Crazy Travel Lady Needs to Stop

I was talking to myself again.  Which is not a surprising event.  I did this quirky thing in my past life, but this time the urge grabbed hold of me, like an unwanted hand encircling my arm and squeezing.

It all started with my hotel room in Fuzhou.  I started pontificating about the size of the bed, how large it was for one person.  I gushed with adjectives describing the dressers.  Modern and clean.  Or the first efficient closet I encountered in China had me in paroxysms.  The cleanliness alone was orgasmic.  Oh, and the shower, the first one I felt comfortable enough in to not wear shower shoes.  I rambled on about this startling discovery in extensive detail – to myself.

In the past, self-talk amounted to muttering under my breath if something displeased me, or cursing loudly in my car at the profound stupidity of Vancouver drivers.

The ghostly impression of that conversation in China haunts me, among other discoveries in the past six months.

I wrestled with a new kind of lonely, even seriously pondering changing my solo ways from one to two.  I hashed out my discovery upon meeting travelers in the past year and witnessing their off-kilter, sometimes shocking behavior, questioning my very sanity.  Have I changed for the better as I set out to do or have my worst traits suddenly become the forefront of my personality? Do I belch in people’s faces and laugh?  Act seemingly normal one moment, then lash out with some paranoid rant about aliens and the pyramids?  The prospect makes me shudder.

That wacky conversation with myself was a nail banging into the coffin of the horrible truth.

By |December 29th, 2011 |Categories: Uncategorized |93 Comments

Sally Hope Says: The Right Time

It’s the holidays, a time of renewal and wistful remembrance of the past year.  What would you change?  How would you change it? What would you keep the same?  What do you want to do now?  Sit down and plan out those resolutions, isn’t it time to do what you’ve been burying during the past year?  Sally Hope continues her fabulous video series on obtaining the life you want. 

Greetings Nomadic readers!!

I’m Sally.  A life coach, but don’t hold that against me.

Coaching is all about creating the kind of life you want, and really, how awesome is that?

I am so glad that Jeannie invited me to talk to you guys because hopefully I can help with some of those ol’ pesky “How’s” in your life.  Like, “HOW do I get the things I want in my life?” and “HOW do I go from where I am now, to where I want to be?” As a life coach, that’s my job.  To help you get crystal clear on what your big vision is for your ideal life, help you come up with a plan to execute it, provide accountability for you so you’ll actually do it, and be here with you all along the way to give you virtual hugs and encouragement, and cheerleading and to say, “YEAH!!! You can do this…frickin GO FOR IT!!!”

When you are “going for it,” I like to call that “creating your Rockstar Life.”  To me, a Rockstar Life is all about living the kind of life you want, creating your own rules, and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.  It’s about being willing to go out of your comfort zone.  No rockstar got where they are without taking risks and deciding that their life was going to be the way they wanted it.

By |December 26th, 2011 |Categories: Life |4 Comments

What I Packed for the Trans-Manchurian

I’ve been fielding a number of questions lately about that little Train Challenge I tackled back in September.

When I tell complete strangers that I spent six days on a train without getting off, eyes as large as saucers pierce me viciously.  Shocked.  Astounded.  Even slightly in awe of my gumption to torture myself with no showers and meals that don’t satisfy the appetite.

If you plan on doing the trip without disembarking and are crazy like me, I culled together a short video on my packing items to give you an idea.

Ladies and gentlemen, be prepared to be smelly, unattractive and the number one traveler amongst your group of friends.

Cause you did the Trans-Manchurian and rocked it.

To start you off, here’s a picture of what I brought with me.

It looks measly, doesn’t it?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want more video magic.

The site I mention in the video for train travel all over the world is Seat 61, a great source for planning.

Adventure of a Lifetime: China to Taiwan by Ferry, Part 2

Morning came.  It was difficult to leave my cozy bed at JinJiang, yet an unwritten day was ahead.

