“Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and earth.
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
I do not know its name.
Call it Tao.
For lack of a better word, I call it great.”

Lao Tsu / Tao Te Ching

From the pictures that I have seen of Yangshuo, the massive limestone karsts, the Li River, the caves and the expansive landscape, it is clear that this small city is a place of “ten thousand things.” My intention in traveling, however, is to focus on one thing: Tai Chi. I first studied this graceful martial art over two years go and have since become enamored with its fluid movements and meditative qualities.

My last adventure practicing Tai Chi involved traveling to San Francisco, where I spent valuable time in the city park, Washington Square, watching and joining in with experienced practitioners. Still, it has been a longtime aspiration to make it to the mainland and practice the art from a native master.

A couple of months ago, I picked a city, researched a school, sent some emails, and booked my flight. The hardest part of this travel already is the unknown: the language, the school, transportation modes and schedules in a small, foreign town, etc. All great journeys, however, offer their rewards from the mysterious and unfamiliar. In this pensive moment before departing, I recall some lyrics from Rush’s “Prime Mover (Hold Your Fire).”

“From the point of ignition
To the final drive
The point of the journey
Is not to arrive
Anything can happen.”

My fear of the unknown hasn’t gone away, but my courage is mounting.
Next stop, Hong Kong.