The Challenge of Travelling (2)

Back in May last year, we travelled with my father-in-law (FIL) to Croatia, Hungary and other European countries. Based on the experience of travelling with a senior person (age 80+) I wrote my post The Challenge of Travelling which was well received with 828 “Likes” and 62 ” Five Stars” votes so far

Spring has arrived in the southern part of China. We were anxious to see the canola (rapeseed) flowers, the cherry blossoms and other flowers blooming in the early part of Spring. Once again we travelled with my FIL, this time to Yunnan and Guizhou provinces on the south-west side of China.

We were delighted by what we saw.  A highlight of the journey was to go up to the mountains to view the Land of Ten Thousand Hills (WanFengLin). High up on the mountain, we could see numerous hills springing up from the plains which were carpeted in yellow and green.DSCF3058

We also have a good view of the famous limestone columns in Shilin with their reflections in the water.DSCF2853

On our way, we visited gardens where cherry blossoms were in full bloom.DSCF2822

We spent hours strolling in gardens with cherry blossoms trees and have a close view of the lovely flowers.DSCF2810

As part of the journey, we came across some of the big waterfalls in China, as it was the dry season, the extent of the waterfalls was not that spectacular.DSCF2922

As someone who like taking pictures, it is not surprising that my FIL ventured out along the stepping-stones connecting the banks of the river (lower left hand corner of the picture above) towards the center of the lower waterfall area, happily taking pictures. While walking back on the stepping-stones, he slipped and fell into the (shallow) water, getting completely wet on the left side of the body. Fortunately, he only suffered some minor scratches in the leg. His new DSLR camera, however, was damaged through immersion into the water.

As we aged, we become less mobile and less able to balance our body movements. This makes me ponder whether we should be doing something now to improve our physical balance and mobility. Tai Chi is said to be good for improving balance. I ponder for a moment whether I should take up Tai Chi again.

My FIL was not terribly disturbed by the fall but became very cautious during the rest of the trip. For the rest of the trip he resorted to the use of a walking stick. This journey also taught us that we have to be patient when travelling with seniors. As my FIL did not bring his hearing aids with him, sometimes we found it difficult to effectively communicate with him as to our travel plans and intentions. Some of our challenges was to make him understand of our intentions and to remind him of the potential dangers along the way.

When we reached one of our destinations (literally translated as an art gallery on the cliffs), my FIL wisely declined walking up and down along paths cut into the limestone cliffs on both sides of the river (picture below). He waited while my wife and I walked up and down many steps and paths cut into the cliffs, crossed the river to make a turnaround, only to find my FIL drowsed into sleep in the waiting area.DSCF2994

Moving on, we were awed by the sight of yet more waterfalls with water gushing down from the top.DSCF2972

After this inspiring cliff walk, we proceeded to Luoping in the eastern part of the Yunnan province. Here limestone hills rise up amid a sea of flowering rapeseed plants. Its vast farmland is covered by the blossoming rapeseed crops every February and March, drawing flocks of tourist and photographers.DSCF3133

My FIL was overjoyed when he saw the whole area carpeted in rapeseed flowers giving an impression of a golden sea. Fortunately, he still has another compact camera with him to take many lovely shots of the yellow fields.DSCF3146

It was also a joy to walk into the fields of these flowers. I like Yellow in that it gives you a sense of positivism; a golden ray of hope.

Walking back, I became more convinced that we should be doing some of the more physically demanding trips while our bodies can still cope with them; leaving the more leisurely and less demanding ones to the time when we become more restricted in physical mobility. In the meantime, also get ourselves prepared for the challenges of travelling while we age gracefully.

122 thoughts on “The Challenge of Travelling (2)

  1. What a beautiful and well-written post. China has been one of my must-travel-to places but I haven’t done so. Your photos are stunning and I agree it really is not easy to travel with elderly, I’m glad your FIL didn’t get injured during the fall!

    • My FIL was quite fortunate that he was not injured in the fall. I thinkwe need better planning in our next journey. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  2. What a wonderful trip. Beautiful photos. Your FIL sounds pretty fit for his age. It’s great that you still travel together. I like traveling with Becky even if it means we go slower and don’t see as much. What we do see, we see together.🙂

  3. I love yellow! By the way, I think it’s incredible that your FIL still travels and is an avid photographer. Beautiful photos as always!

