The curiosity of discovering something you’ve never seen. The fear of it. What you (don’t) expect to see and what you will never see instead. Put yourself to the test. Overcome your limits and fears and broaden your horizon.
Taste new food – especially street food – and new flavors coming from different regional varieties.
Talk to local people, in order to learn about their habits, traditions and dialects: I consider it the most authentic and direct way to know the real China and go into it.
Get angry when something can’t be sorted out and get satisfied when you succeed in sorting something out.
Astonish yourself when you are in front of stunning and breath-taking landscapes or well-known China cultural heritage’s monuments (including the Great Wall, of course, but not only).
Finding yourself in the middle of a traffic jam that drives you crazy and, soon afterwards, walking in a peaceful and silent park. A magic atmosphere able to reduce the distance between you and the essence of nature.
Get lost strolling around the city and find your way back home after wondering a few hours across unknown streets and alleys.
Discover different ways of life and try to familiarize with them, tough at first you feel like a fish out of water, like you don’t belong to that place and you don’t feel at ease.
The cities more and more modern, with skyscrapers and new buildings everywhere and every time: a good thing on one side but a loss of authenticity and historical and cultural past on the other.
The children in the parks playing and jumping in their split pants.
The old people doing their exercise or taijiquan.
The salesgirls following you everywhere you go in a shop or continuously welcoming and saying hello to you.
The crowded squares, the crowded underground, the crowded shops… a set of people your mind can’t even imagine!
The “love&hate” relationship with Chinese, a language so fascinating and so difficult at the same time. But the more a challenge is difficult, the more your perseverance is strong.
All the misunderstanding with taxi drivers, local people I ask information to, restaurant waiters, shopper assistants. Sometimes this makes you smile and laugh of yourself, other times you feel not at ease, you feel unable, incomplete, frustrated. And you put call yourself into question, you think not to be up to the situations you live and so on. Then, suddenly, you happen to have a brilliant and perfect communication or you happen to succeed in something you didn’t believe possible before… and this makes you regain your self-confidence and self-esteem. In a way or another, in a positive or negative sense, China makes you feel alive, pressure you always to be active, awake, alert, in movement: just like when you are riding a bicycle, you can’t all of a sudden get off unless you hurt yourself.
Last but not least, China to me means travels. I like travelling and I like China. So there’s nothing better to me than combine together these two passions: planning and living a trip, moving myself from a Chinese region and city to another and learning every day something new I can add to my personal baggage of experience, memories, knowledge.
China geographical extension let you stretch from mountains to see, to isolated and back-country remotes villages to metropolis. From an ethnic group to another, from a landscape to another, from a (local) language to another. Travelling thousands miles from a corner to another of the country through different environments and different “worlds” that combine together and form a unique world with common features. Each region has its own peculiarities that distinguish one from another but at the same time they are part of a whole. A whole cohesive and rich thanks to its many differences.
A (sometimes odd) mosaic made of lots of colors, images, smells, sounds, lights, voices you could lose yourself inside. Something you definitely have to live personally in order to understand. Something you can like or not, but something you can’t miss. So that you can say: I was there, too.
China has so much to offer, I use to define it infinite because of its limitless capacity to surprise you, every time you visit it. Something new, something different, something you will or won’t appreciate. But something you will have the chance to live and something that will be able to shake and move you, yourself and your feelings. Positively or negatively. Never neutrally.
In my personal view, China is unlimited, exactly like travels are. Unlimited not (only) from a geographical point of view, but because of the potentially unlimited ways and solutions to live its essence, to explore it, to go into it, to deepen new aspects; because of the ability to surprise yourself every time you live China, because of what this country can offer you and what you can give it back.
Even one hundreds trips to China won’t satisfy my curiosity and won’t fulfill my need for knowledge, won’t stop my wish to know, discover, learn new things and get in touch with new worlds and people. There will be always a detail you haven’t seen, a moment you haven’t lived, a place you haven’t visited, a person you haven’t met, a picture you haven’t taken. Yet.
It is all a matter of yet. That is why I’m sure I’ll keep visiting and exploring this unlimited country. Again and again.
This is what China means to me: a new challenge every day. A new mix of emotions waiting for me to (leave and) live another amazing and exciting experience.