Living for a Month in Shanghai

I arrived in Shanghai via train on February 6th, 2019; I did not know that this would be the last stop on my trip. I came into this city with a different mindset. I didn’t care to explore or see the sights here, I wanted a place to call home for a while, so that I wouldn’t have to be constantly planning where I was going to sleep the follow week. I also wanted to see if I would enjoy living in a busy urban city like Shanghai. I’ve traveled many times to similar metropolises but I always wanted to try my hand at living in one. So I rented a tiny little apartment for 1 month, got a 1 month gym membership, and just lived here for albeit a brief period of time.

I arrived to my own surprise, an empty city. I learned quickly that everybody leaves the large cities like Shanghai to go back to their old homes for Chinese New Year. Also I immediately felt a type of weather I had never experienced before: humid + cold. It felt a little bit like walking around wearing a wet sweater.

Across the street from what looked like an extremely busy mall on any ordinary day. Nearly completely empty because people had not come back yet from the Chinese New Year holiday.

I took advantage of this time to go exploring since congestion on public transportation was at an all time low.

Ah okay here's where everybody was hiding. I found a crowded part of town, filled with old Chinese architecture and decorated for the festivities.

This was the room that I had rented. I knew it was going to be small but it was still a lot smaller than I had expected. Not big enough to fully swing open the door, but I didn't mind because I was not planning on spending a lot of time in here.

I was under the impression that there was going to be a kitchen but it wasn't so, or I didn't understand the configuration of that apartment. There was a kitchen area outside of my room but another family living in the building would always be using it. I didn't mind because there were so many cheap food stalls in the neighborhood.

My favorite street food of all time. I barely know what the name means in Chinese so I have no clue what it would translate to in English. Some kind of crepe-like thing, seasoned with a bunch of stuff, with a crunchy thing in the middle.

Found a random gym on the top floor of a small mall next to a nest of huge malls. Signed up for a month's membership.

I spent most of my days working at the Apple store, writing articles, coding, and planning the web development business I was going to start after I go home.

This was my favorite food spot. It's just a nondescript food hall with a self-serve style food bar, where I could eat my fill for around $3.00USD

There was a tranquil garden area in the middle of what looked like a downtown financial center near where I was staying. I often walked around in there because it was a pleasant escape from the business of the cities. They had really pretty flowers sprinkled around too.

When I got bored of working or wanted to change up my daily routine, I would take the subway somewhere and walk around the city.

I went to check out the Bund on one of the few days it wasn't raining. The view along the river was spectacular. I think I saw the sun one time during my month in Shanghai, granted it was winter, but as someone who grew up in sunny Southern California, the endless overcast days felt smothering.

Somebody I met in Shanghai told me about an eccentric goldfish exhibit on the top floor of one of the highest buildings in Shanghai. Of course I went to check it out. It was definitely eccentric, imagine a fancy nightclub full of tanks of weirdly bred goldfish.

The city view from up there was nice.

So after a month of living in Shanghai, I decided that my next destination was back home to Southern California. I had been deliberating when to end my trip since the turn of the new year. I had written about my thoughts in this article I published, while I was still in Japan, called When Should I Go Home. I was unable to commit to a decision, whether to continue around the world or fly back home while I was still bordering the Pacific. I stumbled upon a $175 direct flight ticket back to LAX, although not a substantially convincing argument to conclude my trip on it’s own, ended up being the tipping point I needed, I bought it and didn’t look back. I loved my trip but I didn’t have the energy left to continue and enjoy another 3-6 months of backpacking. I was ready to go home.

I stayed in Shanghai, China between February 6th - March 6th, 2019

I feel unexpectedly sad to have finished blogging about my trip, even though I’m writing this one year afterwards. It’s like penning the final word in the most interesting chapter of my life so far. I’m not a fan of over hyping things but I continue to repeat in every self-reflecting article that the experiences I’ve gained and all the different people, lives, places, and cultures I was exposed to during my trip have fundamentally changed my life for the better. If you get the chance to do something similar, buy the ticket, explore, go.