. They didn’t have any machinery. The workers carried large boulders by hand and stacked bricks on their heads. This how you imagine the Great Pyramids were built. Very primitive. As the train slowed I felt this sudden feeling of excitement and nervousness. We arrived in Guangzhou (Canton) China at 6:16 pm. According to my “Let's Go China” book, we need to catch bus #31 to get to the youth hostel. At first, I wasn't even sure if we were at the right station. I couldn’t read any of the signs so it was impossible to know. We walked through the huge station to the front entrance where we needed to catch the bus. Mass confusion! Hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of people everywhere. It was an incredible sight. I’ve honestly never seen so many people.
I couldn't help myself, I was in awe just watching them, the share number of people in one place… until I realized it was getting late in the day and we needed to get on bus #31 to get to the hostel before dark. We watch and waited for the arrival of bus #31 with anticipation and the notion that we would just get on it when it arrived. As it arrived in the pull-up area, people started running alongside it to be the first one on. By the time it stopped there were 100’s of people pushing and shoving to get on and off the bus. Then another bus #31 would come and go… and another… and another… I kept thinking, “ok, we’ll get on the next one. This can’t go on forever…right.” As evening approached the temperature dropped and it was getting cold. I started to freak out. “We are in a foreign country ” “I don’t speak a lick of Chinese” “FUCK!” We've got to get on that bus! I said to Randy (the other world traveler I was traveling with) we need to do this. We don’t have a choice. It’s go time MF! We planned that the next bus #31 that pulls in we are going to do whatever it takes to get on it. Whatever it takes! We lined up like we were in a great race, I tightened my waist strap and grabbed the side straps of my 30-pound backpack to get ready to run when the bus arrived. As soon as I saw it pulling in I started running as fast as I could with my backpack bouncing up and down like when you were late to class with a backpack full of books. I was so focused I didn't even know if Randy was behind me or not. As the bus started to slow down I pushed and shoved, pushed and shoved so many people to get on the bus. I felt bad because my backpack was ginormous and it was bumping people in the face and knocking them over like Ku Fu Panda. “Sorry…sorry…sorry” I kept repeating “Gǎo shénme guǐ” someone yelled. I had no clue what they said, so I just smiled knowing it probably wasn't “you go ahead pretty American girl.” I pushed until I was on the bus. The bus was so packed. Sardines have more room. My body was literally slammed against complete strangers. I could barely move my arms and hands. I couldn’t breathe. There were no seats, standing room only!. I pushed my way through the sea of people to get to the bus window. I breathed a sigh of relief. We made it. Ahhh… “OH SHIT” Randy! Randy! _________________________________________________________________
Yes, this is a true story. This is an excerpt from the book I’m writing based on my trip around the world backpacking when I was 24-years old. The experiences and benefits of traveling abroad are countless and last a lifetime. To say that I loved traveling is a massive understatement. Traveling will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I can truly say that I would not be the person that I am today if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned along the way. Traveling is an opportunity like no other, and I wish everyone could experience the magic, the people, and the freedom it provides. I plan to share an excerpt now and again and would love to hear back from you. How did it make you feel? Do you have a similar story? What has been your experience traveling abroad? Lesson Learned- “When faced with a tough decision you can either push your way through or stay stuck. Sometimes we just need to make a bold decision and take fast action to avoid waiting helplessly in the dark" ~Barbara Murphy-Shannon
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