BEIJING, Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Bei Shi, born in 1988 and now founder, owner and manager of the "We Media" blog WeWalk, has, to date, traveled through 34 countries. The under-30 self-made travel writer plans to continue his journey by walking through North and South America, and completing the journal by finally setting foot on the South Pole in 2016. He wrote on his microblog that "There is no must-see scenic spot in the world as important as the South Pole. I am willing to spend the rest of my life with the goal of visiting that hard to reach final destination."
Bei Shi's travel has aroused the attention of Chinese media. China Youth Daily recently had an exclusive interview with the travel writer during which he shared some of the tales of his journeys with the newspaper's reporter. Bei Shi said: "I want to witness the youthful spirit of the world and to share the story of what it means to grow up as a young person in China today. I also would like to thank the journalists who have found a way to sum up my experience with just two keywords: humility and confidence, I think these are the qualities all young people should have. There should be no limit to the exploration of the world. Besides, the exploration of one's self is a life-long task that every person should undertake. I want to spend more time on the road so I can explore the world and, at the same time, continue to build myself into a humbler, more confident and energetic person."
Setting off on July 2, 2014, the original intention of the journey was to walk through every country that lies along the 30th parallel north. However, one year later, although this plan provided the opportunity to visit many fascinating countries, it wasn't enough to satisfy this young man's yearning for travel. He decided on a travel plan that included Antarctica and Oceania.
When asked about his most significant change as a result of the travel, Bei Shi earnestly explained: "Travel makes me feel more confident in myself. This is the most significant change. I could hardly speak a word of English when I quit my last job. I had never even once been abroad. I have now won the recognition of major media organizations through my constant exploring, writing of articles and shooting of videos as I travel. I am going to publish my own book at the end of the year. The travel has allowed me to realize that I have the potential to handle such a challenge. This will give me a leg up when I am dealing with other challenges later in life."
Iran: a love for life and a sense of hospitality that is overlooked by the rest of the world
Persian civilization has been around and constantly evolving for nearly two thousand years, and this cultural heritage is the foundation of what is today's Iran. Iran is also a country strongly influenced by the Muslim religion. To Bei Shi, an ordinary person from China, Iran seems uniquely exotic. However, these are merely the initial factors that touched Bei Shi's heart. What made Iran truly an unforgettable experience for Bei Shi are the Iranian people's love for life and their extraordinary kindness.
For Bei Shi Iran is a country filled with warm-hearted people. "One host in Tehran slept in the sitting room and let me sleep in the master bedroom so I could recover from a cold I had caught; a female student in Rasht threw a dinner party for me in her home and invited a group of friends to come over so I could experience the happiness the Iranian people derive from this simple pleasure; a young wine lover drove me to a small village 70 kilometers away just to have me taste some Shirazi wine produced by an underground vineyard, a once-famous vintage no longer publicly available as, in Iran, the consumption of any alcohol is banned; a 26-year old young man from Isfahan escorted me to the city's many scenic spots and helped me with my visa renewal; an innkeeper in Yazd was fascinated with Chinese food and couldn't stop talking with me about it, and also told repeatedly about all the famous scenic spots that I had to visit before leaving his country."
Iran is a country that has been stereotyped, labeled and misunderstood by the rest of the world. Bei Shi has led a lot of people to take another look at the fascinating country. People need to go there personally to experience its charm.
Tibet: A comfortable home for two generations
Tibet was the first leg of Bei Shi's voyage along the 30th parallel. When he arrived in the town of Linzhi, the innkeeper and his mother's story kept Bei Shi there longer than he had planned.
The inn, with the odd name of "Clumsy Man" (Zhuoxingzhe), was run by a still relatively young man surnamed Ding, born in 1987. After graduating from the Communication University of China (CUC) as an advertising design major, the young innkeeper originally took a job as an advertisement designer in Beijing. At first he wanted to buy a home with a courtyard in Tibet where his mother could spend her elderly years, but, instead, they created an inn with a cultural and artistic temperament in the process of renovation. Bei Shi prefered to call it "a lodging" rather than "an inn". This was perhaps because: "Profit-making is not the primary purpose of the inn. The innkeepers told the world through their own actions and passion that how they have dreams and poems in their humble lives."
The innkeeper's mother, whom they called Auntie Xue, came to Tibet when she was only 24 years old. She was a cadre sent to help Tibet. She is 53 years old now. When speaking about her son's decision to stay on in Tibet, she quipped, "I have donated my younger years to Tibet's development and now I donate my offspring."
Three years ago Auntie Xue left Tibet to try a different life, but in the end she found the 28 years of living in Tibet was something hard to let go of, and that only Tibet could give her a sense of belonging. So she chose this holy land as the place where she wants to live out final years.
Afghanistan: the beauty of a country obscured by war
Bei Shi said: "Travel is meant not only to glimpse the beauty and the wonders of the world, but also its scars and pain." When standing In front of the ruins of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, he felt acute pain when he set eyes on the destroyed heritage of human civilization. The historical glory and the destruction that followed are both embodied on the one site and only when we are presented with such a scene, can we see the insignificance of our own joys and sorrows in comparison. Travels bring us sense of humility, doesn't it?"
In this Year of the Horse, Bei Shi has already been on the road for 218 days, walked through 13 countries and spent more than 50,000 yuan (around $US 7,500). By managing his blog and publishing his writings, he is able to cover most of his travel expenses. As for recent graduates, Bei Shi warns that a similar journey could well be an irresponsible decision if they do not have any savings and rely on their parents to foot the travel bill. Recently, there was an amusing comment on Zhihu.com: "If you don't read books, travelling far or near makes no difference and the best you can achieve would be to become a postman even though you may have traveled 10,000 miles." This sentence was a humorous way of saying that accumulated knowledge and experience is a precondition to meaningful travel. These days a college student could read as many as 10,000 books, so even 1,000 books is nothing to be proud of. How can someone who may have travelled 10,000 miles get a deeper understanding of life if there has been no accumulation of life experience?
There is never any moment when one can say that they have finished exploring the world, and the exploration of one's inner being is a life-long task for Bei Shi and for every sentient being.