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Walking down a dream
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By Chris Higginbotham

China.org.cn staff reporter

Huang Wei just felt like walking.

He walked away from his job in China's forest service. He walked away from a profitable landscaping business. Then he walked away from Beijing, across the country, and on to Tibet.

"I liked my job, but I didn't work well with my colleagues," he said through a translator. "Now I have freedom and that gives me satisfaction."

Huang, 41, has been walking for sport for 10 years now. It started as an infatuation with hiking small mountains for fun and exercise. Now it's an unbridled passion that motivated him to quit his job, start a hiking club and walk 4,300 km across China.

He runs the club out of his house in the Huairou District of Beijing. His eyes smile behind his round glasses as he thinks back to February 2008, when the club started out on its first hike.

"We met at Tiananmen Square and our friends came to see us off," he said. "It was supposed to be 14 of us, but not everyone showed up. Five people quit on the first day."

They hadn't even taken a step yet.

"This weighed on me because now the nine of us had more responsibilities." He points to his head. "At that point, it's all mental; it's all about your personality."


The group marching along the road in a single-file line. The white banner was the logo for the march. As the group met people along the way, they invited them to sign the yellow banner. 

Huang was the leader, so he had to put on a happy face that belied his disappointment. He says there was no excitement for him that day.

They started off down Chang'an Road – nine hikers in a single-file line. They carried a flag with their logo, a banner with five vertical color bands and a hiker silhouetted on each. It reads, "Walk from Beijing to Tibet on the Five-Color Road."

Journalists often followed the group. Here a video team interviews Huang. 

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