I'm sitting on a train from Beijing,looking at all the patient people. For the train you could buy tickets for a bed or a sit or a standing ticket. Latter costs the same as a sit,but probably people who don't get the sit buy this ticket. I'm so grateful I got a sit because standing on a train for 6 hours would be very painful. I'm looking at people who are standing,I don't know their stories or how long they will be standing,but they look ok,just standing peacefully,not complaining about their situation,admirable. I was lucky as I got a sit by the window which means I can lean against it and try to get some sleep. I already ate a few bananas and later I will eat a big pomelo, I can't wait :)!

I arrived in Beijing 3 days ago. The beginning of my trip wasn't the sweetest. In the morning when I woke up to start my travel I become nervous. Before I wasn't really nervous about my journey,probably because I didn't have time for it - before I left I had to move out of the place where I had lived almost my entire life. It was quite exhausting to pack my life into boxes and also do a lot of cleaning,with this I had a lot of help from my parents. A lot had to be done before I left and the last three weeks were kind of very moody,with ups and downs,the biggest problem was in my head because I was thinking about all the things that needed to be done before my start and I was a bit worried that I would forget something.

 

Quiting my job and deciding to start travelling with just a oneway ticket was the best choice for me! I can't say it was the easiest choice but I think that deciding the contrary,continuing to live a life that was not satisfying anymore,would be the harder choice,I'm sure. Although to some living in a nice flat and going to a job that gives a steady pay each month would be a reason not to change anything in their life. But when I realised that my job really wasn't  fulfilling to me anymore I knew I had to move or I will become very unhappy. I think that everybody decides his own future and if you are unhappy it is actually your choice. Therefore I knew I had to move and follow the wind wherever it will take me. Following the wind to me means to try to listen to my heart and have the courage to follow it!


Leaving for indefinite amount of time is quite strange. There is no guidebook for this situation. On one side you don't know where you will spend your future,and by the future I mean the next few months and also the more far distanced future. That is quite scary at sometimes because we are so used to having to know where our place will be in the future. But on the other hand the freedom that comes along with it is so overwhelming that it brings me happiness. And calmness. The freedom to choose whatever I want at that time and the freedom to have the chance to explore my secret wishes and also to learn about myself more. I think that when you are surrounded by people who know you really well is so nice, but it sometimes gives you a false identity. We are so used to give advice to people around us as we "really know" what is the best for them. Sometimes we really do, but other times we influence each other in a way that can stop them from doing the things they really want to do. Maybe we think it is not appropriate, maybe that it isn't their best choice or it is just something unusual. But sometimes choices which appear not to be the best ones end up being just the best thing possible. And by travelling alone you are free to decide to do anything you really want! Yeah,the biggest problem usually is that you think you don' t know what you want. But actually if you just listen to your heart and do what feels right, it is the best choice possible. Sometimes this can take you in a different direction, but that is good. And it is good to remember that there is no perfect choice, I  often forget this :)! That means that whatever happens is good,so we shouldn't be bothered if one opportunity that seems amazing slips out of our way, because the current situation can actually be so much better than it seems,only if we allow it to be and accept it just the way it is :)! Yeah,a little philosophy is good as long there is not too much of it :).

I will write just a few things about the first 3 days of my travel in Beijing because I would like to tell you more about other things. If I had to describe it with a few words,it would be: snow, cold, good subways, people minding their own business, a lot of food, good beer in the evening and feeling very safe. I had a bit troubles withdrawing money, and exchanging money isn't as easy (or cheap- at the airport they take commission at least 3 EUR for changing 10 EUR :))) as I thought it would be but when I finally could withdraw money from Bank of China (others banks wouldn't give me money) I was so happy. I went on a one day trip to the Great wall of China and it was wonderful, the wall was covered in snow but around it the leaves were still changing colours,very beautiful. I walked to the wall (Muntianyu),which was easy,but walking from tower 8 to tower 20 was quite a challenge. The snow meant that on some parts we had to slide as most of us didn't have the best shoes for this occasion, but it made it more beautiful and adventurous! I think that I really didn't get to know the real Beijing as I had troubles finding interesting streets and it was just before going to bed the last night I stumbled upon a street, very close to my hostel, that was very much alive and I could admire all the things they sell there,very nice. Before I thought that nothings interesting happens in the city:)! My hostel experience was nice although I slept in a capsule - one big room is divided on upper and lower spaces, almost like bunk beds, but they were actually tiny tiny rooms, but outside had cages so you could hear everything. Interesting experience, it was clean and the staff was very nice, so I was satisfied.

