Thanks for stopping by Crawford Creations!
We’re Cara and Justin, an American couple with passions for travel, adventure, and photography. Both riders, Cara on horses and Justin on bikes, we share a love for the outdoors and are content anywhere with a mountain range in sight. We’ve recently completed a 4 year expat contract working in China and have traded in the expat life in favor of becoming full time world travelers. We plan off the beaten path trips, often with the accompaniment of our tandem bicycle, Double Trouble.
How did we end up in China?
Justin, who was working full time as an engineer at the time, grew up fascinated by the stories of his parents’ expat adventures in the Middle East and dreamed of one day experiencing the expat life for himself. When the day came that his company asked for volunteers to move to China his name was first on the list.
For Cara, a move to China took a bit more convincing, but eventually it came down to one simple fact, life in the US will always be there, this opportunity to live abroad and travel around Asia will not. So we jumped at the opportunity that might only come around once in a lifetime. We ended our rental contract on the house we were living in, sold our cars, and found a friend willing to care for Cara’s horse who we could not bring with us.
The next thing we knew we were on a plane en route to our new home in Zhuhai, China, a seaside city in southern China located within the largest metropolis in the world, the Pearl River Delta.
From Newlyweds to World Travelers
We lived in China for 4 years, and it was been one roller coaster of an experience. Coming from the Virginia countryside in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, arriving in China was a shock to the system. Living in Zhuhai, sandwiched between the megacities of Macau, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen there is not much countryside left in this part of the world. The sheer amount of concrete is astounding. Not to mention the people. They are everywhere. Moving from a town of 7000 people to a city of 2 million took a little getting used to.
Learning to love life in China didn’t come easy. Like every other expat I’ve met there were bouts of homesickness, frustration, anger, and depression. We don’t like cities, huge crowds of people, or super loud atmospheres, but China is all of these, and it’s great!
How did we learn to love our life in China?
By embracing the amazing opportunities living in China presented us: the ability to travel and experience a different part of the world, endless opportunities to explore our surroundings and learn a new language, and being part of an amazing community of expats from all over the world.
Now we want to use our knowledge and experience to inspire and guide you on your own expat or travel journey in China and around the world.
From China Expats to Full Time Travelers
After our expat contract ended in January of 2019, we returned home to the USA to start preparing for our next adventure. Instead of returning to work in the US straight away we decided to do something a little different. Justin took a sabbatical from his job and we set off on our tandem bicycle to explore the world for the rest of the year.
In March, 2019 we flew to Bangkok, Thailand, assembled our bicycle and started riding towards Europe. 8 months, 15 countries, 2 trains, 2 buses, 2 boats, and 7,357 miles (11,840 kilometers) of riding later we ended our trip on November 12, 2019 in Bari, Italy. It was a wild trip, full of highs and lows. And while we didn’t write about it on the blog, we did capture our entire trip on video.
Check out our Adventure In Tandem YouTube channel to watch our videos and experience what it’s like to travel the world on a tandem bicycle!
What we do at Crawford Creations
Crawford Creations is a resource for fellow travelers and expats looking for first-hand knowledge and information on budget-friendly adventure travel and life in China. China can be a scary place. With limited English, an unintelligible written language, and a culture as mystifying as its government, it’s no wonder China often loses out to more popular Asian countries on travelers’ radars.
Combining our experience living and traveling in China with Cara’s conversational proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, we are able to navigate places virtually untouched by tourists, and experience a totally different side of China.
At Crawford Creations we share these experiences with you, raw, candid, and always personally experienced and tested by us. We are here to help you plan your own self-supported tours, travel without breaking the bank, find off the beaten path destinations, and adjust to life in the crazy country of China.