Touring China: A Conversation with Kirsty Jones
This month, we’re interviewing women from all over the world and asking them about their experiences participating in tours. We had the privilege of speaking with Kirsty Jones about her experience touring China. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I am an entrepreneur, I run a company called Zen Woman, where I share practices and experiences I have learned from travels and training with some of the masters. I basically take ancient and new and combine them, from meditations and rituals to life-coaching, art therapy, and psychology so they ca bee used in the lives of modern women, worldwide. I live in Cornwall, UK.
What kind of tour did you participate in? Where did you go? How did you spend your time?
The tour was in China, it was a charity organized trip. We walked 84km along the great wall to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. It was fantastic as it was not so touristy, we stayed with locals a lot and were taken with our guides to places the public are not often allowed to visit. We mostly walked every day, some days 8 hours, other days just 2 hours. We did go to a few of the touristy areas, we saw Tiananmen square and areas where the wall had been restored.
What made you decide to participate in the tour?
I saw an advert in a fitness magazine for doing a walk on the wall and for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my head. I called my friend that day and asked if she fancied going and she said yes so we signed up that day. It was hard as we only had about 4 months to try and raise the £2000 minimum in donations, each that we had to raise to cover the trip and contribution to the charity.
What were the highlights of the tour? What disappointed you about the tour?
The highlights were vast, the views and the challenge of walking on areas where others aren’t allowed to go, it was unspoiled and a lot of the wall was gone, nature had claimed it back and it was stunning. Also, the food was a challenge but an amazing experience and the actual connection between the group was great!
What are some of the benefits of participating in a tour? What are some of the downsides? Would you participate in another tour?
The main benefit is the fact it was so stress free. Right from booking, they organized every meal, every trip, every day was set out, the transport and even the insurance company, visa forms and list of things to pack were provided. The downside was the cost, as we had to raise a lot of money, but that would be easier with more time. Of course some of it was a bit rushed as they had a lot to get in and there was a lot of traveling and early mornings but it as totally worth it. I would definitely do it again, I have traveled a lot since, with my partner, friends, by myself and it was definitely a different experience.
Photo Credit: Thomas Depnbush