 
 

                                         Training Kung fu 

 

Ok,so let's go a little forward to this day, 15th of November. I have spent 10 days in China and today is one week since I started my one month of Kung fu (Gong fu in Chinese) training at Yuntai international school of martial arts near Yuntai mountains in China, Henan province. Yes, I understand that to some people coming to China to train Kung fu is a crazy idea,but here there are a lot of "crazy" people like me,so I am happy:). Why this? It is hard to answer but I know it was a great choice! In Slovenia I have been training Karate for more than two years now and I love it! I want to see different martial arts techniques and so this was a perfect opportunity to see what my body is capable of. I tried to come here without any expectations, but still was very disappoined when I arrived. The tuition fee was 20% more than is written on the web site.  The surroudings isn't nearly as beautiful as I had imagined because of the desciptions. The rooms are very poor, the cleanliness isn't their best quality and in the room that I spent my first night the toilet is broken, so I couldn't flush it but had to pour water in the toilet by myself. I expected cold weather, but I have seen sun only once since I have been here, oh no, wait, two times, once just for 10 minutes:). But the cold outside was acceptable, what I didn't know is that there is no heating, so the building in quite cold:)! I love warm weather and get cold quickly so this was quite a shock! The toilets are on the outside (like a closed balcony) and they can be really chilly. I was lucky that my roomate for the first night, Fadoua, made a warm welcome and explaned everything. After the first shock and questioning "what the ... am I doing here?" I realised that this is a place I chose for myself and that there must be a good reason for this, although at that point I didn't know the answer yet, but every day I get closer to it :)!

It is hard to explain, but on the second day I already felt good here. I had a bit of troubles accepting everything here, but I think I adapted very quickly. At home I am always cold but here I felt warmer every day. Of course it helps that I train all day but I also activated my inner energy, my chi:). And if I am cold I just have to move, easy solution :)! I would describe this place as a voluntary prison. So many rules, strict schedules and punishments that it reminds me of prison. But I mustn't complain, because I chose to come here and even more, I pay them to "torture" us. So when I look at this place from this point of view I try to accept everything this place brings me.
And now it is over 9 PM,so I have to sleep,because tomorrow I have to be down at 6AM for training,yeeey :)!

 

Now that I am continuing writing another week has passed by. This place already feels like a temporary home, although I have mixed feeling about this place. Some days I want to stay longer here but somedays I dream of the day I will be leaving this cold and strictly regulated place. I know it is normal to have mixed feelings, especially because here the training is really hard. Every day at six o'clock we have to be in front of the building for the meeting to begin our training. It always starts with four rounds of running, one round is about 400 metres. Then we stretch and by stretching I mean really put our legs in positions that are quite strange and also painful. Then we usually go to the training hall and we do some crazy exercises, from different jumps and kicks in all directions, a spider walk (moving your body while it's close to the floor) and so many different exercises - we do it forward, backward and many times. If we do it badly we have to do it more times. We do about 100 push ups through the whole day and about 200 stand ups. Every day of the week we train different muscles. And we are always stretching, especially our legs but also our whole body. After one hour we go to breakfast and then at 8 o'clock our training continues. First we walk a little, then we run again and  do different activities - just training our legs or acrobatics or doing bridges or stands on our heads or do some other crazy things :). I joined the group of 12 foreign students with different experiences in training, some have been training for several years. So at first I was a bit scared because I could see them do really amazing things, some are so flexible that it is really just nice to watch them train. Some exercises I couldn't imagine doing but soon I realised that we put so many limits in our mind but our body can do amazing things. Of course I can't do all the things like people who have been training for a while, but I can see that each day I improve so much. Well, not exactly each day because of the muscle pains:). The third day was the worst, I had so much troubles just walking down the stairs and also training. But I continued and since then it is much better but I still have a lot of pain. Not just in my muscles, but also because of all the stretching we do. We move our body limits every day so each day we can do more, but that also means that there is always at least some pain involved :). So in the mornings we train until about 11.15 with a 20 minute break. At 12.00 we have lunch and after we rest it is good to try and get some sleep. At 2 PM we continue our training for 3 hours with a 20 minute break. First we walk, then we run and we do whatever our Shifu (our teacher) decides we will do. It is not so hard as it sounds,because it is not just hard core training, we also do forms - different moves that represent different positions of our body during the fight. For me it is nice to learn this, it reminds me of Kata's in Karate. Some things are similar, but actually quite different.

 

I have really learnt a lot since I arrived here. Not just regarding my body limits but also how to use my body to produce more power. Using my entire body to do the kick or the hit is so powerful that it amazes me to see and feel what we are capable of. And the Shifus teach us way more than just physical things but also help us with our mind. I am very lucky  because my Shifu (Yuan Shifu) is really great and well educated. He speaks English very good and really cares about us. He sees what we can do and pushes us to do more each day. He is very strict and we have to obey him whatever he says. It is not hard because we respect him so much that we usually don't question his instructions. He has only 27 years but he is so full of  life advices that itis really amazing to listen to him. He teaches us how to endure more with focusing on our breathing and not the pain. He knows what the body is capable of and gives us advice all the time. Yeah, there are times I just want him to stop "torturing" us with crazy exercises and extreme bodily positions. But in time you can see that all of this is not just to practice our psysical body but while training it makes us experience all kind of emotions. I had an experience when one stretching I did in a very unpleasant situation led to some tears. Not just because of the pain but mostly because a lot of my blocked emotions got freed and it was kind of overwhelming. But after I felt much better.

