This is by far the most bizarre travel story I've read. In 1986, two twentysomething Ivy-League graduatewomen bit off more than they could chew, ran off to a China newly open to the West, and lived to tell the tale. The descriptions of culture shock are heartfelt, and the moments of sheer panic made my heart pound. I cannot fathom going through an experience like this and then willingly getting on a plane again 3 weeks later. Then again, after this experience, any trip must seem like a walk in the park!When the journey comes to a close, Gilman summarizes perfectly the feeling of coming home, knowing so much more about the world and feeling so disconnected, out of place in her former day-to-day life, longing to share the experience with friends but knowing that it is essentially indescribable.