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China

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For the first time since our daughter was born, we packed our backpacks and headed out on the road again. Nothing beats the feeling of freedom to be squished on a bumpy long-distance bus, packed like sardines between snoring workers and old men that spit and smoke, as we watch the beautiful landscape change and unfold. The road feels like home.

It took us two days to hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province. The upper trekking road was sparse on people and rich on nature. At times the trail was so narrow I feared that a strong wind may blow me right off. We passed Naxi villages that felt cut off from the rest of the world, with clean family guesthouses that served home-cooked meals. Sometimes when the cliffs were steep, we could see right below to the roaring water and the newly paved road next to it where tour buses shuttled Chinese tourists in and out to see gorge. But up on the high trail we were alone. Sandwiched between the majestic Jade Dragon Snow mountain peaks and the Haba Snow mountain, all we had to do was to follow the road and walk.

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