 

This experience I have chosen for myself is wonderful but involves a lot of emotions. It wasn't easy to leave a place I had been calling home and also all the people that I care about. Some people asked me why am I going away, what am I running away from. But I don't think that I am running away but more flying towards new experiences. My life at home was pretty much good, I consider myself a very lucky person to have so many things. I had a decent job, a nice flat to live in, I was surrounded by beautiful nature and so many good people. The last is really important to me because I am very social and I like to spend my time with different people and experience a lot of things. I have great parents that support me with the choices I make in my life. I know it wasn't easy for them to accept that I don't want to live my life the way that I was supposed to, following the social standards. But I appreciate so much that they never showed me how hard is must be for them but instead of that offered me their unconditional support. I think they knew that my decision wasn't easy to make and I was just so proud of my mum when she told me that all she wants for me is to be happy, no matter what I do. It would have been so much harder to do this without their support and also without the support of my friends. I never thought that being brave would be one of my strong qualities because I am afraid of so many things. Actually a lot has changed during the last few years, I guess the change happened when I decided that I want to live my life rather than fear it. I guess that my wishes and desires became so strong that they defeated my fears. So many people have told me that I am brave because of the path I have chosen. But I don't consider myself something special in that matter. I am just grateful that usually I can listen to myself and realise what I want and then it is so easy to try and get it. I think that it is as simple as that - you have to know what you want and then just find a way to do it. Usually it is easier as it seems to be. If you want to go somewhere, just go. If you can't find someone to join you, do it alone, sometimes it is even a better experience. I do a lot of things on my own. Not because I don't want company, although sometimes I really prefer doing some things alone. But mostly because I want to experience a lot of things and it is usually hard to find people wanting the same thing at the same time. So I just find a way to do it. That is how I started travelling alone. I wanted it so much, but I couldn't find others with the same interest at that time so I just went, with the wind :). And realising how much you can do on your own, to be so independent is such an amazing feeling! So why did I leave my home, change so much in my life that was already ok? Well first of all I want for myself more, not just an ok life but a great life. I want to experience a lot of things, get to know myself really good and try to live my life more simple as before, but more by doing the things I really love and avoid doing the things that don't suit me. So when I realised that for my happiness it was necessary to change my job I also decided to try to go in a different direction this time. I love to learn and experience new things so this journey seemed like a perfect opportunity for my personal growth!

 

Ok, to return a little bit more to my whole experience, today is my 18th day here. I have to say that I am happy.  It  is hard to understand, because right now I am covered all over my body including my face with a blanket. At my feet I have a bottle of hot water to warm my bare feet. Sometimes I write with my arms outside but this way they get really cold soon. They say it is about -6 degrees but I don't think it is that cold...it seems cold but not that much. Inside is of course warmer, but without the heating it is not really proper to use the word warm for this place :). Three days ago it started snowing and it was amazing! In the morning I think that there was more than 10 centimetres of snow. So for training we had to remove the snow from the school's yard. As there are about 30 foreign students and about 200 of Chinese children here right now this shouldn't be a problem, but as I realised they like to complicate things here. They had no tools for removing the snow so we used what we could find - from strange brooms made of twigs to metal dustbins. Actually the best tool was a piece of wood which helped us to remove snow easily. And there was no system for cleaning, just do it and  that meant a little chaos and also a lot of playing with the snow. It was interesting but very cold. At first I thought sharing school with so many Chinese children would be annoying, but it is actually very interesting to see how they learn, eat, play at talk to them a little. The children go to school here and they also learn a little Kung fu, older kids that are in the performance group are really amazing. If people from my home saw how children live here they would be shocked and surely would think that they they are being neglected. Yeah, it is cold here, the rules are strict and there is a lot of hard work involved. But I think this way children learn a lot about discipline and surviving in this world. I don't think that this is the best system, but neither is "protecting" children and covering them in cottonwood. We are so used to be afraid of so many things - don't do this or that because you can get sick or even worse, get dirty :)! And yet there is so much illness especially amongst children in my country, but also amongst others that I doubt  it is really a good idea to be so cautious. If before I came I had know I'd be living in these conditions I am sure I wouldn't have come here. But I am happy I came. To see that the cold is just one factor in life that we shouldn't fear or allow it to put obstacles in our lives. How many times did I say to myself that I won't do something or go somewhere because it is too cold. Well guess what, I learnt that if I can train Kung fu while outside a little below zero and inside just a little over zero degrees, than everything is possible. Of course we have to be careful, wear a lot of layers, change wet clothes constantly, sleep and eat enough and most of all - always keep on moving :).

