Greetings from Suzhou, China. After a 2-hour flight from Denver to San Francisco, and an almost 13-hour flight to Shanghai, I was back in China on March 5. The next day I met many of the other new leaders for Intrepid, and we caught a bus up here to Suzhou. The past 5 days we’ve spent in training to be new leaders. There have been some long days, but the trainers keep everything pretty loose. It’s a great group of people from all over the world - US, Canada, China, Russia, Ireland, Australia, England, and Scotland, to name a few. We all seem to get along really well, and realize that others in this course will be our support group when we’re actually out leading trips. Yesterday we met some of the returning group leaders, and they’re enthusiastic and welcoming. Nice to be around so many people that love travel, and who have some amazing stories.
This Sunday I’ll be leaving for Beijing, where another new leader and I will start our trip training with an actual group of travelers. We won’t be leading the trip, but will be learning everything from a returning leader. That trip is scheduled for 3 weeks, and runs through Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, the Longji rice terraces, Yangshuo, and then to Hong Kong. However, I’ll most likely have to leave that trip early, as I’ll fly to Tibet on April 2 to do about a week of training there. After that, I’m currently scheduled to have a 2-week break, and then I’ll start leading my first solo trip on April 25. Right now that trip is going to be in Yunnan, and will cover Kunming, Dali, Zhongdian, the hike of Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang, and back to Kunming. I’ll probably then have about a week’s break before my first trip to Tibet. That trip will most likely start in Beijing, cover some of China, Tibet, end up in Nepal, and last 4 weeks. Looking forward to it.
So far I’ve been impressed with the company and their philosophy. It’s been a great group of people, and I’m excited to start the actual leading. I’ll write updates whenever I get the chance. My next opportunity will probably either be from my training trip, or possibly during or after my Tibet training.
I hope all is going well in your part of the world, and I’ll talk to you from somewhere down the road.