China (#2) Day 1: “The Beginning of a Journey: 15-Hour Flights and Delta Business Elite”


Over Canada. It’s cold there.

The last assignment I had in high school was a bucket list. For the most part, I filled it out with typical items: skydiving, running a marathon, etc. But one life-goal I set kept returning to my thoughts, “4. Visit Every Country in the World (before I turn 40)”.  Visiting every nation seemed to be too ambitious of an adventure for one lifetime.

Was it even possible? How many people had done it before? I wanted to figure out how many countries I had already been to.








Czech Republic


North Korea*

… and many more that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

*A story for a future post!

I’ve visited around 15+ different countries! But there are a lot more out there. For the sake of keeping record, I’ve decided on a couple ground rules for this adventure:

  1. I’m resetting the counter: This means that any country I visited before I turned 18 doesn’t count. I can’t remember half the places my parents have taken me, so I want to start fresh. Which means the United States of America (#1), is the “only” country I’ve been to so far.
  2. I have to eat a meal: If you don’t Instagram food you ate there, did you really go?
  3. Airports are not Countries: Spending an hour waiting for a connection in Amsterdam does not count as “Visiting the Netherlands”.
  4. Countries are determined by the UN: As of June 18, 2014, there are 193 member states of the United Nations.

And so my journey begins with a three-week trip to China (#2)!


There are long flights and then there are LONG flights. The Detroit (DTW) to Shanghai (PVG) route is most definitely part of the latter group. 14 hours and 49 minutes of non-stop fun it is not. I am of the opinion that one hasn’t truly experienced a LONG flight until you’ve watched three movies, eaten two meals, and taken a nap, only to realize YOU ARE STILL ON THE PLANE AND IT DOESN’T LAND FOR THREE MORE HOURS.

If there is a hell, I’m sure it looks just like an economy middle seat on a transpacific flight. But by a stroke of good fortune, for the first time in my life, I was going to ride in business class.


Apologies for the shaky iPhone photo. I was excited.

For someone who had only been in coach before, Delta Business Elite was a game changer. Lie-flat seats (that massage), real pillows and blankets, and complementary travel goods were waiting for me when I boarded the plane.

I was actually forced to change from athletic shorts into other pants to board the plane.


The forced outfit change.

More than anything else, the best part of business class is the food. Whereas airplane food usually resembles a microwave dinner gone wrong, these are some of the Delta Business Elite offerings:

IMG_3201 IMG_3205 IMG_3200 IMG_3198

The croissant, shrimp, and mashed potatoes were awesome. 

So a 15-hour flight actually flew by because I was so busy photographing my food and writing this post. Now that I’ve landed in Shanghai, I’m ready to conquer the world.


Right after I wake up.





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