A few thoughts on my China travels - 5 years later

When I look back at the words and images that I put together at the age of 24 it feels like a lifetime has passed me by.

At work I recently was signed up to a presentation bootcamp (not of my own doing, might I add) and on our second day we were asked to stand up in front of our group and give a presentation on anything of our choosing.

I thought long and hard about what I was going to speak about and was almost about to give a speech on animal testing but decided it might be too much of a heavy subject. Instead, I decided I would talk about one of my passions: hiking.

I stood at the front of the room nervously, trying to remember everything I had learned about presenting prior to this moment and I started to talk about how my love for hiking began.

It all started with China. Well actually it all started with me wanting more from life.

I wanted a challenge. I wanted to get fit.

My 29 year old self laughs at how gruelling I thought 10km a day could be but then I remember that those 10km were not on a steady terrain but often on ground that was in a state of disrepair. I remember the laughs and bonds that I shared with my team over the course of that five days and how hard these amazing people worked for the causes that they were raising money for. I remember how tough the steps were and the feeling that they were never going to end. I remember being forever thankful for my trekking poles that took my weight and gave me support when I needed it. I remember the smog and the overcrowded train stations and the people who were spitting out their lungs on the carpet of the train...and anywhere else that they could. I remember being in awe of seeing the Terracotta Army in Xi'an and I still can't fathom what I saw but I have the photos to prove that it wasn't just a dream. I remember the Panda Research Centre in Chengdu and wondering if these beautiful animals would ever be able to be released and protected in the wild.

I remember coming back home and having a hard time finding the words to describe what an amazing adventure I'd had because you just had to be there to understand. There's also that feeling that people may not find your trip interesting so you just round it off by telling them that it was 'awesome'.

Life takes over and the memories start to fade but you never forget how something made you feel.

I hope to carry that feeling for years to come.

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