Preparing for Travel as if for War

来源:有人杂志   作者:E梦飞扬(笔名)   2015.04.29 17:17  浏览720
摘要:Some people think of me as an incredible traveler performing some kind of miracle. But the truth of the matter is different from what they assume. The only reason that I am able to travel successfully is that I prepare for travel with determination and plan as if when preparing for war, because I know that that way I can avoid difficulties in my personal "long march" and I cannot afford to take risks! I believe that heaven helps those who help themselves, and people also help those who help themselves.

Journey to the West produced by Wu Cheng’en is very popular, whereas Fantastic Travel written by Qu Jing, a woman from Qinhuangdao in China, is relatively unknown.

I am that woman. I have been suffering from progressive muscular dystrophy, a rare disease, since I was a child. This disease only attacks one out of tens of thousands of women, which means the probability is just like winning a "lottery." While I was growing up, muscles throughout my body were getting weaker and weaker, as if being gradually frozen. The progress was gradual: first I started to use wheelchair, then I lost my ability to raise my hands, and then it began to be difficult to even accomplish trivial actions such as turning myself over while sleeping and typing on the keyboard. I was trapped inside by my condition for years, which made my yearning for travel and exploration even stronger.

In the spring of 2010, accompanied by my parents, I started off from Qinhuangdao. The three of us, a team consisting of "the old and the sick," spent 24 days travelling a total of 10 cities in east China, including Beijing, during which period we traveled through all kinds of bad weather, including cold, strong winds, rain, snow, and heat. We travelled tens of thousands of kilometers on all kinds of vehicles, including a train, bus, metro, ship, aircraft, etc. We were helped by the warm-hearted and also deceived by the bad...

After we came back, it took me over a year to complete a travel log of 200 thousand words. My online moniker is "E Dream coming true", and as a dreamer, my travel was of course fantastic. Therefore, I named my travel log Fantastic Travel. Thanks to the appreciation of Mr. Cai, the chief editor of YOUREN MAGAZINE, I was provided with a special column in the magazine to publish "Full of Dreams".

Some people think me as an incredible traveler performing some kind of miracle. But the truth of the matter is different from what they assume. The only reason that I am able to travel successfully is that I prepare for travel with the determination and planning that can be likened to when preparing for a war, because I know that that way I can avoid difficulties in my personal "long march" and because I cannot afford to "take risks"! I believe that heaven helps those who help themselves, and people also help those who help themselves.

Because of my disability and my parents' age, we were unlikely to be "accepted" by some tour groups. So we decided to travel alone. Because my parents were in their seventies and their pensions were limited, we had to save for rainy days and to plan every expense carefully. I volunteered to work out the entire route.

As a person living in north China, I dreamed of indulging myself in the wonderful scenery of Jiangnan, so I chose Jiangsu and Hangzhou as our first destinations. East China has convenient traffic, free from obstacles, is rich in culture, and suitable for "one-off travel." Shanghai, Nanjing, and Haining are charming in different aspects, and some our relatives who we wanted to visit lived there, so I also chose those cities. I was nearly forty years old, and I had never visited my hometown in Shandong, so Qingdao, Penglai, and Yantai were also selected.

Knowing that travelling is not an easy thing, I asked advice from Zou Fang, an awesome traveler living in a wheelchair who is just like Xu Xiake, one of the greatest travelers in China. Each year, Zou spends a few months travelling alone, following "the route of his wheelchair" throughout nearly two hundred cities in China! He provided me with a preliminary plan, and my cousin in Shanghai also gave me some suggestions.

Although I had my relatives and friends as wise consultants, I still needed to determine a lot of details by myself. The Internet became my most powerful assistant! I just needed to input provinces, cities or scenic spots I wanted to go in QQ, Email, Baidu, and on websites providing tourism information such as Ctrip.com, lotour.com, lvmama.com, and so on, all relevant information would pop up immediately. Instead of being an impossible quest, my experience was more in line with the saying that "without stepping outside the gate, the scholar knows all the wide world's affairs"!

I learned how to use professional websites to select and book hotels, tickets and discount air tickets, leading to a more economical and concrete plan, which allowed my confidence to grow, as well as my sense of accomplishment.

However, because I am unable to stand up to walk, my biggest worry about long distance travel is the inconvenience of using a toilet. Wheelchairs equipped with a pedestal pan are very heavy, so I could not bring it. I bought adult diapers as backups. However, when I was trying to urinate in them, the diapers did not hold urine, a situation that almost made me not want to travel. After a night of severe insomnia, I thought up a method to solve this problem. I got a large Coca-Cola bottle, cut off the bottom half of it, keeping the part of the bottle from the neck to ten centimeters higher, covered the cut with adhesive tape to make it smooth, and used this simple device to lead the urine into a plastic bag below. Success! Finally, urine would never spill out or leak sideways! For me, a big problem was solved (I suggest that disabled female friends who are troubled by similar problems give this method a try)!

I scheduled our travel route step by step through nearly a month of careful planning and communication with many people. I prepared clothes, emergency medicine, a 3G mobile phone, cash, bank card, credit card, digital camera, charger, folding umbrella, poncho...

And at last, I printed out five forms for this travel plan: namely, a general travel schedule, transportation list, accommodation list, scenery destination list, and expense budget list. The transportation list had the detailed information about train numbers, departure times, arrival times, ticket prices, etc. for trains between cities; the accommodation list had the detailed information about the names, locations, telephones and so on of the selected and booked hotels in all destination cities for future reference at any time.

Ready, Set, GoI believe: heaven helps those who help themselves, and people also help those who help themselves.

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