(in a shell of a nut)
We celebrated our first anniversary in style by selling all of our possessions, packing our bags and moving to China. Having never been to China we had no idea what to expect, nor could we even begin to prepare ourselves for what we were about to experience. We landed jobs teaching English for a year in a small city in the South of China called Xinyu, in Jiangxi Province. We were strong and determined that we could adapt to our surroundings, however, the first few months were very challenging.
We were two of only four foreigners in a city of 1.2 million people. Most of the local people had never seen a foreigner before, only those they see in Hollywood movies on TV. This meant that while we were out and doing every day things like grocery shopping or just walking down the street, we would have people stopping their cars to take photos of us, and children pointing at us as they shout “Wàiguó rén!” meaning foreigner. Once, we had a student ask us to sign the back of a photo of us she had taken three months prior!
After a few months, we thought we had had enough of Xinyu and decided to try Beijing. With over 26 million people, there were more foreigners, food choices and things to do. We visited many hutongs, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, we even hiked up the Great Wall of China 4 different times, the last time almost killing ourselves! Unfortunately, Sarah had an issue with the amount of pollution in Beijing and seemed to fall ill more often than usual. For health reasons, we knew that we had to do something. We were grateful to have become terrific friends with a beautiful British couple who told us about the life that they had lived in Taiwan, and it didn’t take long before we realized that was where we would go next.
Taiwan is a fantastic country! The people are amicable, fresh foods are abundant, and the outdoor activities are endless. We saw some of the most beautiful scenery while hiking through the mountains in Taiwan. We taught English to 3-year-olds for a while; however, we were just exhausted! To teach young kids, your energy levels need to be tip-top! We realized we only wanted to teach adults so that’s what we did, however, the pay is significantly lower. After eight months we found that we wanted to make more money, so we moved back to Mainland China…again! This time we moved to a larger city in the South called Shenzhen where we were only an hour away from Hong Kong. We got an excellent job teaching adults 25hours/week and were able to travel to Hong Kong on our days off. It was Chinese New Year 2016, and we went to Chiang Mai, Thailand on holiday for two weeks and fell in love instantly!
August 2016 we moved to Thailand, and that is where we are still happily living today, using it as our home base while we explore and travel the world!
I’ve always had a passion for travel and adventure but didn’t experience it until I was 21 years old. I had never left the province of Ontario, been on a plane nor seen a cruise ship. It’s been over ten years since I left Canada and today I can proudly say I have been to over 50 countries, coasted through hurricanes, slept through typhoons and earthquakes, cruised the Baltic, sailed the Norwegian Fjords up to the North Pole, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean, three times! I’ve never felt so alive and can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!
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More About Sarah
A thrill-seeking, adventure enthusiast with a penchant for travel…in fact, I think the word ‘junkie’ sums it up. I dream about getting ‘lost’ in new places. Although I’m a big city boy, I love being outdoors. I’m a canoe buff, camping nut, and self-proclaimed fishing aficionado (and therefore a brilliant liar!) Photography has always been a hobby of mine, and I’ve recently dipped into videography.
OH! And coffee. I F****** love coffee.
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More About Michael