Download link: Jing Theory Guide to Shanghai (Under “Share”, click ‘Download’. Issuu will prompt you to log in, and once you do so the download starts automatically)
Map: Companion Google Map for Jing Theory Guide to Shanghai (You can turn on or off layers for different categories like Eat, Drink, Sleep, etc.)
Travel has always been the one constant in my life. Before I was old enough to grasp the changes, I was moving regularly with my parents to far flung places. I’ve lived in big cities, countrysides and gridded suburbs. I was thrown into complex cultural and social structures that I couldn’t fully grasp at my young age but embodied viscerally. This routine came not without its own challenges and exasperations, but back then I really thought my experiences were normal.
Since then, I’ve come to rediscover travel on my own. Perhaps an act of rebellion towards being repeatedly uprooted growing up, I somehow cannot stop moving. I’ve evolved to travel differently. I always opt to live with locals when I can; in Nepal I ate nothing but dhal bhat three times a day for three months. In Western Sichuan I was lucky to be invited to a traditional Tibetan wedding after befriending a family of herdsmen in the grasslands. I am blessed with equally curious and intrepid friends in cities around the world.
In the age of social travel, it is easier than ever to lock into a network and truly incarnate the essence of a city. In some places this is not as easy, where you need to rely on excellent tomes like Bradt and Insight, and on the kindness of strangers. Earlier this year, several days spent in the arid desert of the former Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict zone illustrate this well. The Danakil Depression is the hottest and most inhospitable place on earth, where your survival rests on your driver, his beat-up Toyota pickup, guards strapped with antique Beretta submachine guns, and local tribesmen.
I’ve lived in Shanghai for about two years now, which is among the longest I’ve lived anywhere. For now it has become home; a city of 14 million souls where I take comfort in feeling singular, but also the ability to disappear into a sea of faces like my own. Shanghai is a delirious city, manically developing and demolishing, constantly alluding to but never revealing the substance beneath the rubble. But somehow a bike ride down tree-lined Wukang Lu in late summer can always restore the ecstasy of living.
I’ve long wanted to produce a reference to things I love about Shanghai. The JINGTHEORY Guide to Shanghai is a curated archive of my tastes, manifested in eclectic places, activities and things. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a current snapshot of my interests and preoccupations. It is above all for lovers of food, art, design and architecture; a glimpse into one person’s view of Shanghai.
You can view it across devices and platforms and download the pdf on Issuu. For now it is just digital, but will be available in a pocked-sized print format very soon. If you are interested in receiving a hard copy, let me know.
Link here: Jingtheory Guide to Shanghai on Issuu