While my first time traveling out of the country alone was in 1993, that was as part of a tour group of students, so I wasn’t really alone. This trip, however, I consider as my first ‘real’ trip, for which I planned an itinerary, booked flights, and organized things myself — and it was to China. At that time, China was still an exotic place to go, especially as an 18 year old college student who hadn’t even done his quintessential ‘backpacking trip to Europe’ yet! Another first: I had my first ever ‘legal’ beer – a Tsingtao — at a bar in Beijing!
I did meet up with a friend in Hong Kong, Macau and China, but still – I was pretty excited about it, as this kind of ‘independent travel’ was completely new to me. I know that it was 1997, and this trip in particular, which solidified my addiction to travel, and it has only increased exponentially since.
As if seeing Hong Kong’s incredible skyline, the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, and Beijing’s Forbidden City weren’t enough excitement, I also planned the trip so I would be in both Hong Kong and Beijing right before the famous handover of still-British Hong Kong to China. The anticipation and tension in Hong Kong was palpable, even while watching workers string up elaborate lights onto building facades in Tsim Tsa Shui in preparation for the big day. In stark contrast, Beijing seemed happy and full of excitement to take back Hong Kong after 99 years, with a huge handover clock in Tiananmen Square counting down the seconds until July 1, 1997.
|1||Tokyo, Japan||June 6, 1997||June 6, 1997|
|2||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||June 6, 1997||June 9, 1997|
|3||Xi'an, China||June 9, 1997||June 11, 1997|
|4||Beijing, China||June 11, 1997||June 14, 1997|
|5||Badaling Pass, China||June 14, 1997||June 14, 1997|
|6||Beijing, China||June 14, 1997||June 15, 1997|
|7||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||June 15, 1997||June 17, 1997|
|8||Macau, Macau||June 17, 1997||June 17, 1997|
|9||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||June 17, 1997||June 18, 1997|
|10||Singapore, Singapore||June 18, 1997||June 19, 1997|
|11||Tokyo, Japan||June 19, 1997||June 19, 1997|