Just a week from today, I'm going on another adventure. Not a big one, or a particularly long one, but my family and I are heading to China for a couple of weeks and we've mapped ourselves a road trip to a remote corner of beautiful Qinghai Province, to visit the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, part of the Tibetan Kham region.
Forests, hills, monasteries, mountains - it sounds peaceful and idyllic, although Yushu township was largely destroyed in a massive earthquake three years ago. After years of rebuilding it seems the area is ready to welcome back visitors like us, keen to explore the area's natural beauty.
Yushu only became our first choice after hours of deliberation - China is full of places we have yet to see, and places we've already seen but want to return to visit. For inspiration, I looked through all of the photos from our epic road trip
around China last year - more than 6,500 of them!
I realized how many there were that had never seen the light of day - random shots, places I didn't write about, people we met on the road.
So in celebration of an imminent return to adventuring I thought you might enjoy a virtual flying tour of China's most interesting places and faces. I've tried, as much as possible, to include only photographs I haven't posted here before - let me know which one is your favourite!
1. Inner Mongolia - grasslands
2. Gansu Province: "Accelerating Reforestation Will Promote Ecological Balance"
3. Shanxi Province: Crossing the Yellow River
4. Tianjin Province: The Great Wall at Huangyaguan
5. Gansu Province: The Singing Sand Dunes
6. Fujian Province: Wuyi Shan Unesco Natural Heritage Site - if you look closely, you can see a man on a ladder repainting the words of an ancient poem carved into the cliff.
7. Gansu Province: wind farm. These windmills are simply massive - the small red dot raising dust in the lower left of the photo is a semi-trailer.
8. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Yurt at Lake Karakul
9. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Kashgar old city
10. Shanxi Province: Loess cliff cave-dwellings
11. Anhui Province: Hongcun village's Moon Pond in the rain
12. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: broken bridge, from a flash flood some years before
13. Yunnan Province: Hui village mosque
14. Gansu Province: river valley camping spot
15. Guizhou Province: Ancient wind and rain bridge of Zhaoxing village
16. Anhui Province: Huangshan, morning mist
17. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: bringing electricity
18. Guangdong Province: early morning smoke and mist
20. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
1. Yunnan Province: The rascal and his unwitting accomplice
2. Qinghai Province: Tibetan girl
3. Yunnan Province: Street dentist
4. Xinjiang: Three generations
5. Yunnan: Grandmother and grandson
6. Xinjiang: young shepherdess, and one of only a small handful of women, at Kashgar's Sunday Animal Market
7. Yunnan: Pipa sellers
8. Yunnan: old friends
9. Guizhou province: Miao boy, silver head-dress protects against evil spirits
10. Yunnan Province: Dai woman pressing Pu'er tea cakes beneath the stones
11. Fujian Province: roadside mechanic
12. Qinghai Province: boy monks
13. Guizhou province: Miao elder
14. Sichuan Province: Yi elder
15. Fujian Province: Peeling a crate of garlic
16. Xinjiang: Niya farmer
17. Xinjiang: Kyrgyz woman
18. Guizhou: Farmer
19. Guizhou: Miao women