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My Volunteering, My Life Experience in Shanghai read more
Oct-24th-2012 | Post by expatree

Shanghai sunset
Whilst volunteering is certainly a noble and altruistic activity for many, my interest in volunteering here in Shanghai was based more on practical reasons.

I moved here in May to follow my partner hardly a unique scenario! And while I’ve found the expat community in Shanghai to be incredibly warm and welcoming, I’m always looking for opportunities to meet new people, particularly those who have similar interests or who might enrich my time and life here in Shanghai.
But perhaps more than anything, I wasn’t working, and I genuinely needed something meaningful to do. I’ve spent many years being intellectually challenged and socially stimulated in my career, and this was something I dearly missed. So the opportunity to use my particular set of skills communications, marketing, strategy for any cause, had great appeal.
When a newfound friend suggested that I might be able to help out with Chi Fan for Charity (CFFC), I jumped at the opportunity. I qui

How do our surroundings inspire us? read more
Oct-4th-2012 | Post by expatree

For Celine Menard, proprietor of Estrelitzia, an accessory boutique with its own eccentric and lovable style, it was the fortuitous concatenation of events.  Since arriving in Shanghai in 2009, Celine has taken inspiration from the city and combined it with her lifelong love for sketching, creating a distinct design language and winning numerous admirers. Her cartoon-splayed collection, which includes bags, pillows, cards, and clothing, seamlessly combines elements from various stages of her life, creating a unique storybook spanning time and place.

The daughter of a painter, Celine has been immersed in the world of art as far back as she can remember. She began sketching as a young girl, taking inspiration from her surroundings and developing the unique style that still adorns all of her Estrelitzia products. She later went on to study economics and work in various big names in European interior design. Celine’s time in the home decor universe instilled in her belief that

My China Trips on My Way read more
Aug-30th-2012 | Post by expatree


China Little T(r)ips is the lovechild of Nanou and her adventure-seeking boyfriend, Guillaume. While these two French expats love China and adore the limitless variety of destinations to visit, others are less enthusiastic. Flatmates living with Nanou would travel only with her and her boyfriend rather that try to navigate through China with little or no knowledge of the Chinese language. This fear is common amongst most visitors to China; many people are discouraged because they don’t know where they can travel safely or whom they can look to for help and directions.

These concerns are what inspired Nanou to write her series: China Little T(r)ips. With her flatmates in mind she worked with her boyfriend to create a personalised guidebook that would take people on an exciting journey to destinations in China that many would consider being “off the beaten track”. The content of the book is all based on Nanou’s own first hand experiences, which creates

Exploring the Great Unknown by Genuine China Tours read more
Jul-2nd-2012 | Post by expatree
(Originally posted on May 14, 2012)

Xian - Terracotta Chinese army


For most, finding a niche means settling down, putting aside our aspirations for adventure, and perfecting our quotidian existence. Only for a select few of us can adventure be a day job. Casper Tollerud is one of the very few; since founding Genuine China Tours in 2006, Tollerud has visited virtually every corner of the Middle Kingdom, staying at over five-thousand hotels, hiking hundreds of peaks, and even encountering a few wild animals. Such a rich repertoire of experience has enabled him to craft an unrivaled travel experiences for his many clients. Living and working by the credo, “we know, we’ve been”, Tollerud has sought to take genuine travel to another level.

Tourism in China has grown exponentially over the years, with Chinese citizens, expats, and visitors from abroad all vying to see the Middle Kingdom’s many impressive vistas. However, this growth has been accompanied by a host of tourist traps. From th

Capturing the Moment - Story of Shanghai Snapshots read more
Jul-2nd-2012 | Post by expatree
(Originally posted on April 30, 2012)


Shanghai Snapshots - Valentine Sorret

In a host of fortuitous ways, life has a way of compelling each of us to do things we never planned on doing. A few of us choose our paths early; Warren Buffett began selling sticks of gum at age seven, investing the proceeds into a snowball that has grown to over $45 billion. By contrast, others of us finding our true callings through trial and error. Harlan Sanders didn’t develop his Colonel’s Famous Recipe until he was 40 and was 65 years young when he began franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken. Martha Stewart worked as a stockbroker for a time, until she found her passion when renovating a rundown house she and her husband had bought in Connecticut. Even Chairman Mao switched careers: he served for a time as an elementary school principal before finding revolutionary communism to be more his cup of tea.

Yet for many people, finding a new calling is often more subtle. Maybe its hearing about an opportunity from a friend; maybe it

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