Leaving China from Nanning

At some point during a long trip such as mine, you will get to a point where you feel tired and exhausted because of all the traveling.

There are so many things you have to take in such a short amount of time that you just can’t take it anymore. I had plans to head up and meet Ronan in Kunming to travel to Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan province but I had completely lost all my energy and excitement and just wanted to rest and do absolutely nothing.

When even he conceded to be tired of China, we changed our plans to head to Vietnam earlier than expected and meet in Hanoi instead. To do so I had to make one last stop in Nanning, from where I could catch the International train. Nanning was like any other modern Chinese city: big, loud and busy. But with the endless amounts of scooters roaming the streets it just felt a tiny bit more hectic than usual.

An upgrade to accommodate the new bullet trains was well underway and what seemed like a construction site for a metro or underground tunnel was blocking the way between the station and the city centre.

However I managed to find my way around and to the hostel. The train for the night was booked out so I was forced to stay one night in Nanning. The hostel had a nice mix of people from all over the world, most like me we’re waiting to catch the train or bus to Vietnam. I met Bart, who cycled all the way from Holland to Nanning, who became my guide to everything I needed to know about Nanning, all the cheap and good food, places that is. Besides international travellers, there were a large number of Chinese travellers as well, most of whom could surprisingly good English. It was a nice change being able to talk to someone local in English and have them show you around.

I remember us walking around the park and he pointing towards a group of Chinese sitting in the Park and looking miserable. “The look sad, because we Chinese just want to earn more and more money and are too greedy” he said and turned to look at me “But you always look happy though!” I didn’t know what to say so we continued walking.

It was time to head back to the hostel for me to pack my things and go for a last meal with Brad who’s staying there for a couple more days. Whilst waiting for our food I noticed a little leather bound booklet on the table and asked him if he kept a travel diary. “It’s not really a travel diary, more like a diary for my emotions” he said. “Sometimes when I cycle I just have these strange emotions, I feel upset or annoyed somehow, so I will stop and write about those feelings. Once I do write it down it normally goes away and it helps me to figure out when and why I get these feelings.”

After that we had a great conversation about the way people behave and where some of our emotions come from. “We are never taught to question our emotions, we just accept and live with them, instead of dealing with the problem. That’s why a lot of people feel so miserable”

It was a great conversation and I would have preferred to stay longer but my train was about to leave soon. We headed back to the hostel where a French couple Ben and Pauline were also getting ready to leave as well. “You’re off to Vietnam too?” I asked, “Yes” they replied, “let’s go together then!”