Ever since moving from China to Texas when I was a wee ladette, I swam contentedly in my little fishbowl life of Katy. I ventured outside into the larger metropolitan area of Houston only to attend Chinese school and a couple of dance recitals. My only escapades consisted of cross-country expeditions in The Oregon Trail and river-splashing adventures in the similarly popular sequel: The Amazon Trail. That one summer my parents took me to New York and Washington, D.C. almost blew my mind. Most of our other summers including visiting my parents’ hometowns in China, which was SUCH a drag for a eight year old.
My first taste of the big world was when my dad moved overseas for his job when I was fourteen. He was stationed in Malaysia for a few years and he brought my sister and I out to visit him. Kuala Lumpur was such a magical place, and the first time I really got to “see” a new country for the first time. It was where three distinct cultures (Muslim, Indian, and Chinese) came together to coexist in a balmy tropical world. The fruits were exotic, as were the temples and mosques. My dad took us to the island of Langkawi, where we played on a private beach to the sight of the most glorious sunset. I was hooked.
My next defining travel experience would be my People to People journey through Europe when I was sixteen. My parents was sold by the “interview process” for an “ambassador program”, the perfect resume-padder they thought. To my delight, they had no idea that it was just a glorified field trip for spoiled children to run rampant throughout Europe. What an awesome time. We romped through Paris, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The charm and beauty of Europe was forever solidified in my mind and I would treasure any opportunities to return in the future.
And finally, what drove my whole wanderlusting travel junkie fate home was my move to Guangzhou, China for international school in the midst of my junior year. It started out as a terrifying experience as being uprooted from my suburban roots and being plopped down in a city in China in my own apartment while my family was two hours away (the international school in Shenzhen only went up to 10th grade) is not something the average junior in high school has to think about. However, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences that many others did not have the privilege to have. I met classmates from around the world and my school took us to the see the Terracotta soldiers, Shaolin monks, and a two day trek through Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in mystical Lijiang.
So there you have it. With such an awesome array of experiences, I really had no chance but to become a itchy-foot, life-long traveler. And I don’t mind at all.