Hey Everyone. I’m applying for the WildChina Explorer Grant 2013. Here’s the deal:
I want to travel overland by motorcycle along the Silk Road from Beijing to Xinjiang and study/document the food and culture I encounter along the way.
I came to China six years ago in search of a culture that I lost sight of at a young age, growing up in America with Chinese parents. I never fully appreciated the rich history of my Chinese family when I was younger because I was obsessed with my peers and neighbors who were not of the same ancestry. Later in university I finally started to realize how I have a responsibility to learn about my heritage so I came to China to learn the language. I gradually learned more and more about the people and the culture and started to understand my family more and more; my parents’ mannerisms, the endurance of my grandparents living in China, and their beliefs. I am still learning everyday about my family and myself.
Fortunately, China gave me a lot of opportunities working at various jobs, allowing me to see the different sides of business and social issues. It also landed me a job working at Black Sesame Kitchen, as a translator, cooking instructor, host, and manager for 4 years. This is where I learned the most about the culture and habits of China, by developing an understanding about food and spending time with the chefs. The chefs would be patient with me, in my language and they would talk about where they are from. One chef from was from Beijing, one from Shanxi, one from Gansu, and one from Shaanxi. The more I learned about their personalities and the food that they cooked, and by teaching cooking classes to people new to Chinese culture and cuisine, the more I realized that food and culture are so telling of one another. People in China are tied so closely to their food that it defines them; if you’re from Shanxi you love vinegar, if you are from the North you know how to make dumplings because the main crop is wheat, if you’re from Sichuan you not only eat fiery food but you also have a fiery personality. Learning about local agriculture and doing homestays will reveal a lot about the culture. The techniques in which people cook and when they eat certain foods are paralleled by Chinese medicine and tradition. What I know about myself is that I love food, I love people, and my constant curiosity fuels me to keep trying new things and reaching further in my life.
With this trip I aim to use food as my platform for understanding local culture and customs (as well as satisfying my appetite for trying new food). I want to thoroughly document the food, landscape, and people as I travel. I want to travel the Silk Road in particular because I hear so much about how the progression of food along the Silk Road has influenced food in Western cultures. I think that I have the ability to relate Chinese culture and food to others because both my job and my life are about being able to not only have different perspectives on people and cultures, but the ability to communicate it to other people. I hope to convey this through photographs and video. I want to be able to emphasize what is unique about a place.
Travelling is an important part of my life. Coming to China has already been a great adventure, but the ability to travel around China by myself has been an amazing growing process. Every time I travel I feel more knowledgeable and more capable, and it leaves me wanting more. I not only love to venture out on my own and travel, but I need to do things a little differently than people have before. I like to look for new experiences and constantly push myself to step out of my comfort zone to use an opportunity to its fullest. Riding a motorcycle across China gives me the freedom to be self-reliant and the ability to experience the cities and countrysides in their entirety. On a motorcycle I can make stops at interesting places freely.
Right now I have to work on the social media part of the application, so that I have a better chance of getting it. My goal today is to get as many likes, retweets, and reposts, as you can for my video on the WildChina pages (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). The amount of social media support I are able to get throughout our competition will have a direct effect on my chances of winning the 2013 WildChina Explorer Grant.
It would be amazing if you guys could help me out! Tell your friends! I think this trip will be really amazing and I would love the support of family, friends, and WildChina.
I promise to plan the trip as safe as possible and I will be posting information about my trip on my website www.seedicego.com (it’s a little outdated but I’ll be starting to repost soon!)
谢谢谢谢谢谢谢谢谢谢谢谢！！！！ (Thank you Thank you ….)
Candice “cdice” Lee
WildChina Explorer Grant 2013 Application Video for Candice Lee