 

Today is a great day. I am so happy :)! It's been exactly 3 weeks since I arrived at this place. A lot of things have happened. I've learnt, seen and felt so much that it is not possible to write it all down. I can just say that I am really happy about this experience. Today is Sunday and Sundays here are so sweet because there is no training :)! We get up later, the meeting starts at 7 o'clock, so we can sleep a little longer. Although I didn't sleep the best as I woke up several times after 2 AM. But nothing matters today :) after having the good bread for breakfast with persimon and tahini. I'm just loving the good bread we get on Sundays and Wednesdays, it is so special, so good, it reminds a bit of burek, but it doesn't have meat or vegetable inside. So I put fresh fruit on it or tahini or even both, yummy :)! Although I like the usual rice bread here too, when it is hot, with tahini on top is like a desert for me. So after the 8 o'clock meeting we go to the small village called Fangzhuang with taxies. There people usually hit the food stalls to eat something different. I wasn't hungry yet so I went with a very friendly, sweet and warm French girl called Ninon to the hot showers. It was my second time there and I like it. It is just a place where women and men separately go to wash themselves - just hot hot showers you can use for as long as you want. The showers at our school are ok, the water is usually warm (not really hot), but the whole bathroom is so cold that it is hard to really enjoy and get warm. I know a trick to get warm - I put really hot water in washbasin and at the end of showering I put this hooot water all over my body to warm up :). But at the hot showers the air is warm too and your whole body gets warm up from the inside! And last week a women there gave me a scrub that was really strong but also very relaxing and later my skin was very gentle. And this week she gave me a massage, a weird but interesting, she was using me like I was a drum :).  At home I wouldn't try this, but here you just go with the flow and do what other mostly Chinese women do. Outside the hot showers I looked at one big picture of sunny waterfalls and there was something written in Chinese. I said to Ninon that I would like to be there now. And then a strange thing happened - in the picture I could see Slovenian, my country's, flag on a sail of a boat! And below the sign SLO and the name Zbogar :)! I couldn't believe it, in a small Chinese town a Slovenian flag with the name of our very good sportsman! Amazing and hard to believe, but it made me even happier. After we ate egg kebab, very good, I liked it a lot :)! I bought some vegetable and a lot of fruit finally, because at school we don't get any fruit (except yesterday when each got one apple which made us feel like it is Christmas :)), we have one shop in the school and one outside, you can get all sorts of things there from shoes to wooden massage tools but not fruit. I love fruit and usually while travelling eat a bunch of it, but here I eat only a little as I eat the food in the school. Well the food itself is really not so bad here and I like it a lot, a lot of vegetables, rice and even sweet potatoes! The first two weeks I felt so good after the food and I had no problems whatsoever. But last week I guess I ate to much of everything and also a strange bread that a girl whose mother drove me back from the little village gave me and afterward had stomach problems. They say it is normal and that everybody gets it, but I didn't want to be normal. I guess I am :). I was pretty lucky, a German guy gave me some Chinese medicine, and it helped a lot! The first afternoon and the night was bad so I missed my first morning training but then I actually felt better so I trained. And strange thing, despite my pain in my body I was so happy I could train. I could use my stomach as an excuse not to train but rather stay in bed but I actually missed training :). Well I felt pretty good, a little less powerful, but later stomachache returned. Altogether I missed just 3 early morning trainings, so I was lucky! Some had problems for days and had fevers and headaches. I was so happy when I could start to eat normal food again, before I was cautious about what I was putting in my mouth and ate just a lot of rice, bananas, eggs and rice bread with rice soup :)! I appreciated so much when I started to eat just a little of vegetables with my rice, funny how such small thing can make you happy. So by now my digestion is almost normal so I am happy. I decided to try a medical massage and found a place a was told about. It was quite strong, a lot of focus on my back, I liked it I just wished my legs would have been in the centre of attention more because of the muscle and joint pains. But actually after being heated so much in the hot showers the pain was almost gone :)! So there I was so relaxed, warm and carrying a lot of goods that I was happy. I decided to walk to the school instead of taking a ride because the massage was already in the direction of the school. It took me 25 minutes to get to the school, I had to ran half the time because I wanted to catch the lunch. So there I was, my backpack and my arms full of food which made running a little harder. On the way the plastic bag tore and a pomelo and tiny apples fell. I picked them up, ran some more and then another bag tore. But this happened almost in front of school and I was happy because I cought the lunch, I was a bit late but still the rice with carrot and black sesame I had just bought in the market was very delicious. I was so happy to made it to lunch and that I chose a different, unusual path on return to school. I was even happy when my eyes set on the voluntary prison I call my home these days. I enjoyed observing the landscape and the villages on the way. The houses seem like they are abandoned but are actually not. The afternoon I spent relaxing, tiding my room, reading a book (A woman on the bus), sleeping and writing this words. As I was warmed up from the hot shower and also my run the cold wasn't a problem anymore. So this is what I call a perfect Sunday. Even realising that I had used almost all of my credit on my water card that we use for hot and drinking water couldn't spoil this day. I guess that because of the cold I used too much of hot water in plastic battles to warm up, but I didn't know about the water limits. But that is not a problem, not today,  I'm just too happy :)! I will be more careful and borrow the card from people that have enough credit. That is really nice here, the solidarity among us. You can always get some food or other things from somebody and also while training we make jokes but actually really help each other with shouting "jiayou" which means power and is often heard to help us survive crazy training.

