HS: Le Le, any plans for the long Labor Day holidays in May?
LL: It's only March and you're already making plans for the Labor Day holidays? Isn't it a little too early?
HS: We should be prepared for a rainy day! By planning ahead and making preparations, we don't have to be in a fluster when the time comes. If we want to go traveling, we should book our flight tickets early, and if we make our hotel reservation early, it'll be cheaper too, and there will be more choice.
LL: You have a point there, but I haven't decided what to do yet. Although I do want to go traveling, but the May 1st period will be packed with people everywhere, just the thought of it makes me lose interest.
HS: If it's the crowds that you're afraid of, you can always go on a tour abroad. It doesn't cost that much nowadays.
LL: Do you really think that people don't go abroad on tours? What's more, we only have a few days, it's not that long, and it's not that short either, where can we go?
HS: If you really want to go on a tour abroad, you should plan ahead and make some arrangements. There are quite a number of places you can go.
LL: What about you, what plans do you have? Where're you going for vacation?
HS: I'm planning to go to Yunnan.
LL: Yunnan? You must be going to Lijiang right? I've been wanting to go to Lijiang for ages. How're you going there? In a group?
HS: Group? Oh no, I don't like the traveling agency's group tour, there's no freedom, everything's prearranged by them, just some very brief sightseeing at a few famous scenic spots, it's not meaningful at all. I prefer to go backpacking alone.
LL: Although going on a group tour doesn't accord us much freedom, but it's really convenient, we don't have any worries. Going on a vacation is the time when we rest and relax, if we still have to go about booking our flight tickets, making hotel reservations, and going around with a map in our hands, that's just too much hassle, why trouble yourself?
HS: Perhaps going on a group tour will save you some worries, but it will only leave you with regrets. Haven't you heard of how people describe a group tour? "Board the bus and sleep, get off the bus and take pictures." Tell me, what meaning does this hold for rest and relax? Although we have to settle everything ourselves for D.I.Y. style travel, and there seems to be a lot of hassle involved, but you can make arrangements according to your own interests, go anywhere you wish and see sights that delight you. It's not just the freedom, it's also more meaningful, it's your own travels.
LL: It seems backpacking is rather pizzaz and it offers much freedom, but traveling alone is kinda lonely, there's nobody to talk to.
HS: I knew you'd say that! Do you know what is meant by "travel buddies" (lit. donkey friend, note: wordplay here, donkey = lǘ, friend = yoǔ, same sound as lǚyoú in travel/tour). As long as you're willing, traveling alone presents more opportunity to get to know new friends and hear new stories. Last summer, when I went to Dunhuang, I stayed at the local youth hostel. Many of the people there were also independent travelers. During the day a few of us would hang out together; at night, everyone would gather round to play cards, play games, chat, and share some quirky stories from our travels. It's a really great feeling!
LL: After hearing you out, I'm quite tickled to find out.
HS: When you have a chance to backpack and experience it for yourself, then you'll know.
LL: Right! Action speaks louder than words! You might as well count me in for the May 1st D.I.Y. travel. As for the flight tickets, hotel accommodation and what not, I'll leave it to you, Han Sheng!
--Translated by atchooo@CSLPOD