The first time I raised such a question was when I went through all of the booking and purchasing procedures for my boyfriend’s flight on Singapore Airlines’ website.
Exhausted, I cancelled at the confirmation step. It was 3am, September 13.
He said, “The website seems too far away and we’d better book the flight via phone in China.”
Hours earlier, he told me via Skype that he had filled in all of the forms for a New Zealand visa on a day when his desire to sleep and rest was the strongest.
He said he had postponed many times due to various things he needed to deal with.
These words, intended just to show he finally got things done, nearly became the last straw for me.
I very much regretted that I had ever come up with the suggestion that he come see me during my study in New Zealand and to see this beautiful country.
In 2009 I posted a piece of news on chinadaily.com.cn that said 58 million Chinese people will travel overseas in 2010. At the time I wondered how I could be one of them.
I finally found my way this year, forgetting all the stresses connected to travel that I had gone through. As I said to my boyfriend, “come to see the outside world.”
The passport application took my boyfriend one and a half months. There were a lot stories in it.
I should also have told you that the return flight, even at non-peak time and booked nearly one month in advance, cost him his entire monthly income. He is not one of the low-income guys in Beijing.
This is the first time this hard-working Chinese guy ever asked for leave. Even legally, he has five-days paid annual leave.
The second time I asked “why travel?” was when I was dusting a window and suddenly decided to sit down as I realised how peaceful the outside was.
It was night, 11pm. It was raining. The trees were green. A guy was jogging on Symonds Street. It was China’s National Day, October 1.
That was the peace and beauty, just several steps away from me, that I had ignored for two months as I was always racing against the deadline for assignments.
One of my friends, Ji Xing, once said there is no scenery in familiar places.
We are seduced by beauty in nature as we have lived in noisy cities for too long. We are driven by inborn needs to go far away to see what life is like in “other” places. We are driven by innate desires to get rid of all bonds. . .
“East or west, home is best”, my friend Hou Run, posted as her signature on QQ, the Chinese version of MSN, when she came back to China after travelling to the United Kingdom.
Peace and beauty, peace and beauty. Beauty is in front of you when you have a peaceful mind. Actually, that is what my name Jingli means.
But I travelled, from the North Hemisphere to the South Hemisphere, to find that.
Song Jingli is a chinadaily.com.cn journalist on an exchange programme with AUT University.