‘What the hell am I doing?' I asked myself as I sat on the overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an, comprising of two bunk beds. There was barely enough room to swing a rat, let alone a cat and I had to share this space with three other strangers.
I was heading to Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors then back again on an overnight train to Beijing, which had seemed like a good way to save money at the time. But I craved the anonimity of a hotel room, some space where I could be alone.
I had had enough of China.
Had enough of the staring and loud voices and I didn't want to speak to anyone. I just wanted to close the door and shut out the world. Usually one for embracing adventure, all I could think was: ‘I want to go home.'
But I had reached the point of no return, barely 10 days into my mammoth journey –
there was no going home.
‘Embrace it,' I told myself.
The lady on the bunk opposite me looked just as lost as I did. I made a ‘it's cold' sign in body language and pointed at the air conditioning. She smiled and nodded back in agreement.
‘Froid,' she said announcing she was French.
‘Oui,' I replied and proceeded to introduce myself in French. Then I opened my Chinese phrase book and introduced myself to the Chinese man sat on my top bunk. He laughed at my attempt at Chinese.
Suddenly I no longer wanted to hide away; the Chinese radio that was screeching in the background no longer irritated me and the men talking loudly outside felt strangely comforting.
I settled into my duvet and began to embrace my journey – well, for tonight anyway.