Gerard

Moving to China - wandering

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Would it be feasible? The main problem I see is the visa part and how crazily strict our society has become, which is understandable. Anyway, my plan is to work a bit in a certain area and then go on an extended retreat 6 months or so, come back and do a bit more work. Travel China entirely but far from highly populated areas and as close as possible to the mountains.

 

I'd like to hear your opinion because you may know someone who's actually living like this and I need further advice.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

:)

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Edward A. Burger could have some good advice as he's spent time living with Buddhist hermits in China near Huashan. I don't know him but he comes across as open and friendly in the video he made called Amongst White Clouds. He has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/edwardaburger 

 

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I stopped counting my trips to china at 13...  

 

The main advice concerns 'connections'; who you know before you go, during your stay, etc. 

 

You can smooth out issues and avoid problems with 'who you know'... which means 'who they know'.

 

Negotiations are a tricky thing too... you have to understand why they offered one amount and later claim it should be another amount...  EVERYTHING is relative.

 

If you're not up for this kind of gamesmanship, then think hard about whether to go.  

 

If you're really open minded to experiencing another culture which is upside-down from your mind's eye... then take another step. :)

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I definitely wouldnt recommend it if it's your first time here. Especially if you're planning to be in the very rural areas. Come for a visit first, then maybe plan out a feasible route. I would spend a decent amount of time planning, before jumping into anything.

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I wonder if this is too bold?   Look around the bums, especially the Chinese section and send a PM to those who seem to be living there now and ask for advice.  See if you can get a conversation started.

 

 

<> Are there any monasteries that welcome (w/ $) beginners?  Any group/traveler centers where one can stay with like minded people looking for a spiritually good time (in my town we call them brothels) ?   For yogic spirituality there are ashrams, is there anything like that in China? 

 

Sometimes the best travel begins by staying in one place.   Finding out the lay of the land and making connections before over commiting. 

Edited by thelerner
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Do you speak any Chinese? Do you have experience of travel elsewhere?

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Thanks for your replies :) I really appreciate your time and effort trying to help me.

 

As we all know things in life never turn out the way we'd hoped, so I'll wait for the next sign before taking the necessary step for the required change. Luckily life is shaped by change. Next year is 2016, fire metal...very bad for me (fire controls/destroys metal, money in "worldly" terms) and currently I'm already experiencing financial trouble due to my location which is not harmonious, excessive fire and minimal water and water is what I most need as a fire horse.

 

Anyway I'll go with the flow but slowly going to plan my way out of Australia, lovely place to live and practice the 'spiritual' but energetically not suited to fire horse people. :(

 

No I don't speak Chinese but my plan was to learn it on arrival by enrolling on a formal course. The wandering aspect was to be done later on after I get a good idea of the place. Travel experience? Taiwan, Thailand and Europe...I'm originally from this last location. Thanks for asking :)

Edited by Gerard
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"As we all know things in life never turn out the way we'd hoped"

 do not rule out the possibility that things can turn out better than one hope for.

good luck with the wanderings,

if you ever happen to visit the usa, dew drop in.

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You don't need to put your plans on hold. I just think coming here for a trip first will help put things into perspective for you. Try go to a few really remote places, with a plan to get back. Learning Chinese will be essential for a walkabout here. Basic chinese you pick up on the go wont cut it, I'm afraid. In the sticks you'll likely run in to trouble communicating even with good oral Chinese. You'd also better have an escape/bail out plan, and good survival skills. If you get lost in the middle of nowhere, it could be game over.

 

Or ...maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean by wandering.

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Any good books or blogs on Young Seekers abroad in China? 

 

 

I think 'The Gods Drink Whiskey' is a great adventure travel book to the orient for someone looking for spirituality, but it was done by a (n out there)  professor who had a job lined up, not a wanderer per se. 

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Yeah, if you want to travel around alone without worry, you will need to spend time learning Chinese. Months at the very least. But how long it takes to become good enough will absolutely depend on how open and friendly you are and how well you study. A friend of mine arrived in Beijing with no Chinese and no acquaintances. He went out every day and just tried talking to people. Within a week he was making friends, within 3 months he was gambling with old men round the way, and within 6 months he was singing Chinese karaoke and traveling off by himself on buses and trains.

