Xu Zhengguo at a bus stop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Jan 27. [Photo/China Daily]
For Xu Zhengguo, an electronics entrepreneur, the journey home for Spring Festival this year has been different.
Xu, 27, chose to take 48 buses to travel the 660 km from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province to his hometown of Linyi in Shandong province, setting off at 10 am on Jan 27 and arriving home at about 4 pm on Feb 2.
As well as the 48 buses, he used a ferry, a free lift and spent several kilometers walking, traveling through 10 cities to complete the journey.
The bus tickets cost him about 140 yuan ($23).
After leaving Hangzhou, he traveled through Jiaxing in Zhejiang, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, Huai'an and Xuzhou in Jiangsu province before arriving in Linyin.
"It was an adventure to fight the weakness in my personality. I am not a determined person, and I didn't want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance," Xu said, suggesting that everyone should take an adventure at least once in their lives.
In early December, he came up with the idea of traveling home for Spring Festival by bus, inspired by adventure travel stories on the Internet, such as driving to the Tibet autonomous region and taking long-distance cycle trips.
Xu believes that anyone with passion can achieve success in their career and life.
He bought a travel guidebook, spent a week making a detailed plan, packed a few clothes and books in a backpack and began his adventure.
The journey offered Xu a closer look at pollution, with vehicles clogging the route between Jiaxing and Wuxi.
"The air was filled with vehicle exhaust fumes, and the leaves of plants along the road were turning dark. I could feel the environmental problems on the road," he said.
That evening, Xu asked in his travel log, "If we continue to build industries to gain profits regardless of environmental problems, how many years shall we survive?"
But Xu was impressed by his first visit to the flourishing town of Shengze, near Hangzhou. "At about 8 pm, the town was still busy. While most other towns are quiet in the evening, the street lamps and signs were on in Shengze, as they are in a metropolis. People at the restaurant told me this town is called the ‘little Shanghai'," Xu said, adding that without making this trip, he may never have come across the town.
But as he traveled between two towns in Zhenjiang, no bus was available, forcing him to walk nearly 20 km to reach a bus stop. He became tired, and tried to hitch a lift but for nearly 30 minutes no vehicle stopped.
However, when a truck did stop and the driver offered him a free ride, Xu grew nervous. "I was afraid he was a bad guy — a freeway killer or something."
He had previously traveled alone, in Xi'an in Shaanxi province, and Xiamen in Fujian province. "This time was different. The journey was more important than the destinations. I had to adjust plans instantly," he said.
Xu planned to spend 10 days on the road, but arrived home in seven.
On reaching home on Feb 2, he was excited. "I go home once a year, but this time when I saw my parents I was more thrilled than ever," he said. However, he will keep some details of his trip a secret, to avoid them worrying.
He traveled across the Yangtze River by ferry, experiencing the differences between the southern and northern banks. "Locals spoke in different dialects, and I saw the cultural differences," he said.