Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why China? Stepping off of the quiet, wild trails and onto the busy, populated streets of China. #throwbackthursday Repost

** Original post published Jan 2, 2014

How an Outdoor Adventure family chose to step off the quiet, wild trails of Vancouver Island and onto the busy, populated streets of China!

The first question asked by family and friends when they learned of our travel plans over the holiday season was "Why China?"  Most did not consider backpacking across a country with two children, aged 8 & 6, to be a holiday.  So, before I begin blogging about our family travel adventures to China, I figured I would start by answering this question and provide some background information, relating to world travel, about our family.  

Quick family history - we are as Canadian as you get.  Born and raised.  We love bacon with everything, enjoy maple syrup so much we tap maples, and live in an igloo…just kidding on the last one.  Family roots consist of German, Ukrainian, and possibly Russian.  This is verified by our addiction to bratwurst, perogies, and vodka.  My world travel history consists of Hawaii, Las Vegas, Green Bay, Mexico, and Australia.  Joel has traveled to Mexico, Reno, San Francisco, and Green Bay.  Ben and Liv have been to BC and Alberta.  We are hardly experienced world travelers.

Usual travel destinations - When planning vacations before and after having kids, Canada destinations were always our first choice.  Big country to explore with so much beauty.  When living in Alberta, BC was our destination.  We explored and played in the Rockies and Central/Northern Alberta regularly.  Even our honeymoon was in Canada… New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI.

So…why China? Why did we choose China as our first world family travel destination? There are four reason why.

1. Ben and Liv went to a Montessori pre-school.  During their time there they learned about the continents through daily activities;  puzzles, journals, and coloring maps of the world.  Ever since, Ben and Liv have identified the continents based on the colors that were used when colouring the world.  Yellow was Asia and Liv, from very early on, would always ask if we could go to Asia.  (I wanted to throw a dart at a map)

2. In the summer of 2011, when the kids were 6 & 4, we backpacked across Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).  Haida Gwaii is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada about 750km north of Vancouver and Vancouver Island.  From Nanaimo we hopped on a bus to Port Hardy (North Island) on day 1.  Day 2 we sailed the inside passage from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (16 hrs) and on Day 3 we sailed from Prince Rupert to Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii (5 hrs).  When we finally arrived there, 3 days later, we joked that in three days we could have travelled anywhere in the world, even China!

3. Affordability.  Cost played a key role in why we chose China as our travel destination.  Flights to Europe or South American were more than double in price vs flights to China.  Direct flights and fantastic seat sale prices from Vancouver to Shanghai were attractive and ultimately sealed the deal.  Once in China, the cost of travel (hostels, food, transportation) is cheap. Traveling as a family of four can be expensive but everything we researched showed that keeping travel costs down was possible in China.

4. As with everything we do re: outdoor adventure, world family travel needed to be a challenge and we needed to come away learning something about ourselves or about the experience.  We wanted an adventure.  It was important that we experience a different culture.  Traveling to China allowed us to step outside our comfort zone, so far outside we can't even see the comfort zone! The language barrier would be a challenge, becoming accustomed to culture differences would be a challenge, and simple tasks like buying/eating food would be a challenge.  We love a good challenge.

And that's how we came up with China.

The Complete Blog Series:

How Outdoor Adventure prepared our family for World Travel

Adventure Food of the Day in China

Beijing, China - Our Cultural Experience

Shanghai, China - Big City Adventures 

8 reasons why Yangshou China felt like home

Photo Gallery:

Adventurous Eating in China

Beijing, China 

Shanghai, China 

Yangshou, China


  1. Our son lives in Hangzhou, just south of Shanghai. If you are looking for a friendly Canadian face while you're in China and if you are headed to this lovely place, please msg me. :)

    1. Thank you so much for the offer. We have already been to China and back (3 weeks in Dec). Another Canadian face would have been nice to see! We never went to Hangzhou - Shanghai, Beijing, Guilen, and Yangshou were our destinations. Have you been to visit your son? What a wonderful place to travel!