 

While I'm writing this I am travelling by train South to Wuhan. It is actually funny because today I am one of the patient people on the train. The sits were full so I had a choice - either buy an expensive ticket for a fast train or buy a standing ticket. I chose the latter as I travel on a low budget and have already spent more than planned. So I stood on the train for about 2,5 hours and it wasn't so bad. I was really lucky as I found a place behind one doors where I could be alone (the picture on the right, if you turn your head so that you touch your left shoulder with your left ear:)), because there was so much crowd on the train and if I would have been squeezed between a lot of Chinese people standing on a train it would have been way more uncomfortable. But now a lot of sits are empty so I can finally sit, yeey :).

 

Being satisfied with things that seem to be small is one of the best things I like while travelling so far. Having the good bread for breakfast,  getting a hot shower or a hug, seeing a little bit of sun and trees, learning a new part of my form, doing a good training, getting an apple from a fellow "prisoner", eating some fruits or tahini on rice bread, reading a good book or finding some useful thing in the common room from people who left the school. These and other sweet little things have made me realise I don't need a lot to be happy. It is so weird because at home I have so many things and life is much easier. Sometime I do think about all the good things that I have in my life and I am thankful for them. But mostly I am not aware of all the luxury we have while living a normal life. Getting drinking water from our pipes, having a hot shower, a clean and warm bed, a shop just a few steps outside home where you can buy almost anything you need, having heating inside and also enjoying a beautiful Slovenian landscape and clear blue sky and fresh air. Yeah, even seeing the clear blue sky is a luxury around here and people here are aware of that. One Chinese guy when I showed him a picture from my home said with such sad eyes "Oh, you have blue sky!" Because of the pollution here this is really a rare thing. I was actually very lucky as my last week of training was really warm and sunny. And not like before when you could see just a little bit of a shape of the sun through the clouds, but real sun and even blue sky. On Wednesdays we only had training from 6-7 and later we were free until the afternoon so I used this time for breaking out of prison :)! 

I decided in the morning to go the Yuntai mountain which was just about 15 minutes walk and 10 minutes drive from our school. But actually it was only after more than two weeks of staying at the school that I realised that from the school you can see the mountains and also the scenery around the school isn't so bad. Before there was so much fog that you could not see much outside the school, just two hills without much of green colour on them. I went with Helga, a German lady over her 60's who came here to learn Tai chi. Very interesting lady, she travels a lot around the world and although she broke her wrist while we were visiting Shaolin themple (which was beside 3 visits to the small village and a city called Jiaozou the only time I went outside of the prison - it was a bit expensive as it cost 60 EUR for one day but it felt so good to go out of the school and see something nice...check the pictures below) she hardly complained. When we saw the amazing canyon, waterfalls, temples on a hill and peaceful valleys we were so happy, we couldn't believe that this was hiding behind the grey fog so close to us!

 

As I am writting these words now I am laying on a beach in Thailand on Koh Kood island,it is the 25th of December and I feel wonderful! But let's get back to China for a while! I finished my training in a special way. The day before I left was a Kung fu competition in the big city, Jiazuo, just 30 kilometres away. My Shifu, Yuan, told us to go. I was at first surprised because I had been learning Kung fu for just a short period, I was sure this is not for me. Anyway I don't like to perform in front of a lot of people but something inside me wanted to do this. So when Shifu told me to go I went :). He had a big talk on how performing in a competiton is a good training and that it is normal to be nervous but when you do it, just try your best and it will be good. I like our Shifu's speeches, but this was so long that we almost missed our dinner :)! Ok so there I was, standing in front of half a dozen Chinese judges and showing them what I had learnt - my form Xiao Hong Tren. My wish was to do the whole form and don't forget the steps, because when I was practising in front of other  students I was nervous and forgot a part of the form, but I continued which was good :)! The whole thing was very weird, we paid like 25 EUR to go there and one day before we found out that we will perform the next day (the competition lasted 4 days). In the morning they still didn't know when we will start, just that it will happen in the evening, and after the lunch they told us we leave in an hour:). So we went there, everything happened so fast, I borrowed special clothes and changed just few minutes before my performance. I came, did the whole form and left. I am quite satisfied with the performance although it was a bit too fast and not enough powerful because of my nervousness and as I was so focussed on doing the whole form that the rest didn't matter so much :)! I was happy to step outside of my comfort zone and did something at home I would never do :). And because of all the fuss about my competition I wasn't so nervous with the fact that I was leaving the next day. This place had been like a home to me for one month, I have met some amazing people, did some crazy stuff and really learnt a lot:

 

1. I was never late!
Being late meant having to do 100 push ups, so I just wasn't late :). At home I am often late. Ok it is true that here I had a motivation (the punishment) not to be late, but actually the most important thing was that here I was focusing on just one thing - be on time for training, so get up, get dressed, make your bed (in a special Chinese way otherwise you could also do 100 push ups:)) and come downstairs. Simple as that. At home I am always thinking about so many things I have to do, so if I have a little time left I do something, but that means that I am often late because I focus also on the less so important things. So - everything is about focusing!

