The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Home Away From Home …

So I’m back.

I survived and no one died.

I have to say that while I love China, Beijing is not my favourite place in the World.

It’s also one of the most user-unfriendly … with everything located miles apart and the heat being utterly oppressive.

But that country still has my heart.

Every time I go there, I leave with an ache.

It will forever be a very special place to me.

Not just because Otis was born there.

Or that – in some ways – it changed my career forever.

Or my wife found a group of people that gave her a greater sense of community than she’d had in decades.

Nor even the fact I was there at one of the pivotal times in its modern history.

It’s just because in all the crazy of the country, I felt I found my spiritual home.

I appreciate that sounds mental.

Even my Chinese friends can’t work out why I love it so much.

But I do.

The people are warm, fascinating and interesting.

The culture is rich with history, modernity, complexity and beauty.

The hunger and ambition is unparalleled with anywhere I’ve been to prior or since.

I love the sense of connection and isolation that China makes me feel about myself.

That sense of returning to a place I truly felt was home for 7 wonderful years while also realizing that period might as well have been 10,000 years ago given how quick the country has changed.

And while I acknowledge there are some very questionable decisions being made by the leaders right now – decisions that undermine the potential of millions – the people within the country have been nothing but kind and compassionate to me and my family and for that, they will always have my heart.

Wherever my family are will always be the definition of home for me.

But China is the one place where that rule has some flexibility in it.

Which is the greatest compliment I could ever give a country, though if I still dislike Beijing.


Having followed your Instagram, I would say your love of China has a lot to do with a lot of dumplings.

Comment by Bazza

He went to his favourite Taiwanese dumpling place so it’s no surprise. Out of interest Rob, how many did you eat in 3 days?

Comment by Pete

So much better than the London version of them. We were only really there for 2 days and we went twice … so I’m proud, especially because on the 2nd day, we ordered 55 dumplings and only left 2 at the end.

I was bloody ill afterwards though … hahaha.

Comment by Rob

I bet you had 50 of the 55.

Comment by John

ive seen campbell with food he likes. theres no fucking way he would give up 5.

Comment by andy@cynic

You better believe it.

Comment by Rob

You are the best ambassador for China, Robert. Given the latest tragic events to happen here, I’m even more surprised you left there for LA. It is so pleasing to read your love for China is still so strong. No wonder you were so successful there.

Comment by George

I’m close to not feeling sorry for America with all this gun crime. That sounds horrifically harsh and I certainly don’t wish any more pain on the innocent people and friends who are there – but this has been happening for too long and the fact the same old arguments for not doing anything come up time and time again, it’s hard to continue to feel sympathy when all the politicians do is offer their prayers while taking cash from the NRA.

Comment by Rob

I hear you Robert. It is very hard to deal with, but it has as much to do with the economy of politics than the stubbornness of individuals.

Comment by George

Welcome back Rob. I hope your spying mission went well. ; )

Comment by Pete

That’s one way to make sure he can never travel to visit us. Clever.

Comment by Bazza

Thanks Pete … thanks a lot.

Comment by Rob

You’re welcome.

Comment by Pete

Very happy to know that you like China! As a Chinese, I would say I love the country, the people and the history, but don’t like the ruling classes.

Comment by Juno

To be honest Juno, there’s no ruling class I like bar maybe the NZ government.

Comment by Rob

if the chinese wanted the world to like them they would fucking have kept you there.

Comment by andy@cynic

No country would stand by and watch another nation take on the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Comment by DH

Comments are closed.