Travel: One Year Ago and One Year from Now

by torontogirlwest on November 19, 2012

It happens every year. Just about the time when the leaves are all on the ground, and the days get longer. I get a touch of the wanderlust.]

Back when I was younger, that wanderlust consisted of a desperate need to get out of the city. But now that I’m older, it consists of an intense desire to travel to far flung places.

Lately, I’ve even found myself awaking from dreams that found me walking down my favourite Parisian streets.

I love to travel but with moving to a new city, and the Husband starting graduate school, there hasn’t been much of it this year. Which is quite the contrast to where I was last year . . .


One Year Ago – Puerto Rico

November 19th, 2011 is a date that I will always remember fondly.

San Juan

It was one year ago that the Husband and I  found ourselves wandering the streets of Old San Juan; a place that I had wanted to visit my whole life.

Viejo San Juan

Old San Juan turned out to be even more beautiful than I had ever hoped it would be.

Walking in Old San Juan

And although there are many other places I want to explore, if someone were to tell me that I had to return to Puerto Rico, I wouldn’t be the least bit upset.

the Husband

Because frankly, it was kind of magical.


And I wouldn’t mind having another mojito again ;)


But that was then and this is now. And although, we don’t have any big trips planned in the next little while, we do have one massive one planned a year from now!!!!


One Year From Now – TGW Goes to China

That’s right friends, pending vacation approval from work, this time next year we’ll be in China!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great Wall

Admittedly, this trip to China came as a totally unexpected surprise to me.

During the second year of the Husband’s Masters program, the whole class goes to a foreign country to undertake field research. Traditionally, that country has been in South East Asia, except for one year where the trip had to be moved to India due to political unrest in Thailand. The research trip is of three weeks duration, and the plan has always been for me to tag along and play tourist.

Confirmation of the trip locale did not take place until a few short weeks ago. But until that moment I had been indulging in visions of tropical beaches, delicious seafood, and fruit juices galore.

Then the Husband came home and told me that he found out where we would be going. I braced myself, ready to hear “FIJI!!!” and instead heard China. :P Initially, I was stunned. His Masters program had never taken students to China. And besides, where was I going to find a tropical beach there? Not to mention the fact that although I had always wanted to go to China, I had anticipated going as part of a tour group.

I was excited but I was also decidedly scared.


I must confess most of that fear came from a trepidation over being thrown into a place where I wouldn’t be able to communicate. Because although I’ve traveled a lot, I also speak English, Spanish, and French fluently, with a passable level of Italian. So with those four languages right there, I’ve managed to assure myself that I will be understood in most parts of the world. But not in China.

And definitely not in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province.

Map of Jinan

Although, I had never heard of Jinan before, it’s actually large city with a population over six million, located halfway between Beijing and Shanghai. It’s known for it’s natural springs and many universities (the Husband will be doing his research in cooperation with Shandong Normal University). And thankfully, he will be assigned a local translator to assist him in any way possible.

That last part was what made me feel a whole lot better about the trip and truth be told now I’m just excited!!!! :) So much so that the Husband may have gotten tired of random questions like “Have you ever seen a panda?” HA! Obvious segways into talking about our China trip.


I’m looking forward to exploring the remnants of a great and wonderful civilization.

Bhuddist Temple

Marvelling over a culture so different from my own.

Panda Hiding

And maybe even seeing a black and white bear or two. ;)

It’s going to be one big adventure friends, and although it’s still a year away, I’m ever so happy to have a big trip to which to look forward!!!!


Note: links to all the original picture sources can be found on my Pinterest account

Question: Have you ever been to China? Are you Chinese yourself? Any advice for me?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

TorontoRunner November 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

What great pictures from Puerto Rico! It looks beautiful there :)

That’s amazing that you’ll be off to China next year. Having the opportunity to check out these foreign countries is such a blessing! I’ve travelled to quite a bit of places but never to China. I’ve been to Hong Kong(beautiful) and Taiwan since I’m half Taiwanese!
TorontoRunner recently posted..Closet Clean-Up!


torontogirlwest November 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Puerto Rico was beautiful although definitely pricey. Very very pricey. It’s the US$ combined with high tourist prices that gets you. In that way it was very different from other Latin American countries! :)

And I’ve heard Hong Kong is awesome. We won’t have much extra time to spare, and we’ll have single entry visas, so I don’t think we’ll get to explore it this time around. But I’m sure there will be other trips in the future.


Marianne November 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

Oooh, pandas! You definitely have to see those – and take pictures for me :) And enjoy some authentic Chinese food. You guys will have a great time.
Marianne recently posted..Pumpkin Coconut Corn Chowder


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm

lol You know, I seem to have a memory of seeing a panda at the LA Zoo when I was quite young. But I won’t say no to another one! :P


coco November 20, 2012 at 3:31 am

so exciting! you will be amazed and love it!!! email me if you have any question! :)
coco recently posted..Journal: the best baguette in the world!!!


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I surely will Coco! Where is your family from? Shanghai?


Samantha Angela November 20, 2012 at 5:48 am

That’s going to be a SWEET trip.
Samantha Angela recently posted..Waist Goals Update 2


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I’m counting on it! :P


Eunhasu November 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

Loved HK. Hated Beijing. Will tell u why when we meet next.


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Got it – you must fill me in!


Siobhan November 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

AHH! How exciting!!! I’ve never been to China but it looks like you will have an amazing time! My advice: take pictures so I can pretend I’m there with you! ;)
Siobhan recently posted..Another Game For Milos!


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

lol You know me, I’ll be all about the photography! In fact, I’ve told the Husband that I need another lens and a stylish looking bag that I can wear cross body but still protect my gear.


helene @healthyfrenchei November 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

I can see why you would be a bit wary! I would love to visit China one day but I have to admit that I might fee lost without a guide! I’m sure you’ll have a blast though, since you ahve a whole year to prepare :)
I miss travelling! It’s so much easier in Europe where in 1h you are in a different country. Plus when I have holidays this days, I spend them going back to France sigh


torontogirlwest November 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Oh I know! In Europe it’s such a breeze! I mean imagine, Cranbrook would be in one country and Fernie in another! :P

Will you be posting any pictures from your France trip? I would love to see some!!!


Jo (livingmintgreen) November 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

You are SO LUCKY! :D I really admire your travel/wanderlust spirit. I’d love to visit China, but I totally agree with being a little freaked out. The language barrier… the CROWDS (anxiety x 1000!)… but forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone is just part of the travel fun & experience!


Toronto Girl West December 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

lol Ah yes, crowds can sometimes get to me too!!! I’ve been known to succumb to sensory overload once or twice. But the truth is if I didn’t expose myself to those type of things, I’d miss out on so much of the world! So I suck it up and it’s always worth it!!! :)
Toronto Girl West recently posted..Travel: One Year Ago and One Year from Now


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: