If you’ve ever spent even five minutes on my blog, you’d probably figure out that I absolutely LOVE to travel. Although I can’t travel as often as I’d like, every time I do, I try to go to places that challenge me. I’ve shared travel guides for my last couple trips on this blog, but recently I started working with the website unanchor.com to release far more informative guides on their platform, and my first guide is finally published!
Ok, you caught me, this post is partially about self-promotion (yes, go look at my itinerary, here and here!), but the real reason I’m writing a whole post about this rather than just sharing the link on facebook is because my first guide is a 3-day guide to Shanghai. The thing about Unanchor is that they want to work with people who have spent a substantial amount of time in the place they are writing a guide for which means I had to have spent at least three months in the place I was going to create an itinerary for.
About three years ago (omg it’s already been three years, what is happening), I spent the year abroad in Shanghai. But I’ve also spent that amount of time in different places in Greece, as well as different cities around California, Illinois, and now in Canada. However, I picked Shanghai because China is one of those countries that is never on anybody’s bucket list and that makes me infinitely sad.
Every time I’ve ever asked somebody where in the world they’d want to go, they usually pick a place in Europe. Sometimes I meet a more adventurous person and they say countries like South Africa or Thailand, but the answer has NEVER been China. In fact, when I told people I was going to China, everyone’s first response was “why?”, and that just killed me. My goal when I travel is to get OUT of my comfort zone, not to stay in it, and how many times in my life was I going to have the opportunity to spend a whole year in China hmm?? Europe is the easy answer for Americans because it’s closer than Asia and it’s easier to handle. Everyone speaks English, and people just feel like they will be safer and more comfortable since they know more about European countries than any other continent.
When I would bring up China, people would shrug and say “well, I guess the Great Wall would be cool to see”. China is so much more than that! (although the Great Wall is pretty incredible), and people don’t even realize. Part of this ignorance is due to the fact that between our school systems and our media, Americans get a pretty shitty education when it comes to any countries outside of North America and Europe, and fear of the unknown can have far-reaching consequences.
SO, my first guide is dedicated to combating that fear. The itinerary is for three days spent in Shanghai and covers a whole gambit of Museums, traditional sites, amazing restaurants, and clubs to give people an idea of just how cosmopolitan and entertaining Shanghai really is. There is also an appendix section chock full of information to make going to Shanghai seem far less daunting. I’ve added common phrases (in Mandarin and English), how to get around using public transport and taxis, cultural norms to be aware of, the best areas to stay, and so much more.
If you’ve ever been interested in visiting China, even just as a passing thought, PLEASE JUST GO. I promise you’ll love it and getting out of your comfort zone is so much more rewarding than staying in it. Plus, you’ll always have time and energy for the easy destinations. NOW is the time to challenge yourself with new experiences.
If you want to check out the actual guide, click here. But if you have general questions about Shanghai or my time there, feel free to comment or message me, I love talking about that experience!