Once, I tried to travel for a whole week through rural China without meeting any other travelers or just expats living in the area. I’d still chat with the Chinese people and I learned a lot of new things about their normal life and traditions but at some point, I just needed to talk to somebody who knew what I meant without me having to explain it in details. The loneliness started to catch up with me during these travels and I wondered how I could prevent me feeling miserable and forgetting to enjoy those wonders, I was traveling around to explore.
I came up with some ways to not get caught up in my own head (I’m a great over-thinker), and now I feel like sharing so you won’t end up in the same situation or if you do, you know how to get out of it again fast 🙂
Music – Lots of Chinese apps are available for free music, both in Chinese and English
Wangyiyun － 网易云 － http://music.163.com/
Kugou － 酷狗 － http://www.kugou.com/
Music always makes me think of other things. I enjoy listening to music and especially if my day isn’t the greatest, then music will cheer me up in a second.
TV Series – Lots of Chinese apps for this as well, again TV series both in Chinese and English
Baidu TV －百度视频－ http://v.baidu.com/i
PPTV － PPTV 聚力 －http://www.pptv.com/
QIYI － 奇艺 － http://www.iqiyi.com/
When I don’t have my friends around, watching a great TV series like Friends makes me feel much better about the whole situation (Not blocked in China :D). I tend to travel in very remote areas of China where no other foreign friends are around. Chinese people are nice but sometimes, I just really miss talking to people in my own situation or somebody who shares my sarcastic humor. Friends on TV can help me getting rid of any negative thoughts.
Skype – One of the apps that aren’t blocked in China. Ask your friends and family to create a Skype account if they don’t have one yet. It’s amazing to be able to hear your mommy’s voice when the rain season has started outside or diarrhea was the consequence of last evening’s dinner. Something from home can make any lonely thought go away immediately.
But but but, after watching too many episodes of Friends and you’re tired of listening to your father talking about his new car, the best thing to do when feeling lonely are to go outside and meet people. Even if your Mandarin isn’t great, Chinese people love to help you learn more so bring your dictionary and try out your Mandarin skills while sharing a plate of dumplings in one of the food stalls along most roads in smaller cities in Chinese (In big cities as well, it’s mostly in Beijing and Shanghai, the Street Police has kicked out the noodle and fruit guys, sadly).
加油！You can do it! (Jia1 you2 means to add more gas/oil on a car, but people use it to encourage others to work harder or keep up the good work as well, just like a metaphor).
PS. If you’re lost in these apps, look for these characters:
TV series – 电视剧 (Dian4 Shi4 Ju4)
Movie – 电影 (Dian4 Ying3)
Music – 音乐 (Yin1 Yue4)
American TV series – 美剧 (Mei3 Ju4)
or use your Pleco dictionary for help 🙂