Sorry its taken longer than expected to get part 2 up, with working and setting up a business, I don’t find time to write as much as i’d like and always find it better when I have a clear mind…Flooglebinder, is going well and we have some exciting new programs this year including Tiger reserves in India, Elephant sanctuaries in Sri Lanka and trekking programs in Nepal, along with a re-brand, so check out the new site soon…currently have a holding site so you can see what we’re about: www.flooglebinder.co.uk
So back to the trip: following on from Shangahi we made our way to Beijing on a sleeper train, which was certainly an experience…no where near as bad as I thought, at least this one I could sit up without my head hitting the ceiling. However, the rattling carriage which kept us up all night wasn’t fun, especially when Rich hit it to stop rattling and it got ten times worse. It was at this point that you either laugh or cry and fortunately I chose to laugh, although I think Richie cried a little bit inside.
Beijing was really cool but we were very lucky as I had a friend that was living out there…we would have had a very different experience without him as he showed us places that we would never have visited, mainly restaurant orientated, which some of you may already know is very important to me ;0 I would highly recommend always reaching out to friends and acquaintances as you’ll be sure to find a few hidden gems as opposed to getting caught up in the tourist traps.
We spent a day on the Great Wall of China and then hit another sleeper train to Xian to see the Terracotta Army, which was amazing. Don’t get me wrong the Great Wall of China is very impressive, and we only saw a very small part of it, but I’ve always wanted to see the Terracotta Army, i’m not sure why or how I even heard of it as a kid, but always been on my list and i wasn’t disappointed.
You sometimes feel obliged to see certain things, whether artistic, cultural or historical, but I can often get a little bored on the ‘cultural days’ out. Most of the time its my ignorance or lack of knowledge and unless you have a guide or headset you don’t always know what you’re looking at, what the story is, or value its true meaning, so always good to invest time and money to do it properly, and fully appreciate the places you are visiting… in return you’ll have a far greater experience.
“Plan you trip, reach out to friends and do your research…by investing in your travels…your travels will invest in you”
p.s. Dont get caught up in the Jade factories that they try to include on every tour you go on..they’ll probably try and incorporate more than one as well.
I’m quite a simple character so if anyone asks what I enjoy, it usually comes down to a few simple things; good health, good food, good wine and good company!
I didn’t really know what to expect from St.Petersburg and unfortunately hardly had at moment beforehand to sit back and think about it. It’s interesting how you can picture something in your head from conversations but be so off track, I wonder what creates these images? Experiences, imagination, creativity??? Anyway, sometimes it’s quite nice to have no perception and go in with an open canvas…We quite often tarnish things with our own experiences or brand things based on our knowledge, yet you only have to look at the ever evolving marketing industries to see how successful new ideas and campaigns can be, and quite often have no comparison to previous examples. If we were to implement the same to our thoughts and not judge or brand anything or anyone, I believe our experiences will be a lot more fulfilling and we would benefit from them entirely. Let me compare it to football- when you play teams you know, you can go in with the wrong attitude as either expect to win or lose, but when you don’t know your opponents, you can’t create any kind of perception, and go in with an open and more positive mind.
Quite often I sit here and start these blogs not really knowing where they are going but just write and see where it takes me, with the hope of bringing some form of optimistic approach to work, love, life, family and friends. So as a final thought it’s quite easy really- enjoy the simple things in life and go into every situation with an open mind, as our attitude can have an astonishing effect on the way we think and cloud our judgement.
The experience as a whole was an mind opener and finding out about Russia’s deep yet recent history was probably the most surprising, as in school we were only informed about the negative effects of the Soviet Union but I found out about a whole new side. It was a fantastic weekend spent with all the things and people I love, with some art, culture, snow boarding and massages so covered most of my ‘things’ – good health, good food, good wine and good company!