WildChina recently spoke to Veronique Terrier, a Switzerland-based teacher who has made the most of her China passion by dreaming up and coordinating trips once-in-a-lifetime trips to China. She most recently collaborated with Veronique d’Antras, WildChina’s Europe Director, to create her dream trip to Jiangxi province.
Veronique discussed her love for the Middle Kingdom, collaboration with WildChina, and the key to a unique China experience.
WildChina Travel: Tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to become involved in travel? What brought you to creating this journey with WildChina?
Veronique Terrier: In the 1980s, I spent some time in China, where I studied Chinese qigong and taiji [martial arts]. I immediately loved this country, its people, its rhythm. Despite some trying moments, I love it still. China feeds my soul. As I aspire to share my love of China, I regularly organize trips for those who want to follow me, each time imagining a different route.
For months, I try a theme and carve a new path, just as an artisan would carve his work, until the trip takes body and life and reflects a unique relationship between nature and culture. To achieve a new project, I look to partner with the best specialist. In this case, WildChina superbly organized the logistics of this trip in Jiangxi province, a region that has not yet hosted many Western tourists.
WCT: Why Jiangxi province? What drew you to this area of China?
VT: For this trip, I wanted to return to a region with mountains and water, two basic elements of the Chinese imagination. Jiangxi proved an ideal setting: large lakes and rivers, land branched rivers, mountains with mysteries and stories. Adorable country towns preserve gems embedded in cultivated terraces. No wonder it is such a source of inspiration: Jiangxi was the birthplace of the works of painters, poets, philosophers, and mystics who have deeply influenced China throughout its history. Though somewhat forgotten today, it’s a truly beautiful and significant place.
WCT: You partnered with WildChina for this trip. Our mantra is ‘Experience China Differently’ – how do you think this trip enables travelers to see a different part of China?
VT: WildChina was the perfect partner in organizing this off the beaten path trip – I am always happy to use their services and resources for these projects. WildChina offers spirited and motivated guides, as well as unique activities related to tea or calligraphy; artisans, school or clinic visits; meetings with artists in a local operas, for example; and other small touches that make all the difference. WildChina made valuable suggestions that have really enhanced the route and the atmosphere of this project that I have in which I had invested much time and effort. I am infinitely grateful their for their flexibility, understanding of a trip’s finesse, the quality of their thoughtful proposals, and professionalism.
WCT: What was your favorite part of the trip? Why?
VT: We were very impressed with our stay in Sanqing Mountains for a few days, during which we were in a continuous state of wonder. We bathed in the pure magic of living the scene of a Chinese painting – think mist, the veiling and unveiling of pine trees twisted and clinging to cliffs, and rock formations – and thought of all those people who had also wandered happily in the middle of this fantasy. A great atmosphere.
We loved the delightful atmosphere of a quiet stay in a Hui village, still well preserved despite the appetites of developers. Walks in the countryside afforded us precious peace.
WCT: Do you have future plans to organize more trips in China? If so, what do you think your next destination will be? Why?
VT: I intend to continue to travel to China often, as she has many beautiful places to be rediscovered, that have been forgotten for some time. For example, I like to travel by waterways and canals, beyond the Yangtze cruises that so many travelers do.
WCT: What advice can you offer to travelers seeking a unique experience in China?
VT: If I have one suggestion, it is this: whatever route you choose, be sure to visit one of many sacred mountains of China. It is a truly unique experience. Just be aware that the paths can be quite steep with many steps. Still, it is very much worth it.