We have only a few weeks left here in China! I don’t know how this is even possible. It feels like we just celebrated Christmas. In 26 days (but who’s counting?!) we will be hoisting our backpacks over our backs and heading back out where we belong: on the road.
We have absolutely loved our experience here in China. It has been very fulfilling, enlightening and enjoyable. However, it’s time to move on. These goats need to be on the road!
This next trip will be taking us through Mongolia, Russia, Central Asia and Iran. There aren’t many off-the-beaten-path places left on our earth but fortunately this region still retains its culture and charm. It won’t be long before the western influence makes its way to this part of the world.
We’ve slowly but surely been checking things off of our To-Do List. The biggest hassle about travelling to destinations not frequented by many tourists is the bureaucracy. In many parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, we just showed up at the border and obtained our visas on arrival. Either that, or we just applied for it easily in the country we were currently in.
That’s definitely not the case with these countries. Last month we went to Shanghai to apply for our Mongolian visa. that was fairly straightforward but we had to travel to another city to apply. It was a success and we have our Mongolia visa stuck in our passport!
We just went to Shanghai again this weekend to apply for our Russian visa and it was a success! (More about applying for a Russian Visa to follow.) We were also in Shanghai to pick up Nick’s new backpack (an Osprey Farpoint 55) and to have one last hurrah with some great friends we made in Yangzhou, Jen & Steve.
We are heading to Shanghai again this weekend to pick up our passports with our Russian visa and drop our passports off at the Kazakhstan embassy…fingers crossed!
On top of getting our visas, we’ve been planning and buying loads of stuff for this journey. We’re constantly shopping online (there aren’t any outdoor shops here in Yangzhou) and emailing with different agencies about sorting out our Letters Of Invitation and transportation.
Needless to say, we’ve been busy!
We also need to think about moving out of our apartment. We are slowly packing up our stuff and sending it home in boxes. We’re downsizing an purging more things and only sending home what we think we can’t part with.
Our apartment contract is up on July 2nd, but we work here in Yangzhou until July 12th. Since we didn’t plan in advance, we will be homeless! Thankfully, our generous friend, Jhonny has offered to let us stay with him and his girlfriend in their apartment until we leave. Where would we be without great friends?
Everything seems very surreal right now and we are trying to take in Yangzhou as much as we can. Whenever we’re walking down a particular street, going to a market or eating at a restaurant, we always say “take it all in, this may be the last time we do this”. We’re going to miss our great friends, both expat and local, this wonderful city and teaching English to our adorable students.
However, that’s the life of a backpacker! We’re always on the move and are always ready for new experiences and challenges. Stay tuned for more updates on our pre-travel planning!
Which country are you the most interested in hearing about? Would you travel to this part of the world? Leave a comment below!