Many of us can imagine what it’s like to live with very little, but if you’re lucky enough to have the comforting privilege of worry-free stability in your life, the best way to understand hardship is to experience it firsthand. A Chinese father named Pu Wei wanted to teach his 8-year-old son, Dou Ge, about being humble and kind by taking him on a backpacking trip—with a catch. The two only had 100 yuan ($15) to live on for a week.
The father and son departed their home in Xi'an for a seven-day trip that ended in Lanzhou. They traveled on foot or hitchhiked in order to complete the total distance of 600 kilometers (373 miles), often performing manual labor in return for lodging. The trip taught Wei’s son the value of work, but also the generosity of strangers—many people offered them free food and rides along the way.
The success of the experience was due, in part, to the enthusiasm of Wei’s son. His spirit of adventure provided support during its challenging times. “Dou Ge is naturally curious, and every day during this trip, whenever I see how excited he is to discover new things, it pushes me forward to go on with the trip,” Wei chronicled on Weibo. During their expedition, he also let his followers know what they did and how much money they made and spent.