Pre-Trip Thoughts January 1, 2010 Page 1
I am extremely fortunate to belong to a family that values the experience of travel. As someone who is already a bit more experienced with international travel (China will be the fifth country I visit through Centre, and around the 20th in my life), I will most likely have a different experience with China than other students whose trip to China may be their first or second experience outside the U.S. Despite my past experience with travel in general, however, I have never been to Asia. I am excited about experiencing a totally different culture.
My travels in Europe and Central America exposed me to cultures that were subtly different, yet bore many similarities to my community in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I found that when I go abroad, I am much more alike the people I meet than different. Although I’m sure that some of the mystery of East Asia will be removed once I spend some time there, I hope that the differences between China and the United States will prove to be greater, and more interesting, than my previous travels.
I am also excited about being on the other side of the globe. As a child, I always imagined that if I were to dig a hole through the earth, I would come up in China. Unfortunately, the exact opposite location on the globe (the antipode—a word the internet taught me today) from Chattanooga is in fact deep in the Indian Ocean, somewhere southwest of Australia. The antipodes of Beijing and Shanghai are actually in Argentina. Dang. Still, being twelve time zones away is a tantalizing thought, and I only need to sit on a plane for about fifteen hours to get there. I’ll take some reading to fill the time. War and Peace, maybe?
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