John Locher, world traveler, lover of all things China, and tour leader for our Spirit of China trip, guests this week on Halle’s blog.

John Locher, world traveler, lover of all things China, and tour leader for our Spirit of China tripThe experience of China is not what you might expect. The must-see sites, like the Forbidden City in Beijing, are there, but a seasoning of distinctive locations is sprinkled throughout. Learn hands-on about Chinese cuisine by sharing in a cooking lesson. Experience ancient medicine as a practitioner designs custom remedies especially for you. Try your hand at calligraphy, one of China’s most revered arts. See jade, embroidery and art created as it has been done for a thousand years, before there even was Chinese tourism. I loved seeing gorgeous silks, often used at the palaces of the Temple of Heaven, made from worm to cocoon to thread and then crafted into fabric, bedding and fashions. Outside the walls of the Forbidden City, take a Tai Chi lesson to sense why body, mind and spirit are so faithful to this ancient practice.
I had never seen a tea plantation or been involved in a tea ceremony.  Chinese tea, like so many things and experiences in China, is mystical, magical and amazing. My appreciation for so much from China cannot be overstated.
In the midst of our Chinese tourism jaunt, I will introduce you to Chinese scholars, friends, and a whole family who lives near the Temple of Heaven, so that you might ask questions and learn about whatever captivates you.  Cherry BlossomsNot only will you see inside the Forbidden City, and visit Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian, you will get to meet the farmer who found them and see how they were made. Have your name carved into a “chop” stamp in Chinese characters.  Perhaps have a custom suit or outfit made. Want to know more? I LOVE to talk about China but more so love to go there, to participate in Chinese tourism experientially.  It is a joy to share this surprising culture and people with our Spirit Quest Tours’ guests.
The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, the Ancient Gardens of Hangzhou and Wuzhen, the Bund, the Pearl Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple…the Chinese people have so much to offer and share. The embrace of China attracts me. It warms me and invites me. It is a vibrant mystery that I am challenged to solve. I love it. Only being there can awaken your senses and understanding.