As a kid I always wrote a diary, every day and I kept all of them. From the heart printed padlocked diaries that held nothing more exciting than what my pet rabbits had been up to, to the infinitely more juicy and million times more cringey diaries of my awkward emo teenage years. Its always been important to me to keep my memories, however embarrassing and filled with terrible pseudo intellectual poetry they are.
As I got older I moved from diaries to blogs, I’ve played with livejournal, travellerspoint as well as others and finally settled on JGA on wordpress. Its for this reason that I’m carrying over my old blog posts from a dusty and fairly unused site and trying to get them all sorted onto Jess Gets Around, no matter how embarrassing, naïve and poorly written they are.
Sitting in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport I had officially embarked on my lengthy trip to China. After a quick return from a birthday beach break I had made elderly relatives, and the not-so elderly weep and worry and had set off with an enormous pink suitcase and a back pack that threatened to send me over backwards every time I put it on.
I found myself alone in the city of love, waiting for my flight to Hong Kong seemingly surrounded by what I was soon find out wasn’t in fact the majority of the Chinese population. I sat wiping stress eaten pain au chocolate crumbs from my shirt and wondering what on earth would convince the guy opposite to purchase a novelty t-shirt where the Eiffel tower is wearing a beret and holding a baguette. I wanted one. A lot.
For the weeks before I travelled I had answered the common question of “aren’t you scared?” with a considered nonchalance that I felt suitably conveyed the cool and collected world-ready and cosmopolitan traveller that I felt myself to be. And I genuinely wasn’t scared, at all. Until the night before I flew, when I laid in bed barely able to breathe thinking “honestly, what the f*** have I done?” I freaked out, badly. I had to be tempted downstairs and away from my tightly stuffed case with the odd culinary mix of black Russians with sausage and mash just to prevent me from throwing away all my clothes and filling my case with books, pillows and nostalgic cuddly toys. Would I really need a large fleece tiger print onesy in China? I was asked, OK probably not.
Later . . . . .
I finally arrived in Wuhan a mere 25 and a half hours after I set off from home. After making all of my connections on time and with my luggage I felt like my stress levels could go down. Its only when I’d stepped off the plane that I realised the extent of my reliance on someone being there waiting for me. I didn’t speak the language, I barely had any cash, my phone wasn’t working and even if it was I would have no clue who to call. I cant even explain the relief when I stepped out of the airport and saw two men holding a sign with my name.
I got into the back of their van, fell instantly asleep and woke up an hour later driving through the strangest and most foreign landscape I’d ever experienced. We drove past towering hotels, beautiful sweeping parks, muddy roads, dogs running wild, huge factories and women preparing food in the streets. It was definitely overwhelming, but I’d wanted a real change and an adventure, I couldn’t complain that that wasn’t what I’d gotten.