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Happy hermits

Updated: 2023-10-05 12:15 ( China Daily )
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A young visitor sips coffee at a bar in Lijiang, Yunnan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

But other members of the group opposed his idea. They said he was too young to live in such isolation and should see the world first, and that "lying flat" was about inner cultivation rather than escape, be it in a tranquil forest or a bustling city.

Zhang heeded their words and stayed in the city to run his online-sakes business. But he had to switch careers, as the field became overrun with competitors. He tried several other jobs but finally decided to become a mortuary beautician.

That was 10 years ago. Today, Zhang is enjoying the secluded life of his dreams, doing work that doesn't require interpersonal interactions and living with plenty of his own time in the countryside.

Most of his friends and family disapprove.

"It's impossible to please everyone. I'm prepared to pay the price to live outside the mainstream," Zhang says.

"Lots of folks think people who want to live in seclusion are grappling with pain or setbacks or the ugliness of humanity — that they're too fragile and are escaping from reality and responsibility. But most aren't like that. They've thought about it for a long time."

Actually, rather than coming from a place of fear, it requires, instead, courage, he says.

Only occasionally, when he wakes up from a nap and sees dusk fall outside his window, does he feel a strange loneliness.

Since he doesn't have anyone to talk to, he instead browses "Yinju Ba" and also shares photos of his meals and cats with other members.

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