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.
Scott Ferguson Q&A
Author Q&A with Scott Ferguson
What was your motivation to write Stepping Out of the Grind: When I Quit My Job and Moved to China?
After six months of studying and traveling in China, I left the country and crossed into Laos at a remote border. Having assimilated to a Chinese way of being, I struggled to speak proper English and experienced severe culture shock. Aboard a bumpy twelve hour bus ride the next day, I could think only of the many friends I’d left behind and felt a need to express my gratitude to the Chinese people for all I had learned and experienced. I still feel that way. Such was the genesis of the book.
How did it feel to arrive in Beijing with no home, few friends, and knowing you just quit your job?
I had a mixture of feelings. I felt excited, free, happy, slightly nervous, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Mostly, excited though. With an entire year of travelling ahead of me and minimal obligations, I knew anything could happen and I could create whatever I wanted—that was a powerful feeling of freedom. Also, I felt very excited because at that time I had been working on taking actions in life without knowing the outcome in advance and diving into life in China embodied my aims.
What was your biggest surprise?
Students, both foreign and Chinese, were my biggest surprise. While traveling, I met numerous Chinese students (university-age) who were incredibly friendly and helpful. They were real ambassadors for China! The students invited me to join them for all kinds of things–hiking, dinner, drinking tea, sharing wine. We learned from one another.
In Beijing I studied in an intensive language program with four hours of class each day plus four hours of studying. Since I was over 40 years old and most of the foreign students were university-age, I was surprised at how easily they accepted me as a classmate and invited me to join them for many social events. It seemed as if we all had known one another for years. The same could be said for my young apartment-mates from Germany, Russia, and New Orleans.
Did you really learn to speak Chinese in four months?
Ha-ha, yes I did! There really was no choice. I was fortunate to have an incredible teacher who pushed me every day and also shared her life and culture with me. She taught me about the complexities, as well as the subtleties, of life in China.
What was your happiest moment?
I spent a perfect afternoon talking with two friends on a little wooden bench in a small hutong (alley) while enjoying salty boiled peanuts, sweet juicy watermelon, and bitter Japanese beer. I’ll never forget that day. The two friends were my apartment-mate from New Orleans and a Chinese woman from the neighborhood.
What was your saddest moment?
Leaving Beijing. And later, crossing the border into Laos.
If you had it to do over, would you still go?
Absolutely. Yes, with no hesitation!