Hi, my name is Scott Ferguson. I write, travel, and help others find freedom in life.
On this site, I share my experiences of long term travel, spending a bunch of time in China, and creating a great life.
We all are learning, experiencing, growing, & living life every day. Perhaps we can learn something together.
Thanks for visiting. Peace.
Stepping Out of the Grind
In 2012, Scott Ferguson walks away from a decent but unsatisfying job to travel for a year. Stepping out of the grind of life in America, he first lands in the mysterious world of China with the intent to create his own “year of change”.
Arriving as a frozen survivor of corporate America, Scott reclaims his life while living in a traditional hutong (alley) of Beijing, studying Chinese, and traveling around the country. Within several months, he hardly recognizes the person staring back from the mirror—happy, relaxed, and radiant.
Stepping Out of the Grind follows Scott’s quest first to survive and learn Chinese in modern Beijing, then to travel overland 2600 miles through the countryside to a small, remote border with Laos in the jungle of Yunnan. Along the way he unexpectedly falls in love with the people, the food, and the culture.
Stepping Out of the Grind: When I Quit My Job and Moved to China is about:
● Friendship, taking risks, and following dreams.
● Choosing to create a life rather than be carried away by currents of time.
● Simplifying our existence.
● Knowing what is important and seeing it’s never too late to fulfill a dream.
● Embracing the differences and similarities of people the world over.
While this book is a travel narrative and celebrates cultural diversity, it is not about the Chinese-ness of China. Rather, the story celebrates our human-ness–the importance of friends, finding joy in small moments, and remembering “the important things are not things”.
Within the events of everyday life in the cities and country side, Scott introduces readers to an entertaining cast of characters and shares some uncommon experiences, such as playing ping pong in a Communist Party library (and being thrown out), volunteering at an orphanage, attempting (and failing) to learn traditional arts, getting caught up in a railroad station brawl, and hosting a Mexican dinner party in Beijing.
Travelling around China, Scott describes his visits to Qing Dao, Hong Kong, Xi’an, Sichuan, and Tiger Leaping Gorge, before crossing into Laos at a obscure jungle border. Of course, as a foodie, he details a few of the dishes he devoured, such as pork dumplings, lamb kebabs, blood curd, stinky tofu, spicy frogs, duck tongues, and liver soup among other delights. Come along for the journey.
“This is the story of how I fell in love with China and became homesick when I left. While following my quest to learn Chinese and travel 2600 miles overland to China’s Yunnan border with Laos, I recount the people, food, and culture which surprisingly stole my heart. It is a tale of friendship, taking risks, and pursuing dreams.” –Scott Ferguson
“An important book because it serves to remind us that we are all one people and it states that well.
… I found myself caught up in his everyday life: his struggle to learn Chinese and communicate with locals, his efforts to navigate his way through Beijing and other cities in China, his interactions with roommates and friends, and the many challenges he faced in school.
… the food! . . the sights, sounds, and smells didn’t lose anything in the translation.” –Marcia Ford
Learn more behind the book at Scott Ferguson Q&A