Travel: What the **** am I doing?

Identity crisis? Oh, constantly.

It turns out a mix of horribly strong Chinese tea, old school rap accidentally recommended by my boyfriend, stimulating snappy conversation and late night breakfast cereal makes the perfect cocktail to frantically need to write something down and simultaneously have yet another routine identity crisis. Maybe I use this term too lightly, maybe I use the word love too freely, maybe it is not important to love yourself but to be strongly in like instead. Maybe these are the reasons I found myself here.

It’s funny how just by getting up every morning, trudging across the city hidden behind a strangely comforting mask, retreating from the unfamiliar outside with Western music, to sit at a laptop all day posting to Western media, surrounded by people speaking an alien language, you manage to get a lot of stuff done without really realising it. That isn’t all I’ve been doing, but it sums up my recent working days fairly well.

Over the last week or two I have written a 3,000 word article on the ivory trade for a photography organisation in China, an article for the British Council on the infamous spicy food of Sichuan, a blog post for Intern China from the perspective of a graphic designer in Chengdu, and also read the Shakespeare poem, Sonnet 98: From you have I been absent in the Spring (a poem I can now recite off the top of my head, what a wonderful party trick *sigh*) to a room full of important people, TV presenters and professional photographers.

I think it’s safe to say my time in China is being spent well; albeit rather unintentionally.

But does this mean I’m a writer now? I’m certainly doing more writing than I am taking photos. The idea that I have no definite home or plan set in stone for the rapidly approaching future seems like it should be unnerving, family members become text on a screen, and relationships, connections and priorities for both are shifting and quite honestly that’s making me nervous. There are so many things about traveling that make me question who I am and what I’m doing and that’s both terrifying and stimulating in a way I could never get without moving away.

Trying to formalise these questions and resolve myself to clear, certain answers every time my head spins out is exhausting and there isn’t always horrible jasmine tea to help me out. So I guess we’ll just see what comes of this trip. For now I am feeling a clarity that is so welcome, so refreshing after the last couple of weeks of haze, and I suppose that’s got to be enough.


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