Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

I was inspired by a friend, who writes a Chinese WordPress blog from Tokyo, to start my first ever blog earlier this year.

After working almost 7/24 for 36 years and forfeiting around 140 days of personal leave, I decided to retire last year. In my retirement, I was hoping to develop some new interests. Blogging seems to be ideal for me as I would like to develop my skills in photography and writing. My previous education and work life have nothing to do with arts or being artistic. My writing in English was mainly associated with writing emails and perhaps, very infrequently, some parts of business proposals.

Blogging has offered me a chance to combine my interest in travelling, photographing and writing.  So, in my retirement, you can find me travelling and blogging in addition to my other developing interests like learning a new language and Chinese calligraphy.

The photos were taken in the last three months by my wife while we were travelling in Shanxi and Beijing. The two photos with colored foliage were taken earlier this month in Beijing just before it was hard hit by a snow storm.

We have very good weather up in the MuTianYu section of the less travelled section of the Great Wall; there were no signs whatever  to suggest that  just a couple of days later the weather suddenly turned bitterly cold and killed a few tourists in another section of the Great Wall.

All three photos show I was overly engrossed with taking pictures. The one below with a temple in the background was taken in September this year when we visited the Hanging Temple in Shanxi while the top one was taken in the HuangLuo Temple in Beijing.

You may say my retirement has given me the opportunity to travel; the travels inspired me taking photos, which, in turn inspired me to write and blog.

66 thoughts on “Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

    • Hi bulldogsturf, I love reading your posts and hope one day I will travel to see wildlife in Africa. Transitioning from full time employment to full time retirement could be a challenge. Hope you will enjoy your upcoming retirement and thanks for the perusal, Michael

  1. Very nice post. Your wife did a good job too in photography. I had been to the hanging temple, and it is still on my best site list. I also visited Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. It was amazing! The top one, I did not know. What is the name in Chinese?
    I haven’t entered this challenge yet because I couldn’t find any pix like yours. Will see..

    • Hi friendlytm, the top one is HuangLuo Temple, not far from MuTianYu. I have to look through my wife’s photos to get some good ones for the challenge. Hope you will particpate too. Regards, Michael

  2. It’s a joy to also be retired and have the time to read about your many travels. I must also say, it’s a great accomplishment to learn to speak and write in other languages, you do it this with finesse.

    • Hi, I am flattered. I suppose I have to upkeep my English via blogging. As you say, it is a joy to be in retirement finding time to do various things in our new phase of life. Thanks and regards, Michael

  3. Thank you for showing and educating me about China Michael. China has always fascinated me, the countryside, the people, the cities and the culture are all amazing. Your blog is beautiful.

    • Hi Tracy, I didn’t realize until recently that many blogs about China travels are run / set up by China travel agencies and organizations. Naturally, they see it as a business and view things from their perspective and not necessarily from a traveller’s perspective. What I hope to achieve is to show readers the travellers’ perception, highlight some history of the places and add in a bit of my moods and thoughts. I am glad that you enjoy my posts. Thanks very much for your continued perusal and kind comments! Michael

  4. I love your blog Michael and always am interested to hear what you have to say! I guess your wifeis getting used to seeing you from the back these days!! Enjoy your retirement and keep on blogging! Best wishes Karen

    • Thank you Karen for your kind words about my posts. When my wife and I are travelling, what usually happens is that I usually walk ahead and when seeing something interesting, I would stop and take some pictures while my wife continues walking. Knowing I am trailing behind, I would speed up and become ahead of her again. Hopefully, she is not always seeing my back. Oh, the other thing is that every now and then I have to take pictures of her with the beautiful scenery as background. I thought I took better pictures when I was travelling alone as I could think more carefully when I was composing pictures. Thanks so much for your perusal. Best wishes, Michael

  5. Beautifully written! I still have another 20 years of working life to go till retirement, but hoping to retire early and have a chance to travel more.

    • Working can be fun too! Twenty years will go by very rapidly; sometimes I just cannot believe that I am now in full retirement. Wish you all the best in your endeavours before your retirement! Michael

    • Hi Opalla, everyday, I hope I can spend my time in a more meaningful manner. For those people who are still working, I trust their thinking would be the same. I also hope to be inspired by my readers too. Thanks very much for your kind comment! Michael

    • Hi Monochon, I have started the calligraphy lessons but have not been taught how to write my surname which is 黎. Thank you for your continued perusal. Regards, Michael

  6. Blogging keeps us all sane. I wonder when hardworking people say they won’t know what to do after retirement. You’ve shown them the way. I hope to see more pictures of your travels and journals of them. Happy Thanksgiving Michael!

    • I did worry when I first retire. The transition from work to retirement was also not that easy. I am happy with what I am doing at the moment. It is my pleasure to post more interesting articles / photos. Thank you bebs1 for your continued perusal. Best wishes, Michael

  7. Michael, you’re an inspiration in every post and photos. Always a pleasure visiting you.
    You’re living your dream and your create something to share from your dream.
    Pleasure, meeting you, Michael.

    • Hi mindful magpie, a reader Mark Young has just quoted “We don’t stop doing things because we get old, we get old because we stop doing things”. I like that and will live by this quote. I will continue to take the challenge and thank you for your kind comment! Michael

  8. I think it’s a great inspiration and I hope you continue to travel and blog! I write book reviews a lot but I do love travelling too. I’m not sure at this moment I can keep up with two blogs, but who knows? always good to keep options open for a travel blog one day.

    • I am still in the early phase of retirement when physical mobility still allows me to travel. Maybe, when I am getting older, I can only blog! Thanks for the comment!

  9. So glad to now READ about your world travels! With all your fine photos you won’t ever run out of experiences to write about!!! You’re a great writer! And have your wife take more photos of you, and you of her, too. She also takes outstanding photos!

    • Glad that you like my posts.
      For every journey, there is also an inner journey of the heart which I am still not good at expressing.
      Both my wife and I have an urge to travel now, before we are too old and immobile.
      Will take more photos of ourselves.
      Beat regards,

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