    • I love yellow flowers; also endless fields of sun flowers. My FIL is still keeping well, apart from his hearing and memory. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  4. The Asians have the ”aging gracefully” thing down pat!😉 I wish you decades and decades of good health so you can keep visiting glorious vistas and report them back to us!

    • Hi Rusha, I still have a lot of rapseed flower fields. Will like to share them with you and other readers later. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  5. Once again WOW! Beautiful photos of a wonderful landscape. Yes, I can see you and your wife having had a very challenging trip. But I think it’s great, that you took your FIL and he was able to enjoy – together with you, his family – this wonderful trip, as long as he was/is able to travel. Excellent🙂 Thank you for sharing, Michael!🙂

    • We are always inspired when travelling with my FIL. We have a new perspective on others and ourselves. It’s good that he still enjoy the travels. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  6. I really enjoyed reading about your trip and your experience traveling with an octogenarian. My 83 year old FIL lives with us. So far we haven’t made any trips, though.

  7. I believe in traveling now while we can; don’t wait for the time when you can afford it, you have time, etc. because if you come to think of it, we never know what will come in the future. Beautiful pictures!

  8. Gorgeous. I especially love the pictures of WanFengLin and the rapeseed flowers in the Yunnan Province. You bring up good points about aging and agility. I worked in a medical office for a year where most of the patients were elderly. It was sad… I think Tai Chi is a very good idea! Wonderful post, as usual.

    • I think as we aged, ultimately, there will come a time when our body balance decreases appreciably. This can only be deffered. Tonight, we heard Henery Kissenger may have suffered a fall. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  9. What amazing shots, as usual! What disturbed me the most was the subdivision at the base of the 10,000 hills in your first picture. Seems like a shame to place buildings in front of such glory….

    • Hi Cindy, they are the farm houses. I think you can either dispersed them in the filelds or group them together into a community which they have done. Thank you for your kind comment🙂

  10. Beautiful photos! The close up of the cherry blossom is particularly good. Together they show the land coming alive in spring. It will be a few more weeks before the cherry blossom appears in England, although I have seen the small white flowers of a damson tree near my home today.
    Also I loved the story of the adventure of the journey with your FIL, with interesting thoughts on ageing and the difficulties that come with it.

  11. Michael, your photos are really beautiful – some parts of China look like Switzerland! I wish I could see your FIL’s photos, too! You are indeed good to take him to travel. I think your point of strengthening and balances are right on – yoga and tai chi, and qi gong should be all good for you!

    • My FIL used to take photos when he was young. He is relearning it with digital photgraphy. Thank you for your kind advice on strengthening the body balance. Thank you🙂

  12. I just marvel at the beauty there. It looks like some magical place dreamed up by some CGI artists for a hobbit movie, like it couldn’t possible exist. Especially ‘The Land of A Thousand Hills’ WOW. Mother Nature put in over time on that one. It looks like a little village nestled there. How incredible it would be to wake up to all that gorgeous scenery and live in the countryside. Amazing.

  13. It’s wonderful that your father-in-law at 80+ is still able to travel with you. He may be a little slower, but he is still out experiencing the world! I hope to be able to still travel at that age. Perhaps I will start up my Tai-Chi again as well🙂

    • Sometimes, we have to entice him so that he will travel with us. Apart from the fall, my FIL did have a good time in the trip. I hope I will be able to travel at his age too. Thank you🙂

    • You are so right. It is better to modify or doing things you like slowly than not able to do them at all. Thank you for the kind comment🙂

  14. It’s an irony that when we were young, we haven’t got much money to travel and when we are old, we haven’t got the physics and stamina to travel far and rough. I am at my early 40’s and already I was afraid to climb up the rocks of Petra or do anything strenuous last month, because my week knees cannot support and I knew I was going to slip.😦 So very very well dome to your father in law and yourself and may there be more travelling years to come!

  15. As soon as I read of your father in law’s balance problem, I thought to myself that he needed to learn Tai Chi. It’s been many years since I took lessons in TC, but I still remember to keep my legs just slightly bent at the knees, particularly when walking in winter weather.

    • My FIL likes swimming 10X50m each day during summer months and do a bit of walking outside summer. He is quite forgetful and may not be able to remeber the Tai Chi movements. In any case, thank you very much for your suggestion🙂

  16. Travelling with the Elderly can be a challenge, you set a good example for most by helping bring the joy of sightseeing to your wife’s father. As all ways the pictures are stunning the destinations new and inviting but most importantly the post gives me a feeling as if you are sitting next to me with a photo album walking me through your journey.

