VPNs and Visas: Thoughts on Preparing to Go to China

-Me trying to hold in the pain while packing.


Packing is hard.

Packing always gives me the weird sense that my life must somehow fit into two suitcases and a backpack. It makes me feel somewhat insignificant. When the packing is done I’ll feel relieved.

Packing was not the only important thing that I had to think about before making my way to Beijing. Besides getting my plane ticket, getting my visa is probably the most important thing that I need for getting into China. I spent this summer in the lovely state of Minnesota which meant that the closest consulate is in Chicago. Using a visa service became a necessary evil. It was way more expensive than doing it in person, but going to Chicago and doing it myself was not a viable option.

The next important thing for me is getting a reliable VPN. For those of you who do not know, China sensors its internet. People have lovingly named this “The Great Firewall.” This means that with a Chinese IP address I would not be able to access websites like Facebook or Google in. I might not even be able to post my blogs! A VPN gives your computer another IP address so that you can access all of the websites without any issues. If you see more blog posts from me, I probably figured out with this whole VPN thing.

All in all I am excited for going abroad. I still have the surreal feeling that next week I will wake up in my own bed and continue life as it has been for the summer. Big changes never feel real to me until I’m in the midst of them.

Wish me luck on my travels! The next time you hear from me it will be from China!

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