Lu-Hai Liang

thoughts from a freelance foreign correspondent

The weekend of February 13th: getting ready for Myanmar

with 3 comments

I booked a flight to Myanmar on Friday. It’s a one-way ticket. My situation here in Beijing has changed a little. I am now part-time at the Chinese TV company where I’ve been working for over a year. The salary I draw from them is now low enough for me to consider jumping ship, to other jobs, or even to cut loose, though I still consider Beijing my base.

It’s been very cold, although the days now are warming swiftly. The first part of the year in Beijing is always tough. The feeling is one of getting through the depressing days – and difficult for a freelancer I feel. Although commissions have been forthcoming, the motivation to complete them is low. Simply because the sun-deprived body and the comfort-seeking mind dreams of future summery days and craving small satisfactions in the meantime. A bonus of maintaining this blog however is that I can look back to blog posts from the same time last year and see that I felt the same mixture of misery and ennui, and that I eventually got over it.

I bought a TV. I also bought a one-way ticket to Myanmar. How are these two things connected? They aren’t so much as they point to different paths. The TV (which I use to play my Playstation 3) points to my increasing reliance on Beijing and its related comforts: friends, familiar bars and routines. The ticket out is exciting, quite scary and a path to very many unknowns. I am intending, once I arrive, to journey south, eventually reaching the former capital Yangon, although I do want to explore the coastline also. I might even head to Vietnam after. I have not too much money. I am in fact hedging on future freelance payments derived from the stories collected from my travels, to fund present and future life.

It is a precarious act and I worry. But the trip itself is scary. So many unknown quantities involved. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the road and I look forward to that sensation. I trust in the awe that follows from being free and unattached, when you find yourself simply alive to the fact that you are here, here in this place, and aware so clearly that you’re alive in this great paradise. I am a naturally anxious person and so I worry too, about how I will make sure I will pay for everything, whether I get trapped, whether I will be able to keep calm enough to just enjoy the travel but not constantly worrying whether I am doing enough to find enough stories.

But otherwise I am optimistic about the great times to be had from this year, a mooted trip to South Korea with some lads in the summer, as well as a road trip across America which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Many future ideas and plans.

It is hard to work hard in the months of January and February. It’s easy to get caught in a depressing state of mind. And easy to spend too much on hanging out in Beijing, indulging on things that do not bring much joy, save a temporary balm to pervasive darkness. Next year I hope not to be in this freezing city during these months. Rather I intend to repair to a hot country. Some sun-dappled room near a pristine beach, where green fronds wave gently, with a wooden desk and good books and a few pens. And beautiful, tanned people nearby…and a blue sparkling sea.

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Written by Lu-Hai Liang

February 15, 2015 at 5:33 am

3 Responses

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  1. Looking forward to hearing more from Myanmar. Thinking of venturing out there myself in the coming months.

    Alex Filicevas

    February 16, 2015 at 3:35 am

    • Thanks, I am looking forward to what I find too, and hopefully meeting up with some journalists and freelancers while there. Yeah, it’s a good time to travel to this country, although not the easiest!

      Lu-Hai Liang

      February 17, 2015 at 8:58 am

  2. […] The weekend of February 13th: getting ready for Myanmar […]


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