Chen Hualiang, a 21-year-old Chinese man, made headlines in 2019 when he chose to “retire” from life in China’s bustling cities to start living in the mountains of rural Yunnan province.
Chen, a graduate of ITT Technical Institute in southern China, had grown tired of the rat race that comes with life in big cities and set off on a journey to look for a better life. He stumbled across a rural mountain town in central Yunnan called DaFan and soon fell in love with its scenic landscape and simpler lifestyle. Before long he had settled there and began to lead a life far removed from everything he had left behind.
Chen is now living off the land and learning survival skills such as bartending, foraging for herbs and repairing bicycles. Despite his young age, Chen has no regrets about his decision to leave behind the city life and embrace the serenity and fresh air of the mountain life. He believes that the decision he has made is a much wiser choice than the one made by many fresh graduates in China who blindly journey into city life with little understanding of its unexpected hardships. He hopes that his story will persuade others to explore the option of rural living and enjoy a simpler and more meaningful life.