    • Many thanks for the kind comment, I am flattered. That is exactly what I would like to do, walking my friends through my photo album. You are welcome to my travels🙂

  17. It is the first time I saw your writing in the firm of story telling with beautiful photos . Very inspirational and natural! You are definitely right. We all should do exercises regularly. I know it very well but just did not practice! You are lucky..that you have lots of tai chi masters in Hong Kong. There aren’t too many here in the U.S. Good luck to your desire to learn tai chi!

    • Hi friendlytm, when I started writing this blog, my posts were mainly narrative and targeted to a HK audience. But somehow, when I realized that my narrative posts are not really attractive that I switched to travel photos / writings. Some of my earlier posts do contain a fair bit of writing say, the Six Attributes Garden in Japan. Thank you🙂

  18. wonderful narrative and pictures – I love the way your narrative makes the pictures more mystical and beautiful, inviting the reader to experience it for themselves. drawing them in. in the UK where family doesnt seem to be held very highly now as in other cultures, most would deem it a chore to be burdened by the FIL, instead of seeing it as a wonderful opportunity to learn from their experience in life, and to view the world through their eyes via their picture perspectives. it’s refreshing to hear about travels with a more aged perspective, and the trials and tribulations for the people accompanying them. long may they continue to provide you with joy

    • Many thanks for the kind and encouraging comment. The traditional Chinese family still hold the parents in high regard; while I am glad travelling with my FIL, I am also keenly aware that sometimes we have to be alert in order to shield him from potential dangers during the trip. Thank you again for your perusal and the thoughtful comment:-)

    • the family values of other cultures is something i love…sadly western ones don’t seem quite as bothered by protecting this. I know there are flaws to every culture but it’s nice to see it when it works! food for thought…

  19. Great thoughtful blog, Michael. I have spent this week sitting with my left leg up after a heavy fall so it all really resonated with me!!!

  20. G’day Michael and say a very well done to Fil. I am 71 and Jack is 81. I agree you must keep yourself fit. We both used to go to the gym, ride bikes, walk etc and have travelled extensively overseas during the 1980’s and 90’s. We always had the intention of leaving Australia to explore when we got older. We now still feel fit but not so agile and we enjoy our travels around Australia (2010 a year trip, 2011 six months to northern Queensland, 2012 six months to Northern Territory) I also very much enjoy following your trips and looking at your beautiful photos. Blogging is a real pleasure to follow and connect with other bloggers

    • Glad to learn that you are your husband are still active and travelling. I am following your blog and am glad that you are sharing your journeys with us. Many thanks for the kind comment; have a great week🙂

  21. Michael, These are stunning pictures! When I first saw the pics, thought the field of yellow flowers was in Sweden — I have seen a similar shot in the Wallander Series shot in Sweden. who knew? It was in China. Wow, I would love to go to this part of China in Spring just to see the scenery captured in these pics!

  22. Your photos are enticing and captivating as always. I somehow see myself in you sir. I really love to travel also and photography, I really wish so, in the near future. I salute you!

  23. Visiting China is on my list of things to do before I die🙂 …and the very first shot is the first image that comes to my mind whenever I think of China (the waterfalls come in second and the Forbidden City a distant third). I love those steep hills veiled in mist. I tried Tai Chi also (because of health issues) but had to stop because there is no group/Master near my home. I would love to take it up again, it really helped with my knee problems.

    Thank you for sharing these challenges of travelling with the rest of us.

    I hope your FIL is well and wish you and your family a good weekend.

    • China has lots of steep hills veiled in the mist; they are depicted quite often in Chinese paintings. Without Tai Chi, maybe you can also try strengthening leg muscles to take so weight off the knee joints or taking Glucosamine. Thank you for the kind comment; have a great weekend too🙂

  24. Wonderful! My mother was British born in Shanghai in 1927 and lived there for 20 years. China looks so beautiful and hopefully I will make it before I have to travel even more cautiously than I already do! Thanks for liking my blog at grammietravels.

  25. First I saw blues, then pinks, then greens, then final blasts of yellow – so I call it “fireworks”. Perfect! So happy you liked my posts “Permission to Buzz the Tower”, “Remnants of a Rainfall” and “Tree Bud”.

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