 

2. Enjoying simple things!
I was so happy and satisfied with simple things (I already wrote about it before, so I won't repeat myself)

 

3. My body is amazing!
Everyday I tried new things and put my body into strange positions, sometimes I did things I never thought I can do. I was so amazed by realising what can you do with your body (especially by looking at others who had been training for longer) if you just don't believe in limits. But it is important to observe yourself and listen to yourself, otherwise you can have problems. Like me, a little knee problems but nothing that cannot be fixed.

 

4.  Accepting the cold!
At home I am often cold and wear a lot of clothes. Here I learnt that even thought it is cold it shouldn't stop you from doing the things you want to do
If you are cold, the most important thing is to accept the cold and just dress enough and move a lot:)! Simple:)! I felt a little sore throat just for one day and I ate a lot of ginger and citruses and felt better. It is pretty amazing that considering the circumstances of my training I felt actually good and powerful and healthy.

 

5. Don't think about what you eat or about the hygiene!
To me this was hard especially at the beginning. At home I watch carefully what I eat, I eat mostly wholegrain food, not too much processed, not too oily, a lot of fresh fruit and I use a lot of food that is grown either at home or at local farmers or certified organic food. I don't eat much sugar, especially I avoid the white sugar.....Weeeell, by travelling you can eat good quality food buy sometimes it can be expensive. I actually have to admit that I liked the food we got during training, a lot of vegetables, rice, sweet potato and rice bread. Tahini helped to improve things when needed and also served as a desert And mostly I felt very good after eating the food there (except a few days of stomach problems, but I don't think it was the food from the school to blame). I ate so much because I was spending a lot of calories. I was really happy with the food after I turned off my thoughts about the quality of food and the higiene. And I also learned how many times I have to circle through my food bowl with my hand using just the cold water to make it clean (yeah we had to clean everything by ourselves, including the common rooms and training hall once a week:)).

 

6. Accepting things as they are!
I have sometimes problems when things turn out different than I planned so this is an important advice I try to follow, sometimes it works good, but sometimes I still have troubles with it :). I expect something and get something different. But actually that something different is usually a very good choice, even better than the original plan. It is just important to accept the things the way that they are and let go of the idea of what "should have been" instead of it. Then you can see "the magic" - how something totally unplanned turns out to be amazing.

 

7. Being happy!
This is hard to explain, although it is pretty much simple. When I manage to turn off my thoughts inside my head and just focus on how I feel I felt so happy and I knew that I was at the right place.

 

8. Don't worry too much about the money!
I still have a lot of problems with this one. As I am travelling for a longer time I am travelling on a budget, which means I can't have just everything I desire at that time. Sometimes I save money on accommodation, sometimes on food (but rarely - that doesn't mean that I am hungry, but I choose my food depending on the price but it still has to be goooood), sometimes on the activities I do and sometimes I just don't have a beer although it would feel good. But beer is not so cheap so sometimes I just skip it:).

 

9. Enjoying life without much internet!
China is perfect to turn out the outer world as you cannot use Facebook, Gmail or anything related to Google. At first it brought a few difficulties, especially regarding my email which I need, so I just created a new email :). I could use internet just seldom and a lot of other pages are also blocked, but I needed just a few - to search a little about China travel and Agoda for booking. It felt good to turn out the "outer world" as this way you focus more on the present moment. Viber worked really rarely and when I could hear a familiar Slovene word after 3 weeks of listening to Chinese, English, French (which I practised a lot during my training and just before my travel one of my decisions was to improve my French, so yeah, this was something I had wished for and got :)) and German. Now I have internet access everywhere I go (I bought a Thai sim card) and I have to try not to use it too much because it is usually the distraction from the present moment :).

 

                                    Discovering warmer China

 

Leaving my Kung fu school was nice as I was a bit fed up with the cold (i guess I just didn't accept the cold completely:)) but also a bit sad. I had a great time there, felt good, safe and amongst nice and interesting people. I didn't know what to expect of the rest of China, but I was really satisfied with it!

 

