Published on October 15, 2012 19:15
Fan, who works for an e-business company in Beijing, loves hiking. On July 8, he told his family that he planned to go on a hiking excursion. To Fan’s surprise, his handicapped mother spoke up and said that she wanted to accompany him to Yunnan, telling him that visiting Xishuangbanna had always been her dream.
Kou Minjun, Fan’s mother, suffered from polio when she was a child. She has always wanted to visit Xishuangbanna, which boasts China’s only tropical nature park, but because of her mobility issues, she never told anyone about her wish.
After learning of this secret dream, Fan agreed to bring his mother to her dreamland. Although other family members were against such a risky trip, Fan insisted and began making preparations, packing a tent and some necessities.
On July 11, Fan set out, pushing his mother in her wheelchair. Their pet dog Butterfly also came along with them, accompanying them for the whole journey.
A distance of 3,359 kilometers is not a short hike, and Fan calculated that they would reach their destination within 3 months. The journey was full of hardships, and because of the woman’s physical disability, some parts were especially difficult. The weight of the luggage and his mother together was about 150 kilograms.
Fan said that some hills were so difficult to scale that he’d have to stop and rest several times along the way. They got lost a few times, and tried to pinch pennies on accommodations whenever possible. Friends and family called often to try to persuade them to give up on walking and take a plane or train instead. But they insisted on continuing their journey as planned.
“It was not toilsome, and the journey was really pleasant,” Fan Meng said. “Whenever I saw the excitement in my mother’s eyes, I felt that every moment was worth it.” He added, “We have made many kind friends, and they really helped us a lot.”
Fan shared their journey through microblogs. Whenever they arrived at a new place, he would use his phone to post their location with some pictures and text. His story attracted hundreds of netizens. Many people were moved by Fan’s tale and praised his filial piety. One blogger called Fan Meng the “Chinese Forrest Gump,” and said Fan is even greater than Gump because he walked with his handicapped mother.
After entering Yunnan Province, many volunteers and members of the media joined Fan and his mother, accompanying them on the last leg of their journey.
On October 12, Fan and Kou finally arrived in Xishuangbanna after three months of walking and were warmly welcomed by locals. Kou said she was very moved by this.
“I used to think that my dream wouldn’t be realized because of my polio,” she said. “Now I know that we can achieve our dreams with confidence and courage.”
Fan added that it was not only a journey of bodies, but also a journey of souls.
Yanzhao Metropolis Daily