This Expat Life (Beijing): Month 32

After moving abroad in July 2014, I started compiling monthly roundup posts about life as an expat in Asia and all the nitty gritty that goes on behind the scenes here at Travel Lush. You can find all of my previous monthly roundup posts here.


Honestly guys, the month of March was a bit of a bore. After having a fairly adventurous two months in Nha Trang, Vietnam, life back in Beijing just felt kind of routine. But at this point in my life, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

nha trang beach (1 of 1)
It was fun while it lasted Nha Trang.

As I’ve gushed so many times before, I really like Beijing. So despite the fact that my life consists of working, working, working some more and sometimes eating, I’m still really enjoying my time here.

Perhaps this is something only long-term travelers or expats can relate to, but sometimes routine can be nice. It’s taken me a long time to appreciate things like stability, community, home. And while I don’t realistically have any of those things, I now relish any semblance of them I can get.

For the first time since I left my hometown of San Diego, California, in the fall of 2013 I feel (slightly) settled. Well, as settled as someone who’s spent the past three and a half years moving and traveling from place to place can feel.

To be honest, Beijing is the last place I thought I’d feel at home. But at home I feel.

Temple of Heaven - Beijing, China
There are worse places to live.

Since returning to Beijing from Nha Trang, I’ve started to really appreciate the small group of friends I’ve made. It’s been a long time since I’ve had people who I regularly hang out with. That’s a not-so-fun side effect of moving around all the time.

Hanging at the local bar… with lots of tequila shots.

Throughout March my little crew of friends and I have started having weekly nights out, either at our American-style bar down the street from my apartment or downtown. I’ve really been making more of an effort to escape my out-of-town neighborhood and explore Beijing’s amazing downtown areas.

I’m also trying harder to crack Beijing’s vegetarian food offerings. In March I sought out a bunch of vegetarian restaurants and veg-friendly Chinese restaurants in Beijing. And I’m finally starting to understand that being a vegetarian in Beijing is certainly possible and super enjoyable once you start figuring it out.

in and out yunnanese restaurant beijing
Yunnanse food is amazing and surprisingly vegetarian friendly!

The food here is AMAZING. Especially for a spicy food lover like me. I’m definitely planning on writing a full guide on Beijing’s vegetarian food scene. But I feel like I still have a little more eating research to do. I’ve lived in Beijing for a year, but I’m certainly no expert.

I’ve also been seeing a lot of live music in the city. Beijing is home to some pretty cool and intimate venues which host tons of international and local bands. (It’s definitely worth checking out one of the city’s many expat-oriented websites and looking up who’s in town if you’re Beijing bound.)

mike watt beijing
American punk icon Mike Watt at a local venue called DDC.

So yeah, March wasn’t defined by any adventurous travels to far-flung countries or wild and crazy adventures. But that’s OK with me. Sometimes it’s good to be a little bit boring.

Plus Beijing has been in full bloom the past few weeks, which makes it a wonderful time of year to be in the city.

spring flowers in beijing
Spring in Beijing is absolutely lovely.


Exploring Beijing’s food scene and its historic hutongs (maze-like villages) were two of my favorite activities during the month of March. So it’s fitting these were my two most popular photos of the month.

How did your March 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.

5 thoughts on “This Expat Life (Beijing): Month 32

  1. Beijing sounds like a great city for expats. And, you have taken some amazing pictures! Love the fact that you are liking the food there. 🙂 Enjoy the routine till you get back on the road!

    1. It really is a great city. I mean, it has its challenges and downsides. But overall, I personally have really enjoyed it! Oh and the food IS great. Though I think I’d love the food in India MUCH more 😉 Ha, I will enjoy the routine while I can. Especially considering I never really know where I’ll wind up next!

  2. I came back to New York in March, so I was also settling back into routine! It’s nice to be back home and get to spend time with old friends again, but it hasn’t been as often as I’d like. I’ll try to get to weekly hang outs this month! It’s really nice to be living near an old friend too, so we can have an impromptu Sunday brunch or two! 🙂
    chewy recently posted…Going up and down Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka

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