China: Make Good Choices


china night stBefore I traveled to China, I was worried about so many things. Would I find anything to eat? Would the bathrooms be clean? Would we be able to find the right bus? I had carried a wordless book with colorful images in hopes that when I could not communicate, I could point. On the street our first night in Kunming, I was trying to find out what food some men were cooking.

“I showed the vendors the animal page with a cow, pig, and sheep and pointed to the kebabs. The man pointed to sheep and said, “Chuggah.” I thought to myself, “Great. We learned a word in Chinese. Chuggah means sheep.” At a mini-mart around the corner, I confidently used the wordless book, pointing to a picture of ice. The lady looked at me and asked, “Chuggah?” I thought, “How odd. Sheep do not look like ice. Sheep and ice are the same word with the tones?” (from Traveling in Sin)

A nice man we met in the store named Jackie explained that “Chuggah” did not mean sheep or ice. It simply meant “This one.” I realized traveling in China would be very different from being an independent traveler in Thailand or New Zealand.

Learning about the history and culture in China was a highlight of our year trip away. I loved staying in a 1000-year-old hotel in Lang Zhong and learning about Chinese New Year. I recently discovered an app that discovers what your Chinese New Year Horoscope is and tells you what vacation spot is a match for you!

The Thomas Cook Chinese New Year Horoscope Finder

xian The sights in China were truly amazing. I loved our bus trip to Shilin to see the Stone Forest. After a few weeks, we realized there was so much to see and chose to extend our visa and stay six weeks instead of four. During our travels by bus and boat, we saw many famous sights and UNESCO highlights. I highly recommend you visit this amazing country.

Although at first I was concerned that I would not find food or a way around, I realized that it was possible to travel independently in China. I just had to put in more effort. My whole life I had waited to see Xi’an and the terracotta warriors. The day we visited, I was so excited I was jumping up and down when we saw the first horse. I will never forget seeing all the soldiers and exploring the excavations.

I hope that wherever you dream to travel you make your wish come true this year. As they say at La Rev, “Life is Short. Make Good Choices.”

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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