Megan Eaves, the North Asia Destination Editor for Lonely Planet, came along to the Business School, as part of the Business Confucius Institute’s series of ‘Meet the Author’ events, to tell us more about her role working for Lonely Planet and her recent travels in China researching the Gansu province along the Silk Road for the newest Lonely Planet China edition.
The event was a great insight into day to day life of a Destination Editor at Lonely Planet, how the travel guides are made, and just how much effort goes into them. It was also great to get an insight into travelling in the more remote regions of China.
Her stories included some funny tales from her travels in one of the more remote regions in China: ordering food from a rickshaw driver while hiding out in the top floor of a building to avoid the typhoon floods in Zhejiang and being saved by monks at Tiantaishan, after being dropped off at the side of a highway and walking 2km to some beautiful caves, yet having no way to return.
Megan’s stories showed the less then glam side of traveling that we all know, but maybe do not discuss as much. If travelling in China, you’ll be Instagramming pics of you on the Great Wall and talking about the amazing temples that you visited. You probably won’t mention that time you got lost and nearly started crying because your phone died and you had no clue where you were and no one spoke English.
Stories like this make up just as much of the experience and, no matter where you are travelling, you are always going to end up in a situation where you are less than comfortable. Make sure you are prepared for when a situation like this does arise through researching the country-specific travel advice for the destination you are visiting and being prepared for those less than glam experiences.
It is also important to research a country’s culture before visiting to ensure that you are culturally sensitive and don’t encounter any problems while away. For example, if you are interested in visiting China then make sure you are clued up regarding their current political situation, their social media laws and scams to avoid, such as the Tea scam in Beijing.
One great way to learn more about Chinese culture while in Leeds is The Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds. Megan’s talk was part of their series of ‘Meet the Authors’ events; they aim to promote an understanding of Chinese language and culture through a range of events and courses, as well as supporting UK-China business links.
If interested in travelling, teaching or studying in China then make sure to check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s China specific travel advice. The British Council also currently has several subsidised study placements and internships which are a great way to experience more of China.
Or check out their website: http://lubswww.leeds.ac.uk/confucius/home/
Megan with students who won the Confucius Institute’s Facebook travel photo competition to win a copy of Lonely Planet China, which Megan contributed to.
(Image: Fern Davidson)