Saturday February 16, 2013
A most inspiring journey
MADE IN CHINA BY CHOW HOW BAN
A YOUNG man’s peculiar journey home for Chinese New Year has inspired the people in China to make trips of their own more meaningful.
Xu Zhengguo, 27, from Shandong province, took 35 buses, travelling 660km from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province back to his hometown in Linyi.
He set off at 10am on Jan 27 and arrived home at about 4pm on Feb 2.
Xu spent about 140 yuan (RM68.60) on bus tickets and another 400 yuan (RM196) on accommodation.
Apart from taking the bus, he also travelled by ferry, hitch-hiked and walked several kilometres to reach his destination.
It took a week for Xu to plan his journey spanning cities like Jiaxing in Zhejiang and Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, Huai’an and Xuzhou in Jiangsu province.
He chronicled his trip in his microblog by posting a map and diary of his journey.
He said that at the beginning, his journey was smooth sailing as the public transport system in southern China was developed and many villages and towns were connected with each other.
However, he said that after passing the Yangtze River, he had to walk quite a distance as the bus services were infrequent and not well connected.
“On the fourth day, one would need to walk eight kilometres at the border area from Danyang to Zhenjiang. As it was already night time, I decided to hitch a ride. After waving at several passing vehicles, finally a truck driver offered me a free ride.
“Initially, I feared for my safety but after chatting with the driver, I found that he was a very kind person,” he said in his microblog.
Xu said that he learned to be considerate of others throughout his memorable trip.
In order to avoid any unforeseen circumstances, he brought along a travel guidebook.
His trip was planned for 10 days but he finished it within a week.
In early December, he came up with the idea of having a different travelling experience from his previous trips back home for Chinese New Year after he was inspired by adventure travel stories on the Internet.
“For me, this was an adventure to fight the weaknesses in my personality. I am not a determined person. I did not want to miss this once-in-a-life-time chance,” China Daily quoted Xu as saying.
Xu had previously travelled alone around Xi’an in Shaanxi province and Xiamen in Fujian province.
“This time was different. The journey itself was more important than the destination and I had to adjust my plan as it went,” he said.
He was also pleased to get to know more about the flourishing small town of Shengze near Hangzhou.
He was impressed by the fact that the town which was touted as the “little Shanghai” was still well lit up even at night.
“I go home once a year, but this time when I saw my parents I was more thrilled than ever,” he added.
Xu, who is managing an e-commerce business with friends after graduating from college, believes that what he had experienced from the trip would drive him to entrepreneurial success.
Chinese Netizens followed Xu’s journey and stories closely and nicknamed Xu “brother of buses”.
A Netizen by the moniker “Bei Si Te Yue” said Xu was adding life to his journey and giving what seemed to be the normal journey home for the lunar new year a new meaning.
Others praised Xu for taking the extra mile to experience different cultures and things, saying that such kind of adventure brings back youthful memories.