Ready or Not, to China We Go

This article is no longer completely relevant since our plans have changed since this was written. The main change is that we are going to a different part of China, Shenzhen rather than Beijing. We will write a new post to explain our reasoning and new plans.

Now that we have told you a bit about our plans to visit Vietnam, let’s look a little further in the future. Christina and I want to make our way to China to study Mandarin. We want to spend enough time in China to get comfortable with the language, explore the historical sights, and try our hand at a location independent life.

So why Beijing? We get this question a lot, often with some a voice full of concern and a face that says “are you crazy?” These are often the same people that don’t understand why we want to go to China or even Asia for that matter. The issue that is usually looming in their heads is the pollution. Yes, there is pollution and especially in Beijing but there is a lot more to it than just a polluted megacity and the air quality is showing signs of improvement. Having been there before, we know of the many historic monuments, countless activities, low cost of living, and awesome food. The main reason we want to spend time in Beijing, and in the surrounding Hebei province, is the dialect of Mandarin the people speak. We want to learn as close to standard Mandarin (普通话) as we can and this can be tricky, especially in South China where Cantonese is spoken more frequently. We definitely want to visit the south, but for now our focus is Mandarin.

With some savings, Christina and I will be embarking on this journey without a job set up in advance. We have both looked into getting English teaching jobs and it seems viable for any native English speaker that wants to spend time in China or other foreign countries. However, we aren’t too excited about the time commitment and neither of us are certain it will further our career goals. What does interest us is the prospect of being totally location independent and becoming digital nomads. This means all of our work would be done on a computer with an internet connection, hence digital, and we would be able to move wherever we want at a moment’s notice, hence nomad.

In order to be location independent, Christina and I are building skills that can help us start online small businesses that can generate passive income and at the same time we intend to do various freelance projects. We aren’t completely sure what our focuses will be yet, but I will likely start with front end web development for small businesses with Christina helping me design the websites. Christina has been thinking about using her photography skills and we are both trying to get writing experience with this blog.

Hopefully we will be able to build enough clientele when we go back to Asheville so that we can live in China as freelancers working with people back in the States. (Let us know if you need a website!) These business plans have yet to come to fruition though and we know that we may not be able to rely on them completely. There isn’t much time between now and the end of the year, when we plan on being in Asia.

We plan to keep you updated on how our plans work out. No matter how these plans turn out we are thrilled and grateful for this opportunity to pursue our dreams.

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