Hong Kong where Mainland China meets the Western World

A few months before my contract in China was coming to an end I decided before picking up a new job or heading back home I would travel for a bit around Asia because it’s pretty cheap, and I love to travel.

So with no real plan I decided on theses destinations Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia Loas, and Thailand.

On the 13th of September after the saddest week of my life I had no idea saying Goodbye to the country as confused as it is would become my home. I made so many friends who became family, and it was tough to say Goodbye. I ripped off the band-aid and cried by the time of my departure I was all cried out and ready for the next adventure.

I took a sleeper train from Hangzhou to Shenzhen Sunday night at 9 pm. I arrived at 8 pm after packing all day. To my surprise, all the ticket counters were closed to collect my ticket. After some gestures and pointing to my phone to show I have purchased a ticket, they let me through security. Said a quick goodbye to a good friend and off I went. (no turning back China was behind and Hong Kong was in front)

The train was comfortable I could sleep pretty well and At about 5 am the hostess came to wake me up to inform me we will be arriving soon. When I arrived, I needed to figure out how to get to Hong Kong. I mentioned Hong Kong to the security guards, and they just pointed me in the direction of the metro. So off I went lugging my life in a suitcase and a really heavy backpack down the escalator. By this time, it was reaching 7 am and the peak time morning hustle was fast in effect.

Still not knowing how to get to Hong Kong I asked the information lady who pointed me in the direction of the ticket machine. So off I went lugging everything I own looking for a stop that said Hong Kong and to my prevail nothing. Now becoming quickly frustrated with the lack of English and my translator app not working I sat down for a few minutes took a few deep breaths and started again. I approached the same lady who then gave me a metro map and all I could think was why the HELL did you not do this the first time and please can I get out of this country.

So fast forward I made it Hong Kong and the hostel I booked the previous night was very easy to find thank God because carting a 20kg suitcase around is not the easiest thing to do. I arrived around 10 am and my room wasn’t ready, so I sat on these comfortable pillows and charged my phone.

Then I experienced it the greatest thing, the one thing, I was longing for, for so long Internet freedom! I could browse VPN free the WiFi was fast, and I could access all my favorite social media platforms it was amazing.

The hostel seemed very nice people were very friendly, and they could speak English what a blessing. While minding my own business bewildered by the new found freedom I just found. A friendly gentlemen walked in and offered me some tea I accepted his nice offer, and we had some tea followed with a nice chat. He was Australian and my first foreign friend on my adventure of a solo traveler.

Things escalated quickly I then met two other friends a Canadian and American they had planned to go on a mini hike and asked if I wanted to join. Not having much of plan I accepted, checked in and off I went.

It was great, nice to be outside in the sunshine and greenery. My idea of Hong Kong was just a big city like Shanghai which I love but after being exposed to it so frequently you kind of get bored of the city life seeing shops and malls everywhere reminding you of things you cannot afford gets old quickly.

We walked on this path that had no real destination got attacked by Monkeys well not me thank god lol. It was great just walking taking pictures having a laugh getting to know these three very different people all brought together by the love of travel. I was happy.

We then took a normal bus around the city pretended it was a tour bus for half the price it was a great to start to a great vacation.

The next day we went to an Island called Lamma Island it was a nice fishing village feel small quaint shops with many trinkets. We found a beach it was nice to put my feet in the actual ocean and feel the sand in my toes. Walked up to a windmill and then back down to the village center. Stopped at a bar for Tuesday $20 pints which is cheap. We spoke to this old Scottish woman who was serving the drinks. She had been on the Island for 22 years I then followed up with the inevitable how did you get around visa regulations. Her answer was the best; she asked one of her gay friends to marry her, and they have been married for 11 years lol.

I love listening to the stories of others another draw card of traveling everyone has a fascinating story to tell you just have to be open to listening.

Back on the Ferry to the mainland and we went to Mong Kong for street food and market browsing found a local soccer game sat and watched that for a bit then continued wandering the crazy lit up streets.

It’s crazy how strangers are brought together by travel I felt like I knew these guys my entire life.Sharing stories and having a laugh with old friends.

I ended up staying up most of the night. The Australian guy had an early flight the next morning, so we decided to crash on the communal couch on the 5th floor spoke to some more interesting people and watched Mad Max in French lol Luckily both of us had seen it before but this time even in French it made more sense lol. I then had to say goodbye to my first friend of the trip a little sad, but we have planned to meet up again somewhere in Asia before he goes back to Australia.

The next day we went to Macau an interesting place this is the so-called Vagas of Asia because you allowed to gamble. So many casinos everywhere beautiful 5-star Hotels too. We went to the tower where you can bungee jump watched a few crazies. Then found the church remains and museum and ended off with a very luxury buffet dinner at one of these 5-star establishments.

The next morning before my flight I managed to get to the I-store to buy a new phone that I have been saving up for and my Canadian friend accompanied me offered to help me with my luggage what a sweetheart. I grew close to him in the short four days we spent together I felt like he was a little brother I never had. His first time on a solo trip and he surely got bitten by the travel bug. We went out for breakfast said our sad goodbyes and on the airport bus I went on my way to Hanoi another long story for another day.

This is my new series of events called the Adventures of a Solo Traveler where I will hopefully post weekly travel stories photo diaries and insider tips I have learnt from others along the way. If you have any questions about anything you think I could assist with please feel free to contact me by commenting on this post or any of my social media links you can find above. I post Instagrams regularly and you can follow me on Snapchat (ID: IamThalea) for real up to date feeds on where I am and what i am doing.

