Sunday, October 2, 2011

another badass trip... right?

I’m sitting at my desk today, right now, preparing myself to leave. Again. It’s another kooky (read: dangerous) destination, so I have to register with the Australian government’s ‘Smart Traveller’ website. I’m travelling with another new friend with whom I will undoubtedly become very close to in a very short time. It’s going to be cold and it’s kind of a Muslim place and in general its going to be radically different from where I live now, which is radically different from my true home. So all together it’s a special kind of assault on my senses.

In some ways I feel unprepared for this trip. I only arrived at my new university and settled into my new dormitory three weeks ago. I feel as though I need more time to establish myself here before I get up and go again, but as I was packing my bag last night, that old familiar feeling crept up into my belly and I became so excited. Not just a little happy, but almost deliriously excited! SERIOUSLY FUCKING PUMPED.

Sandy camel-related colours and tan leather fingerless gloves perfectly complete my Saharan look.
I am so predictable. Two weeks ago I was asking for ‘tough’ advice from some very learned friends about whether I should take this trip or not. I genuinely feel like I only just returned from North Korea, not to mention setting up a whole new home life in this dormitory and university. Hardcore travel in China can really drain you if you aren’t careful. I’m sure tons of places are the same, but China has an amazing ability to fill you with spirit or completely drain it from you. I wasn’t sure if I could handle another hurricane trip. It’s like a violent rollercoaster for both the mind and the body, and they can leave me feeling battered and bruised.

So why did I stop whining and just buy the damn tickets? A combination of things, I suppose, but in the end it all came down to the fear-of-regret factor. If I didn’t take this opportunity to travel to Xinjiang then I might never go at all. October is the last month that you can travel there, on account of the atrocious weather, and once I leave China I might not be back for a long, long time. Sitting here now, ready to go, I am ecstatic that I made this decision. I am so glad my friends gave me enough encouragement to be able to tell myself to tough-the-fuck-up and do what I came here to do. What did I come here to do? Be a badass, I guess is the simple answer.

You can never be too prepared. Boy scouts rule.
You can also never have too many plants around your desk.
In China, especially recently, I live as the person I always wanted to be. That hero-version of yourself that you have in your heart. Everybody has it, I know you do, and I know that the times you ever feel most proud of yourself and when you ever feel truly happy, it’s because you’re taking a step closer to the person you always wanted to be. I’m fit now, I’m reading and writing more than ever, I am studying and I am making friends with locals and other kids from around the world. I walk to the markets and come home to cook delicious food. I am growing lovely plants on the windowsill. I am travelling to dangerous and exciting and seldom-seen places of the world. I am finally really turning into the person I always wanted to be. When I sit down for a beer in the afternoon, it isn’t necessarily a contentedness that I feel, but more of a strong sense of faith in myself.

Xinjiang was always the final destination. It was that one elusive place in China that I was completely and utterly determined to get to, but couldn’t seem to manage. I’m going to write a little about it in a less self-involved and more informative post, but essentially it’s not very high on anyone’s list in terms of places-to-tick-off before leaving. The danger factor combined with the Muslim-ness of the region meant that going by myself would have been a little bit of a kamikaze, but it’s kind of difficult to convince people to travel for three full days just to get to a place that they haven’t ever heard of.

Anyways, I’m going now and I won’t be home until Wednesday the 12th of October. I can’t take my laptop with me because we will be, amongst other things, riding camels through the desert. In other words, there will be nothing on poise on arrows until that Wednesday, but most likely daily posts when I first get back.

 If I haven’t posted by that Friday, then I’m dead.
Caught in the Han Chinese / Ethnic Minorities crossfire.
Or got overrun by a hoard of marauders in the middle of the Taklamakan desert.
Or drowned in the Karakul lake.
Or got swept in amongst the sold cattle at the Kashgar livestock markets.
Or I got kidnapped for showing my hair.
Or the train crashed and we never even made it into the province.

Hahahahahaha sorry, I just do silly things to make my mum nervous. Talk later, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. It worked . . .I'm F . . ing Blo . . .y nervous. You better come back safe!!! Have a fantastic adventure . . .but be safe. Love you x


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