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Couple's road-trip romance makes a moving book

By Yang Yang (China Daily)

08:48, October 22, 2012

After a motorbike trip to Tibet tested their love, the newly married couple took a 26,000-kilometer journey across 15 countries from Shanghai to Hamburg, Germany. Provided to China Daily

A Chinese girl, who dreams of wild adventures around the world and shuns a stable career and her family's wishes, is suddenly swept off her feet by a handsome foreign traveler who rides into town one day on his trusty steed. As romances go, Tang Jia and Thomas Keunecke's started with plenty of drama.

It all started five years ago when 23-year-old Tang was studying English.

Born into a well-off family in Changsha, Hunan province, Tang's childhood aspiration was to become "an iron lady" and manage a big company. At university, she chose tourism management, and worked as a guide during summer vacations, visiting many well-known attractions around China.

To improve her language ability, in early 2007, Tang went to Yangshuo county, in the famous scenic area around Guilin in South China, where there are many language schools.

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Keunecke had sold his music business back in Germany and was touring China by motorbike. Keunecke's love for motorbikes was in his blood. His great grandmother was Poland's first woman motorcycle racer.

In February 2007, he rode into Yangshuo and into Tang's life.

Keunecke had heard that the language school offered free board and lodging to foreign travelers in exchange for them talking to students for an hour each day. So he thought he would take some time to recharge before the next long leg to Tibet.

When he passed by a board displaying the school's staff portraits, he was particularly taken by the one of Tang. Soon he invited her to go for a quick scenic tour on his motorbike.

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