Meet the Gypsies : Rebekah of Mountains & Passports @BekyC

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Meet the Gypsies : Rebekah of Mountains & Passports

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1.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  Where are you now?

My name is Rebekah, I’m American but grew up in Lusaka Zambia from ages 8-14. I travelled in Eastern Europe in college, explored America’s national parks while earning my Masters in Social Work, and presently I’m teaching English in the rainy Sichuan province of China.

2.  What’s your packing strategy?  Heavy or light packer?  Suitcase or backpacker?

I am all about light travel. I am far too lazy to carry a ton of stuff around. I actually almost regret how little I brought to China with me because at times its been a pain. I have my giant purple backpack that’s has a strange smell of sunscreen/bugspray on it, singed straps from being to close to a fire, and a compass that I don’t use but is comforting to possess.

3.  How do you afford your travels?  Budget traveler or lean more towards luxury?

All my travels so far have taken place while I was in college or in grad school so they’ve always been budget by necessity. Now that I’ve travelling while working I don’t have quite the same pressure but since I’m saving for post- China travels I do try to save money as much as possible. Plus I think budget travel can be really interesting, eating where locals eat and sharing rooms with other travelers makes the journey fun. I do believe in the occasional spurges – In Beijing we paid for a private driver so we could get to Great Wall before the crowd and that was well worth the extra cash

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4.  If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?

That changes all the time. Presently I’ve been thinking a lot about Guilin China, Its one of the most iconic landscapes of China, with dramatic karst formations. There are rice terraces to hike around but I’ve heard stories about lazing around a boat and watching the scenery slowly float by. That sounds pretty amazing right about now.

5.  Is there anywhere you won’t travel to and why?

I would never go to any major tourist destination in China during a Chinese Holiday. Those crowds are no joke. Also Vegas seems like a bit of a nightmare but I wouldn’t totally rule it out.

6.  What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?

I’ve had a wide assortment of insects and animal organs including brains. I think the thing that unnerved me the most was eating porks blood. It was cold, congealed and green. It didn’t taste anything like blood, but it also didn’t taste particularly good either. I have put my foot down when it comes to eating dogs.  I eat a lot of hot pot in Sichuan and I’m a bit in love with it.

7.  You teach English in China currently.  Any tips for others seeking to do this?  Would you recommend it?

I love teaching in china- If other people are interested in doing that I would suggest they think pretty hard about what kind of experience they want. Some people come here just to save money, some to learn the language, and other just to try out living in China for a time. All of those things are possible but different schools/provinces are better at providing different things. A lot of people think of China as just being polluted and crowded but I’d really suggest that those turned off by the cities consider going west in China. There are a lot of amazing places you could live and teach. China can be frustrating but its really a compelling place to try to understand.

8.  You grew up as an expat in Zambia.  What was that like?

My childhood was pretty awesome. I lived next door to banana plantation and always had a ton of dogs running around. We cooked everything from scratch, found cobras in the front yard and rode around in the back of a pick-up truck. Zambia is an amazingly beautiful country. I also grew up face to face with extreme poverty and when you live in a country where the life expectancy in 35- you realize that something needs to change. I’m passionate about social justice and while I’m presently taking a break from social work, I would eventually love to find work with a International NGO.

9.  You’re a self-proclaimed National Park lover – which have been your favorite?

I fell in love with Zion National Park in Utah. It had some of the most unusual landscapes/forms that I’ve ever seen and while its really popular, its pretty easy to escape the crowds in the longer hikes. Its really a humbling experience to see such an incredibly beautiful place and amazing to realize its due to small amount of water persistently being in a dry place. I consistenly woke up to deer around out tent, washed my hair in the river, and Angels Landing is a hike that gave me one of the biggest adrenaline rushes of my life.
Juizhaigou National Park in Sichuan was less of a hiking/nature experience, but still amazingly beautiful and definitely a contrast to China’s pollution

10.  What’s the #1 item on your bucket list?

I would love to hike along the Irish coast, or bike around Iceland, or kayak up the Maine coast. Honestly it changes often.

11.  Most importantly, where to next?

My teaching contract ends in a couple months and I plan on exploring more of western China. After that I’m off to Nepal and Southeast Asia for a bit. I don’t have too many long-term plans but I’m really excited to see where the road leads. I’ve already been to so many places I never imagined I would go to and feel like there are a lot more good things in store.

Find Rebekah here…

Ashley is the mastermind behind A Southern Gypsy, a travel blog focused adventure, outdoors, wildlife and Vegan food! In between bigger trips, she is delivering the best of her hometown, Nashville. Hates mustard & pickles. Needs coffee to function. Other passions | activism, minimalism, zero waste, books + writing.

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