Many people have had the idea of traveling around the world, and many people dream of coming to a "go-go trip", but in reality not many people will really go to implement, after all, in our daily lives, there are always many things we can not let go. It is because of this that the Zhai Feng family sold their car and house, resigning from the trip seems more maverick.
When the Zhai Feng family left everything behind to sail around the world in 2012, they were the focus of national media attention; but when they returned, everything seemed to be quiet, how are they doing now, and what have their years of globetrotting brought them?
Crazy: Sell your house, quit your job, and travel the world with your kids
In the traditional Chinese concept, "stability" is the most important for a family, a stable job, a stable income, a stable family, everything in order is the best life.
So when Zhai Feng and Sun Hongyan, a railroad worker couple from Jining, Shandong province, decided in 2012 to quit their jobs, sell their house, take their children out of school and travel the world at home, the whole family raised their objections and even thought they were "crazy".
Because Zhai Feng family is originally the best model of "stability": double railroad workers, very stable work; income in the local good level, the couple is the first batch of local people to buy a house; a few months of vacation each year, you can comfortably enjoy their lives.
But Zhai Feng seems to be the kind of person who is born to go on "adventures". He does not like stability and still wants to discuss "exploring the unknown and traveling the world" with his friends in his thirties.
The turning point in their lives occurred in 2008, that year Zhai Feng traveled alone to Hainan, followed the map to find a piece of uninhabited beach, this is the first time in his life felt a sense of "achievement", since then, Zhai Feng has always wanted to travel to the sea.
Unlike her husband, Sun Hongyan is a woman who grew up with traditional "rules and regulations" and is, without a doubt, a good wife and mother in the traditional sense, so it took her a long time to completely understand her husband's "adventure and exploration".
But in the end, Sun Hongyan decided to go to sea with her husband, not because she understood him, but purely out of love for him and out of the determination to defend her marriage and family.
In 2012, Sun Hongyan told her husband that either the three of them should go together or separate, so Zhai Feng changed his plans and "planned" his wife and daughter into his trip.
But even though Sun Hongyan has decided to go to sea with her husband, she was actually scared for a long time.
Sun Hongyan is afraid of the sea, but also afraid of tanning; she is afraid of going far, but also afraid of drifting indefinitely; she is afraid of eating badly, but also afraid of not being able to accompany her parents ...... But because of love, she is still righteous.
In contrast to Sun Hongyan, their 8-year-old daughter Xinxin was looking forward to the trip. Xinxin, who was in second grade at the time, often excitedly shared with her classmates that her dad was buying a sailboat and taking her on a sailing trip, which created a big stir at school because no one seemed to have done anything like that before, "like a pipe dream.
Zhai Feng's action is very fast, he first arranged for the sale of cars, houses, raised 400,000 funds, and spent 350,000 in foreign countries to buy a second-hand sailboat, then, he arranged for the couple to quit their jobs, for 8-year-old daughter Xinxin for school suspension, ready to go abroad.
In the fall of 2012, Zhai Feng took his daughter to say goodbye to the elderly at home and embarked on a train to Beijing, from where, according to the plan, they would fly to Bali, Indonesia, and there board their own sailboat.
Thus, the family of three, amidst the opposition of their relatives and the skepticism of the nation, began a life of drifting at sea with the remaining 50,000 yuan.
Travel: Everyone is a seafarer, everyone has to work
Zhai Feng believes that the two most important things out there are survival and safety.
For this family, "survival" has been a problem from the beginning. Because they only have more than 50,000 yuan, this money is obviously not enough for them to wander in a foreign country, so "how to make money" is their primary consideration.
At first, Zhai Feng found that the media coverage gave them some visibility, so they sold the sails and "signature bits" on the hull to raise money.
At the beginning, their "signature bit" only sold 10 yuan, with their increased visibility, the late a "signature bit" can be sold to more than 100 yuan, and eventually they hard in a sail "squeezed" down more than 3,300 names, "raised" more than 60,000 yuan of funds.
When the money is not enough, Zhai Feng will also dock his sailboat and "advertise" on the hull for some computers and cars to earn a small advertising fee. After Zhai Feng got hooked on the "triangle flying wing", he also cooperated with the media to make an 8-episode documentary on his "flight over Australia" with the flying wing.
Originally, they were expecting the documentary to be a "hit" and bring the family a lot of money, but the documentary barely made a dent, and the family was gradually forgotten by the public.
In order to survive, Zhai Feng and his wife had to stop the boat and go ashore to work. According to a later interview, Zhai Feng said he worked as a packer and electrician, while his wife, Sun Hongyan, worked in restaurants most of the time.
As he spent more time wandering, Zhai gradually mastered English, after which he began to earn a living by giving speeches at foreign institutions and talking about his family's sailing experiences and experiences.
And as Xinxin grew up, she would work with her parents to earn money, in addition to studying. Letting a 13- or 14-year-old go out to work would undoubtedly cause huge criticism in China, but for Zhai Feng, this is proof that Xinxin has a strong ability to stand on her own feet, and he is even proud to say that the laptop Xinxin uses now was bought by her own part-time job.
