Last month I sent out a reminder to readers who might be interested to apply for WildChina's $3,000 Explorer Grant. After writing about it, I thought to myself, why don't I give it a shot? So I put my application together and sent it in. Now, mine along with the 17 other travelers who are vying for the prize can be viewed in the next month on WildChina's blog (view here English and Chinese).
The competition is steep. There are a lot of great ideas out there and I'll have to go through and make a list of them. Many folks are planning extended travel that will take them far away from China's urban centers though one traveler plans to visit China's newest city on an island in the South China Sea.
My trip, titled "Following Stein to Khotan" was inspired by last May's visit to Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves. I found it so interesting that the incredible Buddhist art had not only survived thousands of years in the desert, but managed not to be cut from the walls wholesale by foreign archeologists like so many other ancient Buddhist artifacts along the Silk Road. Sir Aurel Stein was the first visitor from the West to "discover" the Mogao Caves but his many explorations took him all along the ancient trade routes to many other lost cities. After visiting Dunhuang, I thought it would be fascinating to see the other places he excavated and explore the modern China that is now layered on the ancient past.
You can see the blog about my proposed trip at WildChina.com. They'll be posting blogs from the other participants throughout the month so check back often to see what other explorers are proposing. (And thanks in advance for viewing my Youtube video and liking!) The more views and likes on our videos we get, the better our chances for winning.