This Expat Life: Month 23 (Beijing)

Sometimes I really struggle to find things to write about in these monthly roundups.  Because honestly guys, my life isn’t always all that interesting.  My days really do consist of working, commuting and occasionally exploring Beijing.  Rinse, repeat.  Life, especially lately, has been very routine.  It’s something I can appreciate, but it doesn’t exactly make for very exciting monthly roundup posts.

If you would have asked me in May, I would have said nothing was going to change any time soon.  But then, suddenly, everything did change.

The month of June began like any other.  Per usual, I spent most of my time working.  But a few very exciting things did happen – especially on the travel front.

tokyo skyline (1 of 1)
Hello Tokyo!

As an expat in Beijing, I have to take visa runs every two months.  And because June was my fourth month in Beijing, it was time to take my second visa run.  This time around I decided to take advantage of one of China’s many national holidays in order to stretch my visa run to five whole days, instead of the usual all-too-quick 48 hours.  After all, I was going to Tokyo, a place I’ve dreamed of visiting since I was in high school.  I at least wanted a few days to explore the city.

Tokyo ended up exceeding my wildest expectations.  Sometimes, when you’ve built a place up too much in your head, it often disappoints.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it does.  Tokyo did not disappoint, not in the least.  It was just as quirky and crowded and fascinating as I expected.

I’ll be writing a few posts on everything I ate, did and observed soon.  But for now, at least, I’ll share a few of my favorite photos.  I took far too many…but how could I resist?

street art tokyo (1 of 1)

vegetarian ramen in tokyo (1 of 1)

gardens tokyo (1 of 1)

the scramble tokyo (1 of 1)

sushi magnets tokyo (1 of 1)

After my nearly picture-pefect visit to Tokyo (there was one mild breakdown that involved low blood sugar and the accidental ordering of a $20 hamburger instead of a veggie sandwich), I flew back to Beijing where my old college friend, Terra, was wrapping up her visit to the city.  Sadly, after a plane delay, I only had a few hours to see her.  But after not seeing each other for nearly 10 years it was amazing that we were able to cross paths in China of all places.  (FYI, Terra also has a travel blog I encourage you to check out at Traipsing Terra.  She always manages to go to really offbeat places around Asia, making me realize there are so many freaking places I need to go!)

After an exciting week of traveling and catching up with an old friend, I figured I would get back to my daily routine.  And I did, for about a week.  Then I found out I had the chance to spend the summer in Bali with Aaron.  Obviously it was a chance that was too good to pass up.  So in a two week period I found myself making travel plans, booking plane tickets and packing my dusty backpack for two months in one of my favorite countries in the world.

suluban beach (1 of 1)

beach (1 of 1)
It’s good to see you again old friend.

All in all, the month of June ended up being full of very, very welcome surprises.  And so far, the month of July is kind of rocking!


Oh Tokyo. You keep managing to blow my mind at every turn.

A photo posted by Justine (@thetravellush) on

How did your June shape up?

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

10 thoughts on “This Expat Life: Month 23 (Beijing)

  1. First off, it was so great finally seeing you and Aaron! Far too short, but I enjoyed our private roof top patio and catching up! Second, thanks for the shout out! Now if I could only get some good wifi to get more posts up. And third, I’m so happy that you were able to join Aaron in Bali, a deatination I have been dreaming about since highschool. Cant wait to read all about your time there!
    Terra recently posted…Bagan to Yangon by Train — Or, the best experience mixed with the worst sleeping.

    1. I know! It was far too short but it was good to see your face in person 🙂 Maybe someday we can actually do some traveling together!! Here’s to wishing the wifi gods let you post because your FB photos have been AMAZING.

  2. I love Tokyo! I’ve been there twice now, and hope to return someday. I was lucky enough on my first visit to stay with a friend who was there for work so I got to stay in a real live Japanese tiny apartment! It was small and cute and very well laid out. Plus it had a nice view of Shinjuku!! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!
    chewy recently posted…PhD: the final six months

    1. I love it too. So much! Ah that’s so cool you got to experience it local style. We rented a small Airbnb, so it was basically a small studio apartment with a little kitchenette. It was great and way cooler than staying in a hotel, in my opinion. I’ll be writing more about Tokyo next week so stay tuned 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge