When the clock finally read 6 pm, I leapt out of my swivel chair and skipped through the door. I jumped into the elevator and ran to the beige Sienna van where my family was waiting to take me to the airport. Farewell to the old 9-6 and hello to adventure, excitement and travel!
As part of the 2010 Miss LA Chinatown court, we generally hold our princess duties around the Los Angeles Chinatown (duh) area. However, this special summer, four of us had the opportunity to travel to various cities in China and act as ambassadors for the Los Angeles Chinese Chamber of Commerce, where we soaked in the culture of the east to take home and share with our local community in the west.
Over our two week-trip, we visited five areas around China — Beijing, DengFeng, Shanghai, Shantou and Hong Kong. We were treated to a multifaceted look at the face of China, going to countryside villages and large metropolises, admiring 1,000-year-old Longmen Grottoes in Luo Yang, and then glimpsing into the future of Shanghai at the World Expo. We tilled soil and practiced Shaolin martial arts. We dolled up and dined with government officials. We visited colleges and nightclubs. We ate. A lot. We suffered repercussions from eating a lot.
The entire time, a pending Audrey blog post was in the back of my mind. “What experiences should I share with Audrey readers about my trip to China that will be meaningful for them to read?”
I had expected this post to be one of those fish out of the water tales where I hilariously shared tales of asking to use the restroom and then being led to a side of the street or where I eat strange foods and then throw up afterward, but in actuality, my experience in Asia became one of coming home. It became one of where I found myself comforted to know the language of my ancestors and to learn their customs. It became one where I liked seeing faces like mine all over the billboards and magazine ads. It became one where I was proud to see how far my homeland had come and excited to see where there future will head.
The thing that is so refreshing about traveling is that you are living in the present. When I’m at home, I’m either constantly planning for the future, whether it be counting down to closing time at work or waiting for the weekends, or thinking to the past, whether it be reminiscing about the good ol’ days with high school friends or flicking through Facebook photos of my past travels (what? You know you do that too.) But when I’m at a particular city for only three days, I have no time to twiddle twaddle lamenting about my exes or worrying about what to do with the rest of my life. I’m too busy staring at sunsets, enjoying a conversation with a cute stranger, and living life at the moment.
Travel reminds us to do this: to live in the present. Think about your daily life. How often do you spend it worrying about what’s going to happen next or pining for the past? How often do you spend it just sitting there soaking in your surroundings and feeling life’s pulse?
I constantly wish for traveling to be a full-time gig, but I don’t think I would appreciate it as much if it were. So, I’ll take the few sacred weeks every year or so and hold it dear to my heart. Until the next adventure.