Hi everyone, I’m glad you’ve decided to come along with us on our journey. I’ll begin with a bit of background information for those of you who do not know. At the end of November my husband, Robert looked at me one night and told me, “We’re going to China.” Now to most people that would mean a week or two on holidays then back to normal life…not in our house. For us that means life as we know it is put on hold & we go travel for a few months or as long as we can really, this time it will be 7-8 months before we return to the islands.
Fast forward bout 6 weeks later and I have quite my full-time job, he has finished his first semester of school, and we have rented out our house to leave for China as soon as possible. Now don’t get me wrong this was not the most easy 6 weeks to get through but we are here now & I will share a bit of what we had to do to get ready as we go will share our adventure with you.
We have scheduled with a workaway host(workaway.info) to come volunteer with them in China. Since that first night he told me we were going we have had many discussions & plans with several hosts. We originally had organized with an English school in Huai’an which is between Shanghai & Beijing. We skyped with them many times about what the time would entail. They sent us pictures & names of the individual kindergartens we would be working at. (Mind you this was not a typical workaway because they told us the volunteer portion was not available but would hire us for a teaching position. At first the extra pocket money seemed like a bonus.) A few weeks after the initial interview with them they sent us contracts. We read over them and they were wonky to say the least. So many inconsistencies and ambiguous items were worrisome. You see since I’ve taught English in Korea already I’m more aware of those contracts and the ways in which workers can be exploited & overworked based on those kind of contracts. We asked to skype with them once more to try to clear up those issues and at that time they cancelled our positions. Well hmm back to square one for where we will go. By that point I had already given my notice & we had decided even if it were not China we were going somewhere. So I got back onto the site & sent out messages to many hosts around the world that seemed even remotely interesting and would be reasonable to get to. At some point one of the most interesting hosts we had contacted in China responded. Still a bit hesitant about China at this stage we went through the same proceedings as before. Only this time due to our time restraints, it was a volunteer position not a paid one, which was perfectly fine for us considering room & board are covered with the volunteer position. This one was also much more enticing because they wanted me to assist with marketing. Proceedings went well, with some discussion we got solid contracts and the host has been incredibly friendly, so now we are set to go to Yangshuo to volunteer with Omeida Language Academy.
While those negotiations were underway we also had the daunting task of trying to rent our house over the month of Dec (probably the worst time to ever try to rent anything out). We had many possible renters but for one reason or another it didn’t quite come together until the same day our workaway host contracts also came together. All in one day we had both a place to live in China & a renter for our house. Thankfully we are renting it fully furnished so that means we only need to pack our personal belongings but that can sometimes we just as big of a task considering you acquire many small things in daily life.
Robert had to begin the packing process without me the first few weeks while I was still working but I have since finished my last day at work and we have been spending most of our time packing. Mind you we are only taking a backpack each & a pelican case for our computer. In those three items we will need to pack all our daily items, camera equipment, computer for photo & video editing, & any other items we may need for the next 7 months. I’m happy to say we’re almost there. We desperately wanted to also take our bicycles but because of the extra leg going from China to D.C. its just too expensive to do so we will have to find other ways to train while gone.
All along the way has been ups & downs. One minute we’ll think everything is great & going smoothly for our departure, then the next something happens that could derail a good portion of our plans and we must regroup to fix whatever that is. At the start it was finding a host & renters, now that those are confirmed it has been minor packing things as far as what airlines allow and what they charge for large items (computer) and figuring out how to and taking the time to put daily things on hold like internet, phones, ect ect. For most airlines things are pretty standard although some minor differences but then we came across one that does not allow checking computers?!?! Yes I know what you’re thinking…”Why on earth would you ever want to check-in a computer?” right? Because a desktop is far too large to carry-on and we have it in a protective case so the only thing we need to worry about is theft not damage & either way that is why we have 3 & 4 backups of everything in multiple locations as a just in case. Without it how else would we get all the photos & videos we will be compiling?
Now I must be off to get some more packing done. Aloha & Zaijian!