XISHUANGBANNA, Yunnan, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- A young man who recently completed a 100-day journey pushing his wheelchair-bound mother to the holiday destination of her dreams has been lauded online.
Fan Meng, 26, travelled on foot with Kou Minjun all the way from Beijing to Xishuangbanna, in southwest China's Yunnan Province. Upon arrival on Thursday, they were warmly welcomed by local residents' ethnic dances and songs.
The 3,500-km slog allowed Kou, who suffered infantile paralysis and has not left Beijing for many years, to realize a long-held ambition of visiting the beautiful Xishuangbanna.
Along the way, Fan kept a blog, which was avidly followed by netizens.
Fan's mother got divorced 10 years ago. She has since been living with her only son, relying on a combination of government subsidies and the aid of relatives to get by.
Kou said she knew Xishuangbanna through TV programs and newspapers, but added, "Without my son, I was afraid I would never have made it here."
Yet life has not been easy for her son either. Fan's girlfriend abandoned him prior to his journey. He changed several jobs over the past six years and was not satisfied with his latest post, as a salesperson for am electronics firm.
"In the face of so much pressure in my life, I had always wanted to find a way to relax myself and have some space and time to think on my own," said Fan.
He originally planned to walk to the vast grasslands in north China's Inner Mongolia. Knowing her son's idea, Kou agreed to the joint tour but said she wanted to go to Xishuangbanna instead. On July 8, he decided to walk with his mother and his dog, "Butterfly", to Xishuangbanna.
Fan submitted his resignation to his company the next day and began preparing for the journey.
"It looks like a great and courageous thing. But it was just a special decision I made at a special time," he said.
Early in the morning on July 11, mother, son and canine companion left their home in Chaoyang District of Beijing and started their long journey.
"After a whole day's walk, We had not even left Beijing," remembered Fan. He said he felt a little upset at the slow progress. Blisters started to appear on his left foot on the second day, which Fan responded to by wearing more stockings, at the suggestion of followers of his blog.
The pair followed highways through the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan. To sleep, they bunked down in their own tent or at cheap hotels. Warm-hearted locals invited them for meals or offered free hotel stays.
On one particularly sweltering day, while they rested in their tent under a tree near a highway in Hebei, a local woman cooked mung bean soup for the walkers to prevent heatstroke.
"They did now know me. I was really moved by this unspeakable warmth," said Fan. "People's help gave us strength and confidence to continue our journey. Whether giving us a bottle of water or providing meals, these actions showed us the way or gave us encouraging gestures."
Fan carried a knife with him to counter robbers, but only encountered kind people along the way. The trip cost him about 8,000 yuan (about 1,270 U.S. dollars).
"I feel my son has become more mature along the journey," said Kou.
Fan's story drew applause in cyberspace. In today's pressured times, many busy young people are spending less and less time with the parents.
"You are very great! I told my mother I would accompany her on a tour when I made some money. What I never expected was that she would leave me for ever before I graduated from university," a netizen named "Shayida" posted. "I would have had no regrets if I had been as courageous as you!"
Fan and Kou plan to see other places in Yunnan. He said he wants his mother to fly back to Beijing while he would hitch hike with Butterfly.