 

Visas are generally no problem, unless things have changed drastically. You can get a 3 month tourist visa fairly simply (maybe 6 month too?). And if you get a decent job lined up first (not sure what you're qualified for, but you speak English, so you could teach it), you'll get a work visa no problem (for teaching you'd need a degree and/or TEFL qualification). But any decent teaching contract will be for a year, and you won't be able to skip off for 6 months in the middle of it without your visa being cancelled. If you want to travel around, you'll need to do it on a tourist visa, and that would probably mean (if you were on a work visa to begin with) leaving the country and re-applying.

 

As far as wandering... you can travel the length and breadth of the country on trains and buses, and it's simple and fairly inexpensive as long as you have a decent grasp of Mandarin and some common sense. But as Silent Answers says, even if you learn standard Mandarin to a very high level, you will end up in any number of places where the dialect is essentially an entirely different language. And you won't be able to stay away from highly populated areas for long...

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I agree with dawei and others, plan a trip for a couple weeks to an area that looks interesting and check it out. I wouldn't move there blind...

 

You might look at some organized trips structured around tai chi or qigong - Michael Winn, Solala Towler, or maybe one of the Chinese teachers that offers retreats. I did 2 trips with Winn, and it was eye opening. Gave me a wide view of the country, made some introductions, and has helped me negotiate the rest of my travels there. I go almost every year now, sometimes 2 or 3 times per year to visit people and teachers I've met on his trips. 

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Visa wise you'll probably have to leave and come back every 3 months. I think you can get a business visa for 2 years or so, then you just go to Hong Kong every 3 months and come straight back. As an aussie there's no problem getting a 90 day tourist visa. I actually got one for 2 entries so I could have actually left and come back again for another 90 days (the expiration was 6 months so I could do it).

 

I was going to do a long trip but it lost its appeal after 6 weeks. I could have stayed if I settled down somewhere (Chengdu was nice) but moving around started to feel like a chore. Plus you lose interest in learning Chinese when you're constantly jumping between dialects. Money-wise it's no problem. Was something like AU$6-7 a night at most hostels. The "going to the mountains" thing sounded good in theory but most mountains that people go to you pay a small entry fee and the adventure is quite non-existent. Some mountains are cut off for foreigners since it's quite dangerous. You can definitely wing it but if you want a real adventure you'll have to be fluent in chinese so that you can go beyond the norm. The norm is ok though. Lots to see and do. Some really nice scenery etc.

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Gerard, you should come to Canada, British Columbia, seriously. Plenty of water and rain, and not to mention plenty of Chinese around here. Although it is quite hard to socialize with them. But otherwise it is the ideal place for you. If I could switch places with you, probably I would do it in a heartbit, I need lots of fire.

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Visa wise you'll probably have to leave and come back every 3 months. I think you can get a business visa for 2 years or so, then you just go to Hong Kong every 3 months and come straight back.

 

I don't know how strict they would be, but

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/business.htm

 

4. To obtain an F, you must have one of the following documents: Invitation Letter, Confirmation Letter of Invitation (with the invitation letter attached) or conference notice issued by relevant entity, individual or duly authorized Chinese institute. The invitation letter should include following information:

  a. Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)

  b. Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) of visit, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)

  c. Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual)

5. For a multiple entry F, copies of previous Chinese visas (on one A4 paper) are required.

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I’ve done plenty of travelling, much living and read widely. All of it important; necessary for building a strong foundation. But ultimately the path can only be found within. However what that means can take a lifetime to discover - a lifetime of trial and error.

Edited by Darkstar
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if you ever happen to visit the usa, dew drop in.

 

:)

 

 

 

Andrei, on 28 Mar 2015 - 14:11, said:

 

Gerard, you should come to Canada, British Columbia, seriously. Plenty of water and rain, and not to mention plenty of Chinese around here. Although it is quite hard to socialize with them. But otherwise it is the ideal place for you. If I could switch places with you, probably I would do it in a heartbit, I need lots of fire.

 

I know, I know, I am clearly aware of the energetics of Western Canada (water + metal, perfect for someone peaking fire which generates earth, I always felt more earth person than a fire type anyway). That country will keep my liver & GB in check (environmental heat gone for good) plus keeping me close to the metal element.

 

On the other hand, Australia is perfect for people born in the year of the rat (like yourself), pig, ox, etc. All the water people or born under a double metal year, i.e. 1980/81 greatly benefit from living in the southern hemisphere.

 

Cheers!

 

Again, thanks everyone for all your advice. :)

Edited by Gerard
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I can host you for a week or more in case you want to visit and feel the energy. :) PM me if interested.

