Every 1-2 years, Laini and I embark on a GGA, a Great Girl Adventure. This is basically, also, the only time I’m ever allowed to take photos of her, so prepare yourself! 🙂

The travel and tourism market in China is insanely hot right now, with quite a lot of people not able to travel outside the country. Also, as we prepared to visit Shangri-La, Lijiang closed down due to a few cases of COVID so we rerouted to the InterContinental Wonderland. This hotel was one of our projects while I was working at IHG, an incredible experience built on an abandoned quarry.

Emily Chang | The Spare Room | GGA | Laini in Wonderland
One side of our room faces the waterfall, the other side is built into the quarry.

Some rooms are underwater, as is Mr. Fisher, a beautiful restaurant on the lowest level, with a world-class view.

Emily Chang | The Spare Room | GGA | with Laini in restaurant

It was so hot out, we didn’t actually do anything adventurous.

Instead, during our Great Girl Adventure…

We stayed on hotel grounds. We watched movies, ordered room service, and shared a bed (though she did build a pillow wall between us – no hard feelings). And we enjoyed the evening light show,

Emily Chang | The Spare Room | GGA | with Laini in Wonderland outside

and practiced taking great photos – here’s one of my favorites that Laini took.

InterContinental Wonderland

The point is, we don’t have to do much to enjoy a memorable adventure. Did I have moments, when I thought to myself, “We should be doing more,” or “HOW much did I pay for this room night?!” Yes, yes I did.

But then I reminded myself that memories are often made in the stillness.

Later, when mom’s back in the hectic schedule of work, Laini might remember us lying on that bed, watching movies and ordering ridiculously overpriced mashed potatoes.

And hopefully, she feels cherished. Sure, we have our weekly routines together. But these family traditions are extra special to me. Do you have any with your kids?