Across China: The never-ending road trip of one Chinese family

2015-10-25 09:50:00 | From:

While most parents are fussing about extra-curricular classes to broaden their children's horizons, one couple have chosen to take their daughter around the world in a motorhome.

When Xinhua reporters came across Ma Hui and Xu Guangda in Kashgar Old Town in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region late one night in September, they were preparing to go to bed in their customized station wagon, while their four-year-old daughter Nuo Nuo played outside with some local Uygur kids.

Nuo Nuo has traveled over 40,000 km in the motorhome. Cheerful and outgoing, she is quick to make new friends wherever she goes. "Even the best education is no substitute for travelling, experiencing nature and increasing your first-hand knowledge," said Xu.

Xu and Ma who had stable government jobs before they decided to quit three years ago. They sold everything, bought the station wagon and started seeing the world in 2013. Their motorhome is clean and well-equipped. They can cook, wash up, sleep and even take a shower in it.

They planned to spend eight months in traveling each year, for the other four months they would choose a place to stay and let Nuo Nuo take some classes in piano, drawing and dancing.

They take photos and share their fantastic experiences via the Internet, welcoming friends to join them on their trips. "Our vehicle can accommodate four adults and two children so that we can only really invite two people at a time to join us." Ma wrote online.

The decision to travel around the world was no momentary impulse. They had made up their mind to trade their average wages and ordinary nine-to-five life for the freedom of the highway three years before their resignation. They opened an online shop on selling women's dresses and children's clothes, and developed an app to help new parents teach their children nursery rhymes.

Chinese people are experimenting with what are, for them, new ways to travel during their holidays. Rather than joining a traditional package tour, an increasing number of people are going places under their own steam. Many have bought motorhomes and caravans, but very few have the courage or opportunity just to quit their job and hit the road like Ma and Xu.

"You have to have some courage to change your life," Ma said. "Having a house, a car and decent jobs sounds good, but imagine what your life will be like in decades to come. To realize our dreams, we were willing to give up all we had."

They first went abroad in January of this year and so far they had been to 40 cities in Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. In September, they drove to Xinjiang and went to Tibet via the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, known as the Heavenly Highway because its average altitude is above 4,500 meters.

Ma bought a national flag for Nuo Nuo and when she makes new friends, she invites them to sign their names on it. "Now, Nuo Nuo has friends from across China including Tibet and Xinjiang, and some from Southeast Asian countries," Ma told Xinhua.

"We meet different people, enjoy their smiles and learn their stories," Ma said. "When we are on the way, we find that those permanent assets and daily hassles which we used to worry about so much are unnecessary and insignificant."

The family is having a break from the traveling life in east China's Suzhou City at present.

Next stop? France, Ma said.

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