I placed things out the previous night, had a packing sequence all set, and began in earnest to launch my intention to enter Taiwan by boat first, and god knew what else. Airplane?  Another ferry?

Events from the day before left me hopeful that things would unfold to a good conclusion yet travel days mimic life in a microcosm.  Sometimes, intentions just don’t pan out.

I told myself to wait and see.  First, get there.

Getting on the Bus in Fuzhou

Really, Matsu was a geographical name to me.  All I knew was that it was located in the Taiwan Strait, is comprised of a series of islands and the major township where the ferryboat docked was called Nangan.

Fuzhou began to fade from memory as I checked out of my room.  I slid that monstrous pack across my back and clasped the straps over my stomach. I felt hyped and bouncy – thirsty for action.  I refer to this as the “gunslinger coldness”.  Just as the gunslinger suspends his emotions – devoid of empathy or fear – the only goal being his target, the backpacker can succumb to the same affliction.  We must get somewhere, so we shut down doubt and steel ourselves for what’s next.

Early morning in Fuzhou was nearly deserted, save for a few signs of life.  There was the compact woman in a stained apron handing out doughy sesame balls, her drowsy customers savoring the hot sweetness, jolting them into wakefulness.

An alien figure in a yellow jumpsuit and a pollution mask darted out, shoveling garbage onto a metal plate.  The creature’s hands were encased in thick cotton gloves, its motions clumsy.  I imagined heavy breathing behind the mask, exaggerated and repulsive like it often is in horror movies.  My mind flashed to disease contamination workers, and if this were one he or she was doing a piss poor job of clearing the hot zone or warning me to stay away.

Adventure of a Lifetime: China to Taiwan by Ferry, Part 1

The HostelBookers search results flickered against the dim light in my hostel room. A tremor of panic made my hand quiver against the track pad of my laptop. Fuzhou does not exist, at least in the backpacker’s realm. Hostels were a zero search result for this southern Chinese city.

I vaguely wondered if the Wikitravel page about entering Taiwan by ferry was a joke, a myth created by a jester holding the Internet thrall with misinformation, cackling at how stupid someone is for even trying such a half-baked idea.

I guess that stupid someone is me.

Maybe I was so primed to sniff out a new adventure, that defeat was unspeakable.  No one in my circle had heard of entering Taiwan by this method, which was reason enough to pursue this unique way of leaving China.

I staved off the panic threatening to sever my hope of crossing into Taiwan and reverted to my former ways of making travel plans, by googling Hotwire.

Budget and logistics forced me to book the JinJiang Inn, near the Fuzhou Railway Station.  The railway station was located by the very bus station I needed, the one that would spit me from one shore to the other.  This was worrisome to me, it sounded mildly dangerous.  Areas where railway stations are situated often attract nefarious characters, the kind who enjoy raping solo females. I re-tasted this mild panic, sensing something familiar – the tingling of the unknown.  I was use to traveling to places where scads of other backpackers had been, a well-worn trail for me to follow.  This time it was blank.

By |December 12th, 2011 |Categories: Fuzhou |22 Comments

Shanghai: The Bund

You could accuse me of being a cynic  A big, fat one.  See, I’ve seen a lot of amazing things.

Huge, spectacular, memorable and life-altering.  Maybe I’m at the point where a monument of beauty and historical significance really has to move me.  To tears. Or ripples of joy.

When I was in Shanghai, I sampled a few things.

Dumplings.

Soooo good!

Hanging with Unbravegirl over a weekend:

Ain’t she adorable?

Travelers try to pack in a week’s worth of sights in Shanghai.  Me?  I’m slightly pickier.  My gut told me steer clear of Old Town.

My hostel mates warned me about Old Town: It’s cheesy and overdone.  China goes overboard again.

Considering their fashion choices, how is that surprising, backpackers?

Do you think it’s my color?

I’m lazy now, relying on other people (mostly locals) to tell me what to see, so when several said I should check out the Bund, I did listen (with skepticism).

By |December 8th, 2011 |Categories: Shanghai |13 Comments