Another big problem of sea wandering is safety. The sailboat bought by Zhai Feng's family is very small, and the three people live and eat on the boat, so they often face unpredictable risks.
However, Zhai Feng also realized that simply relying on their three "novice sailors" may not be able to cope with the unknown risks of the sea, so Zhai Feng decided to recruit a male crew to help them avoid risks at sea and protect the safety of the family.
But after living with the seaman for a while, Zhai Feng's family felt that living on a cramped sailboat was already rather confining, and the sudden addition of an "outsider" had an impact on their lives.
But as Xinxin grew, Mr. and Mrs. Zhai soon realized that with the two of them, they could no longer meet the child's growth and learning needs.
So, during their trips to Malaysia and Australia, they would send Xinxin to a local school to study, so that the school could provide systematic education to the child and develop Xinxin's hobbies and interests.
During her years away, Xinxin has gone from being introverted and fearful to a young girl who can go on stage and speak in English, open an international school on the Internet to make money, and who has learned to make woodwork, with the ambition of designing top international furniture.
In 2016, the couple had their second child, Yaya, and when Yaya was just over 2 years old, Mr. and Mrs. Zhai Feng sent her to an international kindergarten in Bali. Now Yaya not only speaks Chinese, but can also communicate with her family in English, and these growths make Zhai Feng feel happy.
Not only have her daughters grown up, but Sun Hongyan has also changed a lot during her wandering life in the past few years. In the past, she had to complain when she went farther, she wanted to retreat when she encountered a little difficulty, and she had to be coaxed by her husband before she would "move forward".
Now, Sun Hongyan has stepped out of her comfort zone and completed her transformation, and is no longer willing to be regarded as a mere "follower", but has her own understanding of the world and this journey.
But the life of drifting at sea, not everything is as it should be, after seven years of drifting back home, Mr. and Mrs. Zhai Feng confessed that in the seven years abroad, there are gains and losses.
The return: there are gains and losses, see the truth
The days spent adrift at sea allowed Zhai Feng to find the meaning of his life, and allowed everyone in the family to grow, which they undoubtedly got a lot of.
At the beginning of New Year's Day 2020, everyone was celebrating the New Year, but Zhai Feng felt, "If you don't make yourself better by working hard, there is nothing to celebrate in the New Year, you just get a year older and closer to death."
In 2021, Zhai Feng set up the "Peak Adventure Club", looking for people around the world who are willing to challenge the world and go on adventures together; Sun Hongyan set up a "sailing tour to Australia for young children" and has his own business; Xinxin successfully entered junior high school with his unique adventure ...... A new member has been added to this family of three.
But for Mr. and Mrs. Zhai Feng, it seems that they have lost a lot, of which they owe the most to their parents.
Although "parents in, do not travel far" is not so important now, but at first, recklessly go abroad, the pursuit of dreams, leaving the family elderly care, but still against the traditional concept of the Chinese, but also make the Zhai Feng couple feel guilty.
In addition, even though Xinxin has grown up now, the lack of basic education in China makes her poor at writing Chinese characters, even worse than upper elementary school students, which seems to make it difficult for her to adapt to the domestic environment. If she does decide to stay in China to work and live in the future, it seems difficult to say whether the seven years of wandering experience will be more beneficial or more detrimental for Xinxin.
In fact, Zhai Feng's family's trip to the sea was originally accompanied by controversy, and after learning about their experiences in the past few years, more questions followed.
Many people insist that the Zhai family has "embellished" their experience in an evasive manner, even questioning the fact that they say they are "traveling around the world", but ultimately seem to be "spinning" in Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, seemingly wanting to "migrate" more than "travel".
Others questioned them, saying that they were going to travel on a sailboat, but they seemed to spend most of their time working and living on shore, obviously just "living in a different place".
More people accused Mr. and Mrs. Zhai Feng of being "selfish", saying that they left their elderly parents behind and chose a "wandering" life for their young daughter, depriving her of choices and having a huge impact on her future growth.
But there are also people who support the courage of the Zhai Feng family to say go, perhaps everyone has had a restless heart, but also dreamed of exploring the unknown and improving themselves, but not everyone has the courage to step out of their comfort zone and walk into a completely unknown, or even full of difficulties, risky life, from this perspective, the courage of the Zhai Feng family is really worth admiring.
Indeed, the ideal life is not high or low, some people like to settle, some people like to wander, choose how to live, is the right and freedom of each person.
It's just that before making any life-changing decisions, maybe we should think a little more about it, because we don't exist in this world in isolation, and we should all take into account the feelings of our loved ones around us.
For example, parents are always concerned about their children, no matter how far they have gone, and how to let them take care of themselves is a serious consideration for every child; for example, parents are responsible for their children, so that they can receive systematic education at an age when they should learn, so that they can establish the right outlook, and let them choose the life they want for themselves when they can decide for themselves in the future.
It is certainly happy to pursue one's ideal, but perhaps we cannot build this happiness on the sorrows of our loved ones, and this is probably the helplessness of adults.