china

Forgotten memories and a mini winding torch.

So many old photos, videos and journals to go through I sometimes don’t know where to start…but I always remind myself that you just need to start at the beginning. When we have so much going on in our lives it can be really tricky to try and deal with one thing at a time, but take a breath, write things down and start working you way through it. I write about this in a previous blog: ‘Dream Big Start Small Act Now’.

We last looked at some of our journeys through China so after our exploration of the Great Wall, cramped train journeys to the Teracotta Army, endless trips to the Jade factories, weird and wonderful games in the street, and meeting random people for dinner, we made our way to HK. One of the best things about travel is the people you meet and some of those people have become very close friends and always will be. Others we’ll never see or speak to again but imbedded memories in our mind that will never be forgotten…so here is a thank you to all of those people that made these trips what they were and produced the memories that we still have today.

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Hong Kong was a nice break for a few days as we found China to be quite difficult in some areas due to the language barrier, but it may have been because it was our first destination and we were still trying to find our travelling feet. As I previously mentioned in ‘By investing in your travels your travels will invest in you’ we were very fortunate to have a friend in Beijing, as after leaving Shanghai I wasn’t ecstatic about China. There seemed to be such a huge segregation between locals, expats and tourists and I prefer to get in the mix and amongst it, which we certainly did in Beijing.

In HK we only had a few nights to play with so caught up with a good friend, Greg, and checked out the night markets and Victoria Peak, which I highly recommend is a must do when visiting. It’s over 550m above sea level and the highest mountain on Hong Kong island, attracting over 7million visitors each year. We timed it perfectly as despite the queue for the tram managed to hit the top at sunset and watched the night sky unfold, the clouds sweep over the peak and the city skyline light up. It all happened so quick but was truly remarkable. We’d only been away a few weeks but was great to see a familiar face as he also bought us the best gift and a necessity for any traveller….a mini winding torch. I cant tell you how useful this was and no need for batteries, so a definite to include in in your backpack: http://www.gapyeartravelstore.com/mini-winding-torch.html (remember to quote FLOOGLE10GAP  for an extra 10% off).

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I find that some of blogs are more purposeful with regards to our look on life and how we go about doing things we do, but others are simple stories of what we got up and what made me who I am today.

Travel Safe ;]

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Where to start?

Every week a situation arises and I don’t know where to start, whether its a project at work or looking at old travelling material, but there is a very easy and obvious solution…..the beginning!

As ridiculous as it sounds…its true, sometimes we fill our mind with so much stuff and try and tackle everything at once but we cant, so write it down step by step and start at the beginning. Not only will you work through it systematically but you’ll also gain great pleasure by physically ‘ticking it off’ and seeing yourself getting closer to your end goal.

As some of you may know i’ve started a youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/bradrichardfrankel) for a number reasons, one to talk about my life but most importantly to document my travels. With over 50hrs worth off footage, thousands of photos and around 30 countries visited, it seemed silly not too. I didn’t know where to start with so many different mediums but I’m going to start with blogging and photos, and as time progresses (more on youtube) we’ll have some cool video’s to upload, but first I need to work out how to use Final Cut Pro. 

My round the world trip started in May 2007 and after planning my escape for over a year, the only thing that kept me sane at work were the savings I put into my account each month. Whatever your goal is, big or small, you need to plan it effectively and make sure you do something each day to achieve it. These things take time and you need to be patient, but with the end goal in mind, step by step you’ll get there….

The goodbye at the airport was an emotional one, everyone almost holding it together but as the first one shed a tear that was it, everyone was at it, tears all over the place and then we both had those horrible headaches, after you’ve been crying, for the plane journey…so we were off to a good start. Then, after customs and baggage we were looking forward to riding the magnetic train into the city but no-one would let us buy a ticket, they just looked at us and shook their heads. We thought our denominations were too big but it wasn’t until everyone turned us down that we knew something was wrong and realised that we had changed our money into Yen instead of Yuan, which is the difference of about 500 miles across the East China Sea. After finally buying our train tickets, in Chinese Yuan, we made it into Shanghai city centre to find our hostel but wasn’t sure how much we should pay for the taxi, it seemed a little high and when he drove off with the car boot still up we knew we’d been ‘done’. It turned out to be 10x the price, which he achieved by saying the decimal place was in the wrong place, so we we’re off to a good start but they say things happen in 3’s and with the crying, the currency and the cab I think our bad fortune had passed…

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Goodbyes at the airport…before the tears!

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Finally bought our train tickets!

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The Magnetic train into Shanghai!

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The food in China was awesome…I love my meat but I could have been a vegetarian out there as it all tasted sooooo good!

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View across the Huangpu River on a misty night!

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So crazy to see modern buildings being built using bamboo scaffolding!

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Our new friends…little did we know that Asker and Jonas would keep appearing 😉

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We then showed China how to breakdance…except….we cant breakdance…but they thought we could and loved it!

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Xiaolongbao (dumplings) in Shanghai were probably my favourite dish!