When I first went to China I was broke. Penniless and without much of a future. Having run a thriving business in leather that went belly up in a spectacular fashion, life was pretty restricted and boring. I spent 6 months thumbing through the Yellow Pages trying to find a business that was in great need of my talents of reorganization and re-definition. The only problem was finding that everything I wanted to restructure or reorganize and thus make a huge fortune had either already been reorganized and someone else was making a huge fortune or such reorganization would take a wheelbarrow full of money I didn’t have.
That’s when the electricity in brain created the short-circuit. Go west young man – as the poet said. It’s been the elevating principle of mankind every since man took his first halting steps away from the familiar to the unfamiliar and set out on the exploration of the planet, and in today’s high tech world the exploration of the stars. Go to where the grass is less trodden on (though it is fair to say that the grass in China is well and truly trodden on, just not by many westerners), take the path in the woods less traveled, the path that makes all the difference. Go to where the law is less and opportunity is more. Go west, young man. Go to where there be monsters.
I lived in New Zealand and China was west of where I was, so this admonition, or should that be advice, rang true, and the city where I was to land was in the west of China – about as far west you can go before being struck by the impenetrable barrier of the Himalayan mountains. It was also the city with arguably the longest continuous habitation in the world China-bound sounded like a great idea, and every great idea at the time of having it seems to be easy and straight forward, and thus the first step of a journey of a thousand miles was taken, and as the Chinese say the first step is always the hardest