Every so often, a truly great story appears of an epic adventure or a heroic person, accomplishing a grand, mythical feat that challenges humanity's thoughts of what mankind is truly capable of.
In ancient times, these stories were more frequent, in modern times these tales usually only exist on a Hollywood set. Chen Guanming of China proved that for some, the spirit of adventure and the ability to accomplish the impossible is alive and well.
Four years ago, Chen Guanming, was overwhelmed with emotion when the Mayor of London accepted the Olympic flag as the host nation of the summer games. According to Chen, it was at that moment that he wanted to spread the same Olympic spirit by riding his “rickshaw” from China to London in order to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.
The 57 year old stated, “I came to support and cheer all the people from all over the world who are participating in the sports, I'm volunteering, I'm not looking for a reward. (Associated Press, ESPN.go.com)"
As expected, many doubted Chen’s claims that he actually traveled for 2 years, through 16 countries on his three wheel rickshaw. In a modest manner and with a warm grin, Chen gladly shared stories of his trip along with hundreds of photos as well as the visa stamps in his passport.
Chen said “his worst experiences … were traveling during Thailand's floods and being trapped in freezing temperatures in the snow in Turkey. He arrived in Britain by ferry from France on July 6... (Associated Press, ESPN.com)”
Let us not forget that for several thousand years, man was traveling from Europe and the Middle East to China via the Silk Road, for the mutual benefit of trade (whether the commodity was knowledge or physical). How truly remarkable it is that as the world gathers together to cheer for elite athletes, it is a “common farmer” that reminds us, of the incredible potential humans are capable of, when not suppressed by political games and artificial barriers.
As we watch the accomplishments of the world’s elite athletes and ponder the enormity of Chen Guanmings journey, we are reminded of Lao Tzu’s famous section from the Tao Teh Ching.
“Peace is easily maintained:
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.
Deal with it before it happens.
Set things in order before there is confusion.
A tree as great as a man’s embrace springs from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.
He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps loses.
The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.
People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.… (Section 64, Tao Teh Ching, Gia-Fu Feng)”
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