Hi, I'm Miriam Hoffmann. People often ask me where I'm from, where home is... A simple question, but not so simple answer... So here it is...
My parents are Chinese. They left China when the communist regime took over.
Word has it, the ship was headed to California, but because of a storm, it ended up in Central America, El Salvador to be precise.
So this is where I was born. My upbringing was a mix of piñatas and lucky red envelopes, Chinese noodles and tortillas at the dinner table...
I live now in Germany. I met my German husband in Papua New Guinea on a dive trip.
We have a son, Christopher (here at the Great Wall with me.) He grows up with the noodles and tortillas as well, and bratwurst of course!
So, where is home? Muriel Rukeyser said it best:
Yes, I love to travel, I love adventure, I love new places, new cultures, new flavors, and lasting friendships...
My life dream is to have the freedom to pursue my passion for travel, to never stop learning, to encourage others to enrich their lives in the same way.
It has been a wonderful and fulfilling journey with ups and downs along the way... The U.S., Taiwan, London, Hong Kong... have been "home" at one time or another...
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller
Learning and understanding cultures and ideas different than our own teaches us and our children about different ways of life, about tolerance and flexibility.
"Travel for the young is a part of education, for the old, a part of experience." - Francis Bacon
Travel has become a part of our lives...
Our First China Family Adventure
Things have dramatically changed since my first trip to China more than 20 years ago.
When my mom and dad floated the idea of taking a trip to China, I didn't need too much convincing. This time they wanted to go with grandkids in tow of course...
I had many concerns... will the kids be bored?... will they get sick?... is it worth it? Well, you can read all about it in this web site. No, they were not bored, they did not get sick... they had a blast.
It was a very special journey. For my parents being there with the grandkids, showing them proudly and teaching them about their heritage, enjoying their interest and curiosity, made it all so worth it...
If there had been no Chinese roots pulling us to the homeland, would we have chosen to travel to China with the kids?
Definitely. This country is undergoing tremendous changes. There is no denying China is becoming a very influential force in the world's economic and political front.
Getting to know a bit of this land, the culture, and the language, will better position our children to participate in any opportunities that might be thrown their way in the future, if they so choose.
But aside from that, China is just a fascinating place, and children love to explore and discover. Of course I'm biased but, it's the perfect place for a family adventure... We had such an amazing time, I wish other families would as well...
and that is...
...Why we Built this Web Site
When we first started our planning a few months before the trip, we found few resources for traveling to China with children. What we found was scattered all over.
Our initial aim was to encourage China as a do-able destination with children, to help you plan your own China Family Adventure, to address and answer the very same questions we had when we were planning our trip and share our pictures and videos.
China's popularity soared with the Beijing Olympics, children wanted to learn more about China. We started our Chinese Culture for Kids section which became a joint project with Christopher.
He thinks it is totally cool that our pages are being viewed by children in India, New Zealand, or Brazil... and that together we can teach them about Chinese Dragons or eating with chopsticks wherever they might be...
Yes! Our visitors come from all over the world and our traffic is increasing every month. What started as a hobby about our passion for China, has turned out to be so much more. So... how did we do this?
How We Built This Web Site
I had no prior experience building sites. I didn't even know what a blog was when I set out on this journey.
I methodically started researching about systems and ways to start my "project" (yes I did my homework, I am an accountant after all), I ran into a headline that captured my attention:
"Why Build Just a Web Site? Build a Web Site That Works. Turn your hobby, skill or passion into a profitable online business..."
An online business? They talked about how people got started building their own web sites from home, about topics they felt passionate about, and over time they had started generating several streams of income.
There was no need to know anything upfront about building a web site since the system took care of all the technical hurdles.
With the step-by-step Guide you didn't get sidetracked or had to guess what to do next.
A little like painting by numbers just start one at a time and follow the sequence, until your picture emerges... It's what I did, and you're looking at it!
The system I used is Site Build It, SBI for short. I am still amazed at what I have accomplished with a few hours per week in my spare time doing something I enjoy.
And having a secondary source of income is reassuring, specially in these uncertain times.
How do we make money? China-Family-Adventure.com is not a store or a travel agency. We make money in several ways:
- With advertisements: You probably have seen the "ads by Google" throughout our pages. We make money when our visitors click on those links. Our advertisers love it because it sends them qualified leads.
- With affiliate sales: Throughout our pages you will find links to products such as travel guides, travel tours, children's crafts, and Chinese cultural products. The links bring our visitors to the vendors' sites. We make a small commission from their sales. We do not carry inventory or worry about shipping, we do not arrange for reservations or bookings. The vendors do.
My web site works 24/7, whether I'm at home, meeting friends, whale watching or working in my garden. It doesn't get any better than that.
China Family Adventure is short of a year old as I write this. I am so encouraged by the results and the fact that it continues to grow. I am encouraged by what other SBIers, people just like you and me, have been able to achieve with their sites:
"If you'd told me 12 months ago that a couple of ex knitwear designers with very little experience of the web would now be running a successful web based villa rental company I'd have found it hard to believe.
If you then tried to convince me that their plans are now to run it from a poolside, looking out over the Tuscan hillside, sipping on a cocktail, I'd probably think the Tuscan sun had got to you!"
~ Fiona McCardle/Jim Andrew
"What can I say? Life has never been better. Freedom is something that can't be paid for. It's not that I work less, I probably work more than I ever did, but I do it on my own terms. It doesn't feel like work at all. I am confident that I will never have to work for others again unless I want to!"
~ B. Bradtke
SBI has certainly exceeded my expectations of building just a web site. I now have a business that I'm happy to get up in the mornings for, that doesn't take me away from my family, that I can work on my spare time from anywhere in the world and that pays for my travels!
You can do it too whether it is some extra income to fund your travels, college expenses, quit your day job, or anything else you want in life... It can be done.
It really is possible to turn any hobby, skill or passion into a profitable online business. I did, and so can you!
"The biggest mistake people make in life is NOT making a living at doing what they most enjoy." - Malcolm S. Forbes
So this is our story. We will keep bringing you more content as our journey continues, and I just know, the best is yet to come!
You can learn more about how SBI works and how it helped us build our website. It's well worth the effort.
Six years on... here's an update
Amazing how time flies... It's been five years since I first wrote this page and much has changed in the online world, social and
mobile platforms are just two examples.
On a personal level, I feel even more convinced now than I was when I first set out on this journey,
this really can be done, the effort does pay off. Our original site, China Family Adventure is thriving and has been a source of so much joy and so many fantastic opportunities.
We have started a couple of new sites which are also showing good promise.
One is a spin-off of this site, www.hong-kong-traveller.com, drawing from
our experience with China Family Adventure, the second time around was much much easier!
Our newer site is actually from our second home in Florida, www.MiamiScapes.com,
where we are looking forward to discovering and promoting two other passions of ours: the richness of the Everglades and the underwater reefs of the Florida Keys.
The journey continues, I'm looking forward to what's to come!
Here's to travel, adventure, new cultures,
new flavors, and lasting friendships...
All the best,
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