I figured she would be a good traveler, as she has been around Mexico and US states. Instead, she was a world class explorer. She handled the LONG flight(s) like a trooper - never a word of complaint. Normally introverted, she was a social butterfly with our group, making lifelong friendships. Everyone took her under their wing, and she not only explored with new friends, but listened to their stories (young adults from LA to elderly Jewish men from Russia). Best of all, she was more daring than I could ever be with culinary delights such as snake, snails, oysters, frog, unknown noodle sauces, non-sweet sweets, and hot pot. I was truly impressed and saw a future world explorer in the making!
The bitter sweet goodbyes came at the end, with promises to travel again 'soon' with our newly found friends. We even began planning another trip to China together the following fall, where I'd include my other daughter as well. Unfortunately, the pandemic came, and we found comfort in our new travel network knowing that we'd restart our planning after the storm passed. For one close friend, however, that goodbye at the LA airport would be the last time we'd see him. Richie passed away this past summer, to everyone's heartbreak that had the pleasure of knowing him. We climbed the wall of China together, he dared us to eat dried reptile, because as he said, "You only live once!" So this trip not only taught us all things exotic travel, but it showed us that life is short and temporary, and there are a lot of great people in this world to meet and sights to see, so get out there and do it! Rest in peace Richie and thanks UTO for bringing us all together.
MyUTOtrips #11 Debbie, Edwards