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Introducing Sarah Bennett; an expert traveler who ended up teaching in China after a conversation with a university friend after a night out at early o’clock. “You’re the only person I know who could do it!” was the explanation.

Graduation was soon followed by 6 months in Inner Mongolia and China, which then ended up being extended to a 2 year stay, with a trip home for the London Olympics, a trip to see the aforementioned friend in Vietnam, and a Christmas and New Year stay in New Zealand with family included in the mix.

Currently residing in Zhangzhou, in southern China, she’ll be leaving the Middle Kingdom to pursue a long-term dream of doing a working holiday in New Zealand; the 23 month visa is at the ready!

What do you love the most about travelling?

Freedom! I’m really independence and once I’ve made a decision it’s in my head and I can’t get it out. This also makes me stubborn so I maybe that’s why I’m still travelling alone right now?!

What inspired you to start travelling?

I’ve always loved visiting new places, but my experiences in China were inspired by a university friend, Steph. She’d done a couple of months working in China, came back and announced to me that I was one of the only people she knew who could handle the experience. 2 years later I’ve not regretted following her advice and have also made the decision my own too.

Describe your travelling personality.

I’m a solo traveller who is really observant. I’ll make a comment about everything, even if I’m the only one to hear it. I’m also equally as happy to check out famous sights and tourist traps as I am roaming around the path less taken. I also think travelling can be done just as well in your home country as abroad.

One thing which you don’t like about travelling?

Transport delays. I’m always excited to get to my new destination and hate having to wait just that little bit longer!

What is ‘The Further Adventures of Bennett’ all about?

I travelled a lot during my Year Abroad at university, as well as far away from home to go to university itself, so these adventures are my post-graduation ones. It started out as information for friends at home about my life in China, but I think it’s a developed more now as I’ve visited other countries in the past couple of years, plus I’m moving away from China to New Zealand in September.

The coolest person you have met on your travels?

Have to say, it has been Agness and Cez from etramping! It’s so fun and awesome to meet up with people you’ve been talking to via email and Facebook for however long, and when you meet them they’re just as cool as you’d hoped, and more.


etramping and Bennett in Guilin

Of people I’ve met for the first time, it would have to be Max, a guy who’d just finished training as a teacher from Chile. He was travelling solo around China and we bumped into each other in Xi’an. Not only did we spent one night talking a range of languages with a couple of other people, which turned into a pretty heavy night…but we still managed to keep our early morning “date” the next day to check out the Big Goose Pagoda.

For him it was also the chance to get the first photo of himself in China, as he’d been using a mobile phone and had been reluctant to give it to people. Having travelled solo, I knew exactly what this felt like so we took pictures of each other and sent them. Awesome to have that shared experience and feeling on the road

 Max from Chile in Xi’an

Max from Chile in Xi’an

Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?

The fact that I’m regarded as beautiful in China. The stares are unreal. The concern about my weight and skin colour similarly so. The Chinese are so blunt in their comments about appearance you have to have a bit of a thick skin really. My friend had warned me about it, but it’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself!

The greatest challenge you’ve faced while travelling?

I could say language and all that, but in actual fact I think my greatest challenges are still to come. I have 2 friends getting married next year and one will also have a baby very soon. The challenge is accept that I can’t be there (I’ll be in New Zealand) or work my ass off to make sure I can afford the return tickets for the weddings.

Funniest Travel Moment?

On an overnight train to Beijing in October 2011 a Chinese guy came and sat next to me, or so I thought.

“Do you speak English?” was his first question. On my affirmation, he proceeded to tell me that he was actually Russian, from a border town with China and that he could not speak Chinese at all. Cue annoyance from the Chinese at breakfast on the train, as they asked him what he would like and he couldn’t answer. I just watched in fascination as the Chinese grew more and more angry with him, before finally giving up altogether.

random russian

Eugene, the Russian, not Chinese guy!

 Three things you can’t travel without?

iPod – music, notepad, wifi all in one. Common sense – people without this shouldn’t really travel (sorry!). Flip flops – I live in them.

Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

Antarctica for the penguins. I love penguins.

Most practical piece of travel advice?

 Plan but be prepared for plans to go awry. That’s half the fun of a trip, honesty!

 Why should people travel?

Broaden your mind…blah blah blah. People should travel if they want to. If you want to you should travel. These things go hand in hand and there’s simply no other reason. We shouldn’t judge people who don’t want to travel and vice versa.

But enough of that rant, why should you travel? I’m all for the experiences category. You get so much more out of life if you see, hear and taste as much as possible in as many possible different ways you can. This means travelling within your own country and abroad. Don’t think it. Do it.

 I’d never have visited the Great Wall if I hadn’t travelled out of my comfort zone.

I’d never have visited the Great Wall if I hadn’t travelled out of my comfort zone.


Bennett’s experiences of living abroad and everything in between can be found at her website, The Further Adventures of Bennett

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube.



  1. Excellent interview! China sounds so fascinating, the people, food, music.. The culture in general. Thanks Megan :)

    • So glad you enjoyed the interview :) I hope you have the opportunity to travel to China soon!

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