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Sojourn touches the heart of a blind man

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

09:11, May 25, 2012

Cao Shengkang poses in front of a temple during his recent tour of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Provided to China Daily

Cao Shengkang is perhaps China's first blind backpacker to have traveled abroad alone.

The 35-year-old, always seen with his sunglasses and walking stick, has just completed his 19-day tour of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

"Although I can't see, I am able to visualize the beautiful sceneries based on the descriptions of others around me. I'm also able to enjoy the food and drinks. I really had fun," says Cao, who lost his eyesight in a car accident when he was 8.

Like many blind people in China, Cao learned massage to make a living. The Anhui province native moved to Beijing in 2001. Within six years, he opened his own massage stores, earning a monthly income of nearly 10,000 yuan ($1,580).

Despite the handsome returns, Cao shut down his massage stores in Beijing in 2011 for the love of traveling and went to Sanya, Hainan province, to learn how to sail. He had hoped to sail around the world. But the travel enthusiast had to give up the idea because of his visual disability, and after finding out how expensive and unrealistic it is for him.

"I was easily hurt because I couldn't see. I decided to explore do-it-yourself tourism, because it's cheaper and I have more freedom," he says. He decided to tour the few Southeast Asian countries first because of their proximity to China and the lower cost. He spent about 4,000 yuan on his tour.

But it wasn't all smooth. Cao initially had a traveling partner, but they parted ways because of disagreements.

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