People are so nice and helpful! Not a lot of people speak English but I always found somebody who could speak English and usually I didn't even have to ask but people just  approached to help me ;). I got twice help while buying a train or a bus ticket and had some troubles finding the hostels I booked on the internet. My first night in Zhengzhou I found the hostel only thanks to an amazing Chinese man who was staying there just for business. He was really helpful and when we finally found the hostel he didn't want to let me stay there. I booked another place in a capsule but this was really just like "a casket", a box with a bed and at the legs it was opened, but you could close it with a curtain. To me it was weird at first but actually was quite ok, it had an electric socket, a light, a mirror and even a tv. But my Chinese friend thought that I shouldn't spend a night in a place like this. It was kind of nice of him to worry about some stranger although I was just happy to find a cheap accomodation. He tried to find me a different room but something important was happening that day in Zhengzhou so it wasn't possible. At the end he wanted me to use his room which was in the same building and he would sleep at his friend's place. I had some troubles persuading him that it is ok for me to sleep in the capsule but I managed to do it. Later we went to dinner together and he was a really a nice person to talk to, he told me about his life, his wife and his son and at the end didn't let me share the bill. I was really happy to have met him, he was of great help and gave me a lot of kindness! And just before arriving with a bus to Zhengzhou I had an interesting experience. I had a lot of troubles just buying the bus ticket because I was a foreigner although I had a friendly Chinese boy to help me. Because of some important event  in Zhengzhou( they said Putin and Obama were there but I don't think that was the right information:)) there was a lot of control. Anyway in China while travelling by bus, train or metro in the North you have to often have your luggage checked by an x-ray. Finally after some persuading and taking pictures of my passport they let me on the bus. But just before the city there was the police control. They checked everybody's ID and sent me off the bus. I spent about 20 minutes in the road talking really really bad English with about 5 policemen. It was actually very funny and a nice experience, because they tried so hard to talk to me and understand while I was trying to explain that I learnt Kung fu and now was about to start learning Tai chi:). It was easier this way rather than telling them I am just a harmless tourist :). They showed me a card where it was written on English to be  patient as they are just doing a regular control, they were smiling a lot and saying: "Sorry, sorry!"   all the time.At the end they let me go so I could proceed with my journey along with a bus full of Chinese people who had to wait for the suspicious girl to be cleared:).

 

My next adventure was with a standing train ticket to Wuhan, a big town, full of lakes and with Yangce river going through it. It was nice, I liked the food stalls and a lot of fruit everywhere but was a bit dissapointed because in China you have to pay expensive fees for almost everything.  So I admired the beautiful Yellow crane tower from the distance and enjoyed delicious nectarines which still had the green leaves on them, that's how fresh they were :)!

 

My next destination was the South of China, Guilin, with a night train. In the train we had bunk beds in one opened compartment, 3 on each side. I was really fortunate because I was alone there as it would be really uncomfortable if the beds were full. Then I woke up in the night because of a bad cough and cry of a little child and discovered that later a Chinese family joined me and the baby was very sick so he cried and coughed so much I couldn't sleep even thought I had earplugs. Later the mother held the baby in her arms for a long time and he finally fell asleep. But soon, at 4 in the morning I had to get off the train because I arrived in Gulin. I liked the city, it is surrounded by karst hills, and some are situated in the city, very beautiful! Here you really had to pay not so cheap entrance fees for everything, the parks, the caves and even to climb a hill, so I just choose one thing and skipped the rest.

 

In the evening I arrived to Yangshou, a beautiful little city about an hour and a half drive from Guilin. I wanted to learn a little bit of Tai chi to see if I liked it so I choose a school there. They were supposed to pick me up at the bus station but they didn't come so I called them and they sent a taxi for me, but seemed very surprised that I was coming. When I got to the Yangshou traditional tai chi school I discovered that this was different school that the one I was in contact with :). I was looking at both schools so I mixed things up. I couldn't find the telephone number of the other school and here they were ready to take me in although they weren't expecting me so I stayed here. It was a bit more expensive but later I was so happy with the choice! I had a 5 day introductory course and I was taught one on one, 4 hours a day. I felt really tired from the Kung fu training and the travels so this was a perfect thing to do - get some sleep, relax in the amazing nature and also calm in the inside with Tai Chi and Chi Gong, I liked both of it, I practice it now in the mornings, it brings me such peace! The Shifus were great, Master Kim is amazing, has so much knowledge and taught me a lot in a short time. Gentle, soft moves and easy training which was great because of my sore knees. He lives there with his family and we ate very good food there and one night even had barbecue. We talked a lot outside of training and also the other students were nice there, especially one super sweet girl from Israel. And the school is situated outside the city, close to Li river which meant that I spent quite some time walking and admiring the nature. Except it was a bit cold there and it was often raining but nothing could ruin my peace. After training I spent two days in Yangshou, one day I enjoyed the beautiful scenery with a bike and one day I went to the small village Xingping and really enjoyed the amazing market - people were selling all sorts of things and service. A nice lady sewed my trousers for 50 cents and I got some amazing fresh fruit. I wasn't comfortable seeing so many animals in cages (chicken and dogs) to be sold for food and I didn't like the view of a dead dog ready to be baked. But this is a part of China also, I can't deny it, I avoided eating meat as much as possible but sometimes you don't know what you get. But actually we do the same with other animals except dogs and to most this is normal and acceptable, although is almost the same thing. An animal is an animal and if we eat it it means somebody has to die for us to have food. I seldom eat meat and have a moral dilemma about eating it but still don't have enough will to totally stop eating it completely. I hope some day I can do it.

 

Anyway, let's get back to Xingping. The village was nice, I climbed about 40 minutes up a hill which gave me amazing views. I just didn't want to climb it alone as in the beginning I saw a Chinese men masturbating and even addressing me while doing it which made me feel repulsed and a bit scared. I told a guy at one hostel and his response was almost like it is normal: ah, some drunk guy, don't worry, he will not hurt you. And I saw also one other weird guy hanging around there and it looked like he was offering me money so I just walked away. Luckily later a lot of people climbed the hill and after I saw the view I almost forgot about the unpleasant thing. All in all Yangshou was an amazing place to see and I had a great time there. I stayed in a wonderful hostel called Studder street guest house, a little outside the city but with amazing view, very helpful staff, very cheap price and comfortable and clean bunk beds with a curtain so I had a bit of privacy!

