“Perhaps it all began with a childhood dream about trip around the world ….”
So, dear friends and other good people!
While someone in life has one, with other one somewhere, necessarily, will be the opposite. And, according to tradition, which is familiar to all, we are often interested in this very opposite. Well, what if it’s better than ours, right? Or vice versa? But … maybe not better, not worse, but just …Because, what’s the difference in: “how?”, If there is also “where?”, If there is also “with whom?”, “from where” and many other things that You can also bear in mind, right?
This autumn, for someone warm, for someone cold day today, we, for fun, invited Artyom and his friend Slava to visit us. What can be better than leisurely aromatic tea drinking in Chinese traditions, in addition to warming up a conversation with an interesting people who live by some different imaginary rules and laws?
Tea is poured on the cups from the tip of a small teapot with a picture of a Cheshire’s smile. There is atmosphere of a soft homey coziness and some nice trinkets around. A loud laugh, a warm light and we are asking the guys by turns with genuine curiosity: “What is it for them, to be there or not there? Out of the native land, in the foreign land … “,” For what …? And for how long …? “And all that kind of questions…
Eve: Artyom, as we’ve got together here today, it would be a sin from my side, as for person who has a limited experience of traveling abroad, do not ask you about what has prompted you to such a slashing “flight” to the other end of the Universe?
Artyom: Perhaps it all began from a childhood dream about the trip around the world . But, the impetus for turning dreams into action became a spontaneous trip on bicycles around the Crimea with my close friend. After that there were trip also by bicycles to the Carpathian Mountains. So, a year ago, we decided for an adventure – hitchhiking around Europe). One sunny July day we went out with 100 euros for two of us in a pocket and backpacks. So we stand up with a sign on the road Kiev-Zhitomir and at midnight already were on the Ukraine-Poland border.Eventually, it was the most amazing 30 days in our life. We drove through 7 countries, drank 43 years of brandy, once lived in a house on wheels, once spent the night in a landfill, once under a bridge, drank yogurt and baguette and the next day gorged with huge steaks and cheeses, spent a week in an awesome mansion with a swimming pool in the center of Madrid … We can talk for a long time about that, but let’s return to your question.
Actually, we wanted new impressions after Europe and our choice fell on China. Or, more specifically, the starting point was Hong Kong. As the money was little bit more again, than for a one-way ticket, we thought about how to earn money in a foreign country and not to die of hunger. So we decided to buy a musical instrument and try ourselves as street musicians.
Eve: Is that a temporary trip (just for hang out, see) or are you going to stay there?
Artyom: We did a tourist visa for 2 months and decided to squeeze out from that a “maximum”. But, China impressed us and we stayed there for more than half a year. We had already worked there, made friends, learnt some basic phrases in Chinese, visited the most northern and southernmost points of China, understood and accepted certain features of the Chinese, etc.
Eve: In general, do you think where else to go?
Artyom: As it turned out, China is so big, that if you’ll go from the northernmost point of the country by an ordinary train for a day, you will be still in the north part. We did not see even 10% of what is worth seeing here. So we continue to discover new provinces and amazing places by possibility. Actually, there are many interesting places nearby: the Philippines, Bali, Thailand, etc. Sometimes you can buy plane tickets for $ 100 for both directions, that allows you to have budget travelling.
Eve: What grazed you in this country? Why did the choice fall on her?
Artyom: China – is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world. The cities grow like mushrooms after the rain, not to mention the centuries-old history and, off course, the very mentality of Chinese hooked us.
It was interesting for all of us, so, perhaps, that attracted us.
Eve: Now try to plunge into your ordinary day, when you were still in Kiev. Do you remember what it was like? Describe it. What did you do, how did you spend your time? (Free, not free)
Artyom: We worked as sales consultants in one Kiev clothing store the last half a year. In fact, there we met each other . When I offered Slava to go to China, to my surprise, he quickly agreed. It was a routine and not an interesting job, we had nothing to lose, so we gathered.
As we worked from morning till late evening, we had free time only on weekends. And spent it like many other people: in the cinema, cafe, gym … Honestly, when you work in such a schedule and even for such money, nothing interesting happens in life. It have no choice but to pray for a vacation.
Eve: I remember the day when, in fact, a couple of days before you leave, you came to us with the desire to purchase your first happy drum. How did you hear about us ? What prompted such a sharp “jerk”?
Artyom: True, we decided to buy a musical instrument a week before departure. First, it occurred to buy a drum (something like a darbuka or a jembe), because they are not hard in transportation and you can relatively easy learn how to play. But then,by some chance, I came across a video with a “happy drum” in the vastness of the Internet,. It was love at first sight! The same evening I found where it can be purchased in Kiev, and the next day we came to you, chose, touched and listened to our native happy drum.
Eve: Guys, many people would be interested to know about your adventures with a space musical instrument, which has not yet had time to tell the whole world about itself, but will certainly fulfill its mission. Share, please, are you already in the anticipation? (rub our hands). What was most memorable?
Artyom: If to tell about all this story, there will be not enough article. But I can say for sure – it attracts people.
Everybody without any exception stop and try to understand how this round thing produces such a pleasant sounds. Most Chinese people think that it’s all about electronics, which is hidden inside. But the most important thing is that happy drum really cheers up.
When we were in Hong Kong, some respectable men in expensive suits, with impeccable hair, apparently bankers or top managers of international companies came up to us and when we offered them to play on the instrument, they blurred in a happy smile, their eyes glowed like a children’s when they are opening a New Year’s gift. A big plus of this tool is that everyone can find and play their own melody.
Eve: After a certain period, what can you say about your instrument? What is a happy drum for you?
Artyom: Will say truly, if it were not for a happy drum, it’s unlikely that we were still in China. He allowed us to stay afloat the whole time we were adapting and looking for work in China. I think that if you’ll take happy drum and passport, you can leave the house and make a round-the-world trip. Of course, you will not make big money by a street playing, but you can play for food and a bed in a hostel. The main thing is not to set out of purpose “to earn”, but do it heartily, as if you are giving your mini-concert for all passers-by. Then you are happy and people are ready to help.
Eve: Where do you live now, what can you say about this place? Immerse our imaginations in your convent.
Artyom: Since during this period I managed to live two months in the north of China, I decided for myself that the cold is not mine.
Now we have settled in the Shenzhen city, which is in the south part of China. Here is warm, all year round are fruits and Hong Kong is near. This is comfortable, because we need to exit counrty every two months (visa conditions). In general, there is everything you need for a comfortable life.
Unfortunately, Ukraine and Russia lag behind China for 20 years, so we immediately felt this difference.
Eve: Now you are still in China. Is there a desire to return back? Why?:)
Artyom: We are planning to fly home in the spring. We missed our relatives, our delicious food, because it is really much more tastier than local. But, if to be honest, there is no disire to return to Ukraine for life. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and views. Someone is comfortable in his native village, someone is cramped in New York. And for me is more comfortable here at this period of my life. There are some disadvantages in China, for example, there is a terrible Internet, more precisely, it is imprisoned only for China. There is no Google, no facebook, instagram and other “bougie” resources. There are some ways to bypass protection, but it terribly cuts down the speed of the Internet and just annoying.
Here do not observe the rules of the road. You should not expect that somebody will give you a way while you are crossing the road on green light. You have to maneuver among different types of transport, but you’re getting used even to this in some time.
Also do not expect that somebody will understand you, if you will contact in English. Usually the phrase “do you speak English”put the Chinese into a stupor for a few seconds. And then they either answer in a broken line, or they start to explain something in Chinese for a long time, the last happens more often.
But, probably, there are more advantages. I can name only a few of them:
The Chinese are very friendly and smiling: if you smile them, they will spread out to you in a sincere smile.
The wechat program is the first thing you need to download on your phone if you are going to China. Every Chinese and a resident of this country has it. You can communicate with the Chinese through it , as it has the built-in translator in the chat, you can pay for products at the supermarket , you can listen music, read news, etc. This is a very convenient global network with all the necessary tools for life.
Eve: What would you like to say to people who read this post?
Artyom: I would like to say – do not be afraid, take risks and follow your dreams. I asked myself one question before going to China: “how many interesting and happy days can I remember in the last six months?” And I was horrified, because I could count them on the fingers of one hand. The other days were a continuous routine, where every day was repeated like a day of hero from the movie “The Truman Show”. Something new and interesting is happening with me almost every day now. I meet a lot of interesting people, I learn their language, I understand their culture and the most important – I am travelling.
So, how many interesting days did you have in the last six months?