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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Finding Happiness

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I have been out of China for one month already time surely does fly and in that time I have been to 3  different countries met more interesting people than in my year in China and have grown up so much and I am really happy.

When on the open road by yourself you have nobody but yourself to worry about or hold accountable for stuff. You are dependent on yourself you decide what time you wake up, what you’re going to do that day if you are going to have a “me” day or make a new friend it’s your choice if you have a good day or bad day. Yes, there are external influences but at the end of the day it’s on you and how you react that will change every experience.

I have been extremely happy, and I can see how that radiates on to everything I do and my interactions with the people I meet I am the bubbly friendly girl I always knew I was. When you on your own you forced to step out of the confinement of what you know and take a leap of faith being nice surely never hurt nobody.

It’s more the freedom of allowing yourself to be in each moment and being happy not worrying about anything but just allowing yourself to be who you truly are and not being afraid of what others may think of you or what you think others expect of you.

We constantly bombarded with media and parents telling us what to do how to act and to think about our futures yes these things may be important but isn’t being happy equally as important.

Everyone is searching for happiness but why don’t you just stop take a second a minute if you have one and clear your mind think back to a real happy memory! How far back did u have to search for that memory if it was a year ago, or even a month ago it’s a problem? Happiness isn’t something you work towards, or you look for its something you should feel every day doing everyday things.

I always look at children, and if I have a low day I try to go somewhere where u can see children. (casually playing in a park, the street) Their happiness isn’t dependent on much they will find happiness in the smallest things listening to child’s laughter can turn my bad day into a happy day! So it’s not based on where u need to be or what you need to do to be happy. It’s where you are right now a simple attitude change is sometimes all it takes, and I know it’s harder said than done but seek solutions rather than problems and make every situation a happy one.

Don’t get me wrong I still have my brooding bitch days and still hate those extremely happy people, you know those people I am referring to, those people that fake happiness because nobody can be that happy all the time unless they are on some sort of happy drug lol.

Two years ago I was stuck at a desk job, and I didn’t hate it I liked it, but I was bored I needed more I wasn’t satisfied with clocking and clocking out every day.But that job led me to this, writing finding a passion I didn’t know I had and through my writing it led me to do things I wouldn’t usually do because I started seeing interesting stories to share in everything I was doing, and I wanted to do more experience more and inspire more.

Look at me now I am in a Coffee shop in Bangkok doing what I love sharing my life and experiences with you. So it’s all about making a change, and it doesn’t need to be drastic like skipping the country because I know everyone cannot do that. Find something that truly makes you happy or long lost passion and start doing it now. So even when life throws you curve balls and derails the happy train just keep smiling think of Dory from finding Nemo and just keep swimming preferably with a smile on your face. In true happiness style I will dazzle you with my smile. lol

Please comment below let me know how you feel about happiness I would be very interested yo know!

Peace love and Happiness

Cherry ♥

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My China Round Up

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So where do I begin? This is a damn good question. I cannot believe where time has gone. A year ago, I was heading into the unknown and I have been living the “expect the unexpected” life ever since.

What can I say about my year in China? From its ups and downs, to its drunk, happy, sad times, the surprise visit from my mom, to one of the highlights of my year – going to the Great Wall of China! Sitting there in peace, it was a dream come true and I loved every minute of it!.

In life we will experience many things and China living this expat life, these things seem to happen so fast. From making fast friends who become your family, adapting to new traditions and making a home for yourself.

Life is so easy and cheap once you manage to put your blinkers on and not be too fussed by the racism if you of a darker skin tone( not something I often ignore considering where I come from). The staring, the spitting, the yelling, the full buses and bad taxis and bus drivers. Once you master the art of ignoring those things, you will fit right in. Saying Ni hao (hello) and Xiexie( thank you) will come out so naturally while the Chinese yell laowai (foreigner).

When forced to deal with so many cultural differences you are forced to gain a lot of patience and overcome many challenges. I am still deadly afraid of groups of Chinese people. I like individuals lol. Do not travel around China during any festival or national holiday, get out of the country, you will thank me later!

I have grown into the confident young woman I am today and see myself living my dream each day. I take my hat off to all teachers across the world now, having wet my fingers in the teaching pool. It’s a hard job. I thank every teacher and lecturer that has ever taught me; I now know what a hard time it is to be a teacher. If you have that passion to teach and shape minds of the young people, it can be one of the most rewarding jobs ever.

I know each child I taught may not remember me in a few years. Knowing I had a chance to help them improve in some small way, makes putting up with China and the small nuances I didn’t like, bearable.

I have tested myself in so many ways. I can now confidently say I like young kids. A few months ago I wasn’t so sure if I could do this but now the pressure is off and I am as silly as 3-year-old. I have improved as a teacher and I managed to travel. My dream was accomplished by lots of perseverance and hard work. I cannot forget all the support and love from my Chinese sisters and my South African sister, bestie and friend. Without her being with me along the way, I don’t know how I would have managed. So Stacey, if you are reading this, a thousand times Thank You!!

If you are at at a crossroads and weighing up future options…. I highly recommend that you travel and just see the world. Even if it’s for a short stay, you don’t need buckets of money and you don’t need any excuses. My advice is do it and do it now!!

Here are a few of my round up China pictures from Hangzhou where I lived, my trip to Beijing and Suzhou and bits of Shanghai when my mom came to China Town!

Peace love and Happiness

xxx

Cherry ♥

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