 

In the evening I went by a night bus to Zhuhai, the border city to Macau from where I was flying to Thailand the next day. The bus ride wasn't pleasant. Although it had beds they were so small and dirty, and we stopped a few times to enjoy the lovely group toilets (holes in the grounds, separated just with low walls and without any doors ) and people spitting everywhere. I was kind of happy to arrive in Zhuhai although it was only 4 o'clock in the morning. But I felt really safe as I walked to the other part of the city, about  5 kilometres away, to the border of Macau. It is a part of China but an autonomous region and a bit different - it used to be Portugal colony and you can feel it everywhere, with Portuguese language, churches and food. I really liked it, a mixture of Portugal and China. In parks you can see a lot of people exercising in the morning, doing Tai Chi or dancing. I did it also as I needed to stretch my body after walking so much with the backpack. I walked a lot  that day but it wasn't so hard, I think I walked at least 10 kilometres with all my luggage but it was a great day. After seeing churches, parks, fortress and shiny  hotels I wanted to do something good with my winter jacket. It was a good jacket, it served me really good and I didn't want to just throw it away but I didn't need it anymore. I couldn't just give it to somebody on the street because Macau is mostly rich. But I knew that somebody could use it so I wished I found a Red Cross. Yeah, it was crazy to think that I would find it there, but amazing thing happened - in a few minutes I saw a sign of the Red Cross!I couldn't believe it! They liked what I wanted to do but didn't accept old clothes so I was very disappointed as they didn't want to take it and give it to another organisation in Macau that did collect clothes. I was very sad, got on the bus to spent 2 more hours before my flight and when I got off the bus in a random street I saw a red cross again. This time is was a hospital, but inside they had a brochure of Karitas :). I asked them where it was and a lady helpfully tried to find the place. When we were searching for it we found a place where a girl spoke English and she asked me what I wanted to do. After I told her she smiled and took me to a near place where they had boxes in which you can put old clothes to be reused! I couldn't believe it, I was so happy! She also took me to one nice place to eat and helped me order some Chinese traditional food, she was so sweet. The whole experience showed me that life really gives you what you want and I have had so many experiences like this when I wished for something and just got it!! I started to pay attention to the little things, little wishes that came true to me everyday and realised that it is like magic :). But I had to be focused on these things rather than thinking about the things that " went wrong" to see the beauty of this!!

 

Leaving China made me feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy as I was travelling to Thailand, warm and beautiful place, but also sad I was leaving a country a grew to love!! I didn't expect to feel like this as China wasn't planned at first and I went there primarily to learn Kung fu. But I loved the simplicity of it, simple living, eating and full of calm, relaxed and kind people! And I also loved the free public toilets you can find everywhere, although in some it lacked discretion and cleaning, but still. It took me a while to get used to the toilets without doors but just with holes in the ground and small walls in between. Especially as I had often nightmares that I had to pee in public - well not anymore :). For basic needs it is well taken care of in China. You can find food there anywhere, on every corner there is somebody cooking or selling fruit, trying to make a living. Simple. 

 

So maybe someday, China, see you again, but for now: Thailand, here I come;)!!

 
 
July 30 2019
NOVEMBER 2019 ADVENTURES

NOVEMBER 2019 ADVENTURES

27.11.2018. Just sitting in my bed, overwhelmed with emotions. La Palma, such an amazing island and experience that is hard to be described. But this was only a part of my journey. This one I could split in three parts: 1. The wedding 2. Morocco 3....  

February 12 2018
BACK TO THE “NORMAL” LIFE

BACK TO THE “NORMAL” LIFE

 

                                  normal = conforming to a standard, usual typical or expected

 

June 7 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 4 / March - May 2017): training consciousness: meditation, trekking & conscious impact

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 4 / March - May 2017): training consciousness: meditation, trekking & conscious impact

May 22 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 2 / February 2017) - DISCOVERING NEPAL: Joining All Hands Volunteers Organisation

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 2 / February 2017) - DISCOVERING NEPAL: Joining All Hands Volunteers Organisation

21.4.2017

 

 

March 23 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 3 / March 2017): Vipassana meditation - silent 10 day meditation

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 3 / March 2017): Vipassana meditation - silent 10 day meditation

March 1 2017
FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 1 / January 2017)- the beginning: Thailand, here I come again :)!

FINISHING THE UNFINISHED (Blog no. 1 / January 2017)- the beginning: Thailand, here I come again :)!

June 25 2016
THE LOVELY VIETNAM

THE LOVELY VIETNAM

May 6 2016
MY BURMESE ADVENTURE

MY BURMESE ADVENTURE

March 22 2016
MIXED MALAYSIA

MIXED MALAYSIA

February 27 2016
TWO MONTHS OF THAILAND

TWO MONTHS OF THAILAND