Armed only with a homemade iron wagon, a steadfast Belgian Malinois, and a backpack filled with essentials, Abusaimaiti Keremu embarked on a remarkable hiking journey. Setting out from Kashi, located in the scenic expanse of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, A Bu aspired to reach the bustling metropolis of Beijing on foot.
A Bu’s adventures are far from private. With 388 gripping videos detailing his hiking escapades shared on the popular social media platform Douyin, he has amassed an impressive following of nearly 400,000 fans. They eagerly tune in, captivated by his tenacity and shared dream of experiencing the flag-raising ceremony at Tian’anmen Square, an iconic symbol of Chinese pride.
“Starting this journey, many expressed their skepticism. But, I’ve always envisioned this dream,” A Bu shared during a voice call. His inspiration is rooted in history, particularly moved by the tale of Kurban Tulum from the 1950s. Tulum journeyed from Xinjiang to Beijing on a donkey, expressing gratitude for the peaceful liberation of Xinjiang in 1949. “Travel methods are varied; one might choose a train, plane, or bicycle. Yet, I walk because it’s where my heart lies,” he reflected, reminiscing the unparalleled joy he felt while standing at Lanzhou Zhongshan Bridge, with the magnificent Yellow River flowing beneath.
His initial plan was ambitious, hoping to journey eastward from Kashi, moving through Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces before reaching Beijing. However, nature posed a formidable challenge in the form of the Taihang Mountains. These intimidating peaks forced A Bu to reroute southwards, heading to Central China’s Henan Province before continuing north.
During his brief stay in Anyang, Henan, after the surprising discovery of his misplaced ID card, A Bu visited the famed Yin Ruins, an ancient capital of the late Shang Dynasty. This became a cherished ritual for him – capturing memories at landmark locations, from the majestic Greater Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an to the revered Shaolin Temple in Zhengzhou.
With only 25 days remaining to conclude his 5,000-kilometer quest to Beijing, A Bu reflects on his journey that commenced in February. The vast stretches of uninhabited areas he navigated, such as the Taklamakan Desert and the scenic Duku Highway in Xinjiang, attest to his unwavering dedication to exploration.
Tragedy struck when his loyal canine companion was tragically killed. But in a heartwarming turn of events, a kind-hearted vendor gifted A Bu a new Belgian Shepherd, which he named Shunfeng, symbolizing “tailwind” and blessing their onward journey.
A Bu’s dreams are set on reaching Tian’anmen Square upon arriving in Beijing, with plans to explore renowned landmarks like the Great Wall, Summer Palace, and Palace Museum. After a week, he aims to return home, where his family awaits. As he walks, he deeply resonates with the phrase learned in school about China’s “vast territory,” understanding it more profoundly with every step.