getting out more

The other day I mentioned to a friend that I need to get out more. My friend found this amusing, considering the number of countries I’ve lived in or visited. He has a point. Just looking at my passport, I have stamps for America, England, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Ireland, Panama, Spain, China, and Morocco. Plus resident visas for England and China. In fact, there’s only one page left that doesn’t have a stamp of some kind on it.

And this is the passport I got in 2005, so it doesn’t include my East Africa or Mediterranean misadventures.

So yeah, on paper (literally) it looks like I’m a pretty adventurous guy. And I am in some ways, but in other ways not so much.

For example, I traveled halfway across the world to China, and right as soon as I got here I immediately set forth and……did nothing. I mean, I went to work on the weekdays and everything, but on the weekends I just sat around my apartment by myself. Most weekends I did not even leave my apartment at all. And my apartment really isn’t that big.

And yeah, it is kind of a pain to go downtown. I live in a suburb north of Beijing, and I generally have to stand on the subway for about an hour to get to the heart of the city, but that’s not a very good excuse. Thousands of people do it every day. During rush hour. It’s not even that bad on the weekends.

My problem is that I get stuck in a routine far too easily. Even though I’m adventurous enough to pack up my entire life and move to a completely new continent, once I get there I tend to quickly find a new routine and fall right into it as if I’ve always been there.

And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Except for the fact that I have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see China through the eyes of a resident, and I’m not really taking full advantage of it.

Part of the reason for this is that I’m just not much of a solo adventurer. For the most part I like to wait until other people come up with cool ideas, and then I tag along. The problem with this is that most of my friends here don’t really have the time or the money for a vacation, and even if they did, they wouldn’t want to take it with the weird American guy who can’t really speak Chinese or remember the names of, well, pretty much anything.

The thing is, I look at my friends who are just a little older than me, and most of them are looking to settle down—if they haven’t already—and it’s reasonable to think that I’m probably going to reach that point within the next few years as well. So it stands to reason that if my adventuring days are indeed limited, I really should be doing everything I can to make the most of them, and even if no one is willing or able to go with me, I should strike out on my own. In fact, it’s probably better if I strike out on my own. Some lessons in independence and self-reliance would be good for me. And hell, if I’m going to be serious about this, I really need to make concrete plans, not just vague intentions. At the very least, I need to see Hong Kong, Shanghai, and maybe even a trip to Tokyo before I leave China. That’s about the bare minimum that I think I could be satisfied with. But most importantly, I need to do it on my own. I need to plan it on my own, and I need to go on my own. It’s the only way I’ll ever learn any self-reliance, and it’ll help me get into the habit of being more adventurous without waiting for someone else to plan everything.

Which is why I’m going to Hong Kong tomorrow.

With my housemate.

Yeah, less than a week after I made up my mind that I wanted to go to Hong Kong, he asked me if I wanted to go there with him. Funny how that works. He’s going for business, but while he’s in meetings during the day I can go out and explore the city, and we can meet up in the evening for dinner, and then hit the bars.

And yeah, this doesn’t help me with my independence and self-reliance, but I honestly can’t pass up the chance to see Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Macau with a friend who also likes to travel and enjoy good restaurants.

Plus the fact that he’s Chinese helps a lot too.

Anyway, I should probably go pack, or something. Despite all the traveling I’ve done, I’m still not good at packing, and I still always wait until the night before to even start thinking about it. You’d think by now I would’ve learned.

But hey, at least I’m getting out more.

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About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

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