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Thanks very much, Andrei. I'm seriously considering China though, not just for Feng Shui reasons (wood and north, my weakest elements which China is very strong at and they are the most important as they both represent fuel and drive and without them it's impossible to reach a high level of cultivation) but also my heart is telling me to and to that it has never failed me.

 

Likewise, feel free to come here anytime and I will teach you circle walking.

 

Kind regards,

 

:)

Edited by Gerard

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No I don't speak Chinese but my plan was to learn it on arrival by enrolling on a formal course. The wandering aspect was to be done later on after I get a good idea of the place. Travel experience? Taiwan, Thailand and Europe...I'm originally from this last location. Thanks for asking :)

 

 

Yeah, if you want to travel around alone without worry, you will need to spend time learning Chinese. Months at the very least. But how long it takes to become good enough will absolutely depend on how open and friendly you are and how well you study. A friend of mine arrived in Beijing with no Chinese and no acquaintances. He went out every day and just tried talking to people. Within a week he was making friends, within 3 months he was gambling with old men round the way, and within 6 months he was singing Chinese karaoke and traveling off by himself on buses and trains.

 

 

Formal learning of Chinese might work for some.  That did not work for me.

I needed to get into Chinese very fast as even though I am ethnic Chinese, my mother tongue is English, courtesy of the old British Empire when Singapore was a British colony.

 

I was suddenly dumped into Taipei where 99.99% of folks there only use Mandarin or local dialect.

 

I decided I had to get into Chinese quickly and very soon rounded up Chinese tutors who incidently were girls and parcelled them out as a different tutor for each evening of the week.  Got into semi disaster when three turned up one evening at same time that I then resolved by getting even more tutors.

 

In a couple of months or so, I got to the stage I could talk in Chinese to someone and eavesdrop and follow nearby  conversations of nearby Chinese.

 

When I found myself speaking Chinese in my dreams when I slept, I knew I cleared that last hurdle.

I could speak Chinese from my heart and hear that in my heart  and did not need to mentally translate in my head.

Who cares that those who studied Chinese formally had more elegant words.  I got into Chinese to enjoy myself and 

to know others.

 

My advise to you do not worry too much  about your lack of Chinese in getting around.

 

Nice to be prepared.  

But no matter how well prepapred you think you are, it will actually be when you are there and how well you can smile that matter and not the language  that you know.

 

And do think about starting that journey in Taiwan which will be the best place for you to pick up Chinese as Taiwanese are so much more friendly than people in Mainland China.  You might not even care to leave Taiwan for China once you go there.

 

Follow the Tao and go with the Tao

 

 

 

Taoistic Idiot who learned Chinese language the fun and friendly way.

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Different folks can have completely different experiences with regard to learning languages. For some unknown reason, Languages are difficult for me. I speak and read fluent German and still get into trouble with idioms, nuances and slang. I have a tiny little bit of tourist spanish and french , but intend to learn more. My Russian consists of emergency phrases and dirty jokes. My ability to read Cyrillic consists of "PECTOPAH" . It is pronounced Res-To -Ran and means Restuarant.

 

I have a grasp of dojo japanese, and can follow simple japanese children's cartoons; but complex conversation eludes me.

 

Both Chinese and Japanese "Kanji" made my brain explode.

 

I have tried valiently to learn basic Mandarin, and continue to fail. Due to the intonation and inflection, not to mention the number of tones ( 4-5 tones vs 6-9 tones, depending on whom you ask ) my attempts at Chinese spoken language have evoked actually laughter.

 

At one point I decided the solution was to memorize Chinese phrases literally like they were opera ( I used to sing classical italian, german and french operas as a somewhat proficient amatuer) . The result produced even more comedy.

 

On the other Hand, My lovely spousal unit learnt spanish, french and Mandarin,  still can understand the Mandarin Kung Fu movies, and still speaks fluent Mandarin with merchants.

 

Once, we were fortunate enough to be able to travel to Germany for business, and via shear immersion for 5 weeks my wife picked up more useful daily conversational German than I can command .

 

My point being - try to learn some Mandarin and some Cantonese before you leave, if only in order to see where your abilities lie.

 

yhs

shunka

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THIS:

And do think about starting that journey in Taiwan which will be the best place for you to pick up Chinese as Taiwanese are so much more friendly than people in Mainland China.  You might not even care to leave Taiwan for China once you go there.

 

Follow the Tao and go with the Tao

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