Cao Hongwei skating
Chinese young generation is getting restless. Instead of leading their life like most of their parent do, they choose to hit the road. They volunteer in youth hostel in exchange for free accommodation while traveling; Many college graduates volunteer abroad in their gap-year; Outdoor activity club is the most popular in university and activity to adventure in uninhabited regions is cool. In the summer of 2009, two Beijing young men,Gu Yue and Liu Chang, got in the spotlight as they successfully hitch-hiked all the way from China to Berlin, German. Now they are literally the idols of many Chinese backpackers. Their trip was captured and made into a documentary. But there are more less known but equally great travel stories going on. Cao Hongwei, a 30-year-old from KaiFeng, Henan province, is dedicated to undertake the feat of roller skating around the whole China.
With a pair of in-line roller skate and a book of maps, Cao set off for his "Dream Trip"- roller skating around China. From 4th Oct, 2010, He already roller skated across 7 provinces : Henan, Shaanxi, Gan Su, Hu Bei, Jiang xi and An hui, that’s more than 5,000 km. But that’s only the one third of his "Dream Trip". Cao has divided the whole journey in 3 phases and plans to finish the journey through the whole China in 3 years. From February this year, he’s on the road of his second phase and now he skates an average of 18 hours every day.
Cao Hongwei arrived at Xi’an
Cao was a farmer back home. He was introduced to roller skating in 2006 and was fascinated with the sport ever since. He picked up speeding skating soon and later he come up with this project of roller skating around China to challenge himself.
The roller-skater has a limited budge. To save money, mostly he have bread and instant noodles as his 3 meals. Camp out in Summer and stay in the cheapest hotel in the cold winter, which usually only cost him 10 or 20 yuan for a night. Also, he never call home except sending message to his families. His average expenditure is 20 yuan per day. In the Spring Festival, Cao had a bowl of noodles in a small restaurant in Guilian as his dinner.
On his way to Kun Ming, He took the risk and skated along the highway because another road is too muddy and bumpy for roller skating. But soon he was stopped by the traffic police after 15 km’s skating and had to walk more than 10 km to Kun Ming.
But the difficulty he had met is far more than that. In Inner Mongolia, he was caught up in a sand storm;When climbing over the Chilien mountain alone in 3 days, he couldn’t have any food but water to support himself; In Qinghai, he suffered the altitude stress and had problem in breathing but he pull through eventually. When asked if he ever thought of giving up when faced with the torture of both your body and mind, Cao said, "At the time I was physically weak, but my will is still strong. I’ve already crossed 20,000 km, climbed over Shudao, Qinling Mount. and the Bashan Mountain.Really, there’s no reason for fear anymore. "
In spit of all the difficulties, Cao found the trip especially rewarding, as he can meet so many different people, enjoy the extraordinarily beautiful scenery and taste the local snacks along the way. Cao also expressed his gratitude to all those people, especially the roller skating enthusiasts, who are so kind to lend him a hand along the journey. Cao has a notebook in which he collects seals from the local tourism bureau of every city he reaches. Now he already collected hundreds of seals and moreover, words of encourage and blessing written by the people he met. Cao treasured this notebook so much that he refused the offer of a sponsorship because the latter required that Cao hands out the notebook after the journey.
Journey like this requires enormous fortitude,courage and most importantly, enough confidence to believe in oneself. Way to go, Cao!