“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I booked the return ticket seven months ago; ihad been only four months before then that I had decided to go.
It had been a background dream for many years, my appetite whetted even moreso when I studied Chinese medicine and philosophy during a period of change in my life. I’ve always been fascinated by this ancient civilsation which gave form to so many ideas, structures, beliefs, philosophies and ways of being in the world.
“Silence is a source of Great Strength.”
And of course, having decided to travel, I wanted to do it my wa, choosing where I wanted to go rather than submit to a group tour. I now realise that that decision was quite ambitious.
“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish in the crowd“
I Ching the book of Changes
And so began the journey to my journey.
“The path that one person follows is not the correct path for any other person. Each of us must walk his own path to enlightenment— that is the way.”
Having travelled extensively around Australia, I know that all Australians are not the same; geography influences us all and people in the rural areas are different to city dwellers. Naturally, I wanted to experience life in the different provinces of this large nation to truly appreciate the culture and people.
I took my time making my decisions, finally chosing Fujian province on the coast, Sichuan to the north for the food and Terracotta Warriors, Chengdu for the Taoist temples-and Pandas! Beijing of course and hopefully fitting in a visit to Mongolia before returning to Quanzhou on the maritime Silk Road before flying back to Singapore and Sydney.
After such a trip I would be able to say “Yes, I’ve been to China”
Two months out I went through the process of the Visa application (a previous post…) then last week, three weeks from the date of my departure, I received a cursory email from the budget airline doing the leg from Singapore to Quanzhou ” Your flight has been cancelled…”
It took me some time to realise they were refering only to the return leg.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
Recoiling from the shock, I decided to let it settle for a day, telling myself that this change could work in my favour
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
Lao Tzu The Book of Changes (I Ching)
Then another part of me wanted to walk away from the whole thing!
The following day, after having been cut off twice by the budget airline, I rang Singapore Airlines. Within a short time, the airline rang me back and offered a return flight to Singapore from any city in China.
I did my research and chose Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, an ancient Chinese capital rich in history, natural beauty and culture.
What an auspicious opportunity the flight change produced!
So I’ll be leaving soon on a journey to this fascinating country, so excited to have come this far.
“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” Chinese Proverb