G’day, kindred citizens of our wondrous world! I’m Zhui, your newest Travelogue presenter.
Admittedly, I haven’t always been obsessed with travelling. It took adulthood and a law degree to realise that, contrary to what Asian parents would have their four-eyed metal-mouthed nerd-child believe, I am severely allergic to textbooks, fluorescent light, and sitting at desks. So one day, I packed my bags, chopped off my hair, and escaped.
In my 2.5 decades of existence, I’ve now been to more than 50 countries. It’s a serious addiction that has rendered me practically penniless, but immeasurably richer in the mind and soul (or so I’d like to believe).
Highlights of my backpacking adventures so far include:
• being hospitalised for parasitic dysentery while working with indigenous Peruvian children in a desperately impoverished village;
• my abduction in Iran by a family who refused to release me until I had swallowed several thousand mouthfuls of home-cooked scrumptiousness;
• the psychotic hallucinations I received as a side effect of antimalarial tablets (while sleeping in a tent that I had mounted on a very angry ant colony);
• and being pushed down a nettle-carpeted mountain in Rwanda by a wild silverback gorilla.
Indeed, travelling puts the extra into the ordinary, and thus I have declared a life of eternal itinerancy. Yet there’s a place, close to my core, that I barely know: China.
My grandparents sailed from Guangdong to rural Malaysia in the 1930s, which is where Mum and Dadspent the first chapter of their lives. A high school romance led to a wedding and their first child; later, with a second on the way, they migrated to Australia. It was there in leafy Sydney suburbia that my younger brother and I were born.
My parents raised the four of us on Weet-Bix and Vegemite while nurturing pride in our origins. From ages four to 16, we were strapped into our family van every Saturday morning, and promptly deposited at Mandarin lessons followed by wushu class. However, that was when I discovered that: 1) I liked fighting boys, and 2) a kilometre of toilet paper could be cemented to the blackboard using water guns. Also, much to my teachers’ despair, I gained a remarkable fluency in only pinyin.
Ten years on, I’ve figured it’s time that I truly embrace my Chinese-ness. So here I am finally, captivated by the chaotic charm of the capital, working for CCTV and doing possibly the coolest job known to civilisation. Come and join me on my Travelogue journeys as I explore the marvels of Mother Nature, the spectacles of history, and the wonders of humanity—right here in the Middle Kingdom!