Travel Planning, Blogging, and Life Post-China

I love planning. I love lists, researching and organising, and I love the implementing of said plan. However, with travelling, I’ve come to realise that planning only gets you so far, and then you just have to go with the flow. Mitch and I planned to go to Vietnam together two years ago, but unexpected eye surgery got in the way of that. When we travel, we have vague plans, and that’s what I like.

We finish our teaching jobs here in China at the end of June. Naturally, we have begun to talk about our plan for afterwards. We’ll have some money saved up, but we’re also blessed to have another job which allows us to work and travel at the same time.

China has been a fascinating country to live in and explore.
China has been a fascinating country to live in and explore.

Our initial plan was to change our Chinese residencies (which expire on June 30th with our contracts) into tourist visas, allowing us to visit the many other great places this country has to offer. However, we recently found out that to get a tourist visa after our residency means having to leave the country! This would mean going to Hong Kong, getting the visa, and then coming back to China. Originally we thought, okay, that could work. But on reflection, it’s a hassle and defeats the whole point of travelling around China while we’re here. What’s more, I have since learnt that when applying for a Chinese visa they need your itinerary – as I mentioned earlier, we’re not those kind of travellers.

So, with that plan gone. What to do? Well, we can (apparently) extend our residency by about 10 days. In this time, we will visit the one place in China we MUST go before leaving: The Great Wall.

After that, we would like to go back to Hong Kong to get visas for Vietnam! Two years ago, Mitch and I had the flights booked but I went on my own due to said eye surgery. He would still love to see the country and I would be more than happy to go back, see new parts, parts I feel in love with, and explore it in a different way. Looking back, I was a naïve traveller when I first stepped foot in Hanoi. I learnt a lot on that trip and have learnt so much more since.

So, plan sorted. Spend some time in Vietnam, then maybe other places in South East Asia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines, maybe. Who knows? Go with the flow, eh?

Excited to be exploring Vietnam some more


However, just when you think you have a plan forming in your mind. One small thing, one opportunity, can make you rethink many things.

My God-brother is getting married in November …in Miami. Now, Mitch and I have always wanted to go to the USA. We thought one day (maybe when I can drive), we could do a road trip around America. That’s the dream, right?

So, being invited to Miami when in Asia is pretty inconvenient to be honest. However, after discussion, my parents and my sister both decided that they are going. As soon as they said this, I realised I just had to go. All my family, in Miami, for a wedding: it’s just amazing. To see my God-brother, who I’ve known since I was born, get married in this wonderful setting… It’s just blissful. How could I say no?! So, we’re not saying no. Mitch, obviously, is game. Seriously, who doesn’t want to go to Miami?

We realised though, this is an ideal opportunity to explore the States. Sure we can’t drive, and it’ll be loads more expensive than South East Asia, but, you have to take the chances when you get them.  So, our vague plan is to chill in South East Asia for a few months, work for our online jobs, which can help fund our lifestyle, then fly to the USA and do some exploring. Where? We’re not entirely sure. New York is top of both of our lists, after that, well, we’re pretty open to anything. Domestic flights are cheap, but, well aware of the effect they have on the environment, we know that you can also get around by Megabus, Greyhound, and Amtrak. Cheap and cheerful, just what you want on an adventure.

The great thing is, through our travels we’ve met many wonderful Americans. Here’s to hoping we can meet some of them again while we’re over there!

Needless to say, we’re super excited. Our Chines adventure isn’t even over yet, just under two more months left here to make the most out of this country. China is still at the top of my list for places with many cultural differences to the UK. That’s why I do love it here (and sometimes hate it). Then, South East Asia to explore, relax, earn a bit of money, and live cheaply. Then… USA here we come!

We'll be back in Bristol for Christmas!
Will be back in Bristol for Christmas!


I’ve also spent a lot of time recently thinking about this blog. Since taking the plunge and buying a domain name, I feel like I’ve lost focus. I’ve spent time writing posts about recommendations of what to do in places and doing my best to improve SEO (search engine optimization) of Helen The Bristolian Backpacker.

I originally started the blog just to share my travel experiences with my friends and family, and it has developed so much. I don’t’ want my passion for my blog to diminish because I’m thinking too much about SEO or how it can make me money.

For this reason, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on my travel stories and adventures, rather than giving tips or travel advice. If you want to message me and ask me for advice about a specific place then please do. But I’ve realised I started this blog by telling stories, writing details, that’s what I love. If you want to know the best things to pack, or how to live on $20 a day in Thailand you can find those articles elsewhere. For me, Helen The Bristolian Backpacker is going to be stories about my experience of places – hopefully inspiring and informing my readers. And as you’ve read today, there are lots more adventures to come!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Congratulations to David and Melissa. Thank you so much for inviting us to your wedding, we’re so excited!

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