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Joe and I have been planning to take an extended adventure this spring for the last year. Almost every night we sit up in bed and read a chapter of one of our marriage books, chat about our day, and dream about where we’d like to go next. Until just a few weeks ago our plans were to go on a rock climbing road trip through the southwestern United States and focus our efforts on preparing for and then making an ascent up the Nose of El Capitan, a high priority on both of our bucket lists. Though I was totally stoked about our plan I knew that Joe would still be pretty accessible via phone, and I was hoping that on this trip he would be able to focus more on me without distractions so I kept pondering other ideas.
At some point one evening the idea of going to China came up. This thought sparked quite a bit of enthusiasm in my heart and I immediately started buzzing away on my Mac looking at the logistics. Though China is as far away as one can go it really looked possible. Joe had spent a couple summers in south China teaching English already so he felt comfortable with it. We decided to pray about it for a day.
The following day we got up early to get over to the REI garage sale to check out the deals. While I was standing in the check out line, Joe picked up up the latest copy of Rock and Ice, a magazine dedicated to climbers. His eyes got really big as he quickly showed it to me. To our amazement the front cover and the feature story was all about climbing in the Getu Valley of China. How wild is that? We snagged the mag along with the rest of our deals.
On the drive home our hearts were ready to start the planning, and one week later we applied for our visas! Thanks to one of our best friends who flies for United we got ourselves some very cheap tickets. Joe has a longtime friend in PA who owns a pre-school in China, so he was able to connect us with some really awesome college students studying tourism at a university in Guilin. Last night we made contact with some students via Skype. They are very excited about having us come and we are glad to have some reliable guides. I can tell already that we are going to leave China with some lifelong friendships.
We will be in China for the month of March, and so our plan is to spend most of our time in the Guangxi Province, which is famous for three things – farming with water buffalo, spectacular mountain views, and sheer limestone formations. We have decided to skip most of the tourist hot spots and get out into the mountain country. For a good portion of our travels we will be staying in Yangshou which is the new up and coming mountain town of Asia. We plan on doing most of our traveling along the Li River either by boat or by bike, so we are carefully mapping everything out and packing as light as we can!
Before we go on any trip we talk about and write down our objectives. This helps us maintain our values and get what our hearts need most.
My objectives are:
1.) To get undivided, one on one time with Joe
2.) To improve my climbing skills
3.) To find rest
Joe’s objectives are:
1.) For us to get some space to dream
2.) To learn to work together better
3.) To come home with some epic stories and photographs
Please pray not only for our safety and for our marriage, but also pray that we will achieve these objectives that God has laid on our hearts. We appreciate those of you who follow our online journal. You all help to inspire us to go big. Thank you!