It’s hard to believe I traveled to China for 8 days and spent only around $1000 in total, so how did I do this?

It started as I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a Travel Zoo ad.

China.

$580 ( ish)

Flights included.

Only 2 spots left at this price!

Ya, ya, I’m aware that that was probably a ploy to get me to not over think signing up. A way to make sure I didn’t stop to read any reviews before clicking the book now button.

It worked.

Within 30 minutes I had booked a sister’s trip for two to China. Then I went outside to tell  my husband!

Fast forward a few months and the news was plastered with Chinese/ Canadian tensions.  Our family was bribing us not to go.  I was running low on cash after quitting my job and consider taking my mom’s offer of $600 to cancel.

Boy, am I glad I went!

While I do prefer more freedom when I travel, the 8 days were packed with more than I’d have ever been able to see on my own in such huge cities. There were many optional tours that you could pay extra to do.  I passed on all of them and still thoroughly enjoyed myself. 20190122_203406

Yes, there were shopping stops. A lot of them.  But, each one taught us something about the history and culture of China.  I did not feel pressured to buy things any more than a person usually is when shopping.  We got to learn about jade, see how pearls are cultivated, try on skin care, sample tea, see how silk is made, and taste test candy.  We were given massages as we learned about traditional Chinese medicine, and yes, were given the chance to buy cures for what ails us.

Our hotels really were 5 star accommodations. The breakfast buffets were bigger than my house!  Lunches were provided and most were delicious.

Our guides were funny and knowledgeable and kept everything flowing smoothly.

The best part of traveling is the people you meet. We had a bus full of 30 Canadians, and I can say I have 30 new friends.  They eventually got used to my video camera, and I was able to capture some of the fun we had.

China wasn’t the crazy Asia I am used to, but there were some very memorable moments.

I climbed the Great Wall of China!

No, my out of shape body and injured foot did not make it to the top, but I was just as happy to sit at the bottom with a beer while I waited for the warriors to get back down.

Hearing my sister say that, as she stood at the top of the Great Wall, she had to work to not shed a few tears of happiness, made the whole trip worth it.

I know exactly how she feels.

Travel opens up feelings deep inside you. It is not always glamorous, but above all the waiting, line ups, confusion, and frustration, it teaches you about the world, people, and yourself.

Joanne and I have not always seen eye to eye on things, but as we get older we are realizing that we are more alike than not. I now know that I have someone who gets me.  Gets the need to travel.  Understands that there is so much to learn, do, and see in the world.

Check out the video I made to see more of what we got up to!

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