I thought I was brave moving to the other side of the world albeit to an English speaking country but Tara from Let Passion Unfold has taken it up a gear by travelling living and working in Shanghai. What an amazing experience it must be to not only visit a country so different to your own but also to live, work and immerse yourself in the culture. I’m always in awe of people that have the courage to do this.
One of my favourite blog posts from Tara was What Travel has taught me
It covers everything I had felt when I first moved over here and even still now when I venture off on my travels. Travelling is amazing for teaching us lessons about life, about others, about the world and most importantly about ourselves. Reading her answers below I love her answers regarding her top tip for travel advice and you can see how her wonderful outlook on travelling. Reading her posts and her answers below always make me smile both with a knowingness and just feeling uplifted at her view on the world.
You can find more of Tara’s travels, tips, stories and itineraries on her blog (links below) and I strongly recommend you go take a look.
I’ll stop yabbering on and let you hear from Tara herself…
Hi, I’m Tara! I set out on an adventure two years ago to travel while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I could cross off a few bucket list items, find some direction, and go back home. As it turns out, I was wrong. I’ve spent the last couple of years teaching English in Shanghai and travelling during weekends and holidays. Now my bucket list is growing rapidly, and I’m still not sure what I want to do with my life or where I want to spend the rest of it. The only thing I’m sure of is that I want to explore as much of this beautiful world as I can. In the meantime, I’m enjoying life and writing about my adventures at Let Passion Unfold!
What do you enjoy most about travelling?
I think I’d have to say getting to know the people and their culture. Sure, the change of scenery is always nice and trying new food is exciting, but I really just enjoy interacting with locals. When you see how hospitable and friendly complete strangers can be to each other, it really makes you wonder how any hate exists in the world.
Why do you think travelling is important?
I think travelling is important because not only do you learn about the place you are visiting, you learn more about your home country as well. You begin to see things from a different perspective and can really appreciate what makes each place truly great.
What is your favourite photograph from your travels?
It’s not easy to pick one, but one of my favourite parts of my trips to the UK last summer was getting to visit the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The formation of the rock columns dates back 60 million years, and there’s a cute story about a giant named Finn McCool to explain the history of it all.
Which is your favourite – sun, snow, sea, city, mountains, country?
My two favourites would be snow and mountains. Living in Shanghai means I don’t see much snow anymore, so when I travel to cold, snowy places, I can’t help but fall head over heels in love. Snow has been my favourite my entire life. However, I did not grow up with mountains. Mountains and hiking are a new love of mine since I’ve started travelling more. It’s great exercise and the scenery never disappoints!
Who do you usually travel with?
Most of the time I travel with coworkers since we all have our holidays at the same time. Every long weekend or break we get, we plan something. Since I won’t be teaching abroad next year, I’m going to try my hand at solo travel. This summer will be my first solo trip and I couldn’t be more excited!!!
If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?
Be flexible and forgiving, especially during your travels. Odds are things will not go perfectly. Don’t let little things ruin your trip. It’s extremely important to be easy-going when you’re completely unfamiliar with a place. Let’s be real, you’re probably somewhere you’ve never been and are away from home to destress and enjoy yourself. You don’t need to make your trip miserable by putting too much pressure on little things. Just laugh when you miss the last bus into town and have to walk 30 minutes instead. Your trip is what you make of it, and if you spend the entire time dwelling about what didn’t go exactly as planned, then you’re going to hate it. And that’s unfortunate for everyone involved.
Tell us the funniest story or a mishap from one of your adventures?
About a year ago, I was in Zhangjiajie, China (better known as the Avatar mountains – yes, as in the movie). After hiking part way down one of the mountains, my friends and I decided to hike one of the casual paths and take a breather – our legs were jello at this point. We walked around for about 20 minutes and then decided to turn back. The path didn’t loop around, so you had to come back the way you came anyway. On our way back we noticed the path was completely surrounded by rhesus macaques. Like hundreds. And they were ready to fight us for the territory. They came running at us, hissing and screeching. So naturally, we ran away screaming. Realising once again that the only way to get back to civilisation was the way we came, we turned around to head toward the macaques. They were still there and still feisty, chasing us away for a second time. We dawdled for a while, not having a clue what to do. We were surrounded by territorial monkeys with no other route back. Luckily a 9-year-old saved our lives. (So much shame). The kid walked up and basically just showed the monkeys who was the boss. He didn’t back down or go running like we had. He proved he was the alpha. And that was it. All the macaques backed off. We followed the kid back but kept a safe enough distance that we didn’t look as pathetic as we felt. As embarrassed as I was that my 3 guy friends and I couldn’t outsmart these monkeys while a 9-year-old managed to, I can’t help but laugh at the hilarity of the situation. And it was all caught on video (but my friends wouldn’t let me post it).
Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?
Is everywhere an appropriate answer? I feel like it’s impossible to pick. Each place I’ve visited holds a special place in my heart. New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and Phuket, Thailand was probably one of my most unforgettable trips. But honestly, every country has something amazing to offer, and each trip is special in its own way. It’s rare that I travel somewhere and am not completely blown away by it.
Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?
Every time I travel, my bucket list gets bigger and bigger. One thing I’ve always wanted to see but haven’t yet is the Aurora Borealis. It’s been a goal of mine since I was a kid. I think it would be super awesome to rent one of the glass igloos at Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland and just enjoy the view!