Liu Lingchao aka the Snail Man left his hometown around 20 years ago to find work in the Guangzhou and Shenzhen area. After the idea of returning home came to him five years ago, he made such a basic 60 kg house and left Guangdong for his hometown. Instead of using modern transportation, he wanted to walk the entire 450 miles so he has his home on his back all the way (NEVER FAR AWAY FROM HOME).
The house is approximately 5 feet long and 7 meters high. It weighs about 130 pounds. It’s made from plastic and cloth on a bamboo poles frame so as to provide him protection against rain and cold weather. With sun-tanned skin and wearing release shoes, Every day he walked about 12 miles and covered nearly 621 miles carrying his portable house before reaching his hometown at Guangxi.
When returning home after leaving the same 5 years behind, Liu Lingchao gathered and sold waste for his living. He brought along with him his portable house and laid it on the side of the road at night to protect him. Along the way, Liu Lingchao refused to accept support from anyone, relying solely on gathering discarded waste for a living, bringing his “home” forward on his day-by-day trip. He makes a living through the selling of recyclable waste such as empty plastic bottles.
Moving pace of a snail
A 450-mile walk from Shenzhen to Guangxi is equal to a walk from New York to North Carolina, to put that into context. Sure a long distance but I’ve heard of people walking 3,000 miles coast-to-coast across the U.S. in one year, so why did Liu take 5 years to walk only 1/6th of the distance? It’s maybe the 132 lbs, 5-ft x 7-ft house pressed to his back?
Its weight of 60 kg is not exactly easy for one man to bear, so Liu is really traveling along China’s roads at the speed of a snail, but it beats having to search for shelter wherever he goes, and says the fact that he can settle practically wherever he wants is worth the effort. A few months ago the human snail left Wuzhou City, and is now just 20 miles away from completing a fantastic 270-mile walk and returning to his home town.
No handouts here
Liu is 100 per cent self-sufficient. He carries his home literally on his back, recycling discarded bottles which he finds on the street for cash. He has got everything in his carry-hut that he needs. He travels with his bedding, clothes, and other necessities. The journey between the village where he has a smallholding home and the nearby capital city takes about three days and the ‘Snail Man’ says his little home has grown with every trip. Three of those “houses” he’s already worn out and has just 20 more miles to go before he gets home today.