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Chinese young adults take to traveling

By Liao Danlin (Global Times)

09:57, September 05, 2012


Beijing Youth, a TV drama aired on Beijing TV, has generated controversy since its premiere. The show begins with protagonist He Dong quitting his job as a civil servant and leaving his girlfriend behind in order to fully live out his youth.

In the show, He's journey is joined by a number of cousins and friends. In real life, he has also gained a following of young adults.

"Ever youthful, ever weeping." Jack Kerouac's words in On the Road continue to influence and inspire a young generation today.

Alongside the popular TV series, some are choosing to embark on the same adventurous path as He Dong.

Searching for meaning

An online social networking forum, titled "resign to travel," has 130,000 members, all interested in full-time traveling or taking a gap year. The online community has about 100 new posts every day, all sharing their experiences in traveling and volunteering.

Chen Xianghong, 29, is one of the members.

"I have always been a good child," he said. As a student he listened to the teachers, and as an employee he listened to his bosses.

In his 30s, he realized that he wanted to pursue a life with more freedom. He did not expect anything to materialize from the trip.

"To travel and to get somewhere was all I wanted to do. As long as I made it there, I fulfilled a dream. The rest was a plus," said Chen.

Chen traveled for about 11 months and stopped twice to earn some cash. He said his case is not representative of everyone's plight. His expectations for jobs were not as high as others, making it easier for him to find work.

"I worked in restaurants and construction sites. Others would not take these types of jobs," he said.

Chen also said that some people he met while traveling just wanted to escape from pressure.

"Most of them go back to their old job again, after traveling," said Chen.

Huang Hui, 26, had a different experience. She said her reason for traveling was to escape from a job she disliked and further problems she had. Three months after returning, she realized that nothing had changed.

"Traveling didn't solve any problems," said Huang.

However, she told the Global Times that while she was in the Tibet Autonomous Region, she realized the power of belief and happiness.

"My trip was to search for happiness, which I found there."

Although it was not easy to apply what she learned to real life events, she gradually found a way to solve her problems. It took another three months for her to find a more suitable and satisfying job.

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