Previous to China, my nuclear family’s domestic travel was limited to visiting family – accommodations and otherwise. We simply didn’t take many other vacations. But now, both my domestic and international travel plans include connecting with friends I’ve made from all over the world. What a unique and cool position to be in as an expat, befriending people from all over the world. Reconnecting with them outside of China is a bonus.
Sometimes I get upset that we never have visitors in China. Be it family or friends, few people have to come to visit or even pass by during their travels. I keep thinking that we are here and you have a free place to stay, why not take advantage of that? However, I realize that just the enormous cost of getting here is one big reason, as is the simple busyness of life. China is half-way around the world, after all.
Many of my friends who move away to other international locations feel the same way I do, though. Why won’t anyone come visit?
Perhaps because of that disappointment, I’ve finally put aside my initial feelings of I-don’t-want-to-inconvenience-you and have started to expand my travel options based on where friends live. It’s been a blessing to have that initial starting guide for my faraway excursions, and it certainly helps the checkbook when you have a place to stay.
So, meeting my daughter’s 4th grade teacher for lunch and an afternoon in Sydney? Check. Staying with my dear friend and her family in New Zealand for a week? Check. Visiting Seoul, allowing my youngest to reconnect with her kindergarten friend? Check. Bunking with friends on the beach in Northern Australia for some awesome R&R? Check. Hanging out with two different sets of friends in Jakarta for a mini-vacation? Check.
I feel lucky to have made friends from all around the world and am confident that their hospitality is genuinely offered. I hope and trust that I can repay that kindness someday, be it in China, the U.S. or elsewhere. Sometimes the only people who truly understand the life you’re living are the ones who are doing the same thing – expats, traveling around the world,forced to make a new “home” in the most unlikely of places, complete with meeting all new friends. Those are the friends you wind up having for a lifetime, and I’m blessed to have made them.