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Happy hermits

Updated: 2023-10-05 12:15 ( China Daily )
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Erhai Lake in Dali, Yunnan province, is known for its scenic landscapes. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Four days after arriving at the Yichun Forest Farm, Xu bought a decent house at the foot of the Lesser Khingan Mountains and got enough coal and firewood to last three years. He planned to renovate the property into a place where he could cook and farm, and raise cats and dogs.

It was in a similar spirit that Zou Nanpeng left the company he founded in East China's Shandong province for Dali, in Southwest China's Yunnan.

He couldn't pinpoint exactly when this idea was planted in his heart.

"All I can say is that, since childhood, I'd always lived within society's framework and fulfilled others' expectations. I hadn't done anything for me."

These restrictions seemed to tighten once he turned 30, until, after returning from a trip to Dali this spring, he decided to "loosen the reins" that bound him.

After careful consideration, he chose to rent a downtown house with four bedrooms and bathrooms, a living room and a large terrace. On clear days, he can see the Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake.

Before long, Zou opened a homestay there. While this may seem to contradict the "lying flat" spirit, he explains: "I have to accept reality. We still need to support ourselves and counter risks."

Zhang Fengyuan has followed "Baidu Yinju Ba" for 14 years, which is half of the 28-year-old's life.

"It seemed interesting. So, I clicked on it. It was exactly the kind of life I'd wanted since I was younger."

Back then, the online community was mostly about sharing the daily experiences of members who were scattered in small settlements throughout the country. They posted photos of crops, and talked about raising animals and building grass huts. Many conversations evaluated the pros and cons of different remote locations.

"Maybe it's because I've been a bit introverted since I was young," Zhang says.

"I don't like interacting with others. I worked in e-commerce, which doesn't require social skills. So, I thought about finding a small mountain village to live in."

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