“Are there any friends who recommend an island or city where you can lie for a few days without any scenic spots? Just lie comfortably.” After the three-week online process of the project, Internet employee Liu Qian sent out such a circle of friends.
Liu Qian wants to use her annual leave before the end of summer. Different from her previous travel talent style, she doesn’t want to choose famous tourist cities or see any scenic spots this time. “The main task is to lie comfortably and have the energy to go around again. The activity radius is not more than 500 meters around the hotel.”
In a circle of carefully answered comments, the joke “Hegang” meant a heavier answer, which made Liu Qian exuberant. Search “Hegang Tourism” in Xiaohongshu, and there are only a few notes. This city, once famous on the Internet because of the low price of 50000 yuan per unit, has become Liu Qian’s next destination.
There are not a few young people like Liu Qian who travel in reverse direction. They are tired of clocking in hot spots, and no longer take traveling ten thousand steps a day as their goal. When “finding a place to lie for a few days” becomes a new demand for young people’s travel, will Hegang become the next popular place to punch in?
1. Reverse vacation, fire?
The Hegang Hotel sharing notes released by the Xiaohongshu blogger “Zhang Tutu who eats every day” have won thousands of praises and collections. There are many tourists and locals in the review area to share their impressions of Hegang.
As a typical resource-based city in the Northeast, Hegang has been closely related to coal in the past 100 years. Located in the transitional zone between the Sanjiang Plain and the Xiaoxing’an Mountains, this small northeastern city near the Sino-Russian border is one of the four “coal cities” in Heilongjiang Province. It thrives because of the rich coal resources, and suddenly becomes silent because of the gradual depletion of resources and industrial adjustment.
Hegang is once again widely known on the Internet because of the “cabbage price” of the house. Low-price prices have replaced coal mines as the new label of Hegang. Some people really spent several months to buy a suite here. Some people think that this is just a small and desolate county.
In the eyes of Beijing white-collar Chen Man, Hegang is a tourist destination beyond the stereotype. The air ticket from Beijing to Jiamusi is less than 600 yuan. After landing, you can arrive at Hegang from Jiamusi by taking a half-hour round-trip bus at 19 yuan.
Chen Man’s trip to Hegang began with a low-cost five-star hotel of 300 yuan per night. Although she had long known that she was staying at the most advanced Kyushu International Hotel in the region, she was still shocked by the comfort level and high cost performance of the hotel. The elegant appearance, the luxurious lobby, and the uniformed hotel doorman in the same way as in the TV series will come forward to carry luggage in time. Although we live in a standard room, the room is also equipped with a bathtub and advanced mattress, and the power switch is also a touch screen.
Chen Man lies in the room and has a rest. The service bell will ring outside the door. The waiter will bring the fruit of the day. What makes her feel most valuable is that the room rate of 300 yuan per night includes not only a rich breakfast buffet for two, but also free sweat steam. Chen Man, a southern girl, experienced the famous bathing culture of Northeast China for the first time in Hegang. This unexpected experience brought Chen Man’s direct evaluation of the trip to Hegang to the highest level.
Chen Man squinted his eyes comfortably in the sweat-steam room and said to the friend beside him, “In the future, we will travel according to this standard, and nothing else.”
Liu Qin is also one of the practitioners of the concept of “reverse tourism”. His parents criticized him for his loose travel rhythm and unpopular destination choice, but he still went his own way.
Liu Qin started his own “reverse vacation”, which also stems from an accident. During the Spring Festival holiday in 2020, he went home with his girlfriend to meet his parents and stayed at the Kempinski Hotel in Yinchuan for more than 600 yuan a night. When the epidemic broke out in that year, the prevention and control measures in various places were upgraded, and the original trip to visit relatives could not be completed. Liu Qin and his girlfriend spent the whole Spring Festival holiday in a five-star hotel.
Liu Qin recalled that throughout the Spring Festival holiday, although he and his girlfriend stayed at home, they slept until they woke up naturally every day, went to the gym downstairs to exercise for a while, or swam for a while, and then went back to the room to watch movies and play. After drinking a cup at night and taking a bath to eliminate fatigue, the quality of sleep has also improved a lot.
Before that, Liu Qin’s Spring Festival holiday was always very busy. He got up early every day to visit his relatives and friends. In addition to the porter of the goods of the year, he also worked as a part-time driver after the banquets of relatives and friends. In the hotel in Yinchuan, he spent a real Spring Festival holiday for rest, “refreshed and full of blood.”
After returning to Shanghai, Liu Qin made a calculation: in a tourist city, you can only spend 600 yuan to stay in a chain hotel of average quality. In big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the daily price of Kempinski Hotel is even four times that of Yinchuan. Instead of spending a high price in Sanya during the peak season, it is better to go to some unpopular non-tourism cities and spend the holiday in five-star hotels with high cost performance.
This migrant worker, unable to live in Atlantis, began to collect wool from high-end hotels in small cities.
2. Young people suffering from “urban disease” love reverse travel
At the end of last year, there were frequent layoffs in the Internet industry where Liu Qian worked. Liu Qian, who has just joined the company, is under the pressure of probation and layoff. Her heart is always tight. She can only devote herself to work and dare not give herself a chance to breathe. “It’s very stressful. I can’t get home until midnight every night. I just want to cry when I get home. It takes a long time for me to get up in the morning and go to work.”
Liu Qian’s good friend was the first to see her abnormality and invited her to visit Changsha, which was their long cherished destination. Like every popular city on the Internet, the price increase of air tickets and hotels in Changsha during the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday is very exaggerated. The price of home stay booked by Liu Qian is even as high as 800 yuan per night.
Liu Qian wanted to show off her skills with her friends during the holiday and put on beautiful makeup to punch in every scenic spot, but she was repeatedly discouraged by the surging flow of people during the journey. The front row of the ticket office of the sightseeing train at the head of the orange island was one or two hundred meters long, and she had to wait for more than two hours to eat everywhere. In the crowded Changsha, Liu Qianmu’s eyes are all the same faces. Her memory of the tour is blurred. She only remembers that she was often stepped on the heel, and she doesn’t know how many times she apologized for the humanity in the front row. She felt disinterested, and finally “simply went back to stay for two days.”
Liu Qian began to pay homage to the tourist destination of online celebrity. Of course, a city can become famous because of its uniqueness, but Liu Qian questioned himself: “The migrant workers use their precious holidays to fight with others in close contact and squeeze out a chance to visit. Is it really happy?”
Liu Qin also gave his own answer to this question, “I have had enough in peacetime, and the holiday travel can no longer be like a war march.”
In the summer of 2021, Liu Qin had just finished a project. No matter how he adjusted it, he could not recover from the overwork state that was reversed day and night. “I feel very tired, I can’t sleep at night, I can’t sleep in the daytime, and I can’t keep up with everything”.
Liu Qin went to Yichun, Heilongjiang Province, a small border town with beautiful scenery and cool and pleasant summer, across the river from Russia. Yichun is known as “the capital of forests”, with a high forest coverage. In summer, the content of negative oxygen ions in the air is as high as 36000 per cubic centimeter. Liu Qin, who landed in Yichun from the cramped office at 9 to 10, was “almost drunk with oxygen”.
The resort is very open. Looking out of the European style solid wood french window, it is a secluded grassland. Occasionally, squirrels run through it. Liu Qin spent eight days in the sparsely populated hot spring resort hotel, strolled in the garden in the afternoon, fed the sika deer everywhere, and watched the black swan swim past. Sometimes, he spent the whole holiday half lying on the rocking chair in the room, drinking tea, taking a nap and looking out at the verdant trees.
The people around Liu Qin didn’t understand why he wanted to travel to an unheard of city, but Liu Qin felt that the definition of vacation should be controlled by himself. For Liu Qin, the fast-paced atmosphere diffuses in every air molecule in Shanghai, and the sound of cars, horses and dragons can never be turned off. It is difficult for him to get a real rest in it. “But for me, rest is the biggest reward of the holiday.”
The boundaries of urban life are expanding until the personal space of young people living here is squeezed into a vacuum. Chen Man began to think about whether he was suffering from “urban disease”. Urban disease is a popular term in recent years. It refers to an emotional and physical reaction under long-term pressure, belonging to sub-health symptoms.
Chen Man frankly said that he also liked traveling when he was in college. He was energetic at that time, and the schedule was arranged from morning to night, and he was never tired. She once thought she could always be proud and measure the land with her feet. However, after work, the holiday became luxurious and the energy was not as good as before. Chen Man’s expectation of traveling became “just recharge me”. In this case, the attraction of popular tourist cities has declined infinitely, and “lying tour” has become Chen Man’s first choice.
In the three years since the outbreak of the epidemic, travel has also become a “blind box” behavior: the more popular the destination, the greater the flow of people, the higher the risk of the epidemic, the isolation or yellow code to persuade return, all depends on luck.
For migrant workers, the holiday is not easy to come by. Instead of crowding people in tourist cities and taking the risk of isolation, it is better to find an unpopular place to “lay down for a few days”.
3. Is it a tuyere? Or a flash in the pan?
More and more young people abandon sightseeing tourism and begin to “lie down”: do not plan, do not catch up with scenic spots, sleep until nature wakes up, rest is the main, and play is the auxiliary.
The popular “lying tour” among young people is not a new thing. In the past, this kind of travel based on enjoyment and rest was usually carried out on board, called “cruise travel”.
As early as the first half of the 19th century in Europe, Thomas Cook, a tourism giant, organized a tourist group of 350 people and chartered a merchant ship to travel to Scotland. The cruise ship officially entered people’s vision for the purpose of tourism.
Cruise travel developed into the originator of “lying travel” in the 1920s and 1930s. In order to solve the shortage of food for passengers and the loneliness of several weeks or even months of long journey, some cruise owners began to add living equipment and provide entertainment activities on the cruise ship. The cruise ship gradually evolved from a connecting means of transportation to a place for travel and vacation, and the destination is no longer the primary selling point of cruise travel.
Chen Man also plans to arrange her next trip on the ship. She has an eye on a cruise line along the Yangtze River. In addition to tourist cities such as Nanjing and Wuhan, there are also small cities such as Chizhou, Jiujiang and Fengjie. “Most of the online strategies will plan their journey in a similar way. Last year they went to Xishuangbanna and this year they went to Xinjiang.” Chen Man was tired of this.
Chen Man, a native of Yichang, grew up surrounded by the Yangtze River. She had long wanted to see the cities along the Yangtze River. These cities are usually not in the list of popular strategies, but Chen Man firmly believes that they have their own unique charm, waiting for her to feel it.
Doris Lessing, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, once wrote in the novel “To Room 19” that a housewife named Susan rented Room 19 of the Faude Hotel, just to get away from her real identity and gain several hours of precious time alone. Only in this room 19 can she feel relaxed and calm.
For young people who choose to travel in the reverse direction, perhaps they want to find such a “room 19” during the journey. A plane ticket to an unpopular destination, a few days of idle travel, looking out of the window at the mountains, meadows or the sea, even if it is only a quiet sky, builds a space for young people to rest.
Young people go to Hegang on their journey, but they are also going to freedom.