Wuhan & Changsha
That’s right! I decided to go to Wuhan, capital of Hubei and Changsha, capital of the Hunan province for a solo trip because honestly, what is an exchange programme without travelling? XD In any case it was a worthwhile trip, because of a few reasons:
- Different experience without companions and independence. I’ve been on a number of trips with friends and family but without anyone by your side, there was really no one else to count on but yourself.
- Alone time and space to think. Going around, being alone, really forced me to reflect about my experience so far in China and to think about my priorities and the beautiful things in life that I may have missed
- The true experience of a getaway anytime anyway. The freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, taking a break from the fast pace in life.
First up before the trip, I was slapped with the news that my first destination was hit with a 26m high flood. XD Of course, that gave me the shock of my life because I just booked my ticket. ☹ However, when I reached Wuhan, I finally understood the importance of fighting against fake news, because not only was it not flooding, it was right out sunny and blazing hot. Well, no complains right there because I got to travel to the few places I really wanted to go.
There was a slight (a lot of) imperfection, though, because I did not get to travel to the grasslands in Wuhan. This was compounded because some friends went to Inner Mongolia and the view there was simply breathtaking, and the grasslands in Wuhan was like that. But you know what they say, regrets exist for you to fulfil them the next time. Moreover, such fascinating grasslands shouldn’t be enjoyed alone, if you get what I mean. XD
After Wuhan, I went to Changsha. Now this place was just different, because it wasn’t just a city. It was a city infused with nature and culture. If one looked at the map, one could see that a huge part of the city is built side by side, or even within the middle of nature or a certain cultural attraction.
For example, a long river, the 湘江, passes through the heart of the city, splitting the Hunan University and Yuelu Mountain (岳麓山) from the residential area and the Central Business District, one on the left and right. This was interesting for me because it seems like the citizens in Changsha would alternate between the different sides of the river during different stages of their lives.
The main university in Changsha is built beside the mountain, which allows the students of the university to explore the rich wilderness nature has to offer. One example of the culture available there was the Yuelu Academy (岳麓书院), which was known to be one of the four most renowned academies of higher learning there. From the academy, there was a lot of emphasis on the Confucian values in the past, as can be seen from the painting and stone engravings there. There were many amazing architectural structures there as well, allowing the landmark to retain its vibes from 1000 years ago.
Overall, this day trip in Changsha was very meaningful because I saw how a city utilised the resources it has available, including heritage, culture, nature to grow and prosper further.