The Adventure Before the Adventure

Today’s blog challenge is to go out and do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and then write about it.

But, in sixteen days I head off to the People’s Republic of China to do my next volunteer gig with Habitat for Humanity International. And I’m still making travel arrangements.


Scene from village where we’ll build the Habitat home

Yes, I’ve known about this trip since May.

While I do have the volunteer portion itinerary set, I’m still booking hotels and arranging flights for the post-construction tours.

This Habitat project is one of my favorites. For ten days, I will be in a remote village in southeast China. Along with a dozen other volunteers, I’ll be working side by side with the family on their future home. For lunch we’ll eat meals prepared by the villagers.


It’s so immersive — we will see a side of the country and its people that the average tourist never sees. We’ll communicate, sometimes ineffectively, with broken Chinese terms that we’ll learn, and probably have a few laughs. Often, the family and neighbors are so touched by having strangers willing to come and help. But, as I’ve mentioned in the past, with this type of work, you get more than you give.

Once the build is done, I’ll be heading off to a couple of places that inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains in the 2009 movie, Avatar.

First, I fly off to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the northern Hunan Province.


Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Following the advice of the popular travel sites, I plan to spend the minimum 3 days there in order to see at least the main attractions. While I’ll do a lot of hiking, I also intend to cross the world’s longest and highest glass suspension bridge. It opened in August, and was abruptly closed this month, due to overwhelming demand, which was ten times greater than its 8,000 visitor per day capacity. I hope by the time I arrive, they will have reopened.


Huang Shan Mountains, Guilin, China

After Zhangjiajie The next stop will be in Guilin, home of the limestone karst mountains.

I will spend 1-2 days (still working out the details) here exploring the beautiful landscape.

These mountains are most easily recognized as the mystical floating islands in the Avatar movie.




There’s this almost cliché expression, “enjoy the journey” which I have come to live by. I find it helps me to appreciate where I am, even in the process of working toward a dream.

And, with about two weeks,  I’m enjoying making final plans.

I was supposed to photograph myself in today’s adventure. Since I’m not there yet, for now I can at least visualize myself in Avatar land:


Dreaming the adventure before the adventure (how’s this, Natalie Sisson?)


This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8




Categories: Volunteer

1 Comment

  • Kevin Kemp says:

    The limestone karst mountains look very impressive. Fun picture of yourself. How did you get the ‘Avitar’ look? I guessing you have not been to the planet Pandora yet, but I could be wrong. It’s only 4.5 light years away.😃

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