I have been in China since 1st June and this time I decided not to download a VPN, which means I have to work within the boundaries of the “Great Firewall of China”.
Actually this has been amazing. It has meant that bar twice, once today and once about a month ago, I have been facebook, google and wordpress free. (Hence the lack of blog posts on here!)
I love these things as much as the next person. They are incredibly useful tools for keeping in touch with loved ones, for booking accommodation or trains when travelling, or working out where you are when you are lost!
But sometimes it’s also nice to have a break. And I have really enjoyed mine.
I have still had Whatsapp and Bing so I can keep in touch with people and use the internet when I want to. But I have loved being facebook free. No longer am I distracted looking on facebook when I am bored. In fact, without facebook I have felt a lot less bored.
In fact it has made me question the value of facebook in my life. What does it add? Ok, so it is a useful way to keep in touch, but actually, it often leaves me with a lingering sense of lonliness, every traveller’s nightmare. Instead, being faceboook free, I have not once felt lonely.
Albeit, I am in a special place. A place full of interesting travellers and expats, with similar interests to me.
For the past six weeks I have been living in Yangshuo, which has to be one of my favourite places in Asia. The town itself is nothing special, but the surroundings more than make up for it.
For a start, it is utterly stunning. The hills here are all limestone karsts, and the effect of hundreds upon hundreds of them in the same place makes for some striking and unusual scenery.
The scenery is so special that it even made it onto one of the Chinese bank notes!
It is also a place full of interesting people. An eclectic mix of travellers and ex pats who are drawn here by the rock climbing, by tai chi, or perhaps a job in a bar or teaching English…
It is a small enough community that you never feel alone. Walking down the street it is almost inevitable that you bump into someone you know. After travelling for a little while, it is nice to spend time in a place like this. As one friend said, “That’s the thing about Yangshuo, you are never alone!”.
I have been working a little; in a bar, as an English teacher and as a climbing guide. I have done some running and some swimming in the nearby rivers. I have climbed quite a lot, and partied quite a lot. As always, I have really enjoyed my time here. And